Thursday, April 21, 2016

The enigma that is the Zoar Hotel

If you're from the area or even passing through on your way to Atwood Lake, you know the Zoar Hotel.  It's not at all hard to miss.  Sitting at the south end of town, rising above the shops and B&B, the building stands empty and dark with just a simple sign announcing its existence.  I was fortunate in the past to have access to the inside of the building and since then have longed to return to see it. Today, I had that opportunity.  
When you enter the building you cannot help but "feel" the memories that the building holds. Through the years it has served as a stop for weary travelers, (including former president William McKinley who was a frequent guest), a restaurant,  a popular bar in the basement "Rathskeller" and a private residence.  But as long as I have lived in the area, it has remained empty without inhabitants.  And unfortunately time and the elements have been catching up with the old building.  There have been efforts in the past to raise needed monies to renovate the building, but as I write this I am unaware of any in progress.  From what I've heard through others it's a state/local issue.  So the building sits awaiting its fate either way. My main goal today was to try and capture images of the building that I hadn't in the past.  Some little detail or other nuance that really popped.  I had also hoped for a cloudy day to help with the lighting as I only wanted to use natural lighting and not any flash/fill lighting.  I got lucky as we've had a dreary rainy day today.  So with tripod in hand I ventured into the structure.  I knew my best shot at capturing the images I wanted to was to use bracketing in my shots.  Several shots of the same thing with different exposure settings to capture all the details both inside and outside the windows.   When I was done and got back home, I was very happy to see what I had captured.  It's aging interior mixed with its unique finishings.  I would give about anything for a Delorean that when 88 miles an hour is reached you can travel through time.  I would go back about 100 or so years so I could see what it looked like in its glory.  The people that lived and worked there.  The travelers passing down the canal or rail line. Perhaps even a president.  All we have from that era are a scattered set of pictures on the wall of the village museum.   For now, we have these images to appreciate what it's like inside the building.

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