The Columbia Heart Beat

Columbia, Missouri's All-Digital, Alternative News Source


Last update12:00:00 AM

Desktop | Android | iPhone

TRUE BLIGHT: Columbia's longstanding problem with abandoned houses, Part 1

The Broken Windows Theory, writ large

Photos and essay by Matthew Schacht
COLUMBIA, Mo 5/7/14 (Photo Essay) -- The grass is cut.

The gutters are clean.

The porch is swept.

An empty driveway waits for a car.
This one-story house in the First Ward seems only temporarily empty, as if an owner or a renter might drive up any moment and say "Hello" to the reporter standing outside.

Peering through a dirt-smudged window, the state of things becomes clear

A house is not a home when rooms contain no furniture, when two-by-four wood studs are all that remain of walls, and when insulation pokes out of cracks, floors and ceilings like teddy-bear stuffing.

The disorder broods like an enduring mystery.  Why is the building empty?  Why has an owner allowed his or her property to fall into complete disuse? 

[Please read our EDITORIAL PREVIEW for more background.]


A new porch, but no one to use it at this
home near Hickman High.




A new metal roof over a ramshackle house years empty.   Columbia, Mo






Columbia College just bought this house on Wilkes Blvd., one of several
derelict houses that have sat for years in a row just behind the college's pristine






Click side arrows for a slideshow of Columbia's
abandoned houses

NEXT:  The Why Behind the Vacancy

Matthew Schacht is a photojournalist and former reporter for the Columbia Missourian.  This is his third photo feature for the Columbia Heart Beat. 

You are here: Home News Headlines Life Preservation TRUE BLIGHT: Columbia's longstanding problem with abandoned houses, Part 1

CoMo Calendar

December 2021
28 29 30 1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31 1