• Lauryn LePere: A Town Abandoned

    Front Porch

    Posted on December 1, 2012 by Lauryn LePere

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    ………..East Brady, a small town located on the Allegheny River, can be found 70 miles north of Pittsburgh. While the town used to be a coal-mining community, it has since become a summer destination for city dwellers.

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    On any summer day the river is generally bustling and full of life. As you sit on our porch you can hear boats driving by, music, and waves splashing into the shore. However, during the winter months not a sound can be heard except the occasional car traveling over the bridge. All of the summer residents have retreated back to the city.

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    Church

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    Due to this mass exodus, the population of the town diminishes drastically when the weather cools off. So much so that the only grocery store in the town closed this fall due to insufficient business during the winter season. Sadly this is not uncommon. Many new business ventures fail to survive once the summer residents leave.

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    Back in the day, the town of East Brady was where the affluent owners and managers of the coalmines lived. The remnants of their wealth can still be seen today in the architecture. The grandiose house of the wealthiest family was donated to the town, and now functions as a church, library, and town hall.

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    Mansion

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    As the wealth of the town deteriorated, so did the previously beautiful houses. Some individuals have worked to restore them to their previous grandeur but others have allowed them to continue the downward spiral into decomposition.

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    Local Residence

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    A quick drive down the main residential street reveals the stark contrast between the full-time and summer residents. Most of the typical residents work low-paying, blue-collar jobs in the manufacturing plants that are nearby, whereas the seasonal residents own their second homes in the town.

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    Camp

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    My family has been going to East Brady for generations, so we have been able to observe the shifting demographics of the town. More and more seasonal residents are becoming quasi-permanent residents as they retire. I hope that these new additions to the population will help to rejuvenate the town during the dreary winter months.

    About The Author: Lauryn LePere is a senior enrolled in The Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania. Class of 2013

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    Photography by Lauryn LePere, Copyright 2012