1914 Train Tunnel
Today my co-worker, Bill C, and I went hiking through the Golden Hills Disc Golf Course and the Montgomery County Park to go look at an old train tunnel that was built in 1914.
On either side of the tracks near the tunnel, there were some old buildings, which nature was already starting to reclaim. In the below picture you can see weeds growing on the concrete steps.
This building and its stair garden reminded me of the article Earth Without People from the February 2005 issue of Discover magazine. In that article, they describe how the DMZ in Korea has changed with just 50 years without people and they speculate how long it would take our cities to fall apart if humans suddenly disappeared. When I originally read the article, there were two things that made me… well, I guess, slightly sad:
“Few domestic animals would remain after a couple of hundred years. Dogs would go feral, but they wouldn’t last long: They’d never be able to compete.”
Aww, poor dogs. (I suspect Clint won't share my sentiment!)
Unless an earthquake strikes New York first, bridges spared yearly applications of road salt would last a few hundred years before their stays and bolts gave way (last to fall would be Hell Gate Arch, built for railroads and easily good for another thousand years).
Why do the demise of the bridges make me sad? My grandfather, Gerard Ivanhoe Sawyer, built bridges! 🙂
It was a very interesting article. Ignoring my personal attachment to dogs and bridges, it was surprisingly uplifting to know that:
In a few thousand years, "the world would mostly look as it did before humanity came along—like a wilderness."