Nineteen years after the accident, the empty schools and kindergarten rooms in Pripyat - once the largest town in the Exclusion Zone with 50,000 inhabitants—remain a silent testament to the sudden and tragic departure. Due to decay, this section of the school building has since collapsed. Pripyat, Ukraine, 2005 (Gerd Ludwig/INSTITUTE)
I couldn’t even say that there was an eerie feeling while walking around in St. Marie. It felt more like a void or an absence. Just imagine living on a road where all of the homes around you were completely empty and slowly being consumed by the earth. I felt like I was in some weird post-apocalyptic suburban purgatory. I couldn’t even imagine how the current residents must have felt. Small towns have eager eyes, so we didn’t stay too long. Having Massachusetts plates didn’t help.
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