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Toyah, Texas

Toyah is a town in Reeves County, Texas, United States. The population was 100 at the 2000 census.

Location is derived from the great work of WikiMapia

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Blue for Boys

Blue for Boys
Made by Noel Kerns
View Large On Black Inside the old, abandoned High School in Toyah, Texas. Story continued from ... Alright, so having discovered the existence of another opening on the other side of the building, I quickly folded up my tripod and made for the basement exit. I hustled around to the east end of the old school building, and whadya know...there's a big steel door standing wide open, it's 4 x 8 plywood having been removed and lying down on the concrete steps down to this basement entrance. I made my way down the step and shined my streamlight inside...nothing very impressive here either; just a hallway with a couple doorways off either side. I stepped in, and examined to room to my right. This room was completely empty except for a non-professionally made wooden table, about 3x6 feet, of about the size and height someone might lay down on. The rest of the room was basically fairly clean of debris...it began to look as though this building had remained sealed for several decades, and had only been breached very recently. There was no tagging to be seen anywhere, which was quite refreshing compared to most places like this that I visit. Whoever forced their way in at least had respect for the place...perhaps an urban explorer type, rather than drunk teenagers looking for a place to party. One other thing I forgot to mention about this side...the ceiling here is normal height, not 5 feet like on the other half. Not sure how they worked that, but it was a relief to not have to walk around all bent over. The second door on the right side of this hallway was actually just a second exit door for the room with the table, which was the largest room I'd seen here yet. So I wandered across the hallway to the lone door on that side, which was right next to the outside door through which I entered. This room turned out to be the bath & shower room you see in the photo above. The blue paint was both rich and in surprisingly good condition, other than a few minor peels here and there. I looked at that shower head arrangement and thought about how cramped together 3 young men would be trying to simultaneously shower there. I didn't like that mental image so I switched it to three young women...there, that's better... Anyway, I decided to snap this photo of it, and as I stepped back into the hallway to fire off the red strobe, I managed to get my $500 Marchon Airlock glasses hooked on my stretch knit cap, and because they were so cold, the arms snapped right off. Flyin' blind now! OK, so the other thing in this hallway, at the very end on the left, is the stairway up to...what? I didn't know yet, but it was time to find out. I was as giddy as a schoolgirl in a 3-head shower as I made my way up the creaky, unstable wooden steps, covered with dust and rubble from years of deterioration, all highlighted quite coldly in the flat, bluish light from my LED flashlight. Hmm...what's that sound coming from above? To be continued...

Hoops & Heaters

Hoops & Heaters
Made by Noel Kerns
Toyah High School basketball court, Toyah, Texas. Story continued from ... So...as excited as I was to finally see what was on the first floor of the antique school building, I curbed my enthusiasm enough to proceed up the rickety-looking stairs with due caution, and as I did, I began to hear sounds that indicated...activity of some sort...on the floor onto which I was about to step. As I got closer to the top, it became clear what the noise was...birds, and lots of them. No, I mean LOTS of them...I have no way of knowing how many for sure of course, but as I instinctively ducked down, I shined my light around the ceiling and noticed two things; one it, was incredibly high, and two it was almost completely 'moving' from what must have been hundreds of doves, all simultaneously freaking out about my arrival, flitting here and there, some finding hiding places, others apparantly exiting through some gaps in the roof. So as I acclimated to this crazy environment, I looked around some more and discovered that I was standing at the edge of a gymnasium & basketball court, hence the high ceiling. I could also tell that dimensionally, this room occupied the entire rest of the building. The second floor had been completely removed, and the schoolhouse had at some point (I found out later, the 1950's or 60's) been converted to nothing more than a basketball facility. Bit it was clear, the place hadn't been used for anything for a long, long time. The creaky, decaying floor was almost completely covered in bird droppings, in some places as much as 2 feet deep, the walls were cracked and peeling, and the ceiling (from the original second floor) was about 50% missing, some pieces having fallen to the floor and been covered over in bird droppings, some hanging precariously from the ceiling, in some cases so low you could touch them (I elected to not). The gym was also designed to do double duty as an auditorium, as it was fitted on the side wall with a stage. As I walked around the room, more birds evacuated their positions, which was continually unnerving. As you can see from the picture, the basketball goals themselves still remained, but with no nets. This picture was the second of three shots I made in the gym, and shows both the goal, the bleachers, and one of the two heater units hanging in the corner. Well, that's basically the whole story, except for the explanation of why my picture of the stage area came out so crappy! I will give my excuse for THAT in the description for that picture! Night, pitch black gym illuminated with LED Flashlight.

Chill

Chill
Made by Noel Kerns
View Large On Black OK...so when I planned this west Texas trip, I had fully intended to photograph the town of Toyah, and the schoolhouse there in particular, but the idea of getting inside to explore the place never even crossed my mind; every photo I've seen of it shows it completely sealed up and inaccessible. So you can imagine my surprise when, as the shutter was open on , I looked at the corner of the building and noticed what looked like a basement window panel missing! I was simultaneously excited and apprehensive; in general, I don't go into places like this when I haven't planned on it in advance and done some research, and I always try to explore them in daylight first. In this case though I didn't have that choice, and frankly daylight in this basement wouldn't make a whole lotta difference anyway, so I resigned myself to violating all my own self-imposed rules of safety and common sense, and with the exterior shot complete, walked over to the opening and peered in... I was surprised to see a relatively clean little low-ceiling room, perhaps about 15 x 10, with one exit portal, angled on the corner nearest the center of the building. I squeezed through the hole, and dropped down a foot or two to the floor. I was disappointed to discover that the temperature in this basement was no warmer than the ambient outside temperature, about 20 degrees. As for the basement structure, the cross members for the floor above me were perhaps about 5 feet from the floor, and the exit door to the rest of the basement complex was a little smaller still, perhaps four feet. There was absolutely nothing in this first room, so I went through the door into a central chamber of sorts, from which a few other rooms were accessible. None of these rooms had a thing in them, except for one. The smallest room, located roughly in the center of the building, had this tiny refigerator in it, perhaps four feet tall, with it's door wide open. On the side wall of this room, there was a small glassless window that looked into the other half of the basement, the part I had yet to explore...the part where I could see the stairs to the rest of the building! I looked everywhere but couldn't find a way into the other half of the basement, until, when looking through the small window again, I noticed I could see moonlight on the floor! So I now knew there was a breach into the other side as well; all I had to do was to find it... To be continued... Night, pitch black room, LED flashlight.

Always with the drama...

Always with the drama...
Made by Noel Kerns
Toyah High School gymnasium stage, Toyah, Texas. OK....I KNOW the lighting on this image sucks. I didn't reshoot it because of time constraints, but I wanted to post it because it shows what was, for me at least, the most interesting aspect of the old Toyah School building, the stage & scoreboard area of the old gym. So...how did I botch the paint job so monumentally? To understand this requires a bit of an explanation of how I gel my strobe unit. I use a Vivitar 285 HV strobe, and I apply thin film gels that are attached to the front using velcro, one piece on top, and one on the bottom. The problem for this shot started with the fact that for a few weeks now, my red gel had been missing one of it's velcro tabs, so I had been holding it over the flash head with one hand and triggering it with the other. This technique would have posed no problem on this shot, except that, as you can probably tell, this shot was lit from the two small rooms located on either side of the stage, neither of which I had checked out before opening the shutter on this shot. So after using a flashlight to paint the walls, scoreboard area and floor, I crept in total darkness onto the stage, felt my way along the wall to the door on the right of the stage and stepped in. I knelt down and fired off the strobe with gel help properly in place. I then made my way cautiously over to the room on the other side of the stage and stepped in, and as I was preparing to fire off the strobe...all hell broke loose. 2 or 3 birds in this room began flying around, with me blocking the door way! I began ducking, freaking out, and hastily firing off the strobe...and bolted as fast as I could in total darkness. Well, in all the excitement in that room, I forgot to hold the gel in place, so it fired off natural, and therefore, way too strong for the white walls and my proximity to them, so the stage area of the shot came out grossly over exposed, lit mostly from the clear strobe shots, with a trace of red at the top from the first strobe pop from the right. And THAT'S whay this picture, which had so much potential, turned out as an overexposed mistake! Night, pitch black gym with LED flashlight, red-gelled strobe and a couple of misfired clear strobe pops.

19 High School 12

19 High School 12
Made by Noel Kerns
View Large On Black High School, Toyah, Texas. Built in 1912, the schoolhouse in Toyah was actually what they called an El-Hi school, meaning they taught both elementary and high school students there. This building served the town of Toyah until about 1950, when Toyah was consolidated into the Pecos school system, 19 miles away. After the schoolhouse was retired for education, the building was repurposed as a gymnasium & basketball court. Established in 1881, Toyah is essentially a ghost town today, with a population around 100, down from a high of something over 1,000 in the early part of the 20th century. Night, 3/4 moon, slight ambient sodium vapor light from several directions. 2 minute exposure. As you can see from the grass, I've corrected a bit for the sodium, but the building actually has this yellow/green cast to it, even after correction. The window coverings are painted a slight beige color, which adds to this effect. Note: I like the jaunty, distorted perspective here; I didn't correct it on purpose!

The Bank Job

The Bank Job
Made by Noel Kerns
View Large On Black All that remains standing of the western wall of the old bank in the desert ghost town of Toyah, Texas. The bank, which had been closed since sometime in the 30's, was destroyed by a tornado at 7:00 PM on june 17th, 2004. What was once a stately, columned building (see picture below) now lies in ruins, much like most of the rest of this west Texas ghost town. The sign on the door reads... Historic Brick For Sale $150.00 per 1000 You Pick / You Haul (858) 204-3879 Night, full moon & natural flashlight.

Post Office 79785 (Toyah, Texas)

Post Office 79785 (Toyah, Texas)
Made by courthouselover
Toyah is located in western Reeves County between Pecos and Kent along Interstate 20. It is one of those towns that I have passed through during my travels that makes me think, why on earth do people live here? It's not that I find it to be an ugly place, because I think that Reeves County possesses its own unique beauty, but it is just so far away from everything. There's not a restaurant, school, bank, or even a gas station. I have no idea what the people of Toyah do for a living. Could there really be that many ranching and oilfield jobs?

Watching the World Go By

Watching the World Go By
Made by Noel Kerns
View Large On Black An abandoned late-30's automobile parked next to the ruins of the long-abandoned bank building in the ghost town of Toyah, Texas watches the passing cars and trains. The bank itself was leveled by a tornado in 2004. Night, full moon, ambient mercury vapor light, pink-gelled strobe, natural and CTO-gelled X2000.

Getaway Car

Getaway Car
Made by Noel Kerns
Gotta see it ! An old automobile sits rusting away amidst the ruins of the bank building in the west Texas desert ghost town of Toyah. The bank itself closed down in the late 1930's, probably about the same time this car was rolling off the production line in Detroit. Night, full moon, ambient mercury vapor light, natural flashlights and turquoise-gelled strobe.

Bank Raiders

Bank Raiders
Made by Noel Kerns
Must be seen to get all the detail. Another abandoned vintage car sitting amongst the ruins of the old bank building in the desert ghost town of Toyah, Texas. The bank's vault still stands in the background, though the bank itself closed in the late 1930's. Night, full moon, ambient sodium and mercury vapor light, natural flashlight and yellow-gelled strobe.

UnMotorvated

UnMotorvated
Made by Noel Kerns
The neutered, rusting shell of a late 30's sedan sits amid the rubble of the Toyah Bank Building ruins, itself destroyed by a Tornado in 2004. Outtake from my April 2009 desert trip. Night, full moon and ambient sodium and mercury vapor light, flashlight and red-gelled strobe.

Old High School Detail (Toyah, Texas)

Old High School Detail (Toyah, Texas)
Made by courthouselover
This old schoolhouse was erected in 1912, and I believe that it served Toyah until the 1940s or '50s. The Toyah School District was eventually unified with the Pecos School District, with schools in the town of Pecos about 20 miles to the east.

ToyahTexasHighSchool

ToyahTexasHighSchool
Made by Rhettwp
Toyah Texas was on the way of becoming a ghost town. Now that companies have been drilling for oil around Toyah the town is starting to become a vibrant community again. The image is of the former Toyah Texas High School.

toyah 4

toyah 4
Made by tomsteele
Mesquite Thorn is apparently a miniature Old West town built to memorialize someone. We wanted to get out and have a look-see, but there were some angry dogs following the SUV.

toyah 1

toyah 1
Made by tomsteele
First stop: the tiny town of Toyah, which some website billed as a ghost town. There looked to be a few dozen inhabitants, but it's largely abandoned.

toyah 2

toyah 2
Made by tomsteele
This high school is now home to a million pigeons. We found a side door into the basement, but it was both very stinky and very creepy.

Toyah, TX

Toyah, TX
Made by Pimento Of Doom
This is in the Keep Out room. I didn't dare open it to see what was inside. I figured I was pushing my luck already.

Texas

Texas
Made by _ErikaJean_
Revisit the past.

DSC03444

DSC03444
Made by okroads
Mileage sign on Interstate 20 West. Van Horn - 69 miles, El Paso - 189 miles

Toyah, TX

Toyah, TX
Made by Pimento Of Doom
It got a little depressing seeing all the infant/children graves.



Nearest places of interest:

I-10 / I-20 Interchange
Kent, Texas
Saragosa, Texas
Balmorhea Cemetery
  Worsham Airport
Pecos Municipal Airport (PEQ/KPEQ)
Orla, Texas
Project Gnome test site

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