Starting from a young age, I’ve always loved exploring. I can remember venturing off and scoping out the houses being built in the developing neighborhood right behind my house. As I got older, I found myself appreciating the work and love that went into architecture and just being excited to pass by the beautifully designed places in downtown. That’s why when I found out there were historic properties all over Oklahoma that were just sitting abandoned, I couldn’t help but wanting to do something about it. In high school, I discovered the website AbandonedOK.com and started exploring these places and taking pictures to contribute to their large online database.
Upon graduating, I moved to Arkansas to attend college and started my own version, AbandonedAR.com. It wasn’t until I came across the Majestic Hotel in Hot Springs, AR that I started to fight for the preservation of buildings. Unfortunately, we lost the Majestic and in honor of what could have been, I am committed to continuing that fight to try and save these forgotten places before it is too late. If we can’t physically save them, I hope that their history and the memories created within their walls can live forever on the internet. Find out how you can help us fight, donate and/or volunteer here: AbandonedAR.com/support
Throughout my life, I have never passed an old house or building and not wondered what it looked like inside. Raised in the Mississippi Delta, where dilapidated and derelict buildings and homes are plentiful, I allowed my imagination to run wild; the call to explore always beckoned. Being an English major with a MFA in creative non-fiction, it is my nature to absorb and create stories based on real life. Studying the history and seeing the remains of structures that held that history is a gift that not many take the time to experience.
Since joining Abandoned Arkansas, I have been able to feed my lifetime obsession with what once filled the emptiness of these buildings. Capturing the essence of the structure, be it a loving home or a fancy hotel or a sad hospital, is an honor.
When I’m not out exploring, I teach high school alternative students, operate a private tattoo studio, read tarot cards, and watch too much YouTube. I have a fascination with dinosaurs, namely the T.rex, outer space, slow heavy metal music, and thrift store shopping. I’ve lived in Little Rock for over ten years now and love every minute of it. Visit me on instagram @highfiveg
Nicknamed “Local Guide,” Eddy Sisson joined Abandoned Arkansas in 2013 and was so moved by the locations that he has since volunteered tirelessly to help restore life to Dogpatch USA and other locations. He started the official Facebook fan page for the old park. Eddy later joined AAR in September 2013.His starting of AAR’s group “Arkansas History Rescue” adds life to forgotten and abandoned properties.
James “The Negotiator” Kirkendall is a Fort Smith resident and joined the Abandoned Arkansas team in 2014. He owns two dogs, a parrot, and lives with his wife Ashleigh. Though he struggles with a learning disability, his talents and persistence have led him to an array of different achievements. Some of the greatest feats have been receiving a black belt in traditional karate and performing overseas in the Fringe Theatre Festival in Edinburgh Scotland. His education includes several computer technology certifications and he has attended the New York Film Academy in LA. His interests include video games, roller skating, and martial arts.