Over the weekend I went down to Mecklenburg County to check out this “ghost town” I had read about online. I can’t remember where I heard about it, it was either through Flickr or the “Abandoned in Virginia” Facebook page (a great resource for urban/rural exploration in Virginia, if you can stomach horrible HDR photo effects). It’s right outside of South Hill and apparently back in the day was a railroad boom town. After some time, the railroad closed down, and the town sort of went with it. VERY “Fried Green Tomatoes”, right? The buildings are still there, and there are some houses in the surrounding area, but that’s about all that’s left of Union Level.
There’s not a ton of information online about it, so if you get to this page through Google, I suggest looking through the book “Around South Hill” through Google Books.
I’m not sure when the last time was that any businesses were operating there. I talked to a guy who was walking by who told me that he remembered things being open when he was a kid, in the 50s. There were empty 16-ounce bottles of soda in one building and the gas pump was showing 36 cents a gallon, so… Early 1970s? I don’t know. It’s been awhile, clearly.
From what I was able to find, at one point or another these buildings held a bank, a general store, a farm supply type place, a post office, a gas station obviously, maybe a pharmacy? Also at one point, the population of Union Level was 25. 25! Amazing that a town that small would even have ANY businesses. But I guess that’s how things were when you lived in a rural area before cars were common, not to mention if you had a working railroad going through the area. As of 2010, the population is 188 and there is nothing there. Everything is 10 miles away in South Hill.
I hadn’t planned on going into the buildings, because with old abandoned places like this you never know if the floor is going to give way or something. I was by myself, not to mention in the middle of nowhere. Next thing I know some dude pulls up on a motorcycle and not only has he been in the buildings before, he’s from Richmond also. Completely random, both of us out exploring in the middle of nowhere, like 100 miles away from home. So he showed me around, which was very cool. I don’t want this post to get huge, so I will post the interior shots in another post very soon.
all photos fuji xt-1 | fuji 23mm 1.4