additions to Imperfect City / Imperfect State

additions to <em>Imperfect City / Imperfect State</em>

Posted: Nov 03 | Author: | Filed under: News & Updates | Tagged: , , , , ,

On a trip south this past October, I spotted 3 roadside memorials on a short stretch of I495 near Wilmington, DE: one DUI sign garlanded with flowers, and two white crucifixes. I was surprised, excited, and saddened; were all of these markers new?  Was there a slew of traffic fatalities?  If not, how had I not seen them while researching Imperfect City / Imperfect State?    I was with my family and neither wanted to stop nor could have: the memorials were in the rear view mirror almost as soon as I registered them.

Jeanne is in town now, and so we made the drive Sunday afternoon.  In 2012 and 2013 we photographed approximately 90 Delaware roadside memorials for a work included in Imperfect City, a DCCA exhibition curated by Maiza Hixson.  Though the exhibition closed in July of 2013, the project remains open-ended.  I documented another memorial in May of 2014, and whenever I’m in Delaware I look—actually I can’t help but look and feel less like I’m looking for them than that they’re looking for me.

I knew where these three were, more or less, and so we stopped safely and in advance.  No, these weren’t new memorials.  Perhaps I just never drove this section of I495.

I made the photographs.  Jeanne recorded audio.  Cars, trucks, wind, high velocities; a bit of terror.

We also found what appears to be a recent addition on 202 just north of 141—with a wreath of fresh, not plastic, flowers—though New Castle County Officer Paul J. Sweeney was killed there in 1972:

On October 28, 1972 Ptl. Paul Sweeney was traveling northbound on Rt 202. Ptl. Sweeney’s police vehicle was struck in the rear by another northbound vehicle. Ptl. Sweeney’s vehicle burst into flames and he couldn’t escape from the vehicle because all four doors had jammed shut from the impact. Ptl. Paul J. Sweeney died November 30, 1972 from his injuries.

Google Street view of this location, which was captured in September 2012, doesn’t show this memorial.

To see these images with geolocations and additional information, visit the Panoramio Group, Delaware Roadside Memorials.