Photographer Matt Hurst chronicles the crumbling ruins of Unity House.

Matt Hurst has been long been fascinated by the decline of the Poconos's resort industry. Much of the Philadelphia-based photographer's work focuses on buildings prior to their demolition or in some cases, renovation.

While researching the demise, one resort stood out -- "Unity House" (referred to as "White Pines" by some photographers who want to obscure the complex's exact location) a facility that served as a retreat center for the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union for nearly 70 years. To Hurst, Unity House's shift from "a thriving, modern 'workers' paradise' to crumbling ruins," symbolizes the decline of not only the region but of the U.S. labor movement.


View Larger Map

The modernist main building is accompanied by more traditional cabin-style structures and an amphitheater, which is now being used as a community theater and music venue. But besides the performance space, the rest of Unity House remains neglected. Its decay was caused, surprisingly, not by vandals or scrappers but by the many Pennsylvania winters that have passed since its doors closed for good.

Water damage, buckling floors, and a slowly crumbling facade aside, Unity House, in Hurst's eyes, resembles "a snapshot of what much of the place looked like when it closed in 1990."

After exploring the resort, Hurst has started photographing others nearby, with plans to visit more as part of an ongoing project. Below, Hurst's photographs of Unity House, 23 years years since it was last open:  

All images courtesy Matt Hurst

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. The facade of a casino in Atlantic City.
    Photos

    Photographing the Trumpian Urbanism of Atlantic City

    Brian Rose’s new book uses the deeply troubled New Jersey city as a window into how a developer-turned-president operates.

  2. a photo of a Metro PCS store in Washington, D.C.
    Equity

    What D.C.’s Go-Go Showdown Reveals About Gentrification

    A neighborhood debate over music swiftly became something bigger, and louder: a cry for self-determination from a community that is struggling to be heard.

  3. Equity

    The Hidden Horror of Hudson Yards Is How It Was Financed

    Manhattan’s new luxury mega-project was partially bankrolled by an investor visa program called EB-5, which was meant to help poverty-stricken areas.

  4. Tech workers sit around a table on their laptops in San Francisco, California
    Life

    America’s Tech Hubs Still Dominate, But Some Smaller Cities Are Rising

    Despite established urban tech hubs, some smaller cities are attracting high-tech jobs with lower living costs, unique talent pools, and geographic diversity.

  5. a photo of San Francisco tourists posing before the city's iconic skyline.
    Life

    Cities Don’t Have Souls. Why Do We Battle For Them?

    What do we mean when we say that the “soul of the city” is under threat? Often, it’s really about politics, nostalgia, and the fear of community change.