‘The Last Stop’ beautifully captures the disappearing rest stops across America

by Gannon Burgett

posted Monday, December 15, 2014 at 12:15 PM EDT


Over the past five years, photographer Ryann Ford has been traveling across America, documenting the humble rest area for her project The Last Stop. From small, covered benches to more elaborate architecture, her medium format photographs seem to encapsulate the character of each stop and the environment that shaped its existence.

The story behind these images start seven years ago, when Ford moved from California to Texas. During the move, she noticed a common sight – roadside parks that had small rest stops for friends and family to stop and share a meal or moment.

Intrigued by the designs of these stops, she decided to dig into the history of them. What she found struck her as rather surprising; they’re becoming increasingly rare, as more shut down and get demolished every week.

When she found out the ongoing scarcity of these characteristic buildings, she decided to embark on a journey to capture as many rest stops as she could before they were gone – forever.

To date, she’s captured over 150 rest stops for The Last Stop. It wasn’t long after she had begun the project she realized this collection would be more than just a photo series. This in mind, she decided to bring to life a massive, 100-page book, complete with a historical essay on the life of rest stops and their impact on America’s travels throughout the 20th century.

Below are a number of photographs from the series and accompanying book:

White Sands National Monument, New Mexico
Walker Lake, Nevada – U.S. 95
Thackerville, Oklahoma
Near Sonora, Texas – I-10
Near Post, TX – U.S. 84
Near Pojoaque, New Mexico – U.S. 84/285
Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona
Near Organ, New Mexico – U.S. 70
Monument Valley, Arizona
Monahans Sandhills State Park, Texas
Near Millers, Nevada – U.S. 95
Galveston, Texas
Near Clines Corners, New Mexico – U.S. 66/I-40
Near Burleson, Texas – I-35
Near Big Bend National Park, Texas
Near Augustus, Texas – U.S. 84
Anthony, New Mexico – I-10 – New Mexico/Texas Border
Near Abiquiu, New Mexico – U.S. 84

To help bring to life this book for the masses, she’s taken to Kickstarter to crowdfund the book. Already, she’s amassed almost $32k, well over her $25k goal. But, with the one-of-a-kind rewards, including one-off polaroids and prints of the stops she shot along the way, there’s still 24 hours to get in your pledge.

If you’re looking to get your hands on a signed copy of The Last Stop, you can do so for a $75 pledge.

To read up more or make a pledge, you can head on over to the Kickstarter, here.

Image credits: Photographs by Ryann Ford and used with permission