The evening dragged on as I ventured through the Ohio countryside, eventually coming to the infamous Longaberger Basket in Newark, Ohio.
Driving from Dresden, Ohio, the original home of the Longaberger basket company, I headed westward, hoping to capture the remnants of the Longaberger Homestead and Home Office. The company, once over $1 billion in sales just fifteen years ago, is barely holding on with just a few dozen employees remaining to manufacture its signature baskets.
I arrived at the Homestead only to find it unlit and barricaded, despite its “open” signage. Dismayed, I traveled further west towards the Home Office. Constructed in 1997, the Home Office is a seven-story office building designed after its Medium Market Basket. It’s soaring handles, which weigh 150 tons, were visible for miles around. Everything appeared normal when I came up to the complex in the early night but not all was what it seemed.
A few lights in the offices were lit but dead plants and misshapen blinds adorned the windows. The facade was peeling its golden yellow hues. Windows were broken. The lavish gardens were overgrown. A “no trespassing” sign lay near the front door.
The Home Office was abandoned. From a company that once had lofty sales expectations, it was a depressing sight.