Ryann Ford has put a great deal of time and dedication into her project named The Last Stop. She has photographed over 150 rest stop over the last 15 years.
In 2007, Ryann moved to Texas for work. While traveling on Route 66, she noticed a site that had a lot to offer but was disappearing from the American landscape. Rest stops used to offer so much more than just a bench and a bathroom, and Ryann aims to preserve the emotional attachment we once had with these places.
Here is Ryann's artist statement on The Last Stop:
"The Last Stop is a photography book documenting the vanishing roadside rest area of America’s highways.
Shortly after moving to Texas from California seven years ago, I was struck by a recurring sight – the humble rest stop. The more of these roadside parks I saw, the more inspired I became – there were tables shaded by faux oil rigs, teepees and wagon wheels, and geometric shapes echoing classic mid-century design.
I decided to do a little research on these stops and immediately found out the alarming news. All over the country, rest areas were being closed, and some demolished. Many felt that they were no longer necessary with so many fast food restaurants and travel centers.
Upon learning the news, I immediately felt an urgency that I needed to capture as many as I could before they were gone forever.
To date, I’ve shot well over 150 rest stops and learned that they are so much more than toilets and tables – for the past 58 years they have given us rest, relief, hospitality, and nostalgia.
When interstate highways were first built, passing up many small towns, rest stops were a way to reconnect people to the places they were traveling though. They gave small towns a chance to show their cultural significance.
Rest areas have become relics of America’s roadside past. These sites not only illustrate a unique period in the American travel experience, but are significant for the architectural forms found within them."