In the photo series “Last House Standing,” photographer Ben Marcin documents a curious feature of struggling neighborhoods in East Coast cities: the solitary row house. Once part of long rows of connected houses, the solitary row house has become isolated and freestanding after neighboring houses were demolished. Most of houses featured in the series are in Marcin’s hometown of Baltimore. He also photographed solo row houses in Camden, New Jersey and Philadelphia.
My interest in these solitary buildings is not only in their ghostly beauty but in their odd placement in the urban landscape. Often three stories high, they were clearly not designed to stand alone like this. Many details that might not be noticed in a homogenous row of twenty attached row houses become apparent when everything else has been torn down. And then there’s the lingering question of why a single row house was allowed to remain upright. Still retaining traces of its former glory, the last house standing is often still occupied.