The last weekend of September we were scheduled to return to Killingly, CT once again, this time to explore an abandoned toy store in an old textile mill. We were very excited. I bought our model, Isabel Vinson, a sickeningly pink, vintage 1980s prom dress and 72 balloons just for the occasion. But then, we arrived, only to find the supposedly-easy-to-get-into Toy Loft had been TRIPLE fenced. One member of our party may have ignored that very clear sign to stay out and gone in anyway, but the rest of us were left to wander around the downtown area somewhat aimlessly, looking for another spot. After Isabel had changed into a gorgeous Laughing Cherries printed dress she happened to have in her car, the aimless wandering brought us to a gift shop where I procured a lovely garland for the Feast of Fools shoot, an exotic pet store where we contemplated doing strange portraits with the resident albino burmese python, a junk shop where we found nothing, The Steampunk Cafe, and a building with amazing teal blue doors and several abandoned storefronts. Intrigued, we sort of begged the first person we saw at the Sherwin Williams next door to see if he could let us in. He said he could, but we’d have to go through the basement.

A story, not about toys

In retrospect, that sounds like the beginning of a slasher film- two photogs and a model get lured into basement with promise of photographing in an abandoned shoe store. They are then slowly tortured while their friend gets arrested for trespassing in an abandoned toy store and no one knows anyone has gone missing.

A story, not about toys

Just kidding, none of that happened. I don’t know the name of the nice man at Sherwin Williams, but he did let us borrow a flashlight. We will all forever be grateful, the photos were well worth the trouble.

A story, not about toys

As for photographing an abandoned toy store, we were about six months too late, and it sounds as if the whole mill is being torn down, not something I like to think about. Luckily other people at least documented it all for us. It’s worth googling the abandoned Toy Loft to check out the images. None of them include a model in a 1980s prom dress though. I’ll have to keep waiting for a good reason to use that one.



  • Date: Saturday, September 27th, 2014
  • Location: The former Lord’s Shoe Store, Killingly, CT
  • Photography: TJ Bynes and Kayt Silvers
  • Model: Isabel Vinson
  • Dress: Laughing Cherries