Archive for November, 2013

Highland Park Hospital/School II

I can only imagine the lurid fascination with which the schoolkids must have regarded the derelict hospital adjacent to their classrooms. Reality seldom compares to teenage fantasy, but should any kids have sneaked into the hospital, they would not have been disappointed in what they saw.


Room Numbers


Psych Ward


Exam Chair



Sometimes we come across a location that seems like it is full of promise and we walk away with next to nothing, this building was one of those.  It was very obviously a school of fairly modern construction and it had been beaten to hell in the time that it has been closed, walls were torn down, doors were totally gone, spiders had spun massive webs across the hallways and there was very little of actual interest to be found.  On one level this is somewhat hilarious, because a couple of years ago we would have been thrilled to find a location like this.  Now that we’re a little more experienced we were disappointed.  However I did find one thing that justified our time in this building.


moss tiles large

In the auditorium the glass wall and windows were destroyed long ago, nature’s hand has reached in to pull the tiles loose from the floor and in some places turn individual tiles into little islands of moss.  Some of the more ambitious islands are sprouting a few weeds too.

moss tiles

I find moss endlessly fascinating, and I cannot fathom why it has so wholeheartedly taken over only a select few tiles while leaving almost all of the rest pristine.  Nature

Happy Thanksgiving!

Remember, if you were truly thankful, you’d commission a giant church containing a mosaic showing you presenting said church to St. Mary. Just saying.



Hagia Sophia Mosaic, Istanbul


Highland Park Hospital/School

As our fellow blogger Sometimes Interesting has documented extensively in Gary, Indiana, urban decay is a slow process. Rarely do buildings just go dark overnight; more often a succession of tenants come through after the original. Grand edifices get repurposed towards ever more menial ends until finally the lights go off for good. Never was this dynamic more vividly on display than in Highland Park, an independent enclave which lies completely within Detroit. Upon first inspection, we thought it must be an abandoned hospital.


The exterior.

So we were surprised to see all the trappings of a school upon entering. It was a school, but it had been a hospital. Classrooms were walled off; all the hoses, fittings and plugs which typically line hospital rooms were simply drywalled over. Very often, however, the original purpose showed through all too clearly, as in this nurses’ station cum teacher’s resource center.



There was an entire wing of the building, which the school had bricked up access to, that remained hospital. Your intrepid explorers did find a way in, however. Pictures of that will come next.


A collection of violin cases strewn about the floor of Chandler Elementary in Detroit, with the instruments themselves nowhere to be found.





Organ Failure


We all know that no one loves a piano, but tearing up an organ and tossing it like that is going the extra mile.


Oh Happy Day

I had thought that it would be a few months before I would be able to get my old computer to my brother to attempt data recovery but something went right for me and as it turned out he was planning on visiting my parents this past weekend.  He offered to bring me a new computer and back up drive and to try recovering my data right away.  Upon arriving at my parents house we had an additional set back, the power supply to the new computer blew a fuse.  We found ourselves a new fuse and tried it again, this time the power supply started arcing and the lights began flickering.  *sigh*  So we drove for an hour to the computer supply store that was open at 9pm on Saturday (Tiger Direct, you’re my heroes!) and bought a new one.  From there everything was smooth sailing, the issue with my old hard drive was sorted fairly quickly and almost everything was recovered, the important stuff (the source files) were saved!  I did lose a folder of finished images that I was going to have printed, but I can always go back and reprocess those images.  My back up now consists of an internal data drive plus an external back up drive and I have almost 6 terabytes of memory sitting on my desk.  I have my awesome brother to thank for all of this, he is the guy the pros go to when they’re having problems.  I also need to thank for my parents for allowing us to take over their kitchen for the weekend as it was the easiest place for us to meet and work on this issue.


all hail the master nerd

I knew my old computer was dying before this happened and I was actually backing up the St. Louis and Detroit trip when everything went pear shaped.  My lesson has been learned and hopefully no one else out there has to go through what I did because they will back up all their work all the time in multiple spots.   I have forgiven The Niblet for smashing my hard drive, now I just need to fix the dent in the wall where it struck.  Never under estimate the power of frightened cat, that drive flew over 6 feet at a pretty high velocity before being suddenly stopped by the wall.  Regular posts by me will resume tonight after I’ve had a chance to sort through the mess of data, my organizational system was mostly preserved, but I haven’t had a chance to really go through everything.   As a bonus I now have a dual monitor setup so that should help smooth out my work flow by quite a bit.  I did lose all my programs in the computer failure, but Photomatix was the only thing that was not free shareware and they’ve already provided me with my software key so it is installed and ready to go.

Hopefully everyone has learned the lesson through my experience, back up often and in multiple spots!

Bookshelf and Trees

Light chases paper debris across the the classroom floor.


schoolHDR (2).wp



Eastown Theater II

A continuation of yesterday’s post on the Eastown theater in Detroit. The view from the balcony was spectacular, with the solitary red chair on the floor being too perfect a subject to resist.



Sad Chair


Eastown Theater

Most of you that check in on this blog regularly read the news earlier today that my coblogger, the eponymous Idiot Photographer, lost her entire photo collection due to a computer crash. We’re hoping that with some help, she’ll be able to recover much of what’s lost. In the meantime, I feel like the clown that has been pushed out into the ring to entertain the crowd while the acrobat’s gruesome compound fracture looms in the background. Nothing to see there, folks! Look at me. Yuk yuk yuk!
And so,  I present the next stop on our tour of Detroit: the Eastown Theater. Opened in 1931, it was one of the city’s movie palaces, then later a live music venue hosting major acts such as Cream and Jefferson Airplane. Since finally being shuttered in 2004, it’s decay has been rapid, hastened by a fire which took out a section of the building. This is the view that greets the interloper who walks through the lobby into the theater.


Eastown Stage.