His ghost now haunts the attic, and this was the only graffiti on the entire property.
Second floor view looking up in an abandoned infirmary tower stairwell.
The structure is filled with natural light, but is haunted by the living.
Graffiti evoking a strange admixture of amusement, irony, and sadness; abandoned high school, Gary, Indiana.
Graffiti incorporated into, or a victim of, damage inflicted by scrappers.
Yesterday’s post offered some views of the exteriors; today, we go inside. Unfortunately, only the basement and ground floor were accessible, the stairs being nonexistent above a certain point. The basement offered some fantastical sights, with each room crowned with a silo bung.
Other areas showed clear signs of recent occupancy. It was clear, too, that these were no ordinary homeless or drug addict squatters. Certainly the extent of housekeeping in the picture below speaks to a more organized presence, with food on shelves and clothes on racks. My guess would be that these were the anarchists/hippies/primitivists of the recent Occupy Movement, which had a presence in nearby downtown. On the metal stove in the foreground is the clearly visible scrawl, “their end is our beginning.”
Finally, in some truly hard to reach catacombs in the subbasement we found this, painted carefully across the dank wall.
What I still can’t fathom is the motive for this graffito. Only the occupants themselves or rather determined explorers (ahem) would ever see this. Is it a mission statement? A warning? Whatever the case, it would certainly be ironic if these people, so determined to live off the grid, were ultimately forced to move so as to make way for Hollywood filming the latest Transformers vehicle here.
After 2 full days in St. Louis we said our farewells and checked out of the hotel. A day long drive along the full length of Illinois and across Indiana brought us to the doorstep of my dear friends in the vicinity of Detroit. Champing at the bit we were up and out early the next morning. Today we would take on the ruins of the old Packard factory, the one place that defeated us due to its sheer size, we only saw about 2/3 of it.
Upon gaining the uppermost floor of the first building I saw that the skyline of Detroit was within reach.
One thing we like about this city is that, with all the unpatrolled abandoned buildings, taggers and graffiti artists have free reign to practice their craft with abandon. The work ranges from simple tags and scrawls to full blown murals. Often, they give a building or place its character.
The “Bad Cop” on the second floor of the Sheraton always gives me a chuckle.
I’ll pause to admire the big, wall filling tags.
There are plenty of tags in the style of, “abandon all ye who enter here”, but I enjoy a simple imperative sentence. Naturally, the biggest and boldest murals are found on the highest floors and hardest to reach places. The next two are both from the Ambassador, the top floor and the penthouse, respectively.
There’s many levels of enjoyment in what we do. The satisfaction of getting the right shot, one that captures the sense of place, is probably foremost. There is also the exhilaration of finding a new site and simply being there; many of these places feel like a different planet, though they’re rarely more than an hour away. What is rarer, however, is finding a palpable sense of history. Sure, most places we visit are old, but in many cases signs of the people who lived or worked there have been wiped away by decay and/or vandalism. So imagine our delight when BentBottle and I found this school’s attic:
It had been used as the de facto living yearbook of the school for upwards of eighty years. Kids had been going in here and signing their name and class year with the implicit consent of the school, which could’ve painted over this any time they wanted.
The oldest one we found was ’23, the picture of which sadly did not come out well. This was a great “easter egg” find in a building that had quite a lot to offer as is. Pictures of the lower floors to come…