Archive for October, 2010

Into The Monolith

Written by Concrete on . Posted in Institutional, Rochester

So this is it. The big one. The white whale. The greatest and last frontier for Rochester exploring. Like everyone else, I’ve had a few goes at it. Nothing any good, there’s almost never a way in. So you can imagine my surprise when Ian calls and says it’s open RIGHT NOW. Even then I didn’t believe it; there had been enough of these kind of false starts before that the only thing they found is the same high up window again. But this time was nothing of the sort: the FRONT DOOR (!) had a wide open board. And suddenly we were in. First stop, naturally, was the roof.


Not quite Adler level but close

Asylum corridors and peeling paint. Everyone has this shot.

Someone wasn’t taking their meds

Like the lab table. Don’t like the picture of it.

So what exactly was the leisure here? Sit around bored in a different room than your bed?

Ian will probably post this on his wall for inspiration…

So many p33lz0rz. I count 6 colors of paint in one door frame.

See it all!

Black Cats and Step Ladders

Written by Concrete on . Posted in Cleveland, Industrial

(Part 5 of my Detroit/Cleveland adventure)

Right out of the cold storage, this came along meowing at me. I wanted to bring him home with me. But instead he just seemed to bring typical black-cat luck through most of the day!

Four locations, and four U-turns, into the day, Mike still needed to wrap his head around the fact that not all of us can climb like lemurs… this was a perfectly doable entrance for him, and a perfect way to fall and break something for me!

And nothing but more of the same at St Luke… no way in at or near ground level!

Things finally began to turn around at Warner Swayze, not a particularly interesting place but it was what we had available to us, from the ground level places he knew. Which, of course, wouldn’t stop him from climbing the brick exterior right up to the six-story roof. I chose the path more traveled by: right into the open door.

All these places started looking the same after a while, he would just take me from one factory to the next, clearly not all that interested.

Mike called this one “Green Windows” for the obvious reason. He seemed to like it a bit more than the others, but it was really pretty ordinary for a factory. Except that it was in Cleveland and I’d never been in it.

See all 218 photos from the weekend here!

This Great Dead Town

Written by Concrete on . Posted in Cleveland, Detroit, Institutional, Uncategorized, Underground

(Part 4 of my Detroit/Cleveland adventure)

Highland Park itself, if possible, managed to be even more desolate and Detroiter than its Detroit surroundings. After a local financial crisis bankrupted the town in the late 90s, Michigan took it over, and consolidated its government functions, leaving what was probably once a proud municipal square to decay: city hall, courthouse, police and fire stations surrounding a deserted square.

OK, you got me this time

Guilty as charged!
(These cells lock. I don’t know what we would have done if someone didn’t helpfully leave the keys, and a sign, right outside there!)

I wonder what happened to these trials? All of the paperwork still sits on the courtroom tables as if someone will come back and call it into session when Highland Park gets their city back

Some parts of the court didn’t hold up that well over the last 15 years


Just a drain somewhere in the suburbs of Detroit… would love to go back here sometime

And with that, we left Detroit and headed on to Cleveland. Mike had a few explores in mind for the night that were far beyond my level as a climber, so Saturday ended on a bit of a fail; at least I got one good view of the city

Apparently something involved climbing on the underside of this

So we camped on the roof of the cold storage instead, and waited for morning…

(to be continued)

Everybody’s Doing The Fish

Written by Concrete on . Posted in Detroit, Industrial, Institutional

(Part 3 of my Detroit/Cleveland adventure)

Following the suggestion of the hobo in the old hotel, we found our way after a few (well, more than a few) wrong turns to the Fisher Body plant. It’s no Packard, but still a good taste of the Motor City’s abandoned legacy. Fisher was/is the supplier of steel auto bodies to GM, and to a lesser extent some of the European models, and still has a major facility next to GM in Dearborn, even though this one in Highland Park closed in the late 90s. Architecturally, it is a nearly perfect Detroit boxy warehouse with colored windows. Just what we wanted to see, this one time only!

This was one of the few clues what went on in here. These signs almost seemed intended for factory tours?

All of the bathrooms had these instead of toilets

Taco Tuesday Forever!

The ceiling even grows its own stalactites

This factory railroad must have carried ore carts or something like them into the foundry?

One of the few good tags I’ve seen in this state

You’re a mean one, mr. Grinch!

Mike being Mike and climbing around on a 3 inch pipe just because it’s there!

And we’ll leave you for now with a street view of some typical Detroit industry

(continued in part 4)

And You Shall Say, God Did It

Written by Concrete on . Posted in Detroit, Religious, Uncategorized

(Part 2 of my Detroit/Cleveland adventure)

Our next destination, Detroit urbex tourists as we were, had to be the Packard Plant! There is nothing like it around… over a million square feet of giant, dead factory space with nothing in it but some vagrant homes, a precariously perched RV or two, and the best graffiti in the Midwest. Only one thing could stop us: Optimus Prime! Only one thing did stop us: Optimus Prime, surrounded by a film crew and attendent security. Oh well, looks like we got a sneak peek at Transformers 4… soon to be in theaters for who the fuck cares.

So we wandered around the east side of Detroit looking for something else abandoned. It took much longer than either of us expected to find anything besides condemned houses and burned out shells, but eventually we found a church in the parking lot of a Family Dollar.

Day care center? Priest’s break room?

Can’t see it too well here but the church sanctuary was surrounded by messages like this one

Just something weirdly beautiful about two thirds of a stained glass window

After church we wandered back downtown looking for the pair of abandoned hotels we saw out the window of Cass Tech. Which were two of the most solidly sealed off buildings I’d ever seen (yes, that’s concrete up to the 3rd floor windows!)

at least there was another across the street with a wide open door. And a hobo pissing right inside the door, who after an initial shock said “come on in!” These three sociable chairs in the lobby must be among the most photographed furniture on earth…
More Chairs

And a once-grand ballroom

Overall it wasn’t all that interesting a place; but it’s Detroit, and there’s always another around the corner!

(continued in part 3)

Apocalypse: Here

Written by Concrete on . Posted in Detroit, Institutional

After 32 hours and 1200 miles of trains (yeah about that… Chicago was nice and all but really? You can fall asleep on a train and wake up 3 states too far?) I finally arrived in Detroit. I’m not sure what I was expecting to see, maybe some third world abandonscape right outside of the train station, but it really seemed like any other American city I’d ever been to. There were cars on the road, people in the streets, a crowd gathering at the station to catch the next train to Lansing, 9am and well into their tailgate already on their way to Michigan State. (A helpful security guard even advised me that maybe it wasn’t the best day to be wearing green in this town! So much footballness here!) After another wait, Mike showed up and we were on our way! First stop was Cass Tech, an abandoned community college in a giant 1920s building right in downtown Detroit replaced by its even more gigantic neighbor. From the looks of it, it seemed to specialize in art and engineering — I would have loved to spend my 12th grade year here.

The desks are bolted to the floor in perfect order.

Buehler… Buehler… Buehler…

Next to the art rooms there was a print shop with drawers upon drawers of movable type, now scattered all through the school.

Electronics class? Radio station?

The chalkboards are still here from the final day, 6/14/05. I can only imagine the teachers presided over one last exam, then at 3:49 it was just last one out of here, turn out the lights, and suddenly there was, where there was once a school, only abandonment.
Last one

The theater… anyone want to have a show in here?

Basketball arena… with a very weird, inward-leaning balcony. I’ve heard Michael Jordan played here once many years ago.

(part 1 of many from this weekend. I’ll include a photo link on the last page)