The House That Seph Built

Written by Concrete on . Posted in Cleveland, Uncategorized

After a few successes, and the total surprise that anyone actually showed up to explore with me, I was ready to aim higher and take on Seph Lawless himself. I’m not exactly sure how I feel about Seph – certainly not the revulsion most explorers have to him, although not complete devotion either considering that he’s been less than helpful to me. But I was in his territory in Cleveland, and of course I’d jump at the chance to go somewhere he has, just in case it might give me some semblance of the following he has. Ideally I’d just take the rejects from his social media dominance in the urbex scene, and travel around bringing the various randoms who ask to explore with Seph to whatever was in their area, but the self-proclaimed King of All Urbex wanted nothing to do with that. So we settled for the next best thing: going back to a place that he just claimed for a national audience he was the last person to ever see: Randall Park Mall, in the suburbs of Cleveland.

I did something here that almost never happens: passed a fence (admittedly by going under, and a very shoddy half-assed fence at that) to enter the mall, which was already getting started with demolition.

Without His merciless darkening and sharpening, it looks remarkably like any other mall, just a bit more abandoned.

It’s about the only way I like shopping malls. I was that kid who always dreaded shopping, even Christmas shopping, and never understood why the mall was a popular place to just hang out and have fun.

At least there’s a movie theater….

Haven’t seen any pictures of this part. I wonder if His Travesty just couldn’t find it, or it was too dark and he was scared?

I guess we don’t have to worry about security anymore…

This seems to be Seph’s favorite spot in the mall. Now He’s not the only one with these shots.

You’ve probably seen this concrete egg thing before thanks to Him.

Oh look, another theater! This one was randomly sticking out of the mall office/storage area, they probably converted most of the old theaters and didn’t need this one, and just left it intact.

Goodbye Randall Park… you weren’t first, Mr. Melendez, and now you won’t be last!

Call Of Ducky: Quack Ops

Written by Concrete on . Posted in Cleveland, Industrial

After a night of hipstering around in Brooklyn and a frustrating subway ride lost in Queens, I caught a bus from the festering pit of humanity on 41st street to Cleveland. I will admit my expectations for Cleveland were essentially zero. Despite having made what I thought were plans with Johnny and his friends, it wouldn’t have surprised me one bit to learn that it was all fake, just meant to send me all the way out to Ohio for nothing.

Only a few minutes after I got to Cleveland, something totally unexpected happened. They showed up! We started in east Cleveland at a place they call the Duck Factory, Woodhull Supply. At first it seemed like an ordinary enough trashed abandoned factory…

And then I started to figure out why it’s the duck factory. Piles and piles of random rubber ducks.

So ducking many. And apparently this was after almost all of them ducked out.

And then an epic duck battle was fought between us… notice the incoming duck in the lower center of the shot

Someone, maybe someones, have video of the whole thing that they’re editing at some point. That would do so much more justice to the Great Duck Battle of 2015 than my photos would.

After the ducks, they led me around in circles for a while so I wouldn’t know where I was, then brought me to the Warner Observatory, which once housed two enormous telescopes until there was too much light pollution in Cleveland to see anything useful.

This dome reminded me of the old Myst games. Only the “Tower Rotation” function and the metallic grinding sound were missing.

THAT takes some skill…

And what’s this? Proof that I’ve actually met other explorers?!

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)