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!

Motel Hell

Written by Concrete on . Posted in Buffalo, Uncategorized

Truck stops aren’t exactly the cleanest, most inviting places even when they’re in the best of shape. As you can imagine, an abandoned one, especially one in a city on a road no one really uses anymore, is just that much sketchier and grimier than the ones on the interstates. Isn’t this just where you would want to spend the night after a long day on the road?

Just like home prison?

I get the idea these were probably frequent offenses at a place of this repute.

Seems a bit odd that the beds are all made though. I wonder how recently this place closed?

Maybe it’s older than I thought.

The diner is ready for business at least. It smells like breakfast has been ready for months!

The Place That Must Not Be Named

Written by Concrete on . Posted in Canada, Uncategorized

Day 8: Fort Simpson, *** to Fort Nelson, BC (496km, 6023km total)

First off, can anyone guess what this is?

If you guessed aerial view of a river delta, you’re WRONG.
If you guessed roots of a seaweed, you’re also WRONG.
This is the back window of our car, after being inundated with a day of mud in the northern land between the Yukon and Nunavut, which by mutual agreement is no longer mentioned, to avoid memories of this and what exists right after it.

As far as positives, there were a few bison.

Which was far from enough to justify traveling through this horrendous stretch of “road”, again consisting of mud and dust with trees cleared out from the path, more than what anyone “southern” would call a highway. The only human activity on this path, a settlement called Fort Liard, proved to be even more foreign and disappointing, with a palpable disdain for tourists, easily recognizable by our failure to read or speak Inuktitut.

At last, the *** set us free, reaching a rickety wooden bridge at the end of the despicable road. We were in British Columbia, and back at the edge of civilization.
Rickety bridge

And unlike the wild ugliness of the ********* **********, this place is beautiful! I only wish I had a few hours to climb around one of these instead of having to take it all in from the Alaska Highway.

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)

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)

Secret Passages Bank

Written by Concrete on . Posted in Rochester, Uncategorized

I’ll admit it: this isn’t technically urbex, we had permission to be here. This beautiful abandoned bank will be transformed over the course of the next 8 days into a venue for ArtAwake 3, a one-night art and music exhibition in a forgotten part of the city. Until then, though, it’s one hell of an abandoned building to explore!

How about a giant vault door?

Or a ceiling covered in frescoes? This would never happen in the Recession

Unique view of the Times Square Building

One beautifully complex cable