They Paved Paradise And Put Up A Costco

I never thought I would see this day, when the end is near, if not here, for what has become my favorite abandoned place. Not the most spectacular (but close), not the biggest (also close), but certainly the most meaningful to me, for all the times I’d been. I’ve probably spent as much time here, between all the tunnel parties, all the actual exploring, the week I spent squatting Building 1 with Anna for the hell of it, and the nights that I’d just get a few friends and some beer and Jim Beam and forget about how fucked up it was with Laura, as in any other place I’ve ever explored.

So when I heard that work on the Costco project was finally under way, and there were already bulldozers and levelers on the property, I knew where I had to go. Unfortunately I’m still kind of in the middle of moving and most of my belongings, including my tripod, are in a storage unit but I tried to do the best I could, since I’m pretty sure I’ll never be back here. Most of the time I’m not only afraid of exploring by myself, but also find it a miserable experience – here, though, it felt more like a calling, that I had to come back one last time and experience it on my own terms. Iola was almost a second home to me, as much as an abandoned building could be,

Building 1 is nearly lost to nature, thoroughly surrounded by trees and ivy. When Iola was still a sanitarium, this was where the nurses lived, and the most ornate building on the campus. Its life as a county office saw it first as a preschool/day care, then as a veterans’ outreach office.

This inviting entrance will only be around for a few more days… I’ll miss it so much.

Well, it looks like the taggers finally made it here. Not that it matters, when there’s nothing left here but the wrecking ball.

It’s hard to believe with all this decay that the office only closed in 2010.

It has begun. One of the three pavilions is already gone.

I wonder if this is one of the Philly trolls I know? And who is Merk anyway, I’ve seen those tags all over, come to think of it.

Somewhere right under here is one of the happiest places I’ve ever been, the Green Room of the tunnels. (see my pictures from 2011 for why…)

Well, this is weird… Building 8 exists. Somehow I’ve always missed this in all my past explorations. 50 times or more here, and I didn’t even know this house was here, it was surrounded by so many trees before!

It wasn’t the most interesting place, (it was just a house), but Iola never ceases to amaze, just for showing me an entire building I’d never seen.

And while I was in here, something unexpected happened. A WILD EXPLORER APPEARED!

[to be continued]

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