Sunday, April 11, 2021

A Day Spent Exploring Abandoned Buildings

There is something inside me that draws me into these forgotten buildings. Maybe it is the romantic side of me that can see something beautiful when others do not. Maybe it is the thrill of entering an abandoned building and the danger of walking among the ruins of a crumbling structure. Maybe these buildings offer me so many interesting things to photograph. Maybe I love walking through the building and reliving its history in my head. The truth is I really don't know why I enjoy it so much. I just know I love spending time inside abandoned buildings.
These photos were taken in September 2020 in Gary, Indiana.

I met some friends at the City Methodist Church which reflected nicely on my car windows. 

We headed down Washington Street to the old Parry - Shaw building.

We walked in through an open door but that only led to this room with these weird icicle-looking things on the ceiling. 

We circled the building searching for a way inside.

Graffiti on a building across the alley.

Another abandoned building in the alley.

Poetry on the building from a few years ago...

...and a new mural painted recently on this building.

We got inside but there really wasn't much to see. 

Maybe documenting what I see is why I love abandoned buildings. We left here and went to an abandoned school.

Jefferson Elementary School

Gary has a lot of abandoned schools. Besides the damage caused by vandals, most look like they did the last day students were here.

This school closed in 2017. This classroom still has the daily schedule on the wall.

Every classroom had a boys and girls bathroom in it.

I have no idea why none of the desks or books were removed and offered to other schools in the area.

I am not here to destroy anything. I am here to take pictures and bear witness to the slow destruction of another abandoned building.

I do not remember reading books like this when I was in elementary school.

New books left behind by the bankrupt Gary Community School Corporation.

When I take a moment to think about what I am seeing in here, frustration and then anger take over my thoughts.

I did see quite a few positive banners in this school.

A better example of the boys' and girls' bathrooms in every classroom.

If you are going to bring paint here, at least do something artistic.

I found a lot of science equipment and books in the classrooms. 

New books were thrown on the floor.

I thought using a rollercoaster was a great way to get kids interested in science.

I guess seeing all the new books left behind must have bothered me because I have so many pictures of them.

I loved this statement more than the person that painted over it.

Sometimes I get that end of the world feeling when I see abandoned buildings that are left intact. These two photos look like everyone expected to be here again when they left. 
But that was over three years ago and no one ever came back.

Except for vandals, street artists, urban explorers and someone who writes quotes from Fight Club on a chalkboard.

I don't remember any mission statements posted at any of the schools I attended.

A book bag found in a hallway.

So many street artists use the abandoned walls to make something beautiful. @poetrybyboots is one of my favorites.

I always find something interesting to photograph...graffiti to some, street art to others...

....drug references...

...political statements...

....not exactly sure what to call this one. Though I  do like it.

More #poetrybyboots.

Another fan of books has been here.

So has the Midwest Urbex Crew.

It was interesting to find the artist's sketch of the dancer mural.

I just like this backlit photo.

I was really fascinated by books on this UrbEx.

We ended up in the gym where there was sanctioned artwork... 

and unsanctioned artwork.

We left Jefferson and drove just east of Broadway.

We walked past this church...

...and past this abandoned Metro Corps Inc building...

...which used to be Clover Leaf Dairy Company.

We tried to find a way into the abandoned Post Tribune building.

But it was locked down really tight. They even welded the doors shut.

So we went inside the Clover Leaf Dairy building since the front door was open.

This building was last used by the City of Gary. This garage area is where they repaired city-owned trucks.

A common scene in abandoned buildings, things are left here like the people expected to return the next day. But they never do return.

It's been a very long time since this optimism was present in Gary.

There wasn't much left on the main floor of the building.

Just this old license plate.

On the second floor, I found these skeletal remains. Maybe it is actual remains but I doubt they would be this well laid out. 

The offices on the second floor were ransacked and the ceiling also caved in.

Uh-oh, I couldn't work here due to the profanity rule. 

Apparently, no one ever moves out of an abandoned building. They just leave one day and never come back.

Good words for our country to live by.

Again, I loved the contrasting light.

I also love these little pieces of history.

Someone went through this office looking for something valuable. 

Vandals removed all the breaker panels and wire from the building.

Another light/dark contrast photo that I love so much.

I found this on the glass cooler near the front door that was used for walk-up sales of milk and ice cream.

More street art on our way to the Palace Theater.

The backdoor of the Palace Theater.

The remains of the Palace Theater after a fire.

There is not much light in abandoned buildings so I had to take these photos handheld with a very high ISO. 

This is all that is left of the main floor seating area.

Looking at the stage with a huge cloth backdrop on it.

Looking out from the stage.

A piano is still in the orchestra pit.

It wasn't easy but I could imagine how beautiful this place once was. 

It wasn't easy to get upstairs and the floor is very soft in spots. 

The view from the balcony.

The second floor has apartments that look out on Broadway. 

The hallway to the apartments.

The view from an apartment onto 8th Avenue.

Another view of 8th avenue.

It was easy for me to imagine living in these apartments during Gary's heyday. All the bustle of Broadway below you and all the movies, plays and vaudeville acts just across the hallway. 

Those thoughts of the past make me smile while seeing the building in this condition makes me want to scream. How can we just forget about a city that built our country into a world power? I'm sure the people in Detroit, Toledo, Cleveland, Youngstown, Erie, and Pittsburgh have asked the same question.

A small section of an apartment that is falling apart.

The floors are collapsing due to water damage. The internal walls are collapsing too. I would not recommend exploring the upper floors of this building.

Like so many buildings in Gary, this once-grand building has very little chance of being saved. 

A group shot of friends taken outside the Palace theater.