This is one abandoned building that I know is being renovated. I’ve been there. And even though I’m sad that the beauty of its dereliction is being destroyed, it is better for the neighborhood.
A dear photographer friend and I went there to do a photo shoot back in 2009.
Along the railroad tracks on Mass Ave, I slipped through an opening in the chain-linked fence to an old, abandoned foundry. The day was cool and beautiful and the air behind the fence and between the buildings was crisp. I stepped tentatively through low-lying shrubs and weeds. The broken gravel crunched beneath my feet. My skin prickled because I didn’t know what I would find. The railroad tracks attract the under-life and I could very well be walking into someone’s territory.
I was alone and vulnerable and nervous but it didn’t stop me from taking photos, like this one of a rusted mattress spring. I didn’t take as many photos as I wanted because of the uneasy solitude. I swore I would return with a friend.
The next time I went back, it was boarded up. I regret not having courage long enough to really explore the foundry. But I relish that I had enough courage to enter in the first place.
I fell in love with the Rivoli Theater the first time I saw it in all its decaying glory. It is a magical theater, conjuring up visions of the Roaring Twenties with fashionable women and dapper men strolling along the street, tickets in hand, waiting for the show to start. I don’t know if that’s really how it was, but that’s what I saw and felt. I immediately called a friend who has lived in Indianapolis all his life and asked, “What’s the story? How did something so magnificent fall into such disgrace?”
I will leave the answers for another post because I want to do it justice. But for now in this single photo, I hope you enjoy the beauty of the decay.
On a Sunday two years ago I had to get away. I was feeling trapped and isolated in my falling-apart bungalow in Irvington so I took off east on SR40 out into the flat countryside of Indiana where the cornfields and soy beans had yet to be planted for the year. I had never traveled SR40 since the freeway parallels the road and I usually drive the freeway, but on that day I didn’t want the freeway. I wanted country.
It was a bizarre trip. The further away from Indianapolis I got, the more surreal the landscape became. Every small mom-and-pop store loomed large in various stages of deterioration even as their “open” signs invited people in. I wanted to get away from the blight around me. That was the whole point! I was tired of living in a squalid area and wanted to see something refreshing and new.
Instead, I saw this imposing abandoned high school. It sat on high ground and dared me to stop! The previous day I had wandered all over the crumbling grounds of the insane asylum so I was prepped for another exploration of a different abandoned building. I did an illegal U-turn and pulled up the drive to the building.
The above three photos are the ones I chose to represent days 140, 141, and 142, but I couldn’t let the rest of the building go unnoticed.
Just a bit more information about this building. It is not isolated. All around it is a subdivision of nice homes. But no one paid any attention to the woman in the bright blue car parked against the red brick walls. No one glanced at me as I wandered around the grounds, pulling vines and trees out of my way so I could get closer to a window or door. A dog barked nearby and the owner shushed it, but he didn’t look up at me even though I watched him to make sure the dog was contained. A car drove past the left side of the building to get to a driveway, but I didn’t see the driver look up at the building, nor at me. It was as if this big, sprawling building was invisible, and because I was there for the building, I became invisible. It was truly bizarre.
Anyway, here are more photos:
It has been two years since I took these photos. For all I know, the building has been torn down or repurposed. I tried to find out more info on it by doing a Google search, but the keywords I used netted nothing. If I find out more about this building, I’ll update.