Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Infilnapolis, Day 2: Winona and Other Horrors

The morning began with a hangover in a far corner of the Radisson Hotel, amidst a debate of who is going where.  Given the nature of the hobby, there's safety in numbers, but a group as large as 30 is in itself reckless, so we split up.  A majority chose to descend upon Indianapolis coke.  Trap, Warbird, DJCraig and myself head out for Winona Memorial Hospital, joining with another 4 along the way.

The hospital has only been abandoned since 2004, but has already fallen victim to scrappers despite efforts to keep it boarded, and is now slated for demolition.  We entered through a very well lit hallway, that lead into a series of doors and dark hallways, once lit by florescent tubes, now a pitch black maze.


 In a word, Boom

 Near the emergency room ambulance bay.

 The upstairs hallways are much brighter, and here the mold is noticeable.

 Jeanne, Aug 2004

 On the 4th floor was where the operating rooms were.  The whole corridor was completely dark with the exception of the office area, that had skylights.  Here we had already come across many signs of activity in the building.  The staircase up from this point was completely covered in thousands of plastic spoons, a tactic homeless people, and drug manufacturers alike use as an alert that someone's nearby.  If this wasn't disconcerting enough, we heard someone whistle in a hallway outside the room.  Our group of 8 split into 2 groups of 4.  Thinking it was a member of our group, I called "Marco," to see who was there.  A deep voice that no one recognized shouted "Rick?!?"  Immediately we fell silent, all thinking "Who the f**k is Rick?!??"  We as a group investigated, to find that our visitor had apparently left, still not entirely sure it wasn't one of our friends messing with us.

Upon coming to a broken window leading to the roof, we ran into Orangedrink, one of the other 4.  We split off, and went another floor up, then climbed the ladder even higher to the next rooftop.  It was about 85-100 throughout the hospital with no moving air, so we stuck around on the roof for a while enjoying whatever breeze we could get before going back down.

 After about 20-30 minutes, Orangedrink and I make our way back down from the roof to meet back up with everybody, and continue to see what the rest of the hospital had to offer, since it was but 2 o'clock.  It was while snapping this picture I got this text message from Trap. "There are people in the building.  You guys need to leave."

I called him and he confirmed that there were at least 3 very large sketchy looking men in the building, and they had left.  Apparently every one had already left, and it was just Orangedrink and myself.  The choice to leave came immediately.  We both packed up our gear tight in case we had to do some running, and creeped through the building with soft feet through the dark corridors, stopping in a couple rooms along the way to hide and listen, and upon hearing no signs of anyone, continued, completely lost in the dark.  We knew we were getting close as we wrapped around the emergency room lobby.  

We finally made it into the first hallway, upon turning inside, came face to face with 3 huge guys all holding hack saws.  They stopped, surprised at us, as were we. An awkward silence persisted, until Orangedrink said, "Hey we're just photographing.  We're on our way out."  I followed with "Yeah we can't find the exit.  Do you know where the heck it is?"  One of them said "Yeah man, right over here," and we all left, and split up.  Us back to the car, them to another section of building.

    After regrouping at a nearby cemetery, we made our way to a local pizza place to meet the up with the other 20 or so people to eat, and discuss where we've been, and what happens next.  The plan was hit up a local Sheraton hotel pool, conveniently located 8 stories up on the roof come dark.  Those of us who were staying at the Radisson hotel returned to kill time and chill.  It just turned out that most of that time would be spent on the rooftop, that had a pretty great view of both Indianapolis and the Indianapolis airport.

Night fell, and we traveled caravan style to the pool, a mere football field away from last night's adventure.

 After the pool closed, we'd hate to break the rule of staying after hours, so we headed back to the Hotel we actually belonged to in hopes of continuing the good times, once again, on a rooftop.

Be sure to check back to see the dramatic conclusion of the trip, where we finally make it to the holy grail, Indianapolis Coke.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Soft floors: A summer at Glencoe

     Over the summer I've been meeting up with friends from all over, and have ended up in Indianapolis, Dayton, and alot of places around Cincinnati, and somehow keep finding myself at Glencoe.  Since June, between other adventures I've made a total of 7 trips here, and it's taught me quite a bit about what goes on here still, 10 years after it was boarded for good.  From a guy tossing ovens out the 3rd story window into a pickup truck, to kids using the hill for skateboarding, the place is quiet, but not quite empty.  In the past 5 months the entire block has been boarded up, and about 1/3 of them are already open again.  There's obvious signs of people living here, from recent beer to voices heard in the windows above, along with a solid amount of graffiti that has popped up, along with a random dead raccoon.

     These were taken a cloudy afternoon in June.  Came here with some internet friends and coincidentally a classmate of mine at school.  Our primary focus was exteriors, and a particular red house in the middle row.  This was one had the layout of single story apartments, and it was obvious someone had been living there recently.

 View South from upstairs

 Kitchen in downstairs apartment

 Looking North

     I Came back with Eschaton and some of his local friends about 2 months later.  I shot mostly video clips, but still got this panorama of the hotel and north row of houses.

     Between this time I was doing some exploring in Dayton with Trap, in addition to shooting some promo shots for Junior Crime Fighters here. 

Shameless plug

This afternoon in late September, it was Trap's turn to travel, so he made a trip here to meet Harvestmanman and myself to hit up Glencoe, among other locations. 

      Fast forward another month, to the end of October.  On this freezing 35 degree morning, I met up with Urban-Explorer to hit up some local sites, and what's more tempting to urban decay enthusiasts than an abandoned neighborhood?

     Almost down to a routine at this point, this particular trip was turning out to be one of the more relaxing ones.   We had infiltrated into the basement of the Glencoe Hotel and were slowly working our way up.  Right before snapping this next picture we were walking through the kitchen at the end of the hall.  I spotted a hole in the floor and thought, "Better step a little further away from that."  As if on cue, I took a step, and my right foot punched through the floor and before I could shout a few obscenities, the area around it disintegrated and I instantly had fallen through to my stomach in kind of a sideways belly flop, messing up my right arm, and ripping my pants in half in the process.  In a panic I pulled myself out of the hole and proceeded back to the east side of the building to more solid floors, trying to step over studs to avoid doing that again.

Fallen ceilings tend to be a good warning sign for a soft floor.

 The basement directly below the hole i punched.

     The most recent trip I took was yesterday.  Eschaton came up again for some spontaneous explorations.  We had a late start but it still was successful, from finding a building in Glencoe in slightly better condition than the rest of them

 This structure used to be a corner store, but was partially demolished and restored during the 
70s renovation of the site.  the idea to be a commons area.

 Sadly these are all too common

 An apartment on the North block.  Although heavily vandalized, has suffered far less water
damage than many here.  This one was laid out as a multi level townhouse.

Despite sundown, the adventure was just beginning.  More will come on the rest of this story in time, but for now just leave you with this.