Each block of glass is its own little world living out microscopic dramas in the afternoon sunlight.
In the early 1970’s, the UK determined that the time between the detection of an incoming Soviet nuclear attack and its impact would be four minutes. The BBC was tasked with preparing a prerecorded warning to be broadcast at the onset of those four remaining minutes. The text of this message seemed a fitting preamble to the following scene from an abandoned Cleveland School:
“This is the Wartime Broadcasting Service. This country has been attacked with nuclear weapons. Communications have been severely disrupted, and the number of casualties and the extent of the damage are not yet known. We shall bring you further information as soon as possible. Meanwhile, stay tuned to this wavelength, stay calm and stay in your own house.
Remember there is nothing to be gained by trying to get away. By leaving your homes you could be exposing yourself to greater danger.
If you leave, you may find yourself without food, without water, without accommodation and without protection. Radioactive fall-out, which follows a nuclear explosion, is many times more dangerous if you are directly exposed to it in the open. Roofs and walls offer substantial protection. The safest place is indoors. Make sure gas and other fuel supplies are turned off and that all fires are extinguished. If mains water is available, this can be used for fire-fighting. You should also refill all your containers for drinking water after the fires have been put out, because the mains water supply may not be available for very long.
Water must not be used for flushing lavatories: until you are told that lavatories may be used again, other toilet arrangements must be made. Use your water only for essential drinking and cooking purposes. Water means life. Don’t waste it.
Make your food stocks last: ration your supply, because it may have to last for 14 days or more. If you have fresh food in the house, use this first to avoid wasting it: food in tins will keep.
If you live in an area where a fall-out warning has been given, stay in your fall-out room until you are told it is safe to come out. When the immediate danger has passed the sirens will sound a steady note. The “all clear” message will also be given on this wavelength. If you leave the fall-out room to go to the lavatory or replenish food or water supplies, do not remain outside the room for a minute longer than is necessary.
Do not, in any circumstances, go outside the house. Radioactive fall-out can kill. You cannot see it or feel it, but it is there. If you go outside, you will bring danger to your family and you may die. Stay in your fall-out room until you are told it is safe to come out or you hear the “all clear” on the sirens.
Here are the main points again: Stay in your own homes, and if you live in an area where a fall-out warning has been given stay in your fall-out room, until you are told it is safe to come out. The message that the immediate danger has passed will be given by the sirens and repeated on this wavelength. Make sure that the gas and all fuel supplies are turned off and that all fires are extinguished. Water must be rationed, and used only for essential drinking and cooking purposes. It must not be used for flushing lavatories. Ration your food supply–it may have to last for 14 days or more.
We shall be on the air every hour, on the hour. Stay tuned to this wavelength, but switch your radios off now to save your batteries. That is the end of this broadcast.”
So I’ve already shared my first view of the piano that remained behind at a church quietly moldering away in a little neighborhood in Cleveland. Tabula Rasa gave a more comprehensive view in a later post and that got my competitive spirit going. So I went back into my files to see if I could produce something worthwhile to put him back in his place.
I will leave it to you all to decide if I have achieved my goal.
The following is a bit of a rehashing and expansion on a subject already covered by the Idiot Photographer here. This is my turn to throw in my photographic two cents’ worth.
There is a ravine that runs through a part of southwest Cleveland which kept two racially disparate neighborhoods separated. The city built a 680 foot long suspension footbridge spanning the gorge in 1931. Amidst racial tensions in the 60’s, someone burned the wooden deck of the bridge, leaving it unusable. Ever since, it has been completely forgotten. Now, it is so overgrown it can’t easily be seen from the streets it once connected, and most Clevelanders have not heard of it.
There is a certain feeling one gets upon finding an object of which landscapers working mere yards away were wholly unaware. That feeling, for me, is the essence of urbex.
Bertrand Russell famously wrote an essay entitled “Why I Am Not a Christian“. Were I to offer a similar argument in the form of a photograph, the following could well be the result. For details on what the mural depicts, click here.
Pianos. They are everywhere we go. Too big and heavy to move, these instruments are usually left behind in schools, theaters, and, as is in this case, churches. They may be an enduring urbex trope, but one which I don’t see myself tiring of anytime soon. This from Cleveland last month.
From the third floor of what remains of the old Westinghouse factory you can look out on the empty Cleveland Railway building, and the only sounds are the occasional train passing by, birds and the chirp of crickets.
One thing Cleveland has in spades in empty, abandoned factories that range from spectacular architecture to a hollow, echoing concrete box.
But even in the most seemingly barren of places there is a magical place to be found.
A stroll down a closed road into a disused public railway reveals the nearly forgotten footbridge that was set fire during the 1960s because of racial tensions. It was only later I found out that the site was also where many of the bodies of the Torso murders were found.
As some of you may have gathered from Tabulua Rasa’s previous comments he and I recently took a little road trip out to Cleveland to see what we could see. While it was not the most productive trip for me, photographically speaking, I’ve managed to cobble together an image here and there such as this chance discovery I made while we were driving around a very not abandoned neighborhood.
I’m always a little sad to see a door or window bricked over and in this case we have a still active building that, while not the prettiest industrial brick beast, still had a couple of flourishes and charms as well as the scars where details were removed.