The Very Loud Silence of an Abandoned Mall

Dead malls and the interest in them across the country has seen a rise over the recent years. Pretty soon I feel that the need for shopping malls will become extinct, as it almost has already…I wonder where that will leave Great Lakes mall…

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The feeling of wandering the corridors of a large abandoned mall are unmatched by many things, including the exploration of almost anywhere else.

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Not many explorations can give you such a great feeling of tranquility as you stroll the space, which used to be occupied by hundreds or thousands of America’s consumers, angst-ridden teenagers, jocks and cheerleaders. The vastness now sits in darkness, with only the skylights illuminating the interior, while the silence grips open space and fills the air with a very real sound of emptiness.

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It’s not very often that you can actually say a complete silence has such a great volume.

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The Randall Park Mall was one of the world’s largest enclosed shopping malls, built by the Edward J. DeBartolo Corp. of Youngstown, a major developer of shopping centers.

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Randall Park Mall opened in 1976 and closed in 2009. In 1995, there were 120 stores that employed 5,000 people. The mall began its decline in the early 2000s when J.C. Penney and Dillard’s left. By 2008, the mall was basically empty. The mall is currently being demolished and will be gone any day now. An industrial park will replace it.

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As the country sinks into this large strip of decaying holes, which form the rust belt, all we do is sit back and watch as these buildings are stripped to their skeletons and eventually demolished, making space for either vacant lots or something else that may take the same fall.

You can view the entire article and other photos by clicking the link below!

Thank you to Matt Stopera at BuzzFeed for featuring my photos!

http://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/completely-surreal-pictures-of-americas-abandoned-malls

I Have Finally Finished My Book and it is Available online!

Happy to say that the e-book version of my book is available here for tons of different devices! I’ve even included a lending feature where once bought you will be able to lend it to friend for 14 days! Print versions coming soon, but for any of you that enjoy reading on mobile devices or the computer, here you go!

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00J7ALXU0

I hope to very soon start printing the physical copies for those who would like to purchase one! I’m pretty excited to get them made and be able to actually hold them in my hands. A lot of work has went into this, and I can’t wait to share it as much as possible!

Fire In Garrettsville

So, a little unexpected turn for the day as most of the historical strip of Garrettsville, OH has turned to ash. Send good, positive thoughts to those who lost shops, and hope that everyone came out okay and uninjured.

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An Alternate Perception

Images of blighted, broken industry, through the decay and destruction of nearly post-apocalyptic scenes have become a much greater intriguing subject for the people of our world in current time, it seems. Flashback to the 1960s, or even the 70s when life was a bit more free, lacking technology and the constant grinding chatter of an online social networking presence. The general outlook on our future world was a wondrous one, filled with smoothly operating hover cars, tall chrome and glass buildings, complete with an incredibly perfect networking community nearly free of depression, or half of the issues we are facing today.

Fast-forward 30+ years later, and here we are stuck in a madhouse.

The average outlook on our future world has become one of a gray, crumbling city skyline. Our industry has fallen, the community is very loosely knit, and we left behind many structures we once found wonderful. Prices are up, jobs are down, and sometimes it feels like you can’t do anything without having your life synced to a gmail account.

All of the technology we had dreamt of having in the 60s and 70s has finally come to creation in reality, but at the same time it has broken us down as a community, causing just as many problems as it has created innovations. With new technology constantly building, many of these places around us are being forgotten, tossed aside as trash and left to rot under the elements. Fields of trees and open areas full of nothing but nature are being dug up, torn up, torn down, ripped to dirt for brand new shops, car dealerships, etc. while the old ones are left behind.

Everywhere we go, we see people with their faces buried in a phone instead of a book, reading conspiracy theories instead of truly informative information.

Our entire perception of our future has been altered to a vast, dark, grey world of destruction. Our drive towards this brand new futuristic society has become skewed, and left us blinded, forgetting about what has left been left behind, including both nature and architecture. Now that we have the technology we once dreamt of, we see that it is doing as much damage as it is doing good. I believe this may be why people have become much more interested in these images of decay, because somewhere in everyone’s mind we know this is what our future has come to, and it is such a drastic change.

People have become interested in what the reality of our future has really become, some nearly baffled that this is what our world has come to, and even more so surprised when they learn that most of these structured depicted in images sit nearly in their own backyard.

With the destruction of so much nature, we are left with less to look at, while at the same time making the great places harder to find. I love to document these hidden areas, showcasing the gifts that our world can give to us naturally. It shares such beauty with us, yet we continue to tear it down until we have so little left. Through my photography, I document the destruction we have created, and everything we have left behind. When nature reclaims its place, we realize how truly small we are in this world, and it can create such a beautiful scene.

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http://www.architecturalafterlife.com/

http://www.facebook.com/UrbanExplorationUS

http://www.facebook.com/JohnnyJooPhotography

http://www.youtube.com/UrbexUS

Twitter – @Urbexus

Instagram – @5krapbrain

Soundcloud – http://www.soundcloud.com/5krapbrain117

Bandcamp - http://5krapbrain.bandcamp.com

Sounds of Urban Exploration

This video presents a small intro of a project that I hope to grow further with every day. I will be converting the rust and destruction through images of abandonment and decay, to sounds through a spectrograph.

I hope everyone can enjoy this short intro video.

Comment any thoughts below, and if this sounds interesting to you, please share!

#SoundsofUrbanExploring

http://www.architecturalafterlife.com/

http://www.facebook.com/UrbanExplorationUS

http://www.facebook.com/JohnnyJooPhotography

http://www.youtube.com/UrbexUS

Twitter – @Urbexus

Instagram – @5krapbrain

One of the Strangest Abandoned Places I Have Been

Probably one of the strangest places I have been.

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This bowling alley sits vacant, nearly in the middle of nowhere. Climbing through a small entrance in back, I entered into what looked to be a fully functional bowling alley, MAYBE still in use.

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Nope.

I came to find that I was creating slight foot prints in dust, and cobwebs had wrapped around the base of some chairs. However, pins still remain partly set, as if everyone left during the middle of a session of games. A small layer of dust covered the floors, chairs and bar. A bowling ball even remained in the ball return round about.

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The place had such an eerie feel. Some windows had been cracked, and ceiling tiles began to fall.

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Ashtrays remain sat at the bar, while the counter collects dust.

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No heat left the entire place frigid, cracking the wood.

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Shoes sit, tucked into cubbies, untouched and unworn. Who knows how long they may have sat here?

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It’s as if nobody has set foot, or bowling shoe in here for quite some time.

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http://www.architecturalafterlife.com/

http://www.facebook.com/UrbanExplorationUS

http://www.facebook.com/JohnnyJooPhotography

http://www.youtube.com/UrbexUS

Twitter – Urbexus

Instagram – @5krapbrain

Prismatic

Prismatic

A video I have been working on, on and off for some time now these past months. It is a project revisited and re-done, from something I had made previously.

Most all of it was filmed with my Samsung Galaxy S3, while just a couple of clips here and there were filmed with my GoPro Hero 3 and an old Vivitar camcorder from like…2008?

Anyway, here it is! I hope you enjoy it!

<iframe width=”640″ height=”360″ src=”//www.youtube.com/embed/1ZWSrCti7JA?list=UUlmWYgxqUlY71WGBRUh-OyQ” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

Music – Ludovico Einaudi – Nuvole Bianche

Video/Edit – Johnny Joo

http://www.facebook.com/JohnnyJooPhotography

http://www.facebook.com/UrbanExplorationUS

http://www.architecturalafterlife.com/

Twitter:

@UrbexUS
@5krapbrain

Instagram:

@5krapbrain

 

 

If The World Were Taken Over by Cats

Sometimes, while driving home I have some ridiculous thoughts.

Recently that thought was just this:

“What if cats were to begin an apocalypse?”

I feel as though this may be what it would be like. No, I don’t think cats will have laser eyes, or anything like that…I just believe there MIGHT be some giant cats floating through space, piloting ships shaped like cats, and one day they may descend to Earth, and…well…

This is where it will leave us.

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Cleveland’s Falling Industry

December 23, 1814 marks the date that Cleveland would receive its charter as a village under the name of Cleaveland, named after U.S. General Moses Cleaveland.

By 1820, the village population had grown to 606 people, while Cuyahoga county in its entirety held 6,328.

Some years later, on January 6, 1831 The Cleveland Advertiser changed the name of the village, dropping the first “a” in order to fit the generals name upon the newspaper’s masthead. It was not long after this, that Cleveland would come to creation as its own official city in the year 1836.

By 1850, Cleveland saw a significant rise in population, bringing in numerous jobs, a strong workforce and wonderful living place to its 17,034 residents. As the city continued establishing larger businesses, such as Sherwin Williams in 1866, the rise of the steel industry in 1868, and the Standard Oil Company established by John D. Rockefeller in the year 1870, population grew with it reaching 92,829 and was noted as the 15th largest city in the nation.

The year 1890 rolled through, along with the first electric streetcar shortly before in 1888. Cleveland’s population was now 261,353 and ranked as 10th largest city in the nation.

During the early 1920’s the economy was booming with business in both the textile and steel industry. Stocks were high, dramatically increasing in value topping the 100-point mark in industrial stocks. Clevelanders, as well as many others in the U.S. began to buy in. By this time, in the 1920’s Cleveland was now ranked 5th largest with a population of 796,841. Life was good, and the city was booming, until the great stock market crash of 1929.

Among the cities vast collection of factories was Westinghouse Electric, founded by George Westinghouse, established in 1886 and finally reaching Cleveland in 1894 as a result of a patent-infringement lawsuit against the Cleveland-based Walker Mfg. Co. Westinghouse would come to have many notable engineers working for his company including William Stanley, Nikola Tesla, Vladimir Zworykin, Oliver B. Shallenberger, Benjamin Garver Lamme and his sister Bertha Lamme. The Westinghouse company rivaled General Electric, founded by George’s arch-rival, Thomas Edison.

Westinghouse pioneered long-distance power transmission and high-voltage alternating-current transmission, unveiling the technology for lighting in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.

Many years and many creations later, the Cleveland Westinghouse facilities began closing their doors during the post-World War II period. The corporation expanded its sales and service activities, operation branches of sales and engineering, elevator, and repair divisions, as well as sales offices. By the mid-1970s most all Cleveland manufacturing locations had been closed, and anything remaining was continued through the Rockside Road location into the 1980s.

During the 1980s, the Reagan-era defense build-up brought Westinghouse lucrative government contracts as remaining factories geared toward the production of torpedoes. By 1993 this was brought to a halt, when defense cuts began affecting the company, and they were forced to lay off 150 workers from the Cleveland division. In 1994 the Eaton Corp. bought Westinghouse for $1.6 billion, who then began converting the research and development facilities, as well as the manufacturing plant, into commercially oriented enterprises.

Another notable location displaying part of Cleveland’s fallen industry is the Joseph & Feiss Cloth craft building on Cleveland’s west side. This company was a very important piece to Cleveland’s garment industry, coming from Meadville, PA in 1845 originally as Koch & Loeb, setting up a wholesale clothing store at 82 Superior St. This firm, which was run by Kaufman Koch, provided a general like of men’s and boys clothing as well as piece goods to tailors. After changing partners several times, the Koch & Loeb name would transition to the Joseph & Feiss Co. in 1907. During the 1920s, Moritz Joseph and Julius Feiss opened a new factory location, under the brand name “Clothcraft,” heavily advertising their $15 blue serge suit serving as the “Model T” of the clothing industry, providing steady business for the company until 1925.

In 1966, Joseph & Feiss merged with Phillips-Van Heusen Corp. but remained under the same original name through operations in Cleveland, where the production and sales of tailored men’s apparel continued, only under the Cricketeer and Country Britches label. Women’s clothes were added to the line in 1980, and shortly after in 1989 Hugo Boss AG, a West German clothing and accessory firm acquired Joseph & Feiss.

By 1995 the company employed 800 people in the Cleveland area. The following year, production of the Cricketeer and Country Britches label was put to an end due to a growing acceptance of casual clothing among Americans, as well as harsh competition from lower-priced imports; this lead to the lay off of over 200 workers. In 1997, Joseph & Feiss, along with nearly 450 employees moved any remaining manufacturing operations to a distribution center on Tiedman Road in Brooklyn. The company still continues production of suits, sport coats, and slacks for the Hugo Boss brand. The previous factory remains vacant and scarred by decay as it crumbles towards the ground, undergoing constant bombardment from scrappers, snow and rain.

The insides of this factory are covered with some beautiful work from various graffiti artists throughout the Cleveland area, and even some from out of state.

Brownsville General Hospital and Horner Nurses’ Home

Welcome to the quaint little town of Brownsville, Pennsylvania. This forgotten town residing in the rust belt is home to about 2,314 residents, and since the year 1983, seems to continue moving further and further downhill.

Brownsville had experienced a population drop between the years 1990 and 2012, falling from a population of 3,182 in the early 90’s.

Just as any other rust belt town, Brownsville underwent serious debt and financial issues, causing the final days of many local shops, as well as a bank, hotel, apartments, train depot, and railways which used to provide transportation of goods from boats, among many other now vacant locations.

Today, we are going to visit the history of the Brownsville General Hospital, accompanied by the Horner Memorial Nurses’ Home, both of which sit empty today, other than falling rust and decay, which now inhabit the interiors scattered across beds and floors; at least where there is one left.

Hundreds upon hundreds of patients resided through this large structure over the years, fighting illness and disease, broken bones, and more.

I bet you must be asking ‘where did the patients go before the hospital was built?’

Well, in the early days before there were many hospitals all around, especially in a town like Brownsville, patients would see a local doctor in a very small clinic, while others with harsher symptoms were required to travel by rail or boat to either McKeesport or Fairmont, which are nearly an hour drive on today’s roads. Knowing this, I believe we may be just a little bit better off when we are sick.

It was not until the year 1908 when Reverend E.M. Bowman, along with some local citizens and medical professionals had made a proposal for the construction of a local hospital.

In 1908 the charter was issued for this structure, and construction took way. This charter stated, “The hospital is to care for those injured in accidents in the coal mines, coke ovens, railroads, and other industrial enterprises, regardless of race, sect or creed.” In 1914, though the construction was not yet final, the hospital opened its doors to patients.

Multiple fund-raisers were held to raise money in support for construction of the hospital, the first bringing in $10,000. A second fund-raising campaign provided the town with numerous government appropriations along with $32,000. Due to a large need for a medical center, a contract was awarded to the Chaerleroi Lumber Company, stating that construction of the hospital may continue as long as that money remained in the bank account.

Finally completing its construction in 1916, the hospital had already admitted patients for two years prior.

In 1923, a man by the name of Joseph Horner, partner in the Horner Coal Company, had donated over $100,000 in funding towards the hospitals operations. Come 1926, Joseph Horner passed, granting a large sum of money to the hospital; this lead to the construction of a larger nurses’ home beginning in September of the year 1928, directly across the street.

Hundreds of illnesses, deaths, and cures of fathers, mothers, children, aunts, uncles, grandparents went on inside these walls. Countless births of children, who would come to grow up in the state of Pennsylvania. Though the town has always been fairly quaint, and quiet, this structure stood healthily serving patients from 1914 until a final closure in 1965, when the hospital had said its final goodbye, closing its doors, while still using part of the property in the nurses’ corridors for obstetrics. The nurses’ corridors remained, along with the obstetrical department, while the rest was converted to the Golden Age Nursing home around the same year.

On August 31, 1976 it had been announced that the hospital would be closing the obstetrical department by the end of the year. The nursing home continued operations for the next 9 years, until finally shutting down in 1985, leaving the entire complex vacant.

So what were the people on 65 supposed to do without a hospital?

On June 5, 1965 an entirely new Brownsville General Hospital was constructed on Simpson Road. During this same year the old property had been purchased by Frank Bock, who had renovated the Horner building into the Golden Age Nursing Home mentioned earlier.

By this time however, Brownsville was in economic troubles, as well as experiencing a population decline due to the collapse of the steel industry and a substantial number of layoffs in nearby coal mines. Due to these situations at hand, it was rumored as early as 1976 amongst people that the hospital was already in danger of closing.

In 1977, as little as 42 beds remained occupied, leaving the other 79 open, while employees were recalled in winter months due to an increase of patients. This however, was quickly followed by more layoffs occurring in 1978.

January 8, 2006 citizens and employees watched as the second Brownsville General Hospital was closed due to financial issues, as well as labor disputes. This left 260 employees out of work until October of 2007, when a non-profit board obtained the hospital due to bureaucracy. The hospital was reopened on May 22, 2008 under the name Brownsville Tri-County Hospital, but had closed once again on Februrary 12, 2009 once again due to financial issues, with $1.2 million in assets and liabilities of over $14.3 million. Fifteen patients remained housed in rooms within the hospital, and were transferred to other facilities.

1985; the year that the town said farewell as the original Brownsville General Hospital and Horner Memorial Nurses’ Home were vacated and entirely abandoned, left victim to the elements. The hospital now sits in ruins, missing floors, entire rooms and hallways, while beds and IV bags remain as if people had just got up, simply walked out and never looked back.

 

We traversed the hallways of this time capsule full of destruction, scouting various objects, patient records, and whether or not there was going to be a floor in the next place we stepped. Zig-zagging our way between hanging electrical pipe, avoiding pitfalls and questionable debris, we finally reached the stairs. The stairs brought us to the second level, where we were face to face with a community room. The community room was where ill patients would be housed in beds, separated by curtains and tended to by the nurses on a daily basis. Many people, especially back in the times of this hospital, would eventually take their last breath in these beds due to being as sick or old as they were.

From end to end I.V. bags remain scattered, amongst documents and surgical tubing. Moss has begun to grow atop the plastic coating of patient beds, as well as coating floors, while sun glows brightly through the windows, casting warmth and new life into the hospitals rooms.

 

Our experience adventuring through these buildings was one that brought back the familiar feel of seeing that first big location, the first time you are immersed in the world of exploration. It’s difficult to say that about many locations, as they are far and few between, but this one had a certain spectacular glow to it, with such an untouched feeling it was incredible.

The sun paints many rooms throughout this hospital with the light of a brand new day, bringing a radiant glow to a place of such heavy destruction. Colorful curtain dividers remain hung, torn at their sides and bottoms, swaying in the breeze as it sweeps through open and broken windows. As you walk, you can begin to picture the life that once went on here. The flutter of 1920’s nurse uniforms as they rushed ill patients through the halls to designated rooms, the birth of a child in one room, and death of a grandparent in the next. Children and family members occupy the bedside of a sick grandmother, while doctors enjoy a breakfast, lunch or dinner in the basement cafeteria.

Time seems to have just stopped, while everything was left behind nearly untouched to this day, remaining in the same position since the final nurse walked from the bedside of the hospitals very last patient.