The Pullman Yards
The sun had already gone long before our arrival in Atlanta, leaving us with the task of finding a hotel room quickly and on the cheap. With the expert budget searching (okay, he actually did an awesome job) of a friend, we were able to find a great hotel not far from downtown, and at only $45 a night! This seemed like perfection. Considering this would be split between both of us, we were ready to make our way there and settle in for the night. As we pull into the parking lot, enter stage (or balcony) right; a young prostitute emerges from her pimp’s hotel room door. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for being adventurous, and hell I even rummage through old abandoned factories in the hood, but I wasn’t about to pay a $200 hooker fee and receive a bullet to the leg while sleeping in the room next door. While debating whether or not to leave and find somewhere else, I looped back into the parking lot, and I’m pretty damn sure that hooker was headed straight for my car in hopes of a job. In conclusion, we settled on a Red Roof Inn for an extra 30 a piece.
Waking up the next morning, we were headed straight out to begin our adventure of the South and South East abandonments. Adjacent to a small neighborhood in Atlanta, Georgia, we find ourselves standing directly in the middle of a large plot amidst the great industrial decay of a once booming operation known as the Pullman Train Yards. The history of these 25 acre yards is a full and rich one, dating all the way back to its birth in the year 1904 originally as Pratt Engineering. In the beginning stages of life, this space acted as a manufacturing plant for electric motors, not long before being converted to providing as a munitions factory during World War I. In 1922, the Pullman rail company decided they wanted to convert the site to a repair station for their rail cars. Not long after, come 1969, the company went bankrupt and was forced into passing possession onto the state. Since this change of hands, the only activity the yards have seen is a short-lived tourist train during the 1990’s; otherwise the space has been widely vacant.
It’s a strange thought, knowing that a company, which once served the entire Southeast has since become nothing more than a vacant shell, inviting nature to take root on grounds that at one point would be filled with the shuffling sound of the daily grind and hustle and bustle of many workers through industrial rooms. Some former machinery remains, practically covered by a canopy of green between two nearly empty rooms. I say nearly empty because that, which surround this otherwise desolate area, are nothing more than lush walls of heavy forest reaching in through crusted iron-framed windows, protruding the empty air and casting a warm green glow across the cracking concrete floor.
For a small amount of time, a line called the New Georgia Railroad ran a supper train ride out to Stone Mountain. Though the supper train ran shortly during the mid 1990s, most rest of the area had already been left untouched and forgotten for some years. Down South, the way greenery reclaims human construction is far different than here up North, near Cleveland. I enjoy seeing the shifts in scenery, with a lot of these abandonments displaying vines among other hanging plants, usually reaching from iron beams or even straight off of or through the ceiling, dangling toward the ground.
These alternate views of scenery are caused by the weather being much warmer, and with the weather becoming much warmer, being human we dehydrate much quicker. While standing in the middle of a large factory room, small beads of sweat dripped along the side of my face, some running to my eyes, causing that all too familiar the feel of a dirty stinging. I’m quite sure that not everybody knows exactly what I am talking about, but that is the only way I can figure to describe such a feeling. Dehydration had begun to set in. I was hungry, thirsty, and my bottle of once cold tea had already warmed in the hot sun and humidity. Perhaps a better decision would be to carry water, but when you wake up from a greasy sleep, ready to explore the moment you exit your hotel room, you don’t think everything through the way you truly should. Kind of like putting the root beer in first, followed by ice cream in your root beer float. Sometimes you want something to the point that you don’t think of how to properly prepare. Not that I just did that or anything.
Packing up, we were then onto our next location, a high school left behind for many years, falling to nothing but dust in the sultry Georgia heat…