I have bought the domain dcurbanexploration.com and will be putting all of my abandoned photography on that site from this point forward. (So you will no longer be seeing posts about my shoots at abandoned places here.) You will be able to access the new website from my celestejheery.com home page once the site is up and running.
On April 15, 2016, we went to Lansdowne, PA, to shoot the abandoned Lansdowne Theater. The Lansdowne Theater opened on June 1, 1927. While the theater was primarily a movie house, it did host live performances on its stage. Many people remember the famous Lansdowne Theater organ which originally accompanied silent movies and then was played nightly before shows and during special events. The organ was removed from the theater in the late 1970s. On July 3, 1987, during a showing of Beverly Hill Cops II, an electrical fire broke out in the basement of one of the building’s retail stores. The 100 patrons were safely evacuated from the theater, but significant damage had been done to the electrical system that serviced the auditorium. Raff and his partners continued to make repairs, but the project was never able to regain a financial footing.
In April, I got a chance to go to the infamous “Trolley Graveyard”. It’s exact location is a secret, but I can tell you that it is near Johnstown, PA. Most people get access through renowned abandoned photographer Matthew Christopher, but one of the people in my DC Urban Exploration Meetup had a connection. There are lots of abandoned subway cars, about a mile into the woods. Here are some of my favorite shots from the day:
Some shots in the town nearby:
We didn’t know what we were going to shoot when we signed up for the workshop to be held October 17, 2015. We were just told that the location was near Harrisburg, PA and that it was worth our while. It turned out to be an abandoned school. Since we had just shot an abandoned school this summer, we were a bit disappointed. The other location was more interesting. I did, however, get a few good shots:
Today we are going to PA to photograph an abandoned “mystery”/secret location. We won’t know what/exactly where it is until we get there. We saw one photo and know it’s a large location. The event is being held by a well-known abandoned photographer. He gets access to locations others don’t. I have his book and he is going to sign it for me.
I will post some photos in the next week.
On April 25, 2015, I got special access to an old abandoned blacksmith shop in Johnstown, PA. The earliest surviving building of the Cambria Iron Works, the Blacksmith Shop was erected circa 1864. The Blacksmith Shop produced a wide range of metal products throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. With the decline of the steel industry and the closing of Bethlehem Steel Corporation in 1992, the Blacksmith Shop has since been vacant.
Here are some of my favorite shots from the day:
This past Sunday, we ventured to the abandoned Rosewood Asylum in Owings Mills, MD. The Rosewood Asylum was an institution established in 1888 for people with developmental disabilities. At that time it was known as the Asylum and Training School for the Feeble-Minded. The state closed its doors in 2009 after a mountain of angry complaints involving understaffing, patient abuse, and neglect.
Like many overwhelmed psychiatric facilities built around the turn of the last century, Rosewood had been dogged by shameful accusations for a long time. Throughout its history, the institution continually suffered from over-crowding and a shortage of staff, often resulting in unsatisfactory patient conditions. Between the 1950s and 1970s, there were numerous reports of malpractice, neglect, and abuse. In 1981, the U.S. Justice Department declared that residents at Rosewood “failed to receive minimally adequate care.”
The most scandalous accusation — the one that sets Rosewood apart from other asylums—was made by Leo Kanner on May 13, 1937. Before a hushed gathering at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association in Pittsburgh, Kanner shared the shocking tale of “the Rosewood girls.” For more than 20 years, some of Baltimore’s wealthiest and most established families had been helping themselves to the institutionalized patients at Rosewood. They’d been “adopting” these mentally challenged girls and women only to turn them into their own private slaves under the guise of habeas corpus writs.
The main building was burned down in 2006, a victim of arson. In March 2009, one of Rosewood’s vacant buildings was destroyed by fire. The State of Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene closed Rosewood on June 30, 2009.
Here are some of my favorite shots:
September 8th we went to the abandoned Selma Plantation in Leesburg, VA. It was about an hour’s drive from home. At first we couldn’t get into the property because the road was blocked. But Jennie was smart and knew there was more than one access point, so we tried another route and were able to get to the property (but were trespassing, so we didn’t stay long). When we first saw the house, it was ominous-looking – there was an air of foreboding. Although we could have gone into the house (but getting in would have been a bit difficult), we decided to just shoot the exterior because the way getting in was unsafe.