On Saturday, a small group of us went to Maryland to see a reform school which had closed down in 2005, having served as either a detention center or as a committed facility. It was situated in beautiful countryside and we bumped into this little chap as we walked up the track. He ignored my gift of a juicy raspberry and refused to pose for a portrait.
The raspberries were in abundance. I had never seen raspberries growing wild before and we paused for a while to gorge on the plentiful fruit. A delicious few minutes were spent munching the best raspberries I had ever tasted.
We reached the top of the hill to see the main building and were instantly unnerved to see landscape workers driving around and to hear air conditioning units humming from windows in the buildings. Was this place abandoned? The workers looked at us but didn't stop their vehicles so we continued skirting the buildings.
We managed to get inside this church as the door was unlocked but were worried again when we found that the upper floors looked as though they were still being used. We hurriedly left and walked over to some other buildings that looked more neglected. Again, the doors were open and as we crept into the cool entrance hall, we breathed sighs of relief as we looked around rooms that had not been occupied for some time.
Some of the buildings have been unused since 1999 yet despite the decay, it seemed that few people have found this place as we saw no graffiti anywhere.
Personal possessions had been left by bedsides including trinkets and clothing.
I wonder if this youth reached his yearly goal. There were photos scattered in some rooms and paperwork left on desk tops and floors.
These were probably regulation sandals worn by the detainees but we saw plenty of other shoes as well.
Some of the rooms had these metal bunks in and one locked room had 3 of these bunk bed frames pushed up against the walls.
This paper dated 1999 was probably scoured for jobs that would be applied for.
Notice boards and photo collages were still up on walls but I've blurred the names of the counsellors.
We quietly went through a couple of the buildings taking photos yet disturbing nothing but we were nervous at being here with people still driving around the site. We saw some vans parked up along with work trucks and a few private cars, so rather than trying to push our luck too far, we decided to leave, content that we had explored a relatively fresh site that hadn't been discovered yet by vandals and scrappers. But we did find time to stop at the raspberry bushes again.