Many of the houses in this area were boarded up or about to fall down. Feral cats skulked along fences and guard dogs barked loudly, guarding I have no idea what.
Emily, Tim & I trekked to Baltimore on Saturday, and having not explored for a while, we were chomping at the bit. We decided to have lunch first, stopping at a fast food restaurant offering a tasty menu of chicken livers, gizzards and lake trout. I had the trout for the first and last time!
Our next stop was the Hebrew Orphan Asylum, dating back to 1873. In 1924 it became West Baltimore General Hospital, to be renamed Lutheran Hospital around 1950. It closed in 1989. And it was still very closed up as we skirted the perimeter. We saw no point of entry so had to make do with some external shots before walking around the neighborhood.
Some one had dropped their breakfast so it made for a colorful photo amongst the drab surroundings. We soon tired of these sad streets, so decided to go scouting. Clambering back into the car, we scoured the streets for a nice derelict building. Bingo! We came across a large industrial looking place which looked as though it had suffered fire damage at the rear.
We found an open door and walked into a strange warehouse.
It became apparent as we stepped on the floor that all the wooden boards were floating, and it was a little weird walking across the open space. Tim correctly determined that this was once a cold storage place and underneath us would once have been ice. We realized later that this was an ice making factory. The rectangular moulds to the right of the photo held the ice blocks.
We came to a spiral staircase and saw below the machinery which once powered this plant. The "Ice House" is the remaining structure of a large ice manufacturing plant constructed in 1911 by the American Ice Company. Designed by New York architecture firm Mortimer & Co. and built by Fidelity Construction Company from Baltimore, the plant complex was "one of the largest and most modern of its kind in the State" when built and marked the significant shift from the sale of natural to manufactured ice.
I loved this ammonia gauge, and this link explains why ammonia is used in refrigeration. There was an ammonia leak from the building in 2008 as workers were tearing down part of the building. There were also 2 major fires in 2001 and 2004.
Going up the spiral staircase took us to the roof and a floor with more machinery possibly for ventilation. I found this interesting link, which reports from 1909 and shows the machinery we saw here, eg, the horizontal compressor.
We left 'The Floating Palace' happy that we'd found somewhere new and exciting, and readily agreed that the next stop should be a bar to celebrate. We found a little dive bar, and entered to a strong smell of cleaning products. We sat on a stool and enquired about the draught beers of which there were none.We ordered a local beer, were given cans and asked if we needed glasses! It was also discovered that the bar didn't do food, so we decided to drink and go elsewhere. As we were about to leave, we stood, and disturbed a coachroach on the counter which the barman expertly squashed with my empty glass as it tried to scuttle away. Without batting an eyelid, he smiled and wished us a good evening and we left thankful that a menu had not been available. We may not have had a gastronomically delightful day, but at least our explorations had been successful!