There are a lot of abandoned buildings in Baltimore and a trip I'd missed with the group was to an old clothing factory. It seemed a shame to just head home after the museum visit so I embarked on my first solo urban exploration. I was a little nervous but the thought of missing out soon erased my fears.
The building is due for auction any day now and the council has been pushing for the place to be cleared up.
This trash bin gave the first clue as to the building's previous use. Because this trip was not on my agenda I didn't have any of my equipment with me and as I entered the building, it was pitch black, and I had to stop and think about my next move. Not having a flashlight, I used my camera flash to negotiate my way around the first floor. It must have been the office section as it was a maze of tiny empty rooms. I found my way down to the basement but that was also empty and very damp. I headed to the stairs, and climbed up in the dark hoping I'd not come too late and the building would already be empty.
I came out on the third floor and discovered the first of the two factory floors. The flooring must have once been beautiful but was now rotting and lifting in places with the damp.
The clock in station was intact with the clock stopped at 1:59. This factory once produced tailored high end mens' clothing from the 70's and closed around 1985.
There were dozens of sewing machines on tables pushed together and work benches stacked up.
I was amazed to see customer records still intact and this one was a rush order showing the detail that went into the gentleman's outfit.
I found this old pamphlet on the floor, incredible that it had survived.
There were many kinds of sewing machines, each for a different purpose, and this was a button hole machine. A repair shop was at one end of the factory with machines on shelves either repaired or waiting for repair, and rows of drawers containing spare parts.
I came across a fabulous selection of buttons still in their boxes waiting to be used.
It was sad to see these bolts of fabric slowly perishing, most seemed to be good quality materials.
Around the factory, I saw many relics from the trade and more buttons for jackets.
There were different presses on the floor and old irons. I couldn't work out what this press was for but maybe for pressing lapels or collars? Out the back was also a huge Cleaver Brooks boiler for washing the fabrics.
The most astounding sight of all was these coats and jackets, rows and rows of them all over the factory. There were beautifully made and hanging waiting to be worn. From corduroy sports jackets to tailored raincoats to heavy silk-lined winter coats, they just hung in the gloom slowly being eaten away by the damp.
Maybe some can be rescued and distributed to shelters once the building is cleaned out in the near future. I finished with a quick look around on the roof then headed to the exit.
Walking to my car, I snapped this shot of a group of friends sitting in chairs in the middle of an open space surrounded by row house many of which were derelict.
A little further on, I grabbed this shot from my car, and then had to turn my camera off, otherwise I'd be editing photos for the rest of the week! What a satisfying day!
Another self portrait
2 weeks ago