Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Veterans Medical Center, MD

A small group of us went to a Maryland hospital in the hope of meeting the guard who maintains it and asking him for a tour. We found the place empty so strolled right in. The place is enormous and we focused on the main hospital area used during WWII.
These were Army officer’s homes in the early 1900s, when the place was an Army fort. There are other old, unused World War One Era Army buildings there in various states of decay. There are 37 historic buildings on the VA portion of the site, built between 1898 and 1943.
This old lighthouse just off land had a door open. Very tempting if the water hadn't been so cold.
We entered the main hospital building and found a large computer room downstairs in the basement complete with computers still turned on which was a little unnerving. I found this handbook; who can remember MS-DOS?
Much of the medical and lab equipment was still in place along with rehab areas for the war vets. This interesting article is from a vet who once stayed here.
  We also found the pathology lab with equipment intact. The only people who seemed to have been here other than fellow explorers were the scrappers. Apart from their mess, and natural decay, there had been little vandalism.
I enjoyed playing around with this mirror on the ceiling and my camera. The place was deathly quiet and we took care not to disturb the silence.
Much of the building is still intact but the natural elements are starting to take a hold and there were areas with capsized corridors and leaking roofs. 
 What is an abandonment without a chalkboard? Of course, we signed it.
This huge bath and spa was used for rehabilition. 
Many local veterans had hoped to see this area conserved and reused as a retirement area for them. Walter Pasciak, 84, was so eager to move to a proposed $180 million waterfront retirement community for veterans in eastern Baltimore County that he paid $5,000 to be given "priority consideration" on the waiting list. "The location is great, and all the facilities would have been there," said Pasciak, a World War II veteran. Now he doesn't know whether he'll see the money again. In August 2009, the Department of Veterans Affairs terminated its contract with Federal Development LLC, a Washington-based company that had been selected to redevelop Fort Howard Hospital and other buildings at the one-time Army base on the North Point peninsula. 
There is a 'Bayside' sign at the entrance and I found this site on line, but there is no evidence of building work starting. We shall return to check out the other buildings before they may be razed to the ground.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Exploring Locally

Today, Jeff, Barb and I checked out an old building here in Centreville. Having driven past it for about 2 years, I knew it was abandoned and had been reading a thread on line which is hilarious. It had once been a film developing and storage company and before that The Broadmoor Motel. I had always been curious about what was left of the place and wanted to scope it out.  We had to cross snow that was still over a foot deep  which made traversing the field a great workout.
The old motel sign is still on top of the building.
 Peering through the windows, we could see old computers and film processing machines. We weren't able to access any of the buildings so contented ourselves with just looking through the glass and walking around.
Around the back of the building were some old trailers which were used as storage. One was wide open with boxes of film stacked inside.
This looked like it was a cutting/editing room.
I got a couple of interesting shots using this mirror and a completely unaware Barb. We completed our investigations and racked this one up to be the shortest exploration ever. I was satisfied though that I'd checked the place out and could now drive by without wondering every time what was back there.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Exploring with my Boyfriend?

On Saturday, I met up with Emily and Mukul and introduced them to my new man, Steve. I've known Steve as a neighbor for a while, but we met in the pub on Superbowl night, and have been in sync ever since. He was intrigued to experience himself my favorite hobby, and I was delighted to have him along.
Since the snow had thwarted any outdoor explorations, we headed for a previous haunt in Baltimore, the brewery. Access was denied to us for a while as we skirted the building looking for a way in. Eventually, the boys hauled themselves up a wall and, lo and behold, discovered a ladder inside, which Emily and I used to make a more graceful entrance.
I used a long exposure and a gel flashlight for this. Steve was a superstar lighting the way as I fiddled with my camera in the near blackness.
We saw these light bulbs and he mentioned about them looking like the eggs in the movie, 'Aliens', so I hunted for a critter on the internet and came up with this fantasy image.
This was the dreaded room in which Emily and I were trapped on our last visit. I've drawn the path we took that finally led us out on to the roof and to freedom. Nobody wanted to cross the floor this time and we had the door held open with a large brick to ensure egress.
This room was very dark and we managed to spook ourselves by thinking we heard footsteps and voices. After skulking around quietly for an eternity and taking photos, someone made a loud noise and either scared off the other visitors or quelled our imaginations as we heard no more sounds after that.
I think Mukul made these footprints in the snow as he had gone before the rest of us, but I loved the way they 'walked' with the stray cat prints.
 This was a hallway with large stainless steel fermentation tanks on either side which were still spotlessly clean. Mukul climbed inside one of them while me and Emily contented ourselves with some more gel shots.
A large part of the brewery was now inaccessible due to padlocks so after about 3 hours we left in search of food and beer.
We passed this cool retro sign in Camden and then warmed up in the pub with hot food while checking our photos. I was really impressed that Steve had stuck with us and enjoyed the trip. He is keen to explore further and even develop his photographic talent which he had already cultivated on this trip. How awesome to have my guy into urbexing! Roll on next adventure!

Friday, February 12, 2010


We have officially had more snow in our area than recorded in written history, about 3ft in our community, and I have to say, even as a sincere snow lover, even I'm starting to tire of it now. I'm fed up of wearing flat safe boots all the time, I want to wear my heels and lighter clothing. The trees out the front were filled with robins. They should have been round the back where I'd put out food.
Last Saturday, I resignedly went out to try and dig up Stuart about lunchtime. It was really hard work and I was more than pleased when Jeff turned up so I had someone to chat to. After a while, more friends and neighbors emerged from their cozy condos to salvage their vehicles and the atmosphere lightened to party mode.
Jeff, leann and the woofer getting stuck in to try and unearth another vehicle.
Jackie and Stuart. Jackie and Paulie had already dug out their cars earlier in the days, so decided they would encourage our efforts and support us by bringing out their chairs and beers. Paulie even had the audacity to complain about carbon monoxide poisoning from Jeff's car. I joined them once I'd been digging for a couple of hours and together we egged the others on with their shoveling.
 I'm not sure whether this shovelful of snow was intended for me, but it made a superb photo as it flashed past!
I couldn't believe this complete and utter plonker using a hose and hot water to clear his vehicle. Not really bothered about the run off icing up on the neighbors down the hill then?
Jeff and I drove out afterwards to try and catch some images before the sun went down. It was starting to get cold so we didn't want to be out for long. We were standing on the side of the road when this fleet of snow ploughs went by.
This was getting a little close for comfort, but was fun! Jeff doesn't look too perturbed farther down the road.
I couldn't believe that some of these gooses were actually sleeping with their feet in the water.
It was worth the cold to capture this pretty scene by the side of the road. 
We snapped a few more shots and then had to head back to the warmth of the car. We hadn't even been out for an hour and our feet were freezing and hurting. I love the snow, but I'm very much looking forward to seeing some spring flowers soon!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Artisan is Moving!

My friend Debbie was moving her hair salon last Sunday so needed all hands on deck. There were trucks and helpers a plenty and she was pretty organized so it was a smooth transition.
The empty salon with just a few things left to move and some items left behind that had been sold and were awaiting pickup.
Debbie messing around and having a last rinse at the old sinks. 
Poor Jim and Ed humping the washer dryer down the stairs. Sometimes I'm so glad that I'm a girl and don't have to do these jobs!
Kim having a rest outside the new place against the fridge, another item for boys only to carry! 
The floor in the new salon being grouted. Jason was doing this on his own until Debbie started washing the grout off despite his protests that she would ruin his work. Kim and I looked at them and looked at the floor, then shrugged off our jackets to muck in. The water in the buckets was almost icy and it was a filthy job, but the floor looked marvelous once we were done. Completely ruined my nails though...
Debbie having a ride with some salon chairs as the truck heads to the new building.
 One last photo in the old salon. I don't know if Debbie felt sad to leave the place, she didn't show it, but personally I'm looking forward to seeing the new salon finished as it's much more up to date, on the ground floor and in a nicer neighborhood. I'll post more photos on completion.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

And Yet More Snow!

Snow was forecast again yesterday and right on cue it started falling softly in the evening and got heavier as the night progressed. I woke up to a winter wonderland and a very disgruntled Kota who realized that yet again, he was going to be grounded.
On the way to work, I took the long way round and stopped to snatch a few shots before the best had disappeared. It was warm out and the snow was rapidly dropping from the branches and power lines.
I had to pass by many wonderful opportunities as there were few places to park safely and the roads were busy. We got about five inches but had more in Centreville than in Chantilly where I work. We have about two feet to expect over the weekend. Yay! 
This was my favorite photo of the day. I loved the irony of the last line on the poster and his artillery in the background.