Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Exploring in DC

On Saturday I met up with DCUE to go into an abandoned hospital in DC. Some of us had been here before on an outside tour but this time we were here to see inside. Being a Kilbride building we were very excited to take part in a tour that hadn't been offered before. Our guide had requested that we complete waiver forms, wear hard hats, safety vests and glasses and also not advertise the tour so I'm not revealing the hospital's name but regular readers will know that I'd written about this place previously.
But alas and alack, it seemed history was repeating itself. As soon as the guide mentioned that we were going into a building next to the parking lot, several faces immediately dropped and groans were stifled as us return visitors realized that we wouldn't be going into the Kirkbride building that held such beautiful architectural treasures. We were led to a relatively new building and told we had roughly an hour to check it out. That took 5 minutes. So then it became a challenge to try and shoot some photos that would hopefully be interesting.
That was pretty hard and there were no stragglers when we met outside the building an hour later as our guide had requested.
We had a group photo which I had to laugh at when I saw it. Emily and I are at the back looking really tiny, as though we'd been Beetlejuiced! Our guide then allowed us to walk over to the Forbidden Kilbride Building which is starting to be renovated. Some shutters had been removed revealing beautiful windows, even the main doorway was open and a few of us positively drooled as we wistfully peered through the openings.
We greedily grabbed shots through doorways and windows, desperately wishing we could step inside, but knowing full well that we'd never get access to this building again while it still showed glimpses of its past. I just hope the internal architecture will be saved but we knew many of the metal grates, brass doorknobs and stair rails would be removed and the building's personality would be changed. We sadly turned our backs as we trundled towards our cars. If only this was an area where we could've gained access without 'permission'. Emily summed it up in one sentence, "Legality has its limits."
But the tour had sort of been worth while if even just to savor the lingering atmosphere of the old hospital and we all cheered up once someone uttered the word, 'Beer!' So we drove to a nearby grill where we had lunch and wondered where we could go to next.
Across the road from the restaurant was The Big Chair, the largest chair in the world, link here for info.  Then we went back to Emily's house to collect cars and try Huguette's Pietra beer, a tasty brew from Corsica, while we waited for others to arrive. Once assembled we traveled in convoy down to Arlington where we came across an old abandoned motel. There are plans to knock this down so Boeing can build offices here. We set up our tripods and started clicking, even attracting the attention of some locals who also came over to explore.
We took a few photos here but unfortunately attracted the attention of a couple of police cruisers who although they admitted to us that they were unauthorized to tell us to move on, we chose not to provoke them and decided to call it a day. Daylight was fading and the air was cooling and as we said our farewells, I realized that it had actually been a great day. We'd got some OK photos but more importantly had had a fun time with great friends. Can't beat that!

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