Friday, April 18, 2014

Mega Church & Mansion Urbexing

On Sunday I meet with friends to explore a couple of places, the first being a mega church in Baltimore. Emily and I had first discovered this place 3 or 4 years ago but after gaining access to the back of the house, we saw alarms had been set up, and not being sure if they were linked to a police station we left.
Today the church part of the building was open so we strolled in. Vandals had obviously spent some time here along with scrappers. Parts of the ceiling were hanging down, pews were ripped up and walls had gaping holes smashed in them.
There were a lot of these fans scattered on the floor and I could imagine the great atmosphere and loud singing that had once rang around this huge room.
A corridor led directly to the house and a metal shutter could be brought down in front of a pair of French doors leading directly into a living room where huge mirrors on the walls had been smashed. We had barely set up our tripods when we heard a door slam upstairs. We had company but we weren't sure whether they were friendly or not. We stood stock still and heard footsteps with more door slamming. We decided to quickly take some photos but not go upstairs.
We crept through the rooms, silently setting up our shots but the guy upstairs continued his racket undaunted. I was getting a little frazzled by this, and stuck close to the others. An old piano kept us occupied for a while and then we decided to leave.
Emily and I peeked up the staircase, Emily noting the great light. I quickly positioned my tripod and as soon as I pressed the shutter a huge crash thundered from immediately above us. I leaped out of my skin and we fled. We had also heard an engine noise from out the front and so crept around to our exit. Outside was a police car. Obviously our friend upstairs had created such a din that the neighbors must have put in a call.
We ended up waiting around for an hour and someone had the great idea of sliding down the pole above. That wasn't happening. I was concerned about the angle of the pole and it possible pulling away from the wall and also we didn't have gloves to control our down speed and stop the metal burning our palms. Eventually we decided to just stroll out as though we'd never spotted the patrol car. There were 2 officers inside studying a monitor and we didn't see them look up. so we strolled nonchalantly past looking the other way, assuming that if we couldn't see them then they couldn't see us. Besides there were no signs forbidding trespassing, so we sauntered towards our car without looking back. Either the cops never looked or we must have looked like a sad bunch because we weren't stopped.
We then took a drive over to a mansion I'd visited a few weeks ago. Thankfully it wasn't freezing cold like before and I was glad to return. I still won't divulge the house's location but it seemed already others had started pulling the place apart.
My main objective on this trip was to document the glass. I'll get around to putting the photos onto Flickr so they can be publicly accessed. I've been paranoid about the glass being smashed and the beautiful windows never having been photographed.
These were 4 windows in one room, representing the 4 seasons.
I missed these 2 in the hallway last time too. I'd been having doubts since my last visit as to whether the windows really were stained glass or transfers. I inspected them closely, these were stained glass with hand painted panels. I hope to God someone saves these before some ingnorant degenerate lobs a rock through them. The thought makes me shudder.
I took some more photos of the wood panels too and discovered that more elephant drawings had been added to the walls, so I shot those also.
Another trip up to the roof, and I noticed that the hearing test equipment had been taken. Fair enough, as long as it's appreciated. But someone had been in and pulled ceiling panels around and strewing the other contents about the floor.
We pottered around the grounds, looking in outbuildings I hadn't noted on my last visit.
On leaving the mansion I felt a little relieved that I had photos of all the glass and wood panels from inside the 100 year old building but was still a little restless wondering about the mansion's future. It's not beyond restoring and is still structurally sound. I hope it can be saved...
Our crazy day was rounded off with our customary beers. We found a cool little dive bar which although it didn't have food, it had fine beer and a magnificent ceiling covered with prominent album covers. A fun day with my mission accomplished with cool friends and a situation dealt with that showed our dependable team spirit. An excellent reason to toast with another beer!

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