Thursday, April 23, 2015

Hospital Hallways with Mold and Mire

On Saturday I was up before dawn and on my way with friends to explore an old abandoned hospital in PA. I had plenty of battery power, my tripod and also a respirator as we'd been forewarned about the presence of asbestos dust and black mold.
It was a pretty big complex, originally built in the late 1700's and used as an institution to care for the insane from poorer communities. Other buildings were added for additional inpatients and a hundred years later it became a working facility where those who were able-bodied could assist with farming, laundry or other similar tasks. More buildings were added again a few years later for the growing mentally ill patients.
A juvenile detention center was built close by in the 1970's but by the end of the 80's the whole establishment was closed down as patient numbers decreased. Since then the buildings have been abandoned and allowed to decline. There have been talks about 1000 homes being built here but the demolition of the site has yet to start.
Sporting my respirator. I did find it rather amusing walking along the dank corridors sounding like Darth Vader but the mask really impeded my photo taking so I kept taking it off. Even so there were quite a few areas where I was extremely grateful to be able to breathe safely. The mold was rife and much of the floors were covered in soggy rotting asbestos tiles.
Loved this photo!
An example of the black mold on some of the walls. Horrible black pustules hung in front of us threatening to explode in our faces. They clung to doors and door frames while condensation glistened on broken glass.
An old whisk hanging from a rusty mixer in the kitchen area.
Tables covered in broken asbestos tiles where once patients would sit and eat their meals.
A children's hospital bed. Someone had daubed black paint around the eyes making the elephant look as though he was weeping.
 But there was also beauty to be found in the decay. I loved the colored windows and views through shattered fragmented glass. Some of the glass panes had been painted by the children who had stayed there. I was amazed that the artwork had survived.
We came across a small group of scrappers in one of the buildings, hauling out their copper finds. We passed a few words then left them to their business as we carried on with ours.
There was much evidence of child patients still remaining, broken toys, wall paintings, a buggy and also the battered carcases of an old Wurlitzer organ, and a baby grand piano in an auditorium.
A bed sheet that I found hanging in a room, catching debris from a collapsing ceiling.
Finally the mold and grime got to everybody and we decided to call it a day, all of us now focused on a tall glass of clean crisp beer with rivulets of condensation running down the side. We had walked in the region of 6 miles throughout the course of our visit. It had been great to actually explore a new venue instead of the preplanned trips we'd had a lot of lately but I was glad we hadn't made our trip any later in the year. The molds had already got a good footing this spring and were busting out everywhere. This place will look like an alien landscape by the time summer is here and not somewhere I'd want to walk about unless I had a full mask and hazard suit on.
We finally got our beers and decided to pose against a nicely rusting urbex background.

No comments: