Thursday, April 6, 2017

The Wagon stopped Rollin'

Early Saturday morning our little urbexing group met early to explore a new abandonment. Someone in DCUE had discovered it, posted photos on Facebook but hadn't divulged its location upon requests. Another person posted an old image on his post of their memory and it was game over, location uncloaked, with a little detective work.
It was a restaurant that had put on theatrical performances, closing late 2013. The reviews had been mixed, some lamenting its closure and reminiscing over old memories, wishing they could return, while others showed no surprise at its final curtain call, complaining loudly at the horrendous food, stale and dreary atmosphere and a decor that hadn't changed since its opening.  We weren't concerned about any of that, just excited that a new place to explore had been discovered.
I loved the statues by the entrance, some missing heads, or damaged from cold temperatures but a few were intact, covered in green damp algae, some also featured by the small pond that had once been part of a pretty covered patio lit with small lights. Now, the water was still, almost ominous with its black imperceivable depth, dark shadows thrown into all the corners. The bright sunshine outside managed to squeeze through a few roof openings and past the small stone figures perched on a brick perimeter wall, casting rectangles of light across the oily water..
Inside was like stepping into the 70's. Windows made from wagon wheels were still intact, exposed brick walls and wide wooden planked floors, the color reminding me immediately of those 'American Tan' colored tights that no girl ever wanted to wear. Do they still make those? A fire that looked like it had come straight from a 70's A-frame house was still sitting in a corner, perched on a grey 'crazy-paving' hearth.
There was a stage section at the back, with a dressing room area and theater lights hanging with cobwebs moving slowly in the breeze. It was dark and the air was dank, puddles on the floor, and mold growing in the kitchen area. A huge mirror on the wall looked impressive from a distance but on closer inspection was decorated with gaudy plastic flowers, not the glass adornments that I'd hoped to find. But the engraving was pretty and I took a selfie, which everyone else who followed us in here this weekend would also do.
I went back to the wagon wheel room, my favorite part of the whole establishment. We had come at the right time, the lighting was perfect to capture the cobwebs and faces of the Asian faces hanging on the walls or trapped behind panes of glass coated with cobwebs, the bright sun valiantly piercing the gloom and throwing shadows against the walls.
We came across a few costumes and props but the main building housing these was falling down, its roof giving up the battle against the gallons of rain water and snow that had been pushing down on the once flat roof and flimsy walls. A few wooden struts were still gallantly managing to keep the shed structure mostly upright, but it was unnerving walking beneath it to explore, all the time expecting this to be the moment when one of those beams would just emit a loud 'I'm done!' and allow the whole building to collapse. I wasn't sure that what remained under here was worth the risk so I only took a couple of photos as I scuttled through.
By the time we were finished photographing, the sun was high and so were our appetites. We left the rooms to resume their silence and headed off to a brunch of back and beer.

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