Disclaimer: We decided not to share the name and location of this school. Due to the unsafe conditions of the school we do not want to be responsible if anyone gets injured while exploring. We also don’t want to give the location to anyone that might try to vandalize it (although we know none of our readers would do such a thing).
A sent me a picture of an old school. It was in disrepair, but still stunningly beautiful. It was the kind of building that breaks your heart to see in such bad shape. The kind that makes you say “they just don’t make them like that anymore.” The kind of building that you wish your school looked like. I’m pretty sure that was all I got to let me know where our next trip would be.
We both did our research and set a date for our trip. The night before the trip, A told me to be at her house around 7 am ready to go. As we all know I am not a morning person, but J had to be at work that morning anyways. He made sure I was up and ready to go before he left, so I was even on time to A’s. A however, did have a minor mishap that morning, but it only put us about 15 minutes behind.
Even though I had found the address, I didn’t check to see how far away it actually was. When A told me four hours I had a mini stroke. I don’t mind traveling four hours to explore places… but it was a little unexpected. To make matters worse the GPS told us about five hours. Thankfully, it just doesn’t know A yet. To her the speed limit is just a suggestion and we made it in just over four hours. That of course included two stops for snacks and a bathroom break.
The school sits just across from a church and a few houses that looked empty. We parked across the street (to keep the car out of pictures) and walked over. An overgrown outline showed where the driveway for the school had once been. Even in the winter the school was blocked by overgrown trees, bushes, and weeds making it impossible to get a clear picture.
The marker for the school had been removed, and we were unable to find anything with the schools name on it. Most of the windows had been broken out and were now boarded up. The doors were still in decent condition all things considering. The knobs had been removed, making entry easier than I had expected.
We opened the front door and walked right in. It’s hard to recall if the first thing I noticed was that the back half of the structure was caved in, the floor was unstable (if there at all in some places), or just the overall beauty of what the school once was. It is easy to see everything that is wrong with the school now, but I see everything that is still just so right. The grand columns before you walk in the building, the attention to detail everywhere you look, even the water fountains were stunning (at least they were in their heyday, before someone vandalized them).
We carefully made our way to the hallway. You could go right or left, but straight ahead was a little collapsed (and by a little I mean mostly collapsed- like bomb had been dropped in the middle of it). We made our way down both sides of the hall. Some of the classrooms still had chalkboards hanging, and as always there was a chair left behind. Why do they always leave a chair??? Its creepy… seriously… take your chairs people!
I found two sets of stairs going up and one set going down. The stairs going up were in pretty bad shape. One covered in debris and barely passable. The second completely caved in. The stairs going down looked to be in pretty good shape, but not knowing how long they would hold up we decided against taking them.
As I always do I tried to stay out of the lens of the camera, and I eventually split away from A (something we try not to do). I decided to take my time and walk around the building. Around back I was able to find a way into the basement and decided go in. I took my time to make sure it was safe. To my surprise the front half of the building was in pretty great shape.
As I made my way out I heard a noise. Thankfully it was just A making her way around the building. She wasn’t to sure about going inside but I talked her into it. The bottom level had some more classrooms, bathrooms, and the boiler room. We made our way to the end of the hall to a poorly done graffiti saying “run he is alive.” The other exit for the basement was overgrown and you could tell no one has been in that way in a while.
We were almost finished exploring the basement, when we heard a noise. I looked at A praying it was her, but I knew that it had come from upstairs. We both started toward the door, worried that we were about to get in trouble for being inside the school. Once we made it outside and saw no one was around, we decided to call it quits for the day. (edit: I was at the far end of the hallway when it sounded like a door had slammed shut. I looked up from my camera, asking B, “was that you” – to which she replied “nope” and hurried out the basement door. I literally ran to catch up with her. Every woman for herself it appears.)
About that time a truck pulled up, it seemed to be going a little slow. Once again I felt as if we were about to get in trouble. The truck rolled the window down, and asked if we were taking pictures of the building. We told the man yes and much to our surprise he was not upset. He was also there to explore and told us it was safe to go upstairs. He also told us that the cemetery next to the school was just recently found.
A and I decided that we did want to explore upstairs and headed back inside. We made our way over to the stairs, and A stood there as I made my way up them. She wanted to make sure that if I fell to my death she was safe at the bottom of the stairs. (every woman for herself) Once I was at the top she followed suit and we both explored the top floor. I was glad we changed our mind (thanks to our new friend).
In total we probably stayed for maybe an hour. We had a long ride back and really didn’t want to be gone all night. For our first trip out in a few months, it was a win!
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