Polaroids Around the Old Tobacco Factories

This part of the city is changing fast.  What was once the busy industrial center that kept this city alive, had died and gone vacant.  No one dared wander these empty streets. Especially at night.

Nothing was around but an obscure coffee shop, that doubled as a music venue.  My friends and I would all pile into one car, park in a scary abandoned lot and run for our lives down the street to the safety of the coffee shop.

But now things have changed.  The old tobacco factories have been restored and turned into apartments, offices, research labs, restaurants and even a prestigious medical school has moved in.

I even managed to get a job working in this area.

A former sketchy area is now the cool new spot to be downtown.

That obscure coffee shop is now a popular place that also serves food, and is no longer a music venue.

I like to wander around and admire the changes.  I thought this would be the perfect place to use up a precious roll of expiring Land Camera film.

  An homage to the old days.

These photos were taken with one of my vintage Polaroid Land Cameras.

See my Polaroid Land Camera guide Here!

 

Abandoned Interstate

Not often do you get a chance to walk on an abandoned interstate.

The highway that runs through downtown, that has tiny lanes and even tinier on and off ramps, that is always backed up with traffic, is being completely rebuilt with hopes of being greatly improved. And once it got demolished, I couldn’t help but go for a walk on what used to be one crazy road.

In the center divider, years and years of debris from so many accidents were scattered all around.

I’ve driven this road so many times.  It was strange to walk where it used to be, and imagine what it will become.

The End Of Winter

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This was a day at the very end of winter a couple of years ago. These pictures have been sitting in my drafts for a while now, and it seemed time to post them.  This is from another time.  A bit of a sadder time, but that’s ok.

The day was warm, after many months spent in the cold. It wasn’t quite time for spring, but it was one of those days that let you know that spring was just around the corner. Winter was almost done.

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It was a Sunday afternoon that felt strange, like the precious weekend had been partly wasted. So we went for a walk, and it made up for those restless feelings.

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The sun was setting later and later each day, another promise that spring was on the way.

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A Surprising Amount of Snow

For days, the predicted amount of snow grew and grew, until record amounts were scheduled to fall one early December day. 

The flurries started late on Saturday night and by the time I woke up on Sunday, over eight inches had fallen and it was still coming down.

Snowfalls in December here are rare. Snowfalls with more than a few inches here are rare too. It was a very special Sunday.

The snow continued into Monday and by the time it stopped, almost a foot and a half had fallen.  More snow than I had ever seen.

I love the snow and am always wishing I lived somewhere far north, where it wasn’t such a rare sight.  But on these few special days, it felt like I was living somewhere else.

Film in the City

A walk through the city on an early spring evening. The days were finally getting longer, the weather was finally getting warmer.

I took my little Argus camera, loaded up with some film and went to explore a newly built walkway, through the once forgotten part of the city.

I’ve watched this area for years from my work building window.  For years all they did was seem to move dirt around.  Then eventually they built a path.  One day new buildings are supposed to cover this big grassy area. I’m still watching from my office window, wondering if the building will ever start.

Cemetery Snowfall

My favorite cemetery looked magical during a snowfall last winter. The orange leaves that still clung to some trees made an interesting autumn contrast against the white snow.

It was a rare early December snow. Usually it never snows here until sometime mid January, when all the leaves are long gone.

Wandering around, a cubed snowman and his friend were discovered.

When it snows I like to wander around everywhere.  Everything looks so different in the snow, like another world.

They Tore Down a School to Build an Interstate

A giant pile of rubble was a surprising sight to see one day while driving downtown. A little school was in the process of being torn down, for what I later read, was to make room for the rebuilding of an interstate and the roads surrounding it.
Business 40 interstate which runs through downtown has been a disaster since it was built in the 50s, with narrow lanes and tiny on ramps. This year it is finally getting shut down to be rebuilt into something actually functional.
This sad little school just happened to be in the way of the new interstate improvements.

These next few years will be interesting for downtown’s landscape.

Old Salem Evening

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**Part of my collection of poor pictures that have been stuck in my drafts for a year or more as a result of my uninspired period**

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It’s always fun to wander around Old Salem, but it just seems to become the most exciting in the fall.

As the cool days just start to turn into icy cold nights, and the leaves have turned colors and are beginning to fall from the trees.

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I find a way to love all of the seasons, but this one is always my favorite.

Unexpected Mushrooms

It had been too long since we last took a walk. Wanting something different we decided on a nature trail in a park north of town. It was a park I had spent many unwanted hours at  years ago for home school events I wanted no part of.  I hadn’t returned since.  But I decided I might as well replace my bad, semi repressed memories with some good ones.

Rain had been falling every day for weeks but this was the first day the sun had been out for more then a few hours, but it was still very humid and muggy.  I saw this tree at the beginning of the trail, a sign of the mushroom sightings to come.

Moss was everywhere, covering fallen trees and branches with a fuzzy green coating. And around nearly every turn, a different type of mushroom, some I had never seen before.

Also present, were millions of bugs.  I unfortunately had forgotten to bring bug spray so there were times where we raced down the trail at full speed, trying to outrun clouds of mosquitoes and ominous buzzing sounds.

As we neared the end of the trail, we spotted an incredible sight.

GIANT MUSHROOM.

We almost got caught in the rain after this, but luckily is passed over pretty quickly.

 

This trail was a lot of fun and I can’t wait to go back. And maybe I’ll even remember the bug spray!

Time to Explore the Power Plant


Bailey Power Plant has stood abandoned for years. As long as I can remember, it has been this mysterious run-down industrial building, surrounded by a huge wire fence, but begging to be explored.

 I never had the courage to sneak in though.

It has been undergoing renovations for the past few years now, just as all the old tobacco factories have.

But on this day, as the renovations are getting closer to completion, the fence was finally down. The power plant was open for wandering.


The inside of the building still requires much work, but it was exciting to be able to wander around the outside, under all the tunnels and bridges that remained illusive for so many years.







The view inside the broken windows




A space that was once a muddy swamp, is becoming a nice little patio with string lighting. I imagine it will be a popular spot when summer comes.






















This area that was once a ghost town, is now turning into one of the most popular parts of the city and I can’t wait to see it continue.