Tuesday, February 3, 2015

John B. Gordon Elementary

Next up is a school in East Atlanta, built in the early years of the 1909. This elementary school contained roughly 25 classrooms and a large gym and stage.

It made it almost 100 years, falling just short after closing in 1995. The school was named after one of Robert E. Lee's most trusted generals, John Brown Gordon.

Gordon lived from 1832-1904. "A native of Upson County, Georgia, and a Major General, Confederate States Army, was one of General Lee's most trusted and outstanding officers. He brilliantly led his devoted men in every engagement in which the army of Northern Virginia participated and was severely wounded at the Battle of Sharpsburg. He led the War's last charge and following the Appomattox surrender, returned to Georgia. Idolized by the populace, he served his state three times as U.S. Senator and as Governor 1886-1890. He was Commander-in-Chief of the United Confederate Veterans from its inception until his death- a fitting tribute to a gallant gentleman."
-Historical plaque at Oakland Cemetery placed by the Alfred Holt Colquitt Chapter, U.D.C.

Gordon Elementary flourished in the 1950s, with many posting online concerning their fond memories of running across the street to buy a soda pop. Unfortunately the school began to decline as Atlanta grew, and has been vacant ever since it closed. The shell of the school still stands, more or less to this day.

There has been talk of using the land to build apartments, as recently as 2013, but no progress has been made. The elementary school caught fire in early 2014, and the newest section of the building was destroyed. As of, November 2014, there was a massive cleanup of the school, and in early 2015 demolition started. Gordon Elementary was a beautiful brick building that will be missed.

Until Next Time, -Turtl and Bloody

Monday, January 5, 2015

Out of City Post: Charity

This post is going to deviate a bit in that it's not in Atlanta, however, when I got to see this beautiful building, I knew I had to post about it. I have not omitted the hospital's real name, as it's no secret. With a documentary recently made, as well as a group created to attempt to save the hospital. It may be best for Charity's story to get all the exposure it can. The security is tough, and the building is partially active; it's not worth trying to get in.

"Charity Hospital was founded in 1732 when Jean Louis, a French seaman and merchant who made New Orleans his home in the New World, died, leaving his entire estate to “establish and maintain a hospital for the poor people of New Orleans.”

Looking down the stairway on the 19th floor

By the time the Civil War began in 1860, Charity was one of the largest hospitals in the world, able to accommodate 1,000 patients at a time. The hospital remained open during the war, caring for soldier from both armies.

Samples preserved in formalin

Charity Hospital has been such a fact of life in its present location for so long, that today New Orleanians often think it has always been there and always been the same. But in fact the hospital has been located in six different main buildings if four different locations during its 260+ years.
By the early 1930s, the old facility was crowded and out of date. Louisiana’s populist Governor Huey P. Long made it a priority of his administration to build a fine, new hospital facility that would equal or better any other in the country.

One of the many hallways with power

When the present building ... was completed in 1939, the total bed capacity was 3,330, making Charity the second largest hospital in the United States. It is also one of only a handful that serves the education and research needs of two medical schools." 
- Excerpt from a pamphlet detailing the hospital's history and facilities

Each floor was a different color. This was the red floor.

Hurricane Katrina hit the hospital in 2005, but only affected the main floor and basement. Many employees of the hospital stayed through the storm to tend to patients, even after the power failed. Subsequently, the hospital was closed due to the water damage.
Samples to be disposed of

 It was then scrubbed by a team of 150 military and healthcare professionals to bring the building up to medical standards, but right before the building was ready to open, Governor Blanco stopped it.

Forgotten brain images
 Instead, a new hospital was built and Charity was abandoned. Today Charity sits locked, but not abandoned. The power is on, huge fans run on most floors to combat water damage. 24 hour security stays onsite amidst countless cameras, next to a sign that warns of K-9 patrols within the building. Inside, everything is just as it was left.
A table of microscopes outside of a lab

Bodies were cleared, but medical records remain. The people of New Orleans have fought back to save the building, however there are currently no future plans for Charity.

Until next time! -Turtl & Bloody

Battery Factory

The Battery Factory began in 1900 manufacturing lead-acid industrial & automotive batteries, with its headquarters in Georgia. This Atlanta branch operated from 1948-1988, but the factory’s pollution has outlived its production. The soil surrounding the area is contaminated with lead, making it a costly clean up site, estimated around or under $3 million by an EPA official.

The Battery company is on the hook to clean up the site, according to their 2003 agreement with the EPA, however the company has declared bankruptcy, making the situation complicated.

The 12 acre property was purchased by a private company in 2006, who proposed a mixed use development that was okay-ed by the neighborhoods; however no progress has been made.

 Due to the property's ideal location, right off the beltline, the city of Atlanta has grown frustrated with the property owners, suing them for code violations, though the owners claim they can't even afford to board it up properly. In recent years, the building has found new life through the graffiti and street artists of Atlanta, who add to the ever changing art outside and inside the building.

The fate of the property is uncertain, though it is an ideal site to add to the beltline's property. As of summer 2014, the property was re-boarded, the broken gate fixed, and the yard maintained by a crew.

Until next time!
-Turtl & Bloody

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Richest Man in Atlanta

         This Atlanta mansion originated as a farm, owned by the son of one of the most successful Atlanta business men in history. The owner moved to the 42 acre farm in 1910, and managed the agricultural ongoings there, including supplying milk to Fort Gordon during World War I.

The front of the mansion, with clouds overhead

          From 1920-1922, the Mansion was built by C.E.F with assistance from D.B. with a Georgian Revival Exterior. The biggest room in the mansion is a 1,700 square foot music room, now renamed, which stretches 3 stories tall with a vaulted Tudor interior.

The 1,700 square foot music room
          Adjacent is the dining room which seats up to 75 people, with a carved white European marble fireplace and carved ceilings. Connected to the luxurious dining room is a massive kitchen that can house commercial restaurant equipment. The basement features a walk in safe, and the mansion also has an enclosed courtyard.

The rear of the mansion

          His home wasn’t just the mansion however, his estate in total consisted of the mansion, servants quarters, tennis courts, stables, greenhouses, laundry, zoo buildings, golf course, and community pool. The pool out front of the mansion was accessible to the public, and sodas were on sale there of course, in case they got thirsty during their swim.  The owner also had his own personal zoo, but later donated the animals to the Atlanta Zoo after complaints from the neighbors. In addition, in 1925 he bought at $94,000 88 rank, 187 stop Aeolian organ, supposedly to out-do his father and brother, who had Aeolian organs of their own.

The solarium, used to house plants
In 1948 the owner sold his estate to the Federal Government, who had plans for a Veterans hospital that was never realized. After that, the property was sold to the state in 1953. Then, the Southern Clinic was opened for alcohol rehab, and was later renamed.

The grand entranceway, deterioration from mold and decay

The property was bought by a psychiatric center in 1962, with additional buildings completed by 1964. The center operated from 1965-1997 and had 141 beds and a $24.5 million dollar budget when closed. The main building was perfectly symmetrical with harsh window gratings for security. Besides that, there were 8 cottages all connected to the main building by underground tunnels that could be used to transport patients.

One of the eight cottages
Taking a break from wandering the tunnels
Lastly, a local university purchased the property in 1998 for $2.9 million, following a history of extensive collaboration with the psychiatric center. They have used the cottages for storage, and run continuing education classes and other services out of the main building.

A room in one of the many cottages
The campus was completely closed in the summer of 2014, and now the only part of the campus utilized is the parking lot, where a university shuttle stop is located. There are rumored plans of demolition.

Note that all names of persons and organizations have been changed or removed to protect the property from vandals

Thats all folk's! Till next week -- Bloody and Turtl

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Old Inn

Next we bring you an old Inn, which was once the pinnacle of hotel luxury. Built in 1968, it boasted plush carpeted walls, color TVs, and modern d├ęcor, in each of its 120 rooms. One staple of the inn was its 5 star restaurant, which received outstanding reviews from nearly all of the guests.  The hotel also featured meeting rooms for up to 125 people and a large heated swimming pool in the front. It closed in 2007, after a major downturn in quality of service and lack of cleanliness.

As we made our way through the shrubs and vines engulfing the base of the 5 story building, it was clear that no one had entered the hotel in quite a while, as there was no blazed path to the entrance. We followed the vines all the way into the bottom floor, they had slowly crept inside, following the light that spilled through the doorway.

Few things were left behind, marks were indented in the carpet where bed frames had rested for decades. All that we found were the occasional "lonely chair" or cheap painting hanging on the wall.

Also left behind were the large, industrial washers and dryers, far to large to remove.

As we made our way upstairs to the top few floors, we found moss growing through the carpets, facilitated by the large windows and leaky roof. Foot prints were few and far between, probably left by squatters and property assessors.

Each room was nearly identical, the only telling differences where the variations of curtains that hung in the windows.

On the top floor we found the old hotel club, featuring a long leather bench seat down one side of the room and a full bar on the other.

After the closing in 2007, the inn has sat vacant, surrounded by and ignored by active businesses, and regularly monitored by police. There are no future plans for this property. 

Thats all folk's! Till next week -- Bloody and Turtl

Rags to Riches

Today we bring you the an old office building, a formidable part of Atlanta’s African American history.  The owner founded the company in 1920; making it the first privately owned African American business in Atlanta.   The company occupied the building until 1980, when they built a new office space, right down the street. This beautiful building has sat unoccupied ever since. Due to its downtown location, there is a heavy presence of squatters, vagrants, and drug abusers.

Old record books can be found stacked in the basement
The owner, who was born a slave, quickly became Atlanta’s first black millionaire; his thriving business opened branches in Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee, and Texas. The building was built in 1892, originally a private residence, was converted into offices in 1920. 

A gas heater still hangs below a beautiful gold painted ceiling 
Sadly, the building was full of trash, left behind by the several squatters. Every window was boarded so there was hardly any natural light inside.

The original time clock hangs on a wall, surrounded by scattered papers 
As we made our way through the two-story building, it was hard not to notice the beautiful woodwork around the door frames and hand painted lettering on the glass.  The entryway pictured below contained a fair amount of marble.

The entryway

The deteriorating ceiling

Down in the basement we found a small corridor that led to a utility room.

The corridor
To no surprise, we found that the entire room had been scrapped, leaving only empty breaker boxes behind.

The utility room
Upstairs we found two safes, one locked and one wide open, both too heavy to be saved when the company changed locations.

Safe #1

Safe #2
The only natural light peeked in from this skylight on the second floor.

And also, to no surprise, we found plenty of drug paraphernalia.

Needles and spoons

Thats all folk's! Till next week -- Bloody and Turtl

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Introducing Abandoned Atlanta

We are here to bring you the side of Atlanta that is hidden from our daily lives. A side filled with fascinating histories and intricate infrastructure. We are here to show you whats below your feet, high in the clouds, and around dark corners. We strive to document these structures for the sake of historical preservation, so that generations from now, people will have a deeper understanding of what came before them. Posts will include photos, histories, and other relevant content regarding the location.  Follow us as we bring you, Abandoned Atlanta.