:: BerDerp™ ::

dishing out life through the lens… it tells all

Archive for the ‘urban exploring’ Category

:: So Forsaken ::

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Journey into a forsaken place

Written by kapshure

May 23, 2014 at 7:23 am

:: UrbEx Series : Abandoned Silo ::

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Scenes from an abandoned silo in a Mid-Western city.  This particular silo was built in 1906, and is often considered one of the cities first skyscrapers as it rose up over 15 stories.

Silos of this type can often hold more than a million bushels of any type of grain.

If you’re interested in viewing more images related to the abandoned, decayed, and forgotten – click here for my ‘Exploration Collection’ on Flickr.

Written by kapshure

September 22, 2013 at 7:20 am

:: Slowly You Forget ::

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Slowly You Forget. Mare Island. 2012

Written by kapshure

July 3, 2013 at 4:30 pm

:: UrbEx Series : Abandoned Mental Hospital ::

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Capturing these images you see was a very moving and emotional experience for me, as this abandoned mental facility had originally opened in 1842 after a state bill was passed calling for a “State Lunatic, Idiot, and Epileptic Asylum“.  By the 1870’s, overcrowding at this institution was a major issue, as local communities sent patients there who were often considered unwanted, or problematic, regardless of their diagnoses. One can easily surmise a lot of suffering occurred here.

..the overcrowding trend continued for another 75+ years as it often vied for the title of “largest psychiatric facility” in the world.

there are an estimated 20,000 – 30,000 unmarked graves here which were only identified by numbered poles — many of which have disappeared.

By the early 1970’s this facility was mostly abandoned. Many people believe these buildings and grounds to be haunted to this day.

You can view the entire Flickr set here.

Written by kapshure

May 9, 2013 at 1:51 pm

:: It Happened Late One Spring Night ::

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Written by kapshure

March 17, 2013 at 8:39 am

:: UrbEx Series : Abandoned Train Station ::

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An abandoned classic Beaux Arts train station that was designed by Jarvis Hunt of Chicago. Built in 1912. Holding its silence and waiting **** to breathe life once again.

You can see the Flickr set here.

Written by kapshure

March 13, 2013 at 11:15 pm

:: UrbEx Series : Methodist School ::

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A solemn and reflective place that holds memories and voices from those who once thrived and flourished here.

you can view the entire Flickr set here

Written by kapshure

March 3, 2013 at 12:38 pm

:: You Can’t Stop It ::

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Written by kapshure

September 25, 2012 at 11:17 am

:: Undisclosed Location pt 2 ::

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Another scene from a previous Undisclosed Location.

Written by kapshure

September 23, 2012 at 6:56 pm

:: Undisclosed Location ::

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as seen somewhere in San Francisco. A place with light, and history, once bustling with life, now mostly forgotten.

Written by kapshure

May 25, 2012 at 10:13 am

:: Mare Island glows ::

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as seen recently on a nocturnal excursion to Mare Island

Written by kapshure

March 7, 2012 at 11:42 pm

:: UrbEx Series : Abandoned Theme Park ::

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this place closed after a storm, and never re-opened. sitting idly as the city moves on. not as blithely as it had been for years. These images were captured last year.

you can see the entire Flickr set here: http://goo.gl/fMtcZ

Written by kapshure

January 28, 2012 at 1:24 pm

:: UrbEx Series : Methodist Church ::

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lurking around in a sad, forgotten town in Northern Indiana, we stumbled into the abandoned shell of a former Methodist Church.

you can view the Flickr set here.

Written by kapshure

September 28, 2011 at 7:02 pm

:: UrbEx Series: Post Office ::

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This particular building was constructed for the US Postal Service in 1936, and was designed by the Chicagoan architect Howard Cheney.  Cheney worked for the Public Buildings Branch of the US Treasury Department, and also designed buildings for the Public Works Administration.

His work was well known and he was the supervising architect for the construction of the Chicago Tribune Tower.

you can view the Flickr set here

Written by kapshure

August 25, 2011 at 9:30 pm

:: UrbEx Series : Union Train Station ::

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Mark A. Lang helped design this 2-level train station that sits between the former Baltimore & Ohio (B&O), and, the South Shore & Michigan Southern Line rails. Lang borrowed heavily from the Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition that had taken place nearly 15 years prior to the design and construction. Neoclassicism abounds. It was built in 1910, and by the 1950’s it was abandoned.

Written by kapshure

August 9, 2011 at 9:59 am

:: UrbEx Series : Dixie Square Mall ::

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Dixie Square Mall opened in 1966, in Harvey, Illinois, but was only opened to the public for 13 years, before it finally closed in 1979.  This 800,000 square foot structure has seen much of its remains crumpling, or simply getting hauled off by scrappers. Harvey is a completely downtrodden economic area, and the area sits on the South side of Chicago, so there is not much hope for redevelopment.


Click here for an image of the former Dixie Square Mall store directory. Also for a brochure for the opening of Dixie Square Mall – click here.

View the entire Dixie Square Mall set here

Written by kapshure

August 1, 2011 at 10:50 am

:: UrbEx Series : Angel Island ::

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Written by kapshure

June 4, 2011 at 6:47 pm

:: UrbEx Series : East Bay Abandonment ::

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{as recently seen in East Bay}

you can view the entire Flickr set here

Written by kapshure

May 26, 2011 at 7:45 am

:: UrbEx Series :: Warehouse No. 6 (Revisited) ::

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Back in 2008, I visited Warehouse No. 6 (aka the Cathedral), this weekend I made a return visit.

you can see the entire set on Flickr here.

Written by kapshure

January 24, 2011 at 9:54 am

:: UrbEx Series : Abandoned Foundry ::

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another installment in the abandoned buildings/Urban Exploring Series

Written by kapshure

December 24, 2010 at 2:27 pm

:: Abandoned Radiance ::

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exploring in SF leads to a room pierced by a few radiant beams of light

Written by kapshure

October 17, 2010 at 9:44 am

:: Lonely Chair ::

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just another member of the League of Empty Chairs

Written by kapshure

September 22, 2010 at 7:37 am

:: Toppled ::

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as seen in an undisclosed location

Written by kapshure

September 15, 2010 at 2:02 pm

:: UrbEx Series : Fort Ord ::

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Fort Ord sits near Monterey, CA, on a 28,000 acre reserve that in its day was the place to go for infantry training in the US Army.  It began it’s mark in US military history in 1846 during the Mexican-American War.

The location finally became known as Ft. Ord in 1940, and in September of 1994 it was closed by the US Army.

But by the time of it’s official recognition as a permanent Army outpost, it had grown to cover more than 20,000 acres. It was a famous staging area for many famous fighting units and divisions. Such as the 32nd-Infantry Division, 6th Infantry and the 3rd Infantry Division

There’s also an 8,000 acre firing-range there, and apparently some unexploded ordnance if you know what I mean

Aside from the firing range there’s also a 6500 acre munitions area in which the Army has been attempting to get rid of for several years now.  Back in October 2003, the Army planned a control burn of 500 acres, but they wound up scorching about 1500! Yikes!

The Base Realignment and Closure Act of 1988 finally included Ft Ord as a target to reduce costs – overall, 120+ bases have closed since this act.

Ft Ord is just US military history now

See the Flickr set here.

Written by kapshure

February 10, 2010 at 1:10 am

:: UrbEx Series : Hotel romp ::

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stumbled onto this abandoned hotel that has been vacant now for a few years. It had worn the signature emblems of hotel chains such as Ramada and Holiday Inn during its prime

now it rests silently amongst a row of seafood restaurants and scattered bars

i’m really surprised there were no signs of squatters

Written by kapshure

July 18, 2009 at 10:31 pm

:: UrbEx Series :: Fleishhacker Pool House ::

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Last weekend my friend and I took a step into some very trashed ruins of what was once the worlds largest outdoor pool — the Fleishhacker Pool. This behemoth opened in 1925, held 6 million gallons and could accommodate  10,000 swimmers. All that is left now is the 450 foot long pool house. The pool was paved over years ago by the SF Zoo.

(from TerraStories):

The year was 1921 and only a few years earlier, a grand scheme to bring water to the city of San Francisco came to fruition. Despite the protests of John Muir, the Spring Valley Water Company had succeeded in transporting fresh glacier water hundreds of miles from Yosemite to San Francisco. The Fleishhacker Pool was a final capstone in the symbolic “watering” of San Francisco, and the city of San Francisco had spared no expense.

“Spring Valley Water Company was the quintessential symbol of Pork Barrel Spending in post-Earthquake San Francisco. The company had used ruthless lobbying to derail John Muir’s efforts to save Hetch Hetchy. Spring Valley Water was so effective at reaping the rewards of politicians that they literally convinced Congress to turn what would become part of a National Park into the personal Bethsheba of San Francisco.”

“To this day, the city depends on the water of Hetch Hetchy, but it came at a cost – the valley was considered only second to Yosemite Valley itself before it was inundated by the waters of the dam.
None of this controversy takes away from the beauty of the pool’s grand construction. There was little public discussion of the kickback made to Spring Valley Water for the land “given” to the city.”

“the Fleishhacker Pool opened in April of 1925 to a crowd of 5,000. Butressing the edge of the the pool was the 450-foot-long Bath House — a Mediterranean, Italianate structure with three elaborate entrances, all surrounded by an Ionic order of pilasters. Inside were separate wings for men, women, and children.

“These wings were naturally illuminated by 22 skylights. Upstairs was a grand restaurant that looked out to the 1000-foot-long pool on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other.”

Throughout its five-decade history as a public swimming destination, Fleishhacker would be the setting of San Francisco’s most unique lores and legends; there was the story of the shark being sucked in through the 200-foot-long intake pipe coming from the ocean, a stove discovered in the deep end of the pool when it was drained for maintenance, and the disembodied hand reportedly found by a gardener, floating in the pool.

But the real amazing facts reside in the sheer size of the pool – 1000 feet long, over 150 feet wide, and 13 feet deep at its deepest point. The pool held 6,000,000 gallons of ocean water, continually cleaned once every six weeks by becoming completely drained and sweeped and pumped clean.

[back westerly side]

See the entire Flickr set here

Written by kapshure

February 19, 2009 at 12:21 am

:: UrbEx Series : Rispin Mansion pt 2 ::

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today we continue (click here for part 1) our journey through the eerie history of an abandoned home known as Rispin Mansion.

The Rispin mansion was also used during the 1970’s as a place for police dog training. It was told by various Santa Cruz natives in stories I read online that the sounds of barking dogs in the house could be heard long after the police training had stopped.
Later in the house’s history a man fell through the rotting floors, became injured and wound up dying of thirst before he was found. Years later these cries for help were also reported by many.

Even if these stories aren’t true, its foreboding presence, and the fact people died at the house, thrown in with the discovery of hidden passages and secret rooms, just provides a rich and spooky history.

the massive column with bay windows that face Soquel Creek
an aerial view from mid-20th century, plus a host of really old images you can see here.

and finally..

In this photo above I want you to focus on the main window above the steps — in this same window, in a 1931 picture appears the ghost of the Lady in Black — Click here for that image and see if you spot her. In that picture people say the Lady in Black is clearly visible with even bible in hand. Stories abound of her ghost roaming halls, unlocking heavily bolted doors and windows. Furthermore, other stories of a man in glasses near the fireplace were also passed down through the years.

Will the current plans for turning this lot into a sparkling Inn & Spa ever materialize? After all the plans have changed over the years a few times, and the length of the project has stretched over the last decade. Now coupled with economic cut backs and recesssion pains in the city, I just wonder at the fate of these ruins.

Written by kapshure

January 8, 2009 at 4:47 pm

:: UrbEx Series :: Rispin Mansion :: part 1

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it had been a lengthy passage of time since the last UrbEx series before yesterday’s “shell” posting – so let’s keep the ball rollin’ with an intro to Rispin Mansion. This abandoned structure sits on the banks of Soquel Creek in Capitola on 6.5 acres. It was built out of 500 tons of solid cement. 

When F. A Hihn died in 1913 his daughter put the estate up for sale. Rispin comes along (actually a rich San Franciscan) at the end of WW1 and buys it up.  It features 4 stories and 22 rooms.

He clearly he had opulent and sumptious plans for this “Capitola-by-the-Sea“, but by 1928 he was flat broke.
He lost the mansion and pretty much all of his assets over the next 3 years. 

Next a millionaire from Burlingame, Rober Hays Smith, bought the home, but the family ran into financial hardship during the Great Depression (duh) and wound up abdicating the estate in 1939. He never even lived there.
From there it was sold to the Catholic Church and was used as a convent until the nuns left in the late ’50s. They left because of reported cold spots in the house and the flurry of unwanted visitors.. and whether or not that includes the several reputed ghosts is vague.
But apparently it hosted generations of keg parties and even some hippie squatters who lived there for a few years in the 60’s with a heard of goats on the top floor.  It’s been slated to become an Inn & Spa but the project length seems very protracted. 
more pics and the “Lady in Black” tomorrow on part 2

Written by kapshure

January 7, 2009 at 5:21 pm

:: UrbEx Series :: Drawbridge, CA part 2 ::

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Continuing from yesterday, we took a look at our recent expedition to Drawbridge, CA. After finally locating the right area, it’s a good 3 mile walk out to Drawbridge from Alviso.

By 1940 only 50 cabins remained, and San Jose had began to start pushing raw sewage into the sloughs which drove out fish and foul that had attracted men to the Drawbridge area in the first place. By 1955 the train didn’t stop in Drawbridge anymore, but could be flagged down. By 1967 Drawbridge consisted of only 25 people and by 1976 this dwindled to the last resident, Charlie Luce, who left in 1979, after his house was bought out by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Now Drawbridge and Station Island are a part of the SF Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

At one point there were at least a dozen gun clubs in the area: Gordon Gun Club (the first), Imperial Gun Club, Harbour View Gun Club, Precita Gun Club and more. Drawbridge had two distinct neighborhoods, divided by “Main Street”, which were the train tracks. Neither side got along. The North side admitted to being “cliquey” and the South felt the North end was pretty “stuck up”.

Drawbridge soon garnished a reputation for being a lawless area, where gun-toting gamblers hung, and prostitution was rampant. One small factor contributed to this notion: the county line between Alameda and Santa Clara went right through this area. Thus officials neither from Santa Clara nor from Alameda/Fremont wanted to cross Coyote Creek or Mud Slough into Drawbridge feeling that virtually everyone there was armed.

Written by kapshure

February 17, 2008 at 5:59 pm

:: UrbEx Series :: Drawbridge, CA :: part 1

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Welcome to Drawbridge, CA.. one of Northern California’s few remaining ghost towns

Station Island was the home of Drawbridge, a small piece of land between two waterways, Mud Creek Slough and Coyote Creek Slough. The first building, was the bridge tenders cabin, built in Drawbridge (1876) for narrow-gauge Southern Pacific Railroad, and the second structure, Gordon Gun Club in 1880. In 1887 the railroad officially named the stop Drawbridge. A sign was placed on the bridge tenders cabin station formally recognizing Drawbridge.

George Mundershietz, was the first bridge tender of Drawbridge, and he stayed in the only structure on Station Island, a two-room cabin, just a few feet back from the track. He opened the drawbridge by hand crank, when boats blew their whistles to pass through the sloughs.

It was George who first started inviting his friends to spend the night at his cabin to hunt & fish. He charged them 50 cents a night for this privilege.

The railroad would stop to drop off, or pick up, exuberant hunters. This area was extremely popular with foul hunters. One method of hunting was purported to be very advantageous – loading a canon with chains, nails, buckshot, etc. and firing into the air as mass amounts of birds flew overhead; this “Market Hunting” allowed huge amounts of birds to be killed at once — which could then be taken to San Francisco to be sold.

By 1906 Drawbridge had grown to 79 cabins and two hotels. In 1926 Drawbridge was in full bloom with 90 cabins and 5 passenger trains a day. But by the late 1920’s tremendous amounts of water was being pumped by surrounding communities from the Southern portion of the bay, and like its neighbor, Alviso, Drawbridge began to sink. The railroad and the cabins were in constant need of “heightening”.

part two of this series — click here.

Written by kapshure

February 16, 2008 at 9:02 pm

:: UrbEx Series :: Southern Pacific BayShore Yard Roundhouse ::

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In 1870, the present day Southern Pacific Railroad was born and a new route was needed to the entrance of San Francisco. The route between San Bruno and San Francisco, would prove to be one of the most expensive ever built, costing almost a million dollars a mile, over a 9.81 mile stretch. Eventually, after completion, this BayShore Yard (“Cut Off”) became a switching place where cuts from other trains would be formed for outbound trains. By 1988 this yard finally became completely abandoned as all traffic moved from this once bustling yard to South San Francisco.

Precisely what this last standing structure was used for that you see in the pictures was predominately for repair on cars and locomotives that were assigned to the Coastal Division. This BayShore roundhouse was built around 1910 or 1912 for the car repair shops, and then in 1920 facilities for locomotive repair was added. It was ultimately phased out in the mid-1950’s. Finally, a fire destroyed much of what was left in 2001.

Here’s a picture of the Bayshore station, track side, circa 1914:

Written by kapshure

February 11, 2008 at 4:52 am

:: UrbEx Series Bethlehem Steel Office part 2 ::

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Yesterday we took a look at the 1st installment of my most recent UrbEx expedition at Bethlehem Steel Office. This large office building, and the entirety of Pier 70/Potrero yard complex was sold to the city for $1 on November 1st, 1982. Today BAE systems runs the shipyard with anywhere near 175 union workers on any average day.

Written by kapshure

February 5, 2008 at 4:25 am

:: UrbEx Series Bethlehem Steel Office part 1 ::

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(thanks Plug1 on this foto)

Over the weekend we took a bigger leap and put another notch into our belt under the category of Urban Exploring — this time taking an inside peek at the historical Pier 70 office for once prominent Bethlehem Steel Corp. During her heyday the company itself had nearly 300,000 workers; this office building, in once bustling Dogpatch, employed roughly 10,000 workers who helped crank out 72 ships during WWII alone (the company in its entirety was responsible for over 1000 ships across 15 shipyards). That said, Bethlehem Steel, founded in 1857, was once one of the largest shipbuilding companies in the world. Other major projects that the company helped complete include NYC’s Rockefeller Center, Madison Square Garden, and Golden Gate Bridge.

Nevertheless, this building has sat vacant since the 1989 earthquake, still showing off its classic 4 story Beaux Arts structure that features Doric pilasters and a grand marble foyer; it’s dark, tagged, trashed, long and vast inside.

Take a look.

Written by kapshure

February 4, 2008 at 3:50 am

:: UrbEx Series : Pier 36 ::

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This past weekend, along with our trip to Warehouse #6, plug1 and I made the leap into Pier 36; this area, along with a strip beginning at Pier 30 – 32, is slated to become a $15 million, 57,000 square foot park, sitting on a prime spot along the Embarcadero in the South Beach area.

This place had a certain air of creepiness to it, although we were there before 10am, it had the perfect preface for any good horror flick.

receipt rolls used to “roll” the interior — see the easter rabbit wind-sock?

at one point I turn to my left to see this face staring back at me. I won’t lie. I gasped. #$%W#*&(!! totally took me by surprise.

Written by kapshure

January 17, 2008 at 5:12 am

:: UrbEx Series : Chapter 2: Tuna Cannery Graffiti ::

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as promised, here is a snapshot of the massive amounts of graffiti that we found inside the tuna cannery on Saturday. I honestly wish I knew more of these artist’s names so I could give some props… but it was quite a sight seeing EVERYTHING covered in what were literally years of layer after layer.

Written by kapshure

November 7, 2007 at 9:39 am

:: UrbEx Series : Chapter 1: Tuna Cannery ::

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This particular factory was closed down in 1963 after two botulism related deaths induced a nation-wide scare on tuna. Its shell has been sitting in this Bay Area location now ever since.

[note: today will just focus on the building. tomorrow, the graffiti inside]

Written by kapshure

November 6, 2007 at 8:15 am

:: UrbEx Series ::

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Recently my friend decided that he would try his hand at some Urban Exploring, and decided to corral some of his friends into hopefully joining him. I admit. I was the first one to actively take the bait. Stepping a few feet back it is a questionable arguement (based on perspective) of the type of activities engaged herein. Innocuous? sure. Pernicious? not really. Risky? yep. Worth it? undoubtedly. Ramifications if discovered? hmmmm…

Before we begin, let me outline the agenda of these events moving forward; it’s quite simple and three-fold:

  1. Get secure and safe access
  2. take great photographs
  3. leave unnoticed and unscathed

The rise and development of certain urban zones (retail, shipping, financial, industrial) is always characterized by a few steadfast rules; one of these principles painstakingly calls out for the removal and eradication of defunct, unproductive, or process impeding objects and/or obstacles. What does this mean? These targets are very likely in the cross-hairs of local commercial developers looking to bolster areas of the city that have yet to be glossed over.

Thus.. I present:

“the UrbEx Series”

Written by kapshure

November 6, 2007 at 8:10 am