Tour of Atlanta

Back when there weren’t many people to explore with, I met up with a couple of people who hadn’t done much exploring to show them a few places in Atlanta. Manda, Rob, and I had never met, so that was a little weird, but before you knew it, we were running around from place to place like old friends. Since we were in the area, we made our first stop at an old elementary school. I didn’t even take my camera out of my bag, but if you want to see some pics from there (and other places that day), check out Rob’s set. Those were the good ol’ days, with “the sink of dramatic lighting” and the giant asbestos-covered bear that would appear in different spots around the school. It’s changed a lot and most likely will be demolished sooner than later. Next spot we hit was the old Atlanta prison. That’s another place that’s changed quite a bit over the years. You would almost expect to be robbed or killed there back then. Now, you’re almost certain to just run into other explorers/photographers, or cops. That day, we ran into no one. Before long, we were off to the next spot. We ended up stopping at a Living Walls piece on the way to an old battery factory. We’re lucky we stopped because the piece was removed not long after, due to complaints from religious establishments nearby. We finally got to the battery factory and continued shooting away. We were doing pretty damn good, as it wasn’t even Noon yet. Nothing too memorable from there. Then before we knew it, we were off to the shower factory. I think I took four pictures there, then we stopped by Whittaker School. I took zero pictures there, then we went and checked out some abandoned warehouses off of Bankhead. It was only my second time there (and last), but I didn’t shoot any pics there either. We saved the most memorable place for last.

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The last spot we went to was Simmons Plating Works on Whitehall, the only place I hadn’t been to previously. I’ve been to some pretty disgusting places, but this still ranks in the top 3-5. Before we even got to the building, we were getting eaten alive by mutant-sized mosquitoes. Once we actually got inside, we knew why. The inside was completely covered in trash. It was like walking around in a dumpster basically. It was really hot outside and it smelled absolutely terrible, too. The location itself was pretty interesting though. It was a metal plating factory that filed for bankruptcy just before Christmas in 2000. Apparently they left all the chemicals there which cost tax payers just under a million bucks to clean up. There was still a lot of big machinery left behind and there was this huge pit, which I later found out was where they dumped thousands of gallons of electroplating sludge. According to Atlanta Time Machine, they removed approximately 305,000 gallons of hazardous waste from the site, 240,000 of that being the sludge from that nasty pit. Certainly no one would be living here, right? Wrong. There were two shirtless (probably naked, but we could only see chest-up) dudes living in the back area. Again, it’s like 95 degrees outside, it smells like shit, and there are thousands of huge, disease-carrying insects flying around. Not exactly the place I’d choose to live if I was homeless, but i guess these guys aren’t in this position because of their awesome decision-making skills. Nonetheless, I’m glad we were able to go in and check it out. There was some pretty cool paint inside and even though I didn’t get many pics, we didn’t die and it’s a fun story to tell. A good way to wrap up our little tour of Atlanta. Here are some more terrible photos…


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