Abandoned Buildings.
September 23, 2001 5:02 PM   Subscribe

Abandoned Buildings. Slightly eerie. More on urban exploration. Any MeFi urban explorers?
posted by skallas (28 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: Poster's Request -- frimble

i like how he's a pilot for sabena, and his impossible projects are great :)

"oh yes, there is the dead body in the showers !"
posted by kliuless at 5:16 PM on September 23, 2001

Minneapolis Explorations... I may have been to some of these places.

Yes, I am aware it's a double post... but it may be more appropriate now than it was for the cochroaches.

These guys
are pretty cool, too. They use canoes to explore the huge network of tunnels under Minneapolis.

I also may have done some urban spelunking up here in Duluth, MN. There's some neat stuff underfoot... it just takes some ingenuity to find it.
posted by Dane at 5:52 PM on September 23, 2001

"Any MeFi urban explorers?"

I'm a wannabe!!!

The closest I've come is a whole bunch of nocturnal visits to the construction site of the new athletic center at my school. Construction sites are pretty darn cool. Especially since they leave the keys in everything (we couldn't get the big cranes to start, though). And oxy-acetylene torches are lots of fun.

But wandering around through a large, half-constructed building at night is pretty cool. Trying to figure out what things are going to be, how it will be finished up... it's similar to wandering around an abandoned ruin, wondering what things *were* and how it *used to* be...
posted by whatnotever at 6:03 PM on September 23, 2001

Oops... I meant this to be in a Duluth link. Right now it looks like FishCam is being digested by a huge octopus.
posted by Dane at 6:06 PM on September 23, 2001

I've done a little exploring in Chicago. I also went to Detroit, the promised land of urban exploration, but those traveling with me pretty much made it clear we weren't going into any old buildings. (I almost went into Michigan Central by myself, but then thought better of it.)

Those Minneapolis links are awesome. I haven't done much around here, although I recently had an incident with some Richfield police down at the new Best Buy development.
posted by mrbula at 6:33 PM on September 23, 2001

If one has time on one's hands and is at a fancy hotel, simply taking the stairs can almost be an urban adventure. Depending on the hotel, one might be able to find the mail tunnels to other buildings or just get locked in an emergency exit stairwell. That's urban exploring lite, though I've heard universities are good places to start serious explorations. They have to store the extra cadavers somewhere.
posted by LabTroglodyte at 6:51 PM on September 23, 2001

I was living in East(former east) Germany in 1991. While it was still 2 years after germany was united, alot of the east was just plain abandoned. Entire neighborhoods were abandoned. I lived in one town where we took it upon ourselves to salvage as many personal effects as possible. There were city workers clearing out buildings block by block. One day they would be full of personal belongings (clothes, pictures, furniture and stacks of newspapers to be recycled right up to the day before the wall came down), the next day...empty.
Several factory visits left me a bit less healthier than I was before, but were truely inspiring trips.

posted by darkpony at 7:09 PM on September 23, 2001

Growing up in New Jersey, I've wandered a few places. Most notibly an abandoned insane asylum located in the Summit/Westfield area right off of Rt. 22.

Can't for the life of my remember the name of it. Runnel's? I can't remember. But I do remember running around the place on my 18th b-day.

Regardless, I peek around places like that occasionally, and it's a lot of fun. I just hit a Roundhouse in Wyoming, and let me tell you, the town of Lime (ugh, only one pic of the old plant), Oregon is a great place, day or night, for photos.

Note - Damn, I really need to buy a scanner and develop the dozen rolls of film I have. I *know* I can't be the only one will a full roll or two of the old plant in lime... am I?
posted by jcterminal at 7:58 PM on September 23, 2001

The dead body in the showers?
posted by swerve at 8:00 PM on September 23, 2001

wasn't there an associated link on mefi some time ago?

it might be nice for someone who remembers it to link it here. i couldn't find it by searching for spelunking or abandoned....it would be nice to have them connected for future reference.
posted by rebeccablood at 8:23 PM on September 23, 2001

Nothing can create a robust environment for urban adventure like a high-taxing, uncaring & irresponsible city government! In this area, Detroit, Michigan remains the undisputed champ. Start here to plan your next escapade -- http://detroityes.com/home.htm
posted by justkurt at 8:28 PM on September 23, 2001

this is beautiful, although the page layout can be a little frustrating... urban exploration is fascinating.. i wish there was more interesting buildings to explore around here. (halifax, novascotia.)
and, that dead body is freaking creepy! is it for real?
posted by paultron at 9:10 PM on September 23, 2001

Not to be a downer, but those sites could do with some discussion of safety.

I mean, it's not a lot of fun when you're in a dank, cramped tunnel and your flashlight dies. It's even less fun when you don't have backup batteries and another source of light.

Not to mention the fact that some steam tunnel systems would put Minos' Labyrinth to shame, and unless you're careful to map and mark as you go along or do the Theseus bit and bring a very long spool of string with you, it can be difficult to get back to the surface.

Tips like avoid open flame (depending on what kind of tunnel you're in), try not to mess with the insulation (most of it's asbestos), don't try to squeeze through somewhere unless you're sure you can get out, etc.

It's an awful lot of fun, though.
posted by fidelity at 9:32 PM on September 23, 2001

Modern Ruins
posted by BarneyFifesBullet at 9:47 PM on September 23, 2001

Lots of links on the links page of Modern Ruins, also.
posted by BarneyFifesBullet at 9:50 PM on September 23, 2001

Rebecca, I think you may be thinking of this Salon story on the subject from back in January, but I can't find a corresponding MetaFilter thread.
posted by jjg at 9:54 PM on September 23, 2001

Wow. The "Minneapolis Drain Archive" was a fascinating read. I wonder if Seattle has drains like that? Seems unlikely, somehow.

posted by Mars Saxman at 10:09 PM on September 23, 2001

apparently there are tunnels underneath UW, mars, so I've been told. and there are parts of downtown that have steam grates, so there are tunnels there (hot ones, though).
posted by rebeccablood at 10:26 PM on September 23, 2001

there unfortunately are a general lack of smaller storm-water tunnels under seattle, which is one reason the city is currently making a big tunnel that will be over a mile in length.

there are indeed steam tunnels under part of the UW campus, although the police are quick nowadays to crack down on people trying to poke around there.

one good seattle infiltration story is the guy who skateboarded on the roof of the Kingdome.
posted by gluechunk at 10:55 PM on September 23, 2001

Used clamber up to downtown Vancouver rooftops, infiltrate office buildings and unpopulated nooks and crannies of large hotels and such as a fun-thing-to-do-while-unfeasibly-pissed with some of the University lads, back in the days of yore. Probably not possible any more in these days of ubiquitous surveillance cameras, at least without getting caught.

Does that count?

No, I didn't think it did.

(And by the way, when did all these cameras appear and why wasn't I notified?!)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:15 PM on September 23, 2001

NPR's All Things Considered did a good little 10 min or so story on it last falll; if anyone can find it, please post it here.
posted by skechada at 11:40 PM on September 23, 2001

Yes, the body is creepy. Am I really gullible or is it for real?


I should not be looking at these at 3:30 in the morning.
posted by KoPi_42 at 12:24 AM on September 24, 2001

Up here in Washington, we planned for a Japanese harbor invasion in WWII, and built many extensive concrete bunker that now lie fallow, occupied by pot-smoking teenagers. They're quite entertaining, when not filled with rainwater.

On another note, I am still making plans to publish the content of that website. I've got layout plans and everything.
posted by j.edwards at 12:58 AM on September 24, 2001

urban exploration = tresspassing, so you should be on the lookout for more than just falling debris.

I did this stuff as a kid when I was growing up in Poland. Lots of little places to go: bunkers, deserted buildings/houses, etc.
posted by Witold at 8:30 AM on September 24, 2001

I must admit to having done some urban spelunking, even in the days before the ninja turtles were 2d, never mind 3d! (shh. showing yr age!)
in huddersfield, uk there is a plaintive deserted mental institution within the grounds of the university - pretty strange. due to the quagmire of local legislation it has remained empty for the past ten years.
unfinished jigsaws puzzles, half-packed suitcases, a fully equiped gymnasium (minus anything not nailed down) and the ubiquitous tunnels all require exploration.
posted by asok at 9:22 AM on September 24, 2001

I knew that hotel explorers existed, but just didn't have any proof...until today.
posted by kboyer at 12:32 PM on September 24, 2001

The nice thing about Minneapolis is it's built on limestone, so carving out tunnels was quite easy back in the day.

St. Paul also has some neat caves down by the Mississippi River flats... once used for growing mushrooms or cooling kegs of ale and such.

Good exploring, but the air quality is piss poor. People had burned so many mattresses that the ceiling has black icicles of stinky evil growing from it. One recently torched room was still warm. Creepy.
posted by Dane at 7:16 PM on September 24, 2001

I've done a bit of exploring in Chicago and on the east coast. I've been in Chicago's freight tunnels and many other dark, scary places when I was an asbestos remover years ago. My most recent trip was into an underground WWII bunker/gun battery on Sandy Hook NJ this summer.

As a caver (NOT spelunker) - words of advice - always carry 3 sources of light underground. If you're going under an urban environment or anything manmade, never use anything with a flame. A hard hat is the second most important piece of equipment in most underground settings. Not for falling things, but for when you inevitably ram your head into a low ceiling, or stand up when you shouldn't. Asbestos is common, avoid stirring up dust of any kind and don't mess with anything white or grey and fuzzy. In my experience the worst danger is tetanous. Abandoned manmade places have rust everywhere, usually sharp and in places where you'll scrape or step into it. Very often access panels on floors are rusted out, which make very effective traps in the dark.
posted by PMcCann at 11:05 PM on September 24, 2001

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