Showing posts from March, 2024

Bethel AME Church: A New Chapter for Colored School No. 2

As I sit down to weave a narrative from the fabric of our nation's complex history, I'm struck by the stark contrasts and the undulating journey of our collective memory, especially regarding the African American experience. In my years as a writer, I've come to understand that history, in its purest form, is a story of us all—its chapters filled with moments of pain and pride, darkness and light. It's a story that demands to be told in its entirety, without omission or censorship, for in its fullness lies the path to understanding and healing. In places like New York, there's a burgeoning movement towards embracing this wholeness, acknowledging the blemishes of our past with the same fervor we celebrate its triumphs. The city, with its mosaic of cultures and histories, is leading the charge in confronting the uncomfortable truths of our collective past. Through the lens of my own experiences, this feels like a step towards true reconciliation—a necessary acknowledg

Diner Dreams and Declines: The Kullman Dining Car Company

  While exploring the area for a different site, I stumbled upon this abandoned property, marked by a large pile of household refuse and debris from commercial demolitions, improperly discarded. As night began to fall, I hesitated to venture inside alone. This caution might have been fortuitous, for on a subsequent visit to Newark, New Jersey, I discovered a makeshift bed crafted from an oversized couch. It seemed someone might be using this as a makeshift sleeping area, unwittingly inhaling potentially lethal chemicals not meant for human respiration. The entry to this forsaken place was through a semi-open truck loading dock, obstructed by a concrete barrier, presumably to halt further looting of the structure or to deter unethical contractors from dumping their illegal waste under the veil of night. Once an industrial site, this property was marred by environmental pollutants such as metals, paint, and polyaromatic hydrocarbons. Ninety-one years ago, it was operational before fallin

C. H. Wheeler Manufacturing Company

In the heart of Pennsylvania's sprawling urban landscape, nestled among the bustling streets and vibrant life, lies a hidden realm where the past whispers to those willing to listen. It was on a day, painted with the promise of adventure, that I found myself playing the role of a seasoned guide to a group of eager souls, their cameras in hand but their photographic paths yet uncharted. These budding photographers, friends new to both the craft and to me, were about to embark on a journey through the skeletal remains of forgotten structures, an expedition that would inevitably shape their artistic voyages. Our quest for the day was not merely a casual outing but a deliberate dive into the world of urban exploration, a niche where the beauty of decay and the stories of yesteryear are captured through the lens of a camera. Pennsylvania, with its rich history and plethora of abandoned edifices, offered itself as a canvas ripe for exploration. Before our expedition, I had immersed mysel

Echoes of the Oven: The Legacy of Nicetown Freihofer's Bakery

Six years ago, I embarked on an exploratory journey through the forgotten corridors of a place whose name was unknown to me then. Only recently, with a bit of help, I unraveled the mystery: this place, archived in my memory and on my hard drive, was the Freihofer Baking Company. This discovery rekindled a special connection in my heart, remembering my early days in urban exploration in Philadelphia. It was here that I first tasted the thrill of exploring abandoned buildings, a passion that soon had me crossing state lines in search of that exhilarating, novel feeling once more. The neighborhood surrounding the Freihofer Baking Company was a stark canvas of socio-economic hardship, a desolate space that spoke volumes of its forgotten glory. I remember vividly the day I ventured there. Agile and swift, I maneuvered over a wall of large rectangular stones – a barrier against scrappers seeking to plunder valuable metals. These stones were a gateway to the past, leading me to the nearest op