A Merry Old Soul, By Astro

The industrial age of America came and went and in its wake we have been left with masses of industrial ruins. In a small town in the mid-east US was where we ended up looking for some of these such places. The day was gorgeous and we took up following a local jogging trail on our journey. Falling just slightly off of the trail we were then walking among the scattered ruins of the once great structure.

In the early 2000s a great fire billowed from the 170 acre factory and destroyed a majority of it, closing the reign permanently. However, our destination was not the factory itself, but instead the monster coal fueled plant that powered it. We crawled into the ground level to find ourselves in a very dark underbelly of the building. Despite the nature of the building, and the heat that must have once consumed it, everything was very saturated from the years of rainwater penetrating it.

On the opposite end of where we had entered, we climbed a staircase that brought us to a massive room, with sunlight pouring in from the giant windows on both ends of it. The room appeared to be filled with miles and miles of machinery. Along the walls all the way down to the end were hundreds panels and gauges. At the one end of the room was am overhead crane with its hook dangling above and at the other end were two offices. Both offices nearly appeared as though the occupants just up and left, to never worry about it again. Each one was complete with desks, chairs, note books and files full of machinery stock and parts cards.

Dodging a series of puddles, we meandered into what became a maze of catwalks intertwined with all of the workings and machinery from above. Our first staircase was a bit tricky, as we later found most of them to be, because it was missing three or four steps, but we managed to work our way up. We found a door that led us into the very place that it all started. This room held a conveyor belt that seemed to stretch on endlessly. Other than the noise my companion and I were making, this place was solemn and silent as light trickled in through the broken windowpanes. In its current state it was hard to imagine the cacophony of activity that once occurred here. As we walked along the conveyor, we came upon an old, dusty, yellow chair that the supervisor or head must have sat in, the lonely chair that has been appropriately named “King Coal’s Throne”.

On the other side of the throne we found a slightly opened door. Pushing the door open, we stepped into the roof of this coal giant. From here we could see the whole town. Off in the not too far distance lay more ruins of this once great factory and the city it sat in. Standing strong, attached to another large, decrepit building, was the mighty smokestack of the power plant I stood upon. On the other side of the roof lay more ruins of the factory, what is now called “3rd Unit”. Affixed in the middle of all of these is a modern city, complete with fast food and Wal-Mart. It seemed as though the people were doing their best to ignore and forget the failure of the once great company in their city.

As we made our way back down the catwalk corridors, we ended up in a room filled with soot and ash. Overhead there were chutes that lead down into the levels below us and probably came from the conveyor above, to dump the coal down to be burned. Continuing our way out, we finally crawled out into the sunlight of the still stunning daylight. Looking back we could see the windows, with its scattered missing panes shining in the sun like stained glass. Despite its extreme level of decay, it stood strong and shown beautifully as we made our leave.

One Response to “A Merry Old Soul, By Astro”

  1. No pictures of the Throne? 😦

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