Archive for the Guest Photographers Category

The Pirate’s Den, By Astro

Posted in "A worldwide secret organization...", Guest Photographers, Guest Writers on June 18, 2012 by Send4Help

Nestled within the gulf coast, on an island known for its abundant history sits the ruins of what was once a beautiful home. Upon entering I came through an arch that still proudly stood presenting this beautiful Spanish style “Mansion”, though compared to the other mansions on this island the title is a bit pretentious. The house was designed and built by a famous “union-buster” and industrialist in 1928 but he never lived in it. In 1931, the mansion was sold to another man, who lived there with his family until 1950, when his wife and children died and he later died from a heart attack.

After parking in the back of the house, in the driveway, I entered what was once a truly beautiful courtyard. It had a small fountain that was now being overtaken by a thriving, untamed oak tree and a fireplace. Both the fountain and fireplace were tiled and had small hand-painted tiles that depicted various parts of the Spanish take-over of the island. On the walls of the courtyard lay gorgeous tiles represented small Spanish style scenes. Walking up the steps connected to the balcony, I could look into the house in the rooms that appeared to be a hallway, a small closet and the entrance to a room that has burned long ago. The mansion has caught fire a couple of times and has suffered a lot of abuse. Parts of it have been demolished and others have simply been torn up by people who have come and gone. Through the courtyard, walking through the house, the west room is what appears to be a ballroom of sorts. The windows all adorned with a gorgeous trim around each one, and the whole room was centered with a fireplace. Walking into the front room of the house, I was greeted by pirates. Each all has massive pirate murals on them! The centerpiece of the whole thing was on the second level. Looking down upon the front room was the infamous Pirate Jean Lafitte.

This mansion used to sit on a massive plantation that is now mostly a state park, but before that is was always rumored to be the place that Lafitte buried his treasure when he was running the island in the early 19th century. The pirate and his crew took over after the battle between them and the Karankawa Indians in 1821.Shortly after, Lafitte was asked to leave by the United States government after they got tired of his constant preying on the ships in the gulf, but his legends live on and are preserved on the very walls of the mansion. The murals are truly a highlight and permanent charm of the  mansion, as they keep alive the memory of another chapter of the history of the island and the charm of the pirate mystique.

At the top of the stairs, a room behind the second story mural sits to the west of the house and if not for the overgrown foliage, would gaze across the gorgeous landscape and peer over the water on the south side beach. Meandering through the house I passed several other large rooms with fireplaces in each, in total I counted about seven. For such a warm climate, I could absolutely not understand why any house would need so many fireplaces. The house appeared to have been updated with electricity sometimes during its lifespan but not with anything more than lighting and a few plugs.

Walking down the stairs, I made my way back out to where the courtyard was. The driveway in which I parked sat directly in the middle of the gorgeous archways separating the sides of the home. On the North side of the house were other rooms that no longer had a roof over them, used for caretakers and guests when it was active. There were even what appeared to be the remnants of a garage. Majority of the rooms are completely over grown with weeds but on the west side of the house was a gorgeous walkway. In the construction of this home, all of the tiles were all taken into consideration and carefully laid. To east side of the house a room with only a fireplace and windows that face the lake and near the lakeside is where the great pirate’s treasure is said to be buried.

Although the treasure story has never been proven or disproven, it adds a bit of an aura to the once-great house on the island of many stories. As I got in my truck and drove out, I made the circle through the arches of the house and made my way to the archway that marked my entrance before as it now marked my exit as I left, standing alone on the road with nothing but the pillars of the fence line to keep in company at the roadside.


A Merry Old Soul, By Astro

Posted in "A worldwide secret organization...", Guest Photographers, Guest Writers, Recent Articles on May 14, 2012 by Send4Help

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.