It ain't pretty being easy... (soopageek) wrote,
It ain't pretty being easy...

Chester Hide and Skin: Part III

Part I - The Exterior
Part II - Building 1
Part III - Building 2
Part IV - Building 3

fter exploring Building 1, I climbed the stairs between Buildings 2 & 3 to take some more photos of the exterior while the light was still good, most of which were presented in Part I. While wandering around the front of the building, a pick-up truck rolled-in on the tiny driveway and pulled to the rear of the building where my truck was parked. The driver couldn't see me because I was obscured by the edge of the building. I decided that it would be best if I walked back down those stairs and present myself, as I was technically a trespasser. As I emerged from the stairwell I saw a man walking from the truck toward the building. I began waving an arm high above my head, moving toward him

As I got within speaking range I greeted him and told him I was stuck in the area waiting for a load down the street in the industrial park, motioning to my road tractor idling nearby. My camera was visible and obvious, so I told him I had seen the old building and was just taking some pictures. He and his business partner were renting some space in the lower level of Building 2, operating a small snow plowing and salting service for the various commercial properties in the area. He had come to the building because he had misplaced his wallet and was hoping to find it somewhere inside.

We talked for a few minutes about the property. He's the one who actually informed me that it had been a meat-packing facility and that it had been closed since the early 1980's. He told me that across the street from the plant, hidden back in the trees was an old pond. I had seen another abandoned building across the street, directly across from the entrance to this property and had wondered if it had at one point also been part of the business. When he was a kid, he and his brother used to go exploring in the woods and had encountered the pond, completely polluted with blood and animal parts. He said it was one of the creepiest and most disgusting things he had ever seen. With the sun going down and two more buildings to explore, not to mention a half-foot of snow cover, I didn't have any hopes of trying to find the pond, but I've made a mental note to try to find it sometime in the future should I ever have occasion to return. He let me into the place where he stored his equipment, which I was thankful for, since it's the one part of the property I likely would not have been able to access were it not for him. There wasn't much to see: it was mostly open with a dirt floor and a high ceiling supported by concrete columns much like those in Building 1. There were large piles of road salt in one corner of this make-shift garage and a tractor with a front-end loader.

He didn't find his wallet. We talked a couple of minutes more. I told him I was going to explore a bit further and that I wasn't going to be a nuisance or mess with anything - just take pictures - if that was all right with him. I knew he wasn't the owner of the property, but I felt that having at least the appearance of approval from someone involved with it would be nice if someone else noticed my presence. He gave me his blessing, with a warning: motioning toward Building 3 he said, "Be careful in there, that's where the vampires live." He said it without a trace of sarcasm, irony, or humor. I've never been one to harbor much interest or faith in the supernatural and fantastic. While his tone wasn't one of fearful concern for my human blood and mortal state, it was a bit disarming for the earnest and matter-of-fact manner in which he cautioned me. My biggest concern was running into wild animals using it as shelter, vermin, and/or squatters which might not fancy my traipsing around on their turf.

He left and I proceeded to an open doorway in the rear of Building 2 near the bath house and tool shed, which would take me into the lower level. This doorway was in the part of the building which probably represents the oldest structure on the property, with the wood siding and pitched roof. Inside was a main foyer with a small nook and doorways at the end of the room leading off to the left and right. The nook, immediately left upon entering the room had a red brick structure and a rusty metal ladder.

The red brick served as a support for a metal platform above my head.

The ladder led up to the platform.

I've been kicking myself ever since I left for not having climbed that ladder. I had intended to go up there after I finished checking out the rest of the ground level and then it slipped my mind. Maybe if I go back and look for the pond some day, I'll go back and climb that ladder.

Across from the nook on the right side of the room was a large tank that had the appearance of a boiler, or maybe an incinerator.

A view of the same tank from the other end.

Beside it was and old doorway that had been covered-over with concrete block at one point, then had some of the top blocks knocked out to make way for a pipe to run through it.

As mentioned, toward the rear of the room were two doorways, one to the left...

... and one to the right.

Between the two doorways, along the backwall, was a flight of metal stairs.

More on that in a bit, for now let's go through the doorways. The one to the left was a dead-end into a single room with a large tank set diagonally in it.

In the open corner was an old step ladder leaning against the wall and what must be a 20 year old light bulb still intact in the light socket.

The door to the right opened-up into a much larger room, half of which was subdivided by some 2x4 and plywood, giving the room three distinct compartments; one larger compartment comprising half the room and two smaller compartments comprising the other half. The following photo is a shot looking back at the doorway from the large compartment. The pipes running off to the right lead to the first of the two smaller compartments, which are located to the right and behind me. I love the flannel shirt still hanging on the wall, a harbinger of a similar sight I would find in Building 3 a little later.

Left of and behind me in the above photo the room is largely open except for the general refuse lying about. A doorway which leads back outside is there as well as a considerable hole in the wall. For frame of reference, this is directly under the left, exterior, suspended tank we saw in Part I, just on the other side of that wall. The other exterior tank on the other side of that wall is further to the left and directly about the doorways where the tractor and salt are housed, as well saw in the earlier photo of the guy unlocking the garage door.

Continuing to the left we find the far corner of the room with some scraps lying around. A small door with a lock on it is set in the plywood wall, which I presume leads into the tractor/salt garage.

On the other side of the room are the two smaller compartments I mentioned earlier. The one on the left is nearly filled with yet another large metal tank. Pipes run in and out of it, some of them through the window behind it and some through the wall to the other compartment on the right. You can see the plywood divider in the following photo as well. The lower portion of it is concrete block, probably used as a simple foundation for cementing the 2x4 studs into.

The other side of the wall is not so tidy looking. The wall doesn't have plywood covering the studs. Instead, there are various pipes connected to it.

Beside the wall was a large, open, stainless steel tub - as long as the compartment was deep - filled with God knows what.

Beside the tub was a barrel and some sort of concrete bin...

..above which were the remnants of some sort of shaft from the second level.

f course, this brings us back to the ladder. Had I not been interrupted during my exploration of the exterior, I would've discovered that there was an easier means of accessing the second level at the front of the building. I might have decided that it wasn't worth climbing what remained of the steel staircase.

Nah, I still would've climbed it. How could I pass up an opportunity like that? I secured my gear and straddled the sides of the staircase, pulling myself up by the handrails. The few steps at the top which seem intact were brittle and waiting to fall through like the lower ones had. The first room I encountered at the top of the steps was largely free of refuse except for some stray plastic and a broken cart.

The room had a red brick floor, which you can see a little more clearly in the following close-up of the broken cart.

This side of the room is the back of the building. The small doorway in the wall allows access to the catwalk which runs alongside the exterior tanks seen in Part I.

I might be brave enough to climb a decrepit ladder, but I'm not stupid enough to go out on that catwalk. Looking toward the front of the building there were some tanks by the doorway to the stairs and some boarded-up windows. A pipe run through the floor to one of the tanks below.

Toward the center of the room were various means of conduit between this level and the one below. One of them was the other end of the chute seen on the lower level.

There was also a large, column-like structure, which judging from the various switches housed the electrical wiring coming up from the junction box seen downstairs. There also was a pipe coming through the floor which appeared to supply a heater suspended from the ceiling, presumably with natural gas.

The next room over wasn't terribly interesting. There were pallets stacked everywhere, with an overhead door and a general exit out the front of the building....

...and some windows over-looking the exterior tanks and catwalk at the rear of the building.

The view looking back through the doorway to the first room.

The final room of the upper level appears to have been a temperature controlled room at some point, judging from the amount of insulated tile falling from the ceiling and attached to the walls.

My guess is that it served as the meat-locker for the plant before the expansion of Building 3, which we'll look at... where the vampires live... in the next and final entry about Chester Hide & Skin.

Tags: photo, travel

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