The Rubber Duck Factory Revisited - The Dainty Squid

The Rubber Duck Factory Revisited

Monday, September 28, 2015


Last Sunday Jeff, Jason, and I attended a lecture on Cleveland history. We learned the history of a handful of buildings downtown, and ate lots of snacks. It was pretty awesome. Not only was what we were learning interesting I absolutely love seeing people talk about their interests. It was wildly obvious this man loved researching our city and that was enough to get me excited.

After the lecture I was feeling a serious urge to get into something abandoned. I guess it really just comes down to the fact that passionate people spark my passions. It's hard to pinpoint exactly what I love about photographing abandoned buildings but something I really enjoy is documenting changes.

Something during the lecture that piqued my interest was when he was talking about this headstone and how he was really glad someone had photographed it way back when because it is no longer legible. It's just a worn down obelisk now. He mentioned that a lot of things can last for a while, they might stay in the same condition for hundred years then all of a sudden in the next fifty go rapidly down hill. I've found abandoned buildings to be a prime example of that.


After the lecture, while waiting on Erin to get off work, we walked over to "The Rubber Duck Factory" just to waste a little bit of time. I hesitated to even take any photos of the place because none will ever been fun as the ones from my previous visit but then I thought about why I loved photographing these places so much and what he had said about deterioration of things.

This old warehouse is in no way, shape or form as significant as a headstone but it's crazy to see how quickly it's just crumbling away like the headstone I mentioned above. So much has changed since my last visit; furniture is gone, someone has been dumping shrubbery, there is tons more graffiti, the roof in one of the largest sections has collapsed and most noticeably... I couldn't find a single rubber duck. My last visit we gathered nearly five hundred of these dirty ducks. I checked all the spots I knew I hide ducks and didn't see even one.



It's funny to me that now anytime someone goes there they'll be left wondering "Why in the world is this called The Rubber Duck Factory?" I love that I was able to go there and document a time where there was an abundance of ducks because no one else will be able to do that again. ...Unless the ducks show up again...? I guess that's not totally out of the realm of possibility. Maybe they've just been kidnapped!? Oh man, someone should have totally turned this into a puzzle complete with ransom note. Opportunity lost! 

Like I said, this building isn't all that important in Cleveland history but it's certainly fun to record little things like this. Soon it will be demolished so that condos can be built and all that will be left will be the memories and photos myself and other photographers have captured.
xoxo

Find my post from my first visit here

Sept 27, two days after drafting up this post, the Rubber Duck Factory actually burnt down. Such a crazy coincidence. 

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22 thoughts

  1. I love how photography can capture moments that would otherwise be lost forever. Change has always made me sad yet, maybe beauty isn't in a thing being locked in a capsule but, the evolution of a thing. The total history of its life.

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    1. Definitely! Change can be hard but it is beautiful.

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  2. Wow just think, there's a chance that these pics and the ones your friends took are the last pictures that will ever exist of the factory. So wild

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    1. That is a crazy thought! This is definitely one of the more commonly visited abandoned spots in the city but it's a possibility these were the last photos taken inside.

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  3. I'm not at all surprised! The 4th photo up there is pretty clearly the beginnings of a bonfire. This was probably arson.

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    1. It does kind of look that way but I honestly highly doubt the owner even bothered to do that much work. I have been hearing whispers of arson though. Burning it down is cheaper than demolishing it.

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  4. I really love all the colorful graffiti!

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  5. lol @ duck kidnapping. It's incredible how much it has changed since your last visit and how you were able to document that. Neat-o. I love your abandoned photos!

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  6. I love your thoughts on capturing abandoned buildings, or just older things. I feel like abandoned buildings are a stark reminder of the passing of time, which I find both sobering and exhilarating.

    Also, perhaps it burned down because the duck kidnappers realized you were onto them. Burned down the scene of the crime to cover their tracks...think about it....lol! Solve this crime...but don't quack under the pressure! (had to do it)

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    1. Hahaha, Kayla, I think you might have the right idea. Also - quack under pressure? That is HILARIOUS.

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    2. Hahaha, Kayla, I think you might have solved the case!

      Also - quack under the pressure? That is HILARIOUS!

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    3. Follow up to the theory I have been working on lol. How fantastic would it be if someone collected all of the ducks...and then, when the condos are built...they place every single duck back in the condo building. It would be the crime of the ages.

      Thank you! I am proud of my skill in the art of pun...it's a gift! Ha!

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  7. I love your visits to the Rubber Duck Factory and am sad to hear not only are the ducks gone but the place burned down.

    Thank you for sharing your photos.

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    1. Well, I guess if the ducks were gone before it burned down there is still hope to see them again!

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  8. Oh my gosh! I can't believe it burned down right after this! What a freak coincidence!

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  9. I love this! I photograph old country churches in the UK and feel this joy, I can't drive past one without stopping and darting to the door, hoping it is open or I can get the key for it. Full of treasures that might not be around one day.

    Wow that is so spooky that it burnt down. You must have felt a shiver when you found out. Intriguing place and wonder where all those ducks are?

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    1. Yeah, definitely a weird feeling to hear it was burning down days after we visited. Just glad I got to go one last time.

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  10. Wow, it almost looks like an entirely different place since your previous post?! That's super eerie that it burnt down a couple of days after your visit!

    I also have to say that I love your line 'passionate people spark my passions' - it's SO incredibly true! The giddiness I get from reading about, watching or talking to excited people just makes me want to go and do something I am crazy about too.

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