February 2016 - The Dainty Squid

Knox County Poorhouse

Monday, February 29, 2016

2016, after the fire

If you've been reading a while, you might recall how after I got my license I took a lot of little day trips to silly places as often as possible. The giant basket, and field of concrete corn cobs, Story Book Forest, numerous cemeteries, and more! After moving to Cleveland I kind of fell out of the habit. I've been missing it a lot lately. For 2016 I made two goals that would be accomplished by getting back into the habit of taking these trips; to explore Ohio, and be brave and be alone. You can read more about my goals here.

I spent last Sunday night researching places I might want to stop at. While browsing all my regular sites, hoping something would spark my interest, I thought of the Knox County Poorhouse. It's one of those buildings I had known about for a while but never made it a point to go and check out. On June 26, 2015 the poorhouse caught fire. I thought that I had missed my opportunity and that was a huge bummer. It was an insanely gorgeous building. I did a little research, and found some recent photos. It didn't burn down completely, it had caught fire. While the building was obviously in very rough shape, from what I could find online it still looked like it might be worth a visit. I decided I was going to make the drive, what was there to lose?

Built in 1875, The Knox County Poorhouse was a place for the poor, and indigent. The mentally ill were sometimes left there by families who could not afford the proper treatment. Many other residents were elderly who had no other place to go. It didn't take too long before rumors that something wasn't right began to swirl. Horrible conditions led to more than a few deaths over the years. Supposedly remains were even found in shallow unmarked graves in more recent years. Eventually, 1953, the building was found structurally unstable by a county engineer and subsequently closed but not for too long... The Knox County Poorhouse reopened as a bible college in 1957. It was open for 31 years before closing yet again in 1988. Finally, in it's last incarnation the poorhouse was used as a haunted house. In 2006 four of the floors collapsed. Since then it's sat completely abandoned.

abandoned, poorhouse, mt vernon
"Erected in 1875. 6 & 7"

Monday morning I hopped in the car, equipped with multiple cameras, and headed off with a few spots mapped out. The drive was beautiful. The further I got from home the foggier it got. I absolutely LOVE shooting photos in fog so I nixed my other stops and headed straight to the poorhouse. Much to my dismay around ten minutes before arriving the fog had lifted, I was disappointed to say the least. I turned down the road and there she was. After a long drive, the feeling of seeing what you came for off in the distance is incredibly satisfying. It no longer mattered that it wasn't foggy, I was just happy to be there. Even in the state the building was in, she was beautiful!! I couldn't wait to get out of my car and take pictures.

Then I spotted a truck... Seeing that the property is clearly marked "NO TRESPASSING!" there's no playing dumb and really the property isn't that large so sneaking around wasn't an option. Did I really just drive two hours only to see the building and leave with no photos?! I parked across the street, contemplated my options, did a bit of pouting then decided to put on my big girl pants and just go feel out whoever was parked over there. In case y'all need a reminder, I am insanely shy. Things like this, while no big deal to most people, are a huge deal to me. I rehearsed it a few times, "Hey, do you own this place? Would you mind if I took some photos?", before actually working up the nerve.

I drove over, rolled down my window, and took a deep breath. "Hey!" I blurted out. "Hey!" the man mimicked back in the same tone. I stuttered out my rehearsed speech and to my surprise, he said yes! We traded introductions, and spoke briefly about the building. His name was Larry, he and his wife purchased the poorhouse in September of 2015, shortly after it caught fire. They had plans to turn it into a banquet hall but soon realized it would cost a lot more money than they had anticipated. The city was pressuring them to do something with the building immediately due to the dangerous conditions. The day I showed up to photograph it? Demolition day! What are the chances?! I gathered all my equipment and started off to photograph what was left of this incredible building before it was gone forever.

I don't know about you but there are just some people I instantly feel at ease with and Larry was definitely one of those people. He joined me after my first lap of the property and together we walked around discussing the building's history and how sad we both were to see it go. Larry grabbed a flashlight from his vehicle and we both explored inside for the first time. "My wife wouldn't let me come inside" he joked. It was really special to be able to experience that with a stranger, especially one who is from a totally different generation. To be able to find common ground like that is really awesome. We poked around inside where it was possible, and peeked in all the windows to see the spots we couldn't otherwise access. My plans for the day were just to get some exterior photos so I definitely got more than I ever expected.

abandoned building, ohio, knox county
Larry searching for the perfect souvenir brick for me to keep.

I'm bummed I never got to see the poorhouse in all it's glory before it burnt down but I guess it's pretty darn cool to be able to say I was one of the very, very last people to explore and photograph it before it was torn down. I can't even begin to tell you how much of a success I consider that little day trip to be. I conquered a fear of mine and was repaid enormously with a personal tour of an incredible piece of history.

A million thanks to Larry for being so kind as to let me photograph his building and giving me a tour. Words cannot express how thankful I am! Part of me couldn't imagine that it was actually being torn down that same day but a news report along with photos confirm the sad news, the poorhouse is gone forever.

friday favorites

Friday Favorites #353

Friday, February 26, 2016

This looks like the perfect spring jacket!
 (via: Modcloth)
 (via: Coucou Suzette)
This bed is just the cutest. It would even match my lockers, which are now in my bedroom. Then paired with these striped sheets? Aw yissss.
(via: Serena & Lily)
This lapel pin is so wonderful.
 (via: Emily McDowell)
Cactus washi tape is kind of a must!
(via: Mandie Kuo)
 (via: Scout & Lilly)
Just another striped dress for me to obsess over.

Link love...
▴ I don't know what it is but I can't get enough of the candles in this shop.
This patch FOREVER. I even annoy myself giving people a hard time about being on their phones, it just bugs me so much.
▴ This return address stamp is the cutest!!!
▴ Such gorgeous floral bedding.
A striped chair! Wooooo!
This bra. (Plus it's on super sale!)

Happy Friday!!

Ps. For more fun finds check out my Everyday Favorites

what i wore

what I wore : a giant tooth

Thursday, February 25, 2016

cleveland, blogger, tooth sweater, purple hair
Kaylah Doolan, Cleveland Lifestyle Blog, wiw
kaylah doolan, wiw, ootd

button up shirt -  Old Navy
lapel pin - Hand Over Your Fairy Cakes
sunglasses - Carine c/o Moorea Seal

I don't have too much to say about these photos or this outfit except that sunshine, a new pair of jeans that fit well, my new favorite sunglasses, and the most perfect sweatshirt make me a very happy gal. That sunshine especially! *insert seven heart emojis*

very important detail I couldn't seem to capture in the sunlight.

explore everywhere

life lately : polaroids

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

polaroid, instant film, film, polaroid 600

It's been a while since I shared any film photos. It's really just been a while since I shot any film at all. That's how it seems to go with me. I shoot it obsessively, and almost exclusively for a period of time then I kind of forget about it. Well, I'm back in the swing of things. I've been breaking my back carrying around both of my Polaroid cameras, the 600 and my land camera, along with a myriad of other camera gear. Normally the land camera is my favorite but I'm pretty darn stoked about what I've been capturing with my Polaroid 600 and some Impossible Project color frame film. Plus the color frame is so fun I just had to share what I've been shooting lately.

polaroid, instant film, impossible projectpolaroid, film
polaroid, instant film, impossible project

The one in the lime green frame, from Mount Moriah Cemetery, is one of my favorites. Who am I kidding? I REALLY love all of these. If I were someone who believe in ghosts you're darn right I'd be claiming "ORBS!".  I love that the film got all funky. It couldn't have done that to a more fitting photo. It looks super mystical. I rather enjoy when something like that happens to my instant film. The shot of Cleveland? I feel like that little splotch in the corner makes the photo all the more interesting.

Ehhh, don't mind me. Instant film just gets me all excited. I know compared to my fancy pants digital camera these photos are absolutely awful but there's just something so special about instant photos, something that can't be replicated. I love touching them. I can't even tell you how many times I've looked through these eleven photos in the past few days. The film is definitely expensive but it is so worth it.

Pssst.  If you're interested in instant photography, be sure to check out this post featuring four different instant cameras you can still buy film for today!
You can find  more of my film photos under the "film" tag.


Mount Moriah Cemetery

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

philly, cemetery, abandoned

After deciding to take a spur of the moment trip to Philadelphia for Valentine's Day, we hit the internet for ideas of what to do. I guess unlike most like people we weren't looking for museums, or delicious restaurants, although we obviously love both of those things. We were looking for abandoned buildings, accessible rooftops, and any other little interesting, yet often overlooked, nooks and crannies. I knew from my last, visit a few years back, that Philadelphia has some really great cemeteries. I was thinking we could swing by Laurel Hill Cemetery again. It was beautiful, my photography has definitely improved since then and I'd love to re-shoot it. Then we found it... Mount Moriah Cemetery, the cemetery of my dreams.

Mount Moriah Cemetery was established in 1855. It's the final resting places for over 80,000 people. It spans 380 acres. You can read the full history of the cemetery here. The short version is that the cemetery was privately owned but in 2004 the last known member of the association passed away. Basically it was a big legal mess and the cemetery was essentially abandoned. It suffered from years and year of neglect. Large sections became completely overgrown with weeds. I even saw a tree growing straight out of an obelisk! By golly, this place is a sight to see!

philly, cemetery, abandoned

I didn't do too much research on the cemetery before visiting. I guess I didn't want to get too excited in case we weren't able to make it there. So my first though upon parking outside the cemetery was "Okay, this has to be trespassing..."* Jeff and I slipped in through the broken fence and made our way to the gatehouse, which was what initially caught our attention in the photos online. It was in A LOT worse shape than we had seen. I actually didn't even mange get a decent shot of it, the sun was at a funny spot in the sky, and I was completely overwhelmed with everything else that surrounded me.

I don't even know how to describe this cemetery to you right now, except that it was all of my cemetery dreams come true. I know, I'm sorry, thats awful to say. I don't think it's awesome that someone royally screwed up and let this happen to a cemetery but I would be lying to say that "abandoned cemetery" didn't rank SUPER high on my list of things I'd like to photograph.

philly, cemetery, abandoned, headstone

In 2011, Friends of Mount Moriah Cemetery was formed, a group of clearly amazing volunteers dedicated to the preservation of the cemetery. Although the cemetery was definitely overgrown, and in the worst shape I have I ever seen a cemetery in, it was obvious that lots of hard work had been going into it recently. Trees growing up beside headstones and been cut down, and there were piles of brush waiting to be hauled away.

Right now FOMMCI has a gofundme running to raise the money needed to save the gatehouse. It will cost $35,000 to stabilize the structure.  They currently have $24,500 from a grant and previous donations. They need another $10,500 to keep it from becoming a pile of rubble. Any donations over their goal (which they reached in two days!) will be used for additional Mount Moriah Cemetery capital improvements. You can read more and donate, if you feel so inclined, here!

We barely saw a fraction of the cemetery. It's the largest in the state of Pennsylvania! Part of me is sad that it'll no longer exist in this condition. I'll never be able to experience it like I did on this day but I guess that's why I feel photography is so important... The other part of me knows that's obviously a really good thing that it's now on the up and up. I'm sure returning this cemetery to it's former glory will take a very, very long time but it's definitely on it's way. FOMMCI, you guys rule!

*Just wanted to note that everything I've read says the cemetery is open and visitors are welcome. 

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