Maryland & Philadelphia - Day 2.
I woke up first and quickly showered. I travel light, so after 5 minutes of gathering my items, I was ready to go.
Chad & UJ still had to shower, so I likely had about an hour before I was going anywhere. Walking towards the window, I partook a second glance at the new Maryland territory around me...
...but outside didn't look that exciting, so I settled in for some Biodome.
As predicted, an hour later and we were doing our last room sweep before leaving.
We spent about a half hour on the interstate before exiting north towards our destination. So far my Maryland experiences were all in Cumberland (interstates and motels don't count), so I was soaking everything in once we got off the interstate. The first portion was mostly rolling hills dominated with farms and interspersed with patches of trees. The second portion was very much like you see above - a curvy forest road.
Most of it also had the above angle as Chad was loving the road and attacking the curves with joy and vengeance.
A forest road led to our destination because our destination was inside the Patapsco Valley State Park.
Even though we read about it, the scouting reports were still vague enough that we were a bit confused when we eventually came to the end of the forest road - the road terminated with a guard rail, a cul de sac and a guy parked and bird watching. We parked our car as the bird watcher was leaving and then we exited the car and tried to figure it out.
I walked down towards the stream which seemed to block our path; soon realizing that we could easily walk across the stream bottom and not even get knee deep (in water).
^Chad's Cell Phone Picture
So as we looked at the powerhouse across the way, we removed our socks and rolled up our pants; then meticulously moved across the quick flowing stream. The water did reach knee depth at parts, and some of the rocks were quite slippery, but I safely make it across, followed by UJ, then Chad.
After spending 12 hours in the car the day before, I think we were all happy to get inside and start checking out the powerhouse.
Which resulted in us being far more thorough than necessary for such a small tuberculosis asylum powerhouse.
This shot is from a balcony, created because the building on the right housed some big equipment and the room below me just had some pipes and mechanical rooms. I pondered how nice it would be to sit up here with some friends on a warm night, before moving back inside and checking in with Chad & UJ.
Lets move along...
You couldn't see any other buildings from the powerhouse, but we knew the rough direction from looking at satellite images previously. First, we followed the stream before Chad & UJ sent me up a hill to see if it was the way to the buildings - it ended up being too steep, too loose and ripe with thorns - much to their amusement and my displeasure.
I came back down and we headed away from the river. The brush broke up a bit and the ground flattened out, so we took to moving up the hill for a look - Chad & I began attacking the hill and quickly became entangled in vines and vegetation.
Only Chad & I? Well yeah, we made it about halfway up the hill before we looked back and noticed UJ taking the now obvious worn path - which was 9000x easier.
Once atop the hill, we could see the original 1923 building.
Henryton was established in 1921 and the 6 original buildings were constructed during 1922 & 1923 for the treatment of tuberculosis in Maryland's African Americans.
By 1963, the facility was converted from a tuberculosis sanitarium to a facility to train and shelter severely challenged Marylanders. The facility's capacity was still only 400, but the all-world source of Wikipedia claims that it was successful because of the number of challenged people which it returned to private homes and in some cases, the workforce.
As stated on this website before, America started to move away from institutions in the 70s and 80s, causing many asylums to have dwindling populations. By 1984, Henryton has less than 100 people and it was closed in the fall of 1985.
Walking into the 1923 building casually, the amount of teenage stoner graffiti was epic.
It was also funny because it had been a while since I had been in a teen hangout place like this; funny because back in my day, stoners wrote Slayer & Metallica - now its Bam Margera apparently.
I had a good laugh at that.
For a while, UJ, Chad & I all excitedly told each other about the goofy graffiti we had seen whenever we ran into each other.
I have other friends who've been here, and they said their highlight was looking at the dumb spraypaint as well.
...but I wasn't happy with dumb graffiti alone, because of how much everyone puts down Henryton - so I was violently searching for anything neat or interesting...trying to show Henryton some love.
What I came up with, was the frame of what was probably an attractive window over the front door back in, say, 1988.
Continuing up, down and all around; the 1923 building was room after room & floor after floor of cookie cut rooms and the occasional amusing snippet of teenage paint wisdom.
It was so much of the same, that a simple brick arched doorway had us stopped and documenting when we were surprised by its presence.
Other than that, the only other item of interest was the sun porches.
Normally these places aren't so relaxed, so it was neat to relax on the sun porch with Chad and throw back some Michelobs and Budweisers.
We were just as thorough with the 1923 building as we were with the powerhouse earlier; but after scouring the entire building looking for anything exciting, we decided to walk across the street to the second admin building.
The stains above the doorway read ADMINISTRATION.
Even though the admin was one of the original buildings, it had underwent the same renovations and was the same level of exciting as the 1923 building.
Away from more hilarious graffiti, only funny to us because of our friend Red, the other memorable thing I remember about the admin was coming across the above creature - which wasn't spider-like enough to terrify me, but was gangly enough for me to keep my distance.
When I asked UJ if she saw the weird spider in the hallway, she didn't think it was a spider, but a katydid.
Thankfully these crazy creatures stay in America and can't cross the Detroit River into the year round frozen tundra of Essex County.
We moved east, across the road to the Nurse's & Physician's Cottage (Building 25).
...and just so you're sure that I'm not bullshitting you; this is a picture of the captivating (and typical) interior.
This building was very much what I would envision an abandoned frat house being - goofy colours, plenty of rooms, home-y feeling...
The building was later converted to apartments and the upstairs/attic renovations were done with what space they had - meaning that a room & dresser was squeezed into a tiny room and stairs were constructed up to the window and out onto a fire escape.
Chad & I were both perplexed by the strange setup on this day, and it is neat to have it explained now.
Also, I'd be a liar if I could say that it wasn't nice to discuss the strange rooms on the suddenly sun kissed fire escape.
A panorama from the Nurse's & Physicians Cottage.
The white building is the original building from 1923; the next building is the previously entered Nurse's and Staff's quarters (later Administration and Patient School - the 'second admin'); next is the Attendant's Cottage and of course you can see the window and the roof of the building I'm on.
...or you can just look at this map! Ha!
UJ popped her head out and encouraged us to get the lead out and move along. Moving downstairs and across to the miniscule Attendant's Cottage, we moved through that building quicker than Malkin through Hal Gill and Dan McGillis - mostly because of its small square footage, but also because we were growing tired and less dedicated.
After the Attendant's Cottage, we decided to check out the last substantial building - the Children's Hospital (Building 4).
Greatly fire damaged in the third floor and its exterior appearance, the Children's Hospital Building was a little more exciting because of the presence of a few interior courts. Nothing exciting enough to warrant a picture, but we were desperate for something besides an empty room painted in an calming colours.
Why were there basketball courts in a Children's Hospital Building? Well, children were only at Henryton during its time as a tuberculosis sanitarium - once it became an asylum, it was 18+, and children were sent to another nearby asylum. Therefore the building was converted from the Children's Hospital to the Therapy Building - therapy such as knitting, basketball and other crafts.
We wandered into the basement and the stone building foundations were about the most interesting thing we had seen all day. Add in some survival water barrels (at bottom) and you have some interest from Chad & I.
Nevertheless, we had already concluded to depart Henryton. Chad & UJ didn't seem like they wanted to check out the last building - the staff house (Building 10) - so I didn't make them. We briefly stepped inside, it looked like everything else we had seen, so we moved along.
We stopped and checked out the pool briefly on the way back as well.
I was curious if it would be any good to ride, but without a ton of quickrete, you weren't doing much besides ledge grinds and straight drops.
Alright, enough Henryton already.
We passed through the original building because it was easier than walking all the way around.
We passed the same abandoned house which we came upon when we walked up the hill originally.
It ends up that this is the engineer's house, apparently the engineer for the facility lived on the grounds with his family in this home.
You can see the original building off in the distance, just to the right of the tree near centre (of the picture).
Partaking in my obsession with exploring every building on a hospital campus, I walked to the right and entered the engineer's house as UJ & Chad simply followed the path around to the left.
I climbed into a back window, stopped, looked around, and then dropped out of the window you see at centre in the above picture.
"Anything in there?" Chad inquired. "Nope, nothing at all."
It's good that they're used to my idiosyncrasies by now...
Everything we read online involved visiting Henryton by walking through the Henryton train tunnel. Even though we didn't use the train tunnel, we still wanted to check out the old, magnificent brickwork of the third oldest continuous use train tunnel in America.
There is a very similar tunnel to this in Ohio, which I've always wanted to check out; so I'm glad I could suppress that desire with its Maryland substitute in the meantime.
After checking out the tunnel, Chad & I were hanging out by the stream crossing when we saw 2 lady equestrians crossing. We were a little nervous that these were park rangers or good citizens - but after their horses slowly crossed the stream, they gave us a friendly hello before moving on their way.
We had been wondering about security and police presence all day, maybe this place was more of a free for all then we thought.
I didn't like riding Kayla's horse back in the day, but I'm pretty sure riding a horse through an asylum campus would be amazing.
On the way back to the car, I was the last to cross the stream, extremely discomforted as Chad yelled, "hey, there's a big ole snake over here! It has some fish in its mouth."
Now I get this a lot, and no, I'm not afraid of snakes; what I like to say is that I'm afraid of things which can kill me. Therefore, the presence of a venomous, big southern snake which can kill me, makes me uncomfortable.
Chad (and UJ) were clearly a lot more comfortable.
I slowly crossed the stream and kept a substantial distance. I even climbed the hill to put some space between the cottonmouth & I while I put my socks back on - UJ on the other hand, sat on the rock right next to the snake.
After Chad was done harassing the snake, it was finally time to go into Baltimore - it had been 12 hours of Maryland to this point, all spent in Central & Western (Maryland).
We had worked up quite the appetite and I was excited to try some Maryland cuisine - my research pointed me to Faidley's.
Located in the oldest continually open market in the world - Lexington Market - Faidley's is the place to get some authentic and quality Maryland dishes. Lexington Market has also received awards for "The Best Place to Bring Visitors Off the Beaten Path in Baltimore", so I enjoyed it. Walking through the market, I was amused with the strange foods and overwhelmed with the number of beautiful black southern females - getting away from the popular tourist spots had benefits.
The most famous Maryland item is probably the crab cake - so I of course had to get one of those.
The other thing I had to get was a coddie, which had me excited and pontificating to people long before I even left The Rock - a coddie is a cod cake sandwiched between two saltines. I'm always excited for strange local cuisine, and when it happens to include a food I love (cod), then I'm doubly excited.
All of this was washed down with the popular local beer: National Bohemian (a Natty Boh).
The meal was a bit expensive, but my Lord was it good! I've never had crab before, but the cake broke apart easily and was absolutely mouth-watering. The coddie was tricky to eat, but great nonetheless. Lastly, the Natty Boh was really good and I'll be excited when I walk into a place and realize I can have another.
Interesting signs at Faidley's that UJ pointed out as we left.
I would wholeheartedly endorse Faidley's for anyone who finds themselves in Baltimore.
Lexington Market is only 6 blocks from Camden Yards and we passed right by it on our GPS defined route.
UJ knew I was a lifelong Orioles fan, so it was asked whether I wanted to take a spin around Camden since we were here - of course I did.
We also went in the Orioles store, but I was running low on funds and the merchandise was pricey.
The next destination in Chad's new Tiffin Ohio GPS was Charm City Cakes.
Apparently there's some TLC show about this place and UJ just had to see it in person. She even peered in the window and swooned over the people inside, as Chad & I rolled our eyes and showered her in mockery.
Eventually I grew tired and rested on a "Baltimore - The Best City in America" bench across the street, waiting on UJ to finish up. Why am I telling you this? Well my buddy Caveman had a pretty good line when he saw said picture of me on the bench and replied, "maybe in the Confederate States of America."
(Meaning Baltimore might be the best city in the 13 states of the Confederacy - the southern states in the Civil War)
After Charm City Cakes, it was time to get back into something.
The Guenther Brewing Company was founded in 1900 and the original buildings of this brewery are registered on the U.S. Register of Historic Places. The building we would check out this day wasn't one of the original buildings, but away from the lame brewery in Windsor, I was excited to check out another brewery.
Anyway, Guenther was eventually sold to Hamm Brewing in 1959, who stopped the brand and tried to establish Hamm on the East Coast (Hamm is from Minnesota). The locals didn't care for their beer being cancelled and Hamm only lasted 3 years. Schaeffer would buy the Guenther brand soon after, reintroducing Guenther in Maryland and continuing its production until 1976; when Schaeffer was sold off and Guenther went away.
The buildings have sat here ever since.
Since we don't have Baltimore connections, the three of us knew about some locations, but didn't know anything for sure.
Getting onto the grounds of the Guenther Brewery was easy enough, but we could only quickly reach a ground floor, open, pointless, empty area. We thought maybe we could only get this far and Chad took to viciously looking for entry.
Me? I was more amused at the drippy VAGINA roller.
Chad eventually found us an entrance and the first area was cluttered except for the missing tank areas - which reached 4 or 5 stories up in open space.
We all have a general idea of the brewing process, but just like a power plant, I can't tell you much about the machinery.
Away from the main room with the giant tank holes, there were plenty of other rooms off to the side with other fun stuff to climb around on.
I found it strange that some of these rooms had elaborate graffiti pieces - why wouldn't they just paint it on the first floor where everyone would see it?
Eventually we got above the tank holes and up to the 7th or 8th floor. From here, a series of vertical ladders leads to a boardwalk with windows where you can climb out onto the roof.
The overcast day wasn't doing my photography any favours.
Also, there were a couple taller buildings around me, so I couldn't really enjoy my time up there either, for fear of someone looking out of their office and noticing me.
Back down from the roof, I had briefly checked out the freezer rooms, but Chad had to point out that there were spiral staircases for me to take a closer inspection and actually find them.
Another example of painting in random places - back in one of the freezer rooms.
Maybe this place is visited more frequently then I think and people see all of these areas.
(Not that this is the most elaborate piece by any stretch of the imagination, but the obscurity of the location makes you wonder why he wouldn't pick a more prominent wall space.)
After the cold storage rooms, we briefly sidled over to another adjacent building with a very interesting tank area.
Well it wasn't that brief, as we did have to wait while UJ shot long exposures of the above tanks - but again we resorted to our mockery showers and all was well.
It was getting late and we wanted to get to something else tonight, so we left Guenther. We punched in a fourth Baltimore destination and Chad's car was headed to the Greenmount West neighbourhood.
We found our destination, but Chad & I wanted to grab some beers first. There was a liquor store 2 blocks away and the area looked sketchy, but we would only be inside for a minute. Pulling very close to the front door, Chad & I walked in the front door and were perplexed that we were suddenly in a plastic cube: the entire store was behind glass! We stood there enclosed and had to ask for ANYTHING which we wished to purchase.
I was thankful for my superior vision (thanks Dad!) and squinted to see a 40 which I'd never had before: Schaeffer!
(...but Schaeffer was gone in 1976, you ask? Well, not exactly. Beer companies sell their rights commonly and other brewing conglomerates will purchase these rights so that they can use the brand.)
Anyway, after that new life experience of shopping from a plastic cube, we moved the car two blocks over and went about Lebow Clothing (the building you see above). Opened in the 1930s, Lebow was a high-end clothing factory, best known for blazers and suits. It employed many Baltimoreans, but in 1985, it was purchased by Abraham Zion, who shuttered the facility and waited on a market boom to turn a profit on his purchase.
The market boom would never come. Zion owned the property for 20 years before the City of Baltimore snatched it from him - resulting in a ongoing, 5 year legal battle where Zion claims the City was wrong for taking his building.
On September 14, 2009, a judge ordered the building demolished, but I've been unable to find any more news in regards to this. What I have found is a blog where two girls went to Lebow alone in late February (2010), so I have to assume it's still there...
Anyway, the big draw to Lebow is the fact that the second floor is littered with old suit coats still hanging on their racks.
When we first entered the building, we went on the first floor and it was nothing but cubicles and offices; so we decided because it was dark, to just go up to the suit coats.
We also heard someone moving around (the first floor is supposedly home to a few homeless folks), so we decided to just stick to the clothing racks instead of bothering them at night to see boring cubicles.
How was the Schaeffer 40?
Well it was pretty weak, but still alright. It wasn't very strong and didn't do very much, but I mean it was okay, it wasn't offensive...
What else was there besides the blazers and suit coats?
In all honesty, we didn't wander very far. It had been a long day and we were content to relax in one area.
There were some neat sewing machines nearby though...
We were planning to sleep at a campground this night, so we had to be on our way by 10 o'clock at the latest.
Thankfully though, we had some time to spare, which we spent on the roof.
The roof of Lebow is directly across from a taller artist loft, so we couldn't dawdle around on the water tower or any area besides that which was blocked from hipster view by an elevator room.
The City of Baltimore.
There was light rain, but it was warm; the three of us enjoyed ourselves relaxing in the city.
We also enjoyed watching a police chopper flying around a nearby neighbourhood looking for someone.
Add another life experience to my belt.
As I said, we couldn't spend all night up there because the campground had a campsite acquisition time. Chad & I both wanted to return to the plastic cube store for more beers, but we had to go.
Exiting into an alley which was supposedly used in the filming of HBO's The Wire, we walked up the street to our car where UJ noticed a cat up in the tree.
We stood around and tried to coax the feline down, but the cat wasn't having it. Chad & I each looked at the tree and thought about climbing up there, but neither of us were up to the task. Finally, UJ decided to call the Baltimore Fire Department, who had a good laugh at the notion of rescuing a cat in a tree, before informing UJ that they haven't rescued cats from trees in a VERY long time.
Eventually we concluded that we did more than would be expected and that the cat would get down when he was hungry.
Godspeed little kitty.
A half hour drive later and we had our campsite. Now that we had that established, we went back into town and to a diner to finally get some dinner. There were some teenage girls of questionable age and UJ was unimpressed with my ogling and comments - I insisted they were old enough and UJ disagreed with me...
Anyway, the food wasn't half bad and the place was ridiculously busy for 11 at night as well.
Eventually it was back to the campsite; after an American-sized portion of food, plus beer, plus a day of exploring...I was out in about 5 minutes after a grueling tent setup.
(There's more to this story and it will come in a couple days.)
1 - Wikipedia - Henryton State Hospital
2 - Yvonne Jones, Liberal Member of the House Assembly - Communities
3 - Urban Explorers X Files - Henryton Map (27 Images)
4 - Flyaway Smugmug - Henryton Center
5 - Beer, Breweries and Breweriana of Upstate New York - Guenther Brewing History
6 - Wikipedia - Gunther Brewing Company
7 - Apartment Therapy - Lebow Clothing Factory Baltimore
8 - BNet - Judge Orders Lebow Demolished