2 Days and a Night in Ohio - the Second Day.
Cleveland, Youngstown and Southington1, Ohio
Once I was asleep, I was out. Only three hours would pass before UJ was trying to awaken Chad & I; as we had both stated that we wanted to see the sun rise.
Drunken intentions turn into tough proposals when you're awoke from your slumber. Nevertheless, I got up after UJ's second plea and stumbled outside into my chair on the balcony.
I was happy that I did as it was a beautiful sunrise and Ohio completely satisfied.
If you're wondering what this location is that I've continued to refer to, it's Iron Mike Tyson's old mansion. Mid-2008, the interweb was abuzz with pictures on IllicitOhio of Tyson's old digs in some tiny village located in Eastern Ohio. These pictures were blatantly stolen and featured on Ebaum's World (nice work btw guys2) and a million other small times blogs trying to become the next Perez Hilton3.
Hopefully now that the IllicitOhio hype and copycat hype has died down; as well as the fact that you can't go here anymore; that will limit how much these pictures are stolen and this BRN web site is visited.
We spent about a half hour outside enjoying the sunrise before making our way inside and into the first room - the washroom.
Iron Mike had an attractive hot tub view outside into his backyard. How great would that be? To sit there at sunset with Robin Givens beside you?
God damn he lived the life!
I sat in the tub for a while sipping the Mike's Hard4 that UJ gave me in the morning5.
When I first woke up, I made my way into the house as nature was calling. After walking in the bathroom, I was confused as to why there were two toilets and why one had faucets and handles.
Later on, as we were all taking pictures and checking out the house, UJ died laughing, pointed and exclaimed, "Mike Tyson had a bidet!!!"
Then it hit me. I had passed the Keystones6 from the night before into Mike's bidet.
Oh man. What kind of house guest am I?
Anyway, I looked to the right of the bidet and the toilet, and realized that someone really needed to tell Iron Mike that Arabic-esque door arches can't class up a place with sponge painted walls.
The hallway between the bathroom and the bedrooms was decorated with white walls, burgundy carpets and fake trees.
Burgundy carpet with white walls? It looked like a Tide commercial where they spill red wine on the tablecloth.
The bedrooms weren't very exciting as nothing was left but the beds. I did climb onto one and get the view that Iron Mike once had; minus Robin Givens unfortunately.
Each bedroom had a beautiful bathroom attached though.
We moved through the bedrooms quickly and onto the downstairs.
It's funny because I actually liked these white handrails and then I'd later read an internet rumour that these handrails were insisted upon by Robin Givens herself, even though everyone else thought they were ugly.
You know what that means7?
The basement wasn't very interesting with a small entertainment room, a room with the hot water tank and a miscellaneous room.
We didn't spend very long down there, mainly because there was a ridiculous amount of black mold in the miscellaneous room. Although I did pop one of the tape decks on Mike's entertainment system and found the above mix tape from a 'D-Renae' from the 212 (Manhattan).
I was telling someone about this later and they asked me what the tape sounded like. Since I can count the number of female r&b songs that I like on one hand; I didn't even THINK of taking the tape. In hindsight, I guess it would have been a neat memento, but meh, whatever...
There was also a sauna room.
The subtle carpet leading to the room and the colouring of the wood stain proved to me that he could design at least one room that I would have in my dream house.
The three of us got inside, took a group shot and moved along...
The kitchen wasn't so bad either; actually it reminded me of my aunt's kitchen from the same time period.
UJ cracked the fridge and found a Diet Coke to her delight. She drank enough for a picture, then put the rest down.
The rest of the cupboards were empty and the only other 'items' in the fridge besides the Diet Coke were some condiments and baking soda I believe.
Ok, the sauna room was fine; the kitchen was fine; but then came this albatross!
This is what we had read about, this is what we had seen on the interweb - Iron Mike's love for zebra fucking carpet! Jesus!
Sitting here now, I'm trying to think of someway to vindicate zebra carpeting...but I just can't. It's not pimp, it's just gaudy. I mean, maybe in 1970 it would have been alright, but c'mon now!
Where was Robin Givens when this decision was made?
Past the zebra carpet room there was a hallway which led to a utility room and a small bathroom with a large shower. If you went straight through the hallway instead of turning, you would reach the Tyson Pool house.
The Tyson Pool House featured a kidney pool with a hot tub atop the stairs (featured in the above picture). The hot tub water level was low enough where you could sit on the edge and not have your feet in the water - so I did so.
It was there that I pondered. Since a young age I've always enjoyed getting undressed really fast and just bursting into whatever lake or pool we're at - so I was sitting there, staring at this water, thinking about just how gross it could be. I mean, Chad & UJ would be absolutely dumbfounded if I suddenly went anti-shirt and just jumped in...how bad could it be?
I stared at that funky, thick green water for a bit longer and decided against it.
I'm sorry to get your hopes up, then disappoint. Typical big talk from this little man.
Maybe I can make it up with this picture of Mike's sundae bar?
Regardless, give that some thought. Mike probably had a bunch of his boxer buddies over; along with some European models. So there all sitting in this pool room and then Iron Mike gets up and goes to make himself a sundae? What?
"Eh yo Tyson? You want some cherries on that? ...Yeah? ...Whipped Cream? Cool!"
We finished up inside and walked through the sliding door out to the backyard.
Mikey gets some points for his barbecue as well, but I always hated those patio tiles you see in the bottom right, so the two result in zero points gained or loss.
There was also a full size basketball court around back with 'Team Tyson' emblazoned at centre.
The court was blocked from the neighbours view if I remember correctly and I realized that I should have brought a basketball.
Also in the backyard was a 3 car garage and his tiger cages.
Chad & UJ got some awesome shots inside the tiger cages; which I didn't go inside for some reason now unbeknownst to me.
Rounding the driveway and heading out.
(The patio to the right is where we relaxed the night prior.)
Continuing up the drive casually, we came across the sinkhole which I saved UJ from the night before.
She was thankful.
(That sinkhole was approximately 30% across the driveway)
Towards the front gate there was a security hut which we peered into and found wide open.
The security hut would be more aptly named security house, as it was the size of a small home with living quarters and bathrooms.
Various security camera views were burnt into almost all of the above televisions.
The security hut/house/home wasn't much more than a fridge and some televisions, so we were done with that quickly.
Outside the front door, about 15 feet away, were the gates. While yesterday, the nerves were rattled with pitch-black darkness and cars whizzing by; today was marked with zero winds and beautiful temps. We took a quick look out and made our way to the public side of the gates.
I'm not usually a fan of hanging around locations afterwards, while Chad typically enjoys hanging around and strutting about. Therefore we hung around for a short time and took some pictures by the gates - even a few where all 3 of us posed for a group shot (using a tripod).
The mansion across the street was a little more modest.
The above picture is not far from the gates and we had about 80% of our walk back to the village centre ahead of us. It was interesting to see the area illuminated and what our surroundings were as the night before we couldn't see a thing.
We popped into the local convenience store as we were all dying of thirst. The last thing I had to drink was that Mike's Hard about 3 hours prior, so I was definitely up for some type of beverage.
While inside, Chad struck up a conversation with the women working the counter about the mansion. She gave us the one over and asked if we had been there. She didn't seem threatening, so while not admitting it, we looked around and didn't really say no either.
She laughed and said it's just always been an odd place; so different from the surrounding area. We asked her if she had ever seen Tyson in her store and she replied that she couldn't recall, but upon asking her husband, he replied that, "Yeah, he used to come in quite a bit. Bought a lot of ice cream."
It didn't click until I just wrote that last sentence; with the sundae bar and the frequent ice cream runs...Iron Mike must have really loved his ice cream.
(As for what's going on with the mansion. Tyson had to sell a few things as his life went downhill (50 Cent bought his Connecticut mansion). He sold this mansion to a friend who went to jail for trying to sell the mansion to a cop posing as someone who was using drug money. Apparently, in America, you need to know where your buyers are getting their money or else you'll go to jail.
Anyway, the guy who went to jail has something called a 'family trust', who know owns the mansion. They weren't paying very much attention to it & that allowed the little flash of the spotlight with people checking out the interior. The problem was that once it was posted on IllicitOhio, ESPN, Ebaum's World and 9 000 other sites, the story spread like wildfire. Eventually the family trust found out and now the property is secured and I haven't heard of anyone getting back inside since last summer.)
We walked back to the car and went on our way.
If you have been reading this site for some time, you may have remembered my trip to Pittsburgh with The Fondeler, where I was excited by the above building which we found wide open near downtown Youngstown, Ohio.
Ever since then, the building had become entrenched in my brain and was sitting on the list of the top 10 places I wanted to go. Therefore, I asked Chad & UJ if we could stop by Youngstown since we'd be over in the east side of Ohio anyway. They had no problem with it and after Southington, we made the hour drive over to Youngstown. We were all starving and tired - I fell asleep, awoke to the sight of McDonald's, ate 3 double cheeseburgers9, fell back asleep and then woke up in Youngstown.
I had told them about Youngstown quite a few times, with the numerous wide-open spots and tasty looking buildings - but we were in for quite the surprise. I had already knew about Youngstown plan to downsize which involves incredibly active demolition and focusing of services, but I was surprised to see the above building already gone. It had only been a year since The Fondeler and I were there, but they apparently are really moving quick in Youngstown.
I had a single back-up plan in case the above building was sealed/lost/demolished. We drove around the city for a bit before heading to my back-up location and happened to also come across a wide open & very tasty school.
Knowing Chad doesn't like schools, I asked what he thought and he instantly responded with questions about my location in mind (clearly showing he was trying to get out of this school we found.)
I decided to be fair and pulled out an American dime. The school was what I wanted, so I assigned it my lifetime choice of tales.
The coin came up heads and we were on to my back-up planned location.
The Republic Rubber Company began operations sometime around the turn of the century.
They manufactured rubber products such as fire hoses and hydraulic hoses.
I normally try to be brief with the history of locations when I am posting spots which I travel to see; but Republic Rubber had an interesting occurrence which I had never heard of prior to researching its history.
In 1979, Libbey-Owens-Ford of Toledo announced their planned closure of Republic Rubber because it was too costly to continue to operate. At this time, Youngstown was losing jobs and things weren't looking very good, so some of the employees approached the company and proposed that they buy the factory. With bank loans, selling property to the city of Youngstown and also selling shares to other employees; they raised slightly more than the $2.5 million dollar asking price and the plant was theirs.
That year, the new owners made great cost-cutting decisions such as the removal of 34 salaried employees and the purchase of 2 new boilers which brought the utility costs down from $1 million to $200 000 annually. The article claims that morale was high and it goes to show you just how happy these people were to have a job at all - as they took pay cuts from $6.50 hourly down to $5 hour, reduced their vacation time and lost their pensions.
If dreams failing and companies crumbling are the types of things that bother you, then I'm not really sure why you still come to this site.
Regardless, us blue collar types tend to blame upper management and vilify them when plants fail and close. When the employees take over, and the place still fails; it hits closer to home, as there is no one to blame.
The Republic Hose Manufacturing Corp., the new employee name for the place, closed in 1989.
The land under Republic Rubber is very polluted and has sat mostly idle since 1989; except for when The City of Youngstown has made minor amounts of money off companies wanting to use the site to film movies.
Movies such as 'Horrors of War'. From their web site: "Horrors of War, a "B" movie WWII science fiction-horror-action entirely shot on film."
On this given day though, there were no scientists doing environmental tests or actors making B movies. We parked at a nearby boarded up liquor store while a 1970's boat of a car drove by and the young male driver looked at us confusingly as he sped by.
We made the short walk over and onto the grounds. The 4 previous interior shots you've seen are actually from 4 different buildings as the complex is a collection of buildings in various states of demolition and each serving their own purpose. I was taking my time and trying to inspect everything; while Chad and UJ were moving with some speed.
UJ would actually take a seat in the fifth building as she must not have been impressed with Youngstown's industrial might. Chad & I wanted to go check out one more building across a field, so we left her behind.
Now that UJ was gone, Chad & I could finally be manly men and discuss things like women, beer and cooking thick cuts of meat.
(Actually I can't remember what Chad was talking about10 because I was smitten with these exposed steam tunnels that I wanted to get inside. This could be a really fun place if you had an afternoon and a 40 to kill.)
There were two separate buildings over by the other end and Chad and I went into the one building that you see two pictures above. It appeared to be a powerhouse with some boilers and machinery and as we exited out a different door, we came across the above sight; with the unbelievably thin concrete you see.
We tested our luck for a passing second, but the concrete and the structure was far too deteriorated. We decided to go check on UJ and ensure that she was still alive.
She happened to still be alive and we departed. I was extremely happy to finally do something in Youngstown. With their active demolition policy, I really don't know what will be left next time I'm in Northeastern Ohio.
As for Republic Rubber, the City of Youngstown was recently awarded nearly $300 000; but that is only for another environmental assessment. Who knows when enough money will become available to finish demolition and completely remedy the property with 100 years of industrial history.
When you wake up at a building, then have short distances between buildings; there is plenty of day available to get things done. It was only 2 or 3p.m. when we left Republic Rubber and I asked Chad what was next.
Chad stated some hospital, but he had no idea about its accessibility. This sounded good to me either way, and I decided to get some sleep during the hour long drive to Stark County.
If you look over the roof in the above picture you get a good idea of the land around the hospital.
I woke up to Chad slowing down in a 4 corners type hamlet, which was smaller than the previous location, Southington. The community was comprised of a drive-thru liquor store, restaurant, ball field and a small car lot; plus, maybe...MAYBE 10 houses.
The community and the area surrounding it were rural with a capital R.
After a left turn in the village centre, the hospital wasn't very far up the road. We turned onto the property and circled the building. While I had known about this place, I must not have studied the pictures very well, because I soon witnessed its absolute beauty. I hurriedly wiped the sleep from my eyes and grew excited.
It still wasn't a cakewalk. The grounds were maintained and there weren't any obvious entry points. I was somewhat concerned, but I wanted to see this building, so off we went to park. I convinced Chad to park some distance from the hospital and we took to walking up the road.
The hospital was approximately a kilometre11 from the 4 corners intersection. During that distance, the only structures were an oil rig, an old age home and a single house.
We were all made uneasy by the fact that we stood out like sore thumbs. Three kids, each with their own backpack, walking on the most rural country road you can imagine, would seem to draw attention.
With this air of uneasiness, and the three of us hurrying to get onto the hospital grounds, we spotted a guy in a motorized wheelchair stuck on one of those mounds of dirt which surrounds land oil rigs. We could hear the poor guy yelling and clearly not going anywhere. It didn't occur to us that he could be from the old age home, but instead from the house. So Chad went up to this random house and knocked on the door; a man came out and asked Chad what was up. Chad told him about the guy in the field, and the guy ran out of the door and said, "Oh! Another must have got away from the old folks home! Thanks!"
The guy ran off into the field and helped the guy.
We continued on, surprised that the homeowner didn't ask what we were doing or who we were. The hospital was basically across the street and we were quickly onto the hospital grounds.
(Chad brought up a good point about the way the world works. It was extremely humid and hot that day, and that guy was out in the middle of a field, with no shade and no help. If it wasn't for us just happening to be walking on this random rural road because of a closed hospital, what would have happened to that guy?12)
We took a walk around the building once, looking for an easy broken window or wide open door; to no avail. We came across a burnt out window hole, which was only reachable by scaling on a 6 inch wide, angular ledge outwards from a staircase, about 12 feet off the ground. Chad gave it a valiant effort, but couldn't get over to the window and we cursed our group's lack of a ninja.
Thankfully, on our second circle of the building, when it wasn't looking like we were going to get inside and we were growing depressed; I found the surprisingly easy entrance and the peasants13 rejoiced.
Most hospitals cannot be very opulent inside, but Molly Stark had some simple elegance.
The above picture shows the lobby which unfortunately had suffered a fire. One web site I read suspected some shady dealings because the arson occurred where they stored records, but I believe it could have just as easily been some local yokel who is amused by setting things on fire.
Molly is Y-Shaped, so each floor takes a bit of time to go through. The first floor didn't have that many items of interest besides a few things in the pharmacies and bath rooms.
I believe we were onto the second floor when we came across the laboratory. It was sad to think that this J.M. Schlendorf guy probably donated large sums of money to commemorate his mother, Catherine Schlendorf, then now, her memorial will be forgotten & destroyed.
A google search of "Catherine Schlendorf" finds 1 result - from Ancestry.com of a record for a women born in Stark County14, Ohio, circa 1862. There is another record for "J M Schlendorf", born 1886 in Stark County. A google search of "J M Schlendorf" also returns one result - a Lima News scan announcing that J M has been appointed vice president in charge of sales for Republic Steel Corp.
I decided to spring for the Ancestry.com membership as I'm curious as a cat15.
Catherine Schlendorf was born somewhere in New York State to German parents in the year 1862. She had a son, John (i.e. J M), in 1886 and another son, S. August in 1891. Sometime between 1891 and 1900, Catherine was widowed and by 1900, she was living in West Hoboken, New Jersey with sons John and S. August. By 1920, the Schlendorfs lived in Massilion, Ohio all in one large household. Catherine was 58 and lived with her son John, wife Marguerite, and grandsons John (born 1915) and Robert (born 1917). The 1930 census lists the same 5 people still in the household, but lists a new granddaughter Jane (born 1921), an 18 year old servant (Bessie Borkel) and that John is the president of the Steel Mill.
There is no death certificate for Katherine (or Catherine) Schlendorf listed on Ancestors.com. She was 68 at the time of the 1930 census.
It is not that I intend to bring my audience down when I notice these types of things, it is just that I like to point them out so they are somehow remembered when our fast track society forgets them.
This is an advertisement from Catherine's lab I found funny. Its bold headline makes it seem like you should know what Gluteraldehyde is and also be appalled that some hospitals dispose of it inappropriately.
Another floor up and we found a portion that must have been used by the FBI or some subsidiary. There were aerials of various locations, pictures of shady looking dudes and undercover pictures.
It was a crazy find, but thankfully, the place was definitely abandoned; so I'm hoping the FBI doesn't kidnap me one of these nights.
This being a former place of employment for federal and local officials, you know that there is going to be plenty of America-loving propaganda and memorabilia.
Amongst the computer print outs, there were also various information signs like the above; which let you know to be suspicious of packages if they have oily stains or protruding wires.
Onto the fourth floor, there was a room with various trophies, itineraries and photo albums from Molly Stark.
The challenged children in the photos all looked very happy and it put a smile on your face to see the pictures of them, along with the people who dedicate their lives to aiding in their care.
Quirky items like patient pictures, law enforcement printouts and laboratories cannot shake a stick at Molly Stark's strongest reason for visitation - the outside architecture.
The brass plaque inside Molly Stark's lobby reads that the architect was Albert L. Thayer of New Castle, PA and that Molly Stark was dedicated in 1928. I had read on IllicitOhio that the architect was Charles Firestone, but he quoted that from wikipedia and it was apparently erroneous. While that may have been erroneous, the remainder of the sentence makes sense, and because I can't find anything on Thayer besides that he also did an addition for a college dorm in West Virginia, let us take the remainder of the sentence with a grain of salt.
After Charles Firestone is incorrectly listed as the architect by wikipedia, the record states that Molly Stark was designed with "numerous roof top porches and loggia (arched galleries), this was to provide the tuberculosis patients with many areas where they could be exposed to fresh air."
The number of balconies and open-sided galleries at Molly Stark is truly impressive and is well complimented with corinthian columns (see that thing to the right, above) and stone emblems (somehow I didn't take any pictures of these).
If you're confused as to how I am talking about tuberculosis patients as well as challenged children, it is because we found the cure for tuberculosis (yah!) and therefore, Molly Stark changed operations through her history from tuberculosis sanitarium to mental disabilities centre to drug treatment centre.
We spent over an hour moving up, down and through the 4th & 5th floors, with all of their weird porches and extensions.
Eventually we came to the far east side of the building and relaxed under the above arched balcony. Chad finished up his Bud Ice and I finished up my Jooze as we took it all in. Sitting on the ground, you couldn't see the surrounding farmland and it really felt as if we were in Spain or some other country where you would suspect to find such a beautiful building.
Unfortunately, we might have been the last people to enjoy that balcony outside of demolition contractors or a few intrepid park rangers. It was announced this year that the property that Molly Stark sits on will be turned into a park ground. Sources conflict about the outcome of the actual hospital with CantonRep.com saying that "the main hospital will be demolished, and some of its historic features saved and incorporated into a community building." I'm not sure how you pick and choose architecturally significant portions, so I was already skeptical of that plan when I read the EPA report stating that the land would be converted to a park and the building would be removed. The EPA seems a little more legit than CantonRep.com and also, the EPA wouldn't have to sugarcoat things to fool the public until the buildings are gone.
All ground floor windows and doors are now securely boarded and park wardens actively patrol the grounds. They have also removed all vegetation cover surrounding the building. It's a completely different ball game now folks.
For more Molly Stark:
Horrible user interface photo gallery from CantonRep.com
Edit: CantonRep.com has a new article (published an hour ago!) stating what their sources say. They say that, "He (Stark Parks director Bob Fonte) hopes the district can save the hospital’s ornate, arched entrance and possibly build by it a visitor’s center with a meeting room."
We left Molly Stark and it was still only 5 or 6p.m.. Since this was during the depths of summer, we still had a lot of daylight left and decided to take another look at a Cleveland hospital which had sketched us out the day prior.
I'm sure glad that we decided to give the hospital another chance as there was a glaringly obvious entrance and lack of security.
Chad tempered our enthusiasm by telling us how blown out the interior was from scrapping and room after room of decimated walls and emptiness reaffirmed that.
I think I took about 9 interior pictures because the hospital was so boring. The only thing we found of interest was an auditorium (which I was too lazy to light paint and take pictures of - don't worry it was modern and boring) and a children's area with funky, 70's, psychedelic, purple giraffe wallpaper.
Therefore, after a few floors of boring, empty rooms; Chad & I set our sights on the clock tower and made for the centre of the hospital.
The base of the clock tower was a mechanical room and then a collection of wooden ladders led up and up in various directions and orientations.
It was somewhat shady I must admit, but you really couldn't fall very far as there were floors at regular intervals.
I was impressed and surprised to see UJ follow us up as she doesn't care for ladders at all.
It was neat to be able to look out of the clock holes at the city of Cleveland and the surrounding neighbourhoods.
Life list: See the inside of a clock tower? Check!
Chad's tinkering with the clock mechanisms was also really interesting as Chad could hold a small, pencil-sized piece of metal and it moved these giant clock hands.
We could have continued checking out the hospital, but the emptiness and the fact that we had been checking things out for nearly 12 hours at this point, led us to mosey on back through the entrance where we came.
We walked to the front of the hospital and snapped some pictures of the Saint Luke's statue and the front facade. A man walked by as we were taking pictures and gently voiced his displeasure with the buildings deterioration and that he wished they would do something with such a beautiful building. UJ agreed with him and the man didn't break stride as he continued on to his destination.
Finishing up, we walked the couple of blocks back to Chad's car and someone drove by blaring Master P's 'Ghetto Symphony'. Entering the car, Chad pressed home on the GPS and we were on our way. I was in the back looking at UJ's road atlas and wishing we could take this highway which followed the shore of Lake Erie (Highway 6) instead of the Ohio turnpike.
As I looked up, I could see Chad looking at his GPS and he said, "look at this, this highway goes the same direction as the pike." I told him I was looking at the same thing and that I wanted to take that way; he was excited as he wanted to as well16, but he just didn't want to say anything.
After a full day, we still had some adventure in us. This is why Chad & UJ make some great road trip buddies.
Highway 6 was a nice little cruise, but it was only so long before we ended up on Highway 2 near Sandusky. Following Highway 2 to I-75 North, we were home sometime around 10:30 or 11.
I can't recall if I slept over or if I went home.
1 - Horrors of War - The Inside Look Image Gallery.
2 - Ohio Trespassers - Republic Rubber.
3 - Buying Time - Time Magazine - December 24, 1979.
4 - Ancestors.com - 1900 United States Federal Census about Catherine Schlendorf.
5 - Ancestors.com - 1920 United States Federal Census about Catherine Schlendorf.
6 - Ancestors.com - 1930 United States Federal Census about Katherine Schlendorf.
7 - Ancestors.com - 1900 United States Federal Census about John Schlendorf.
8 - Ancestors.com - 1920 United States Federal Census about J M Schlendorf.
9 - Ancestors.com - 1930 United States Federal Census about John M Schlendorf.
10 - From Molly Stark to Stark Park in 3 Months.
11 - Molly Stark Hospital - EPA Assessment.
12 - The Council of Independent Colleges: Historic Campus Architects Project - Phillips Hall.
13 - IllicitOhio - Molly Stark...work in progress.
14 - CantonRep.com - Officials Open Molly Stark Park.