Carborundum Corporation Offices

Niagara Falls, New York

Winter 2008.

Originally I had planned to accompany some friends along the eastern seaboard for a US cities spring break tour.  This plan didn't last very long before I decided that I needed to return to Ontario on spring break instead. 

Eventually mid-March came and I left the forsaken shores of Nova Scotia.  If you google the route which I took, it will tell you that it is a 23 hr 33 min route.  The first night I only slept for an hour near a rest stop exit for Hartford, CT.  The giant coffees and unsafe Monsters of the U.S. allowed me to continue on my way after this one hour of sleep.

Halfway through the second day, I decided to stop in Syracuse to enjoy the beautiful weather and actually get out and ride my bike for once.

Syracuse lasted about 2 hours until ice pellets began to rain from the sky.  I quickly returned to my vehicle and drove over to the Syracuse University campus to grab something to eat.  After finishing my $4 turkey sub, I took the shortest path to I-90 and headed westward.

It was no greater than 10 minutes before my driving speed went from 120 km/hr down to 65 km/hr.  The weak ice pellets that had evicted me from the streets of Syracuse were now accompanied by quite the storm; especially when you're driving your car with the all-season tires.

I was hoping to get to Toronto this day, but the 2.5 hour drive from Syracuse to Niagara Falls had taken nearly 5 hours. Sleep deprived and stressed from the road conditions; I decided to shack up in a $49 hotel I found in the RoomSaver.

That night, while looking for my hotel, I had turned the wrong way on Buffalo Avenue and came upon a very Albert Kahn-esque factory.  I duly noted it, but went back to the hotel as it was nighttime and I was exhausted.

I had originally planned to get to bed quickly and get up pre-dawn to get into her.  By dawn, I woke to my alarm, but went back to bed.

I reasoned that this storm should provide enough cover to quickly make my way into the building - even with its location on a busy street.

Pittsburgh Pennsylvania Skyline

Early morning came and I showered and left the hotel.  I drove the surrounding neighborhood, all the while sliding my car through the foot-high snow drifts. The morning news had said that this was the storm of the year; and suddenly I was within one of those Western New York snowstorms that I used to hear so much about in my youth.

Thankfully though, the storm provided enough cover to walk around the building and look for entrances.  I found none outside a small fence; until I came back around to the front of the building...that's where I spotted a 3 foot by 2 foot window frame open to the elements.  I looked around and only saw a bus far off in the distance - I saw this as good as opportunity as any and quickly made my way into the window.

What I didn't prepare for was the window lining which was still attached.  The lining split me down the center and I was left hanging there with one leg pinned against the wall and the rest of my body weight resting upon the window lining.  I was out of sight of passing vehicles, but I was still trying to think of what to do about being held up 7 feet above the floor by a window lining.

I got my legs ready and tugged away at the window lining until it gave enough to where I could touch the ground.  Happily, I strutted away from the window, through the basement and to the first floor.

That's where I went to grab my camera and felt my hand almost submerged in a thick liquid.  I took my glove off to realize that the window lining had taken quite a bite out of me.  Great.  I inspected it and put my glove back on; I wasn't going to bleed to death - so why not check out the building that would forever leave me with a reminder upon my skin?

Cutting my right ring finger left me to take pictures awkwardly, anti-tripod with my left hand.

It also left me to laugh at all of the clearly easier entrances.  While this wall would have been quite difficult as well, there were entrances that were S Davis easy.

I normally love winter conditions in buildings because I think the snow is so photogenic. The problem with this day was that the "Storm of the Year" was occurring while I was inside the building - ensuring that most of my pictures were blown out by the blinding white brightness of the outside.

I veered away from the typical history introduction because I simply thought this place was just some boring American warehouse. 

Although not the most exciting history, the place was in fact a location for local offices of the Carborundum Corporation which moved to Niagara Falls in 1895 to harbor the energy of the falls in their production of Silicon Carbide - aka. Carborundum.

The Carborundum Corporation has a thick history, greatly involving Niagara Falls; but this is simply the location of some of their offices. I wouldn't go into an in depth history of GM if I explored some minor offices and I won't go in depth upon the history of the Carborundum Corporation here.

I continued through the facility and happily assumed my fingers had stopped bleeding.

I also found it funny that I went out of my way to get these gloves before I left Nova Scotia; only for them to be lost as a casualty in Niagara Falls.

After looking at how exciting these pictures are, I bet you are all planning a trip to Niagara Falls right now!

Fortunately, there was also some colourful Toronto graffiti to look at.

As well as these interesting upper floor safe doors.

I took this photo to document the intensity of the snow storm...check the building across the street - which you can see faintly above the roofline at centre.

Evgeni Malkin Pittsburgh Pennsylvania

A five story, empty factory doesn't take that long to explore & even less time when you want to clean up your hand.

I made my way back to the bottom floor and made sure I didn't miss anything along the way.

As for my fingers, I went to the local Rite-Aid and bought some bandages and adhesive tape.  I then made my way across the street to the McDonald's and used their washroom to dress myself.  The highlight being some kid coming in, staring at me bleeding all over the sink and running out.  His dad came in quickly and told the kid it was fine and that I wasn't going to bleed to death.

I then drove back to Canada so that I wouldn't have to put up with the hassle of getting stitches in America. I stopped in Grimsby and the nurse told me that I definitely needed stitches.  I sat in a room until a younger female came in and explained that she was a nursing student at McMaster and wanted to know if she could observe me and possibly even do some of the stitches.  I could care less because it was my finger; so I told her it was fine.

Eventually the doctor came in and instructed her which freezing to use, what dressing, &c.  He then did one stitch and left the room for her to complete it.  She ended up putting 4 more stitches in and I was on my way with my Grimsby Hospital card.

Was it worth it?

Why not?  We have free health care as Canadians; so why not join the double digit stitches club?


Sources: 1. The Vanishing Point

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