American Urbex E.07 – More Interviews at United Methodist Church

Comments Off on American Urbex E.07 – More Interviews at United Methodist Church

Two more fellow urban explorers sit down to record their experiences for the American Urbex Podcast. This episode was recorded in the abandoned United Methodist Church in Gary, Indiana.

Subscribe to the American Urbex Podcast on iTunes, or download the episode directly.

Nick Forslund – Flickr

Nitram242 – Flickr

American Urbex – The Purple Hotel

American Urbex – Facebook Page

American Urbex – Flickr Group

American Urbex – Twitter

Tags: , , ,
Posted in Indiana Podcast by admin. Comments Off on American Urbex E.07 – More Interviews at United Methodist Church

Infiltration Summer

Bowling Lanes

Infiltration Summer was a massive success thanks to the support of American Urbex readers and donors. Without your help it would not have been possible. I was able to photograph a mansion, a church, two schools, and a handful of industrial locations. I also met two very skilled urban explorers who were willing to share their experiences with me.

American Urbex recognizes the following individuals for having a hand in making this dream a reality.

Mom – For soliciting additional funds without my knowledge.
Brandon Davis – For showing me the ropes around Cleveland and letting me crash on the couch.
Mike Adams – For sharing his insights and impeccable burrito taste with me.

Pierre Ramery, John Sagehorn, Dave Smith, Andrew West, Scott Langteau, Matthew Nicklas and all the donors who wish to remain anonymous. May your generosity be returned to you in the future tenfold. Expenses have been compiled into a spreadsheet for public review.

Thanks to you American Urbex has a wealth of content to work through. I’ll get cracking on editing the photos and research immediately. I want to share the intimate details about the trip so bad, but doing so would blow the cover on what is in store. Until those entries appear please keep an eye on our Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr Group!

 

American Urbex E.06 – Interview at United Methodist Church in Gary, IN

Comments Off on American Urbex E.06 – Interview at United Methodist Church in Gary, IN

Three fellow urban explorers sit down to record their experiences for the American Urbex Podcast. This episode was recorded in the abandoned United Methodist Church in Gary, Indiana.

Subscribe to the American Urbex Podcast on iTunes or download the episode directly.

Rick Drew – Dive the Bucaneer and Flickr

Charles Dastodd – Flickr

Riley Reynolds – Flickr

American Urbex – Facebook Page

American Urbex – Flickr Group

American Urbex – Twitter

Tags: , , , , , ,
Posted in Indiana Podcast Urbex by admin. Comments Off on American Urbex E.06 – Interview at United Methodist Church in Gary, IN

Meetup at City Methodist

Comments Off on Meetup at City Methodist

Untitled

Photo: An abandoned sofa at City Methodist in Gary, IN.

On Sunday, June 20 the UrbEx – Explore Chicago group (registration required) met up at one of Gary, Indiana’s iconic abandoned locations. It was a pleasure to meet such a wide variety of photographers from different backgrounds. Some of the common themes of urbex are abandonment and isolationism. Although these are suitable subjects for photography, they are not for urban explorers themselves. I have learned so much from connecting to other adventurous explorers. Of the people that were at the event I only had a chance to connect with a few. The interaction we had was quite intense and fortunately I made recordings of it. The next two episodes of the American Urbex Podcast will feature those photographers, highlight their experiences, and explore their unique backgrounds. By the time we finished recording most of the Explore Chicago group had dispersed, but all was not lost. The rest of the day was spent exploring and abandoned hospital and area school.

Keep an eye out this coming Sunday for the next episode of the American Urbex Podcast, which is available for download on iTunes.

Tags: , , ,
Posted in Indiana Urbex by admin. Comments Off on Meetup at City Methodist

Urbex Methodology 101 – Google It

Every week American Urbex receives requests from adventurous readers regarding locations. Although well-composed and spell-checked prose is always flattering, the requests go largely unfulfilled. At the bottom of each feature article there is a list of online resources. Maps and photos help create a compelling article, but the real gold is in the public information that supports it. The short answer as to why location requests go unanswered is simple: Google it.

Granted, that may come off as short-tempered and cliché, but the long answer is more nuanced. The genesis of an American Urbex article begins with Google. Consider this article a lesson in Urbex Methodology 101. Today we’ll be talking about some of the basic methods for finding urbex locations with Google. Yes, this will be on the exam. Let’s begin.

City Methodist

Photo: The urban explorer congregation regularly meets at this famous Gary landmark.

Let’s take a well-known and previously researched location like the United Methodist Church in Gary, IN. The church is considered a mecca of sorts for urban explorers. Mainstream photographers have even embraced the location and use it to shoot wedding photos. There is a lot of information out there so for the purposes of this exercise it will be easy. A basic search for “United Methodist Church Gary Indiana” returns about 196,000 results. Open some of the links in new tabs and you’ll come across wonderful resources. Check out this photographer’s impressions of the site, which was posted in April 2011. Sites like these give you a good impression of what to expect when visiting. The date is also extremely important too as it gives a good indication that the building is still standing. There is nothing worse than driving a long distance only to discover the building is collapsed or under active demolition. Pages such as the 1967 church directory are a wealth of information the tell the story of how the church began, what it looked like in its prime, and who some of the members were. Then there is the Wikipedia page for Gary, Indiana that mentions the church. The Wikipedia entry does not specifically say where the church is, but it does provide a vital clue in that it is downtown and not far from another abandoned building known as Union Station.

Union Station is a great example of how one urbex location usually means that there are more in the vicinity. The Wikipedia page for Union Station explicitly lists the GPS coordinates on the right side of the page. Figuring out where the church is should not be too difficult if we plug (41°36’20.3N” 87°20’13.07″W) into Google Maps with satellite view. Scroll slightly to the south and west a few blocks and there it is, right in the heart of downtown Gary. If you enter street view you can see the building from the outside. This gives you a good indication of how to enter a location, what is in the neighborhood, and many other clues about what to expect. Also pay close attention to the details on the roof of the church and look for similar style roofs near by. There are a decent number of similar roofs down Broadway. If you inspect Broadway with street view you will notice the decaying Post Office and other retail stores that have long been abandoned.

Knowing the neighborhood topography is useful, but it also helps to know the history. Invariably you will come across people in the neighborhood who are curious about what you are doing there. It helps to arm yourself with a little knowledge about the location and prove that you are a respectful guest. Google Books is an excellent resource for familiarizing yourself with a location and the role it played in the broader community. Books like Gary’s West Side provide key facts and photos of locations. Tomes such as City of the Century: A History of Gary, Indiana chronicle the rise and fall of what was once one of America’s strongest industrial cities. Armed with this information you will gain insight on what to look for when going through the city.

Now that you have googled to the point where you are confident enough to explore the streets of Gary, the key is going to be making both intellectual and personal connections with that information. You need to get out there and explore the world. Most importantly, you need to share what you have discovered.

That’ll be all for today’s Urbex Methodology lesson as we’ve come to the end of the hour.

 

American Urbex Podcast E.05 – Horace Mann High School

Comments Off on American Urbex Podcast E.05 – Horace Mann High School

Exploring the abandoned Horace Mann High School in Gary, Indiana.

Subscribe to the American Urbex Podcast on iTunes.

Horace Mann High School – Flickr set of the abandoned school.

American Urbex on IndieGoGo – Your support is greatly appreciated.

American Urbex on Facebook – Follow us on Facebook.

American Urbex on Flickr – Add your urbex photos to the group.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Indiana Podcast Urbex by admin. Comments Off on American Urbex Podcast E.05 – Horace Mann High School

Extending My Job Search

Comments Off on Extending My Job Search

Switched On

American Urbex needs your help.

The bulk of American Urbex articles and their associated geographic locations is concentrated in the Wisconsin/Illinois area. This is attributed to the fact that my home is in this area of the country. One of the practical dilemmas of covering urbex locations in this area is that their numbers are a finite quantity. Traveling to locations outside of this area requires funding, some of which has been graciously offset by donors to American Urbex. In order for American Urbex to continue, I must find employment that provides enough funding for me to continue sharing my adventures and research with you.

Like many recent college graduates, I have struggled to find gainful employment during the extended downturn the American economy has been suffering from. When I first started looking for a full-time job post graduation in 2009, I focused on the meager German and Speech Communications K-12 teaching positions available in Wisconsin. As bills started to pile up it wasn’t long before I took a job working as a Technical Support Analyst for UW-Whitewater. The move to IT was not something I anticipated, but have been fortunate enough to have technical skills that I developed on my own. Although my current position is one that I take great pleasure from, it falls short of accomplishing two basic work requirements that I have. Those goals namely are providing a source of income to achieve my personal goals and develop a fulfilling long-term career.

Given my current situation, I have been extremely grateful to have the time to develop the American Urbex website.  Working 30 hours a week and having extended down-time periods between software installations allows me the time to write, research, and edit media for American Urbex. I have come to realize that this labor of love is a great demonstration of marketable job skills. This site is a key indicator of my core competencies: a desire to create, a passion for education, and an inherent desire to connect with others. Right now, I am merely looking for a way to get my foot in the door at an employer who needs someone with my skills.

After two years of searching local job websites, Monster, and other employment bulletins without positive results, I must consider a change in tactics. That is why I am posting my resume here on American Urbex. If you or your employer are looking for someone who is comfortable with technology, flexible in learning new skills, and is enthusiastic about connecting with new people please consider my qualifications. I am willing to relocate if the position is a means to accomplish my goals.

 

Download Ken Fager’s Resume (PDF)

Ken Fager’s LinkedIn Profile

Sincerely,

Ken Fager
American Urbex

Tags: , , , , , ,
Posted in Urbex by admin. Comments Off on Extending My Job Search

American Urbex Podcast E.04 – That’s Off Limits

Comments Off on American Urbex Podcast E.04 – That’s Off Limits

In this episode we take a look at an American Urbex Doppelgänger, a YouTube video called The Accidental Sea, and the Travel Channel’s new show Off Limits.

Subscribe to the American Urbex Podcast on iTunes.

American Urbex – A photo tour made with jDocumentary.

The Accidental Sea – A great video by Ransom Riggs.

Off Limits – A new show with urbex elements on the Travel Channel.

American Urbex on IndieGoGo – Your support is greatly appreciated.

American Urbex on Facebook

American Urbex on Flickr

 

Tags: , , , , , ,
Posted in Podcast by admin. Comments Off on American Urbex Podcast E.04 – That’s Off Limits

The Accidental Sea

Comments Off on The Accidental Sea

The Accidental Sea by Ransom Riggs is a fantastic documentary that explores the area surrounding the Salton Sea in California. It was shot entirely on a Canon 5D Mark II.

In 1905 flooding and engineering mistakes diverted the Colorado River flow into one of the lowest desert basins in California. It wasn’t until the completion of the Hoover Dam in 1935 that water stopped making its way into the Salton Sea. Everyone had assumed that the ecological accident Salton Sea would dry up, but after two years it remained.

Entrepreneurs quickly established businesses around the Salton Sea to capitalize on the tide of tourists. The community built up around the water flourished until environmental conditions shifted. With no rivers flowing out the isolated body of water in the middle of the desert could not refresh itself. Water salinity increased to the point that it became saltier than seawater. Massive fish die-offs, algae blooms, and elevated bacteria levels drove people away.

As you can see from the barren streets in the Google map above, there are a few structures still baking in the harsh California sun.  The state has an extensive 25-year proposal to rejuvenate the area, but given California’s current economic woes, they may not be able to afford the $9 billion price tag. Until then urbex photographers like Riggs will be able to appreciate the decaying beauty around the Salton Sea.

Tags: , , , , , ,
Posted in California Urbex by admin. Comments Off on The Accidental Sea

American Urbex E.03: The Abandoned Farm – Part 2

Comments Off on American Urbex E.03: The Abandoned Farm – Part 2

American Urbex - Podcast Logo

The person who lived in the abandoned farm house finds American Urbex.

Subscribe to the American Urbex Podcast on iTunes or download the episode directly.

Tags: , , , ,
Posted in Podcast by admin. Comments Off on American Urbex E.03: The Abandoned Farm – Part 2