It was early morning, just before the sunrise when I parked my car, grabbed my camera gear, and started the long trek down the road, farm fields on both sides of me. The grass was waist-high and hard to walk through as I entered the main building through the back door. It was silent, like a tomb, the thick walls cut off all sounds from outside. Rows of empty prison cells greeted me in the dim light, a sleeping bag and a few items of clothing lay on the floor inside one of the cells. The floor was covered in silt, the aftermath of a massive flood, the main reason for abandonment.
The second and third floor each held two large rooms connected to each other by a rusted metal bridge spanning two doorways. The rooms held two walls of windows letting in the beautiful sunrise. The glass in the windows were busted out and covered in rusted metal bars. The ivy growing along the outside walls were starting to creep into the rooms via the broken windows. There was a strong smell of dirt and my footsteps echoed throughout the entire floor. The stairs leading into the basement were covered in layers of mud, rotting wood, and the remnants of an old air conditioner. The basement floor was slick with mud several inches thick. A small command center sat in the middle of a maze of prison cells. There were no windows, so the entire floor was pitch black. I could hear small animals scurrying around in the dark. Each cell housed two bunk beds with molding, thin mattress pads.
Back up the stairs and out of the back door, I came across an electrical building the fuse boxes gutted. A van used to transport inmates was sitting in the parking lot, the sides smashed in and various components under the hood removed. The outlying buildings were in much better shape and used for farm storage. Prison F is pretty much gutted out, and rumors claim that the local swat teams train here on a regular basis. Oddities in the offices support the claim. Not too much to see but I love coming here. The patterns created with the peeling paint, the smell of dirt, untold stories of inmates. I want to hear the stories from these walls, who walked through these rooms and why. Unlikely I will ever know, maybe it is the thrill of the unknown that pull me into these buildings.
What’s up next week?
Maybe some tidbits about our road trip to New Orleans.