Today started off like any other, waking up at sunrise, stumbling upstairs to make some breakfast, then sitting at the table checking social media and emails while simultaneously stuffing my face. After all that nonsense and morning rituals my bags were packed and Mike ( @mike_sap ) was in my driveway waiting to head off to the Electric City of Scranton PA. The drive would be two hours through stretching highways and mountains, as we crested the last one and defended into the valley that this once great city resides we entered its perimeters created by a city time has seem to forgotten. The streets lined with empty storefronts and the ones that still clung to life had relics displayed from generations ago as new. We parked in a garage that one couldn't tell was active or not and proceeded to walk this city. First stop was a local mall hoping to find food, instead we were greeted with dark hollow hallways and a handful of places serving what seemed to be cheap microwave pizza’s, and not the good kind, the day was still early so we pulled up an app and found a chick-fil-a down the road a mile or so and decided to walk to it and take in the sunny day. We arrived to the location on the map and were surprised when it brought us to the entrance of Scranton College, a little confused we checked our map data and realized the this was indeed the address and it was located in the school cafe. Never ones to back down from a challenge and/or and awkward time we decided to take our chances and pose as college students to get our hands on the most glorious of chicken sandwiches, luckily for us it was visit day and the campus was filled with unfamiliar faces of prospects checking out the campus and classes.
We were set! no one would be the wiser, after a little wait for the restaurant to open we grabbed a mountain of chicken goodness and sat among the students to eat, about half way through and many awkward looks we realized we stood out like sore thumbs with our sleeves of tattoos and table of camera gear, we hastily finished and left the campus. The first stop of the day was an abandoned train yard that had been filled with decaying train cars from the days of coal engines and forgotten. At first glance these old rail cars were locked and boarded tightly, but upon further investigation and a little climbing we made our way in. Glowing with a rusted red the paint peeled down the walls and onto the old leather seats. The windows painted with years of dust and build up left the cars like giant soft boxes painting the insides with sheets of natural light. The one point perspective and symmetry in each car was a dream come true and the history flowing out of every rusted fan and abandoned seat was glorious.
After we had our fill of train cars we climbed out and headed back to grab the car and make our way to the main spot of the day, The Scranton Lace Company, this massive warehouse structure covers multiple city blocks and stretches high into Scranton’s sky with a clock tower peaking in the center. Parking down the road in a vacant lot we quickly ducked through a fence opening and made our way in the building. The insides gleamed with window light. The old hardwood floors stretched across what where massive production and shipping rooms, empty cartons thrown across the floor and stacked all branded with the company logo. Shelves in rows twenty deep lay empty, each floor brought new excitement and finds. One wing led us to an indoor bowling alley and game room, while the second led to a theater and conference hall, as we walked we spoke of what a glorious place this must have been in its prime.
We came upon a stairway that led to the clock tower and began our decent up the rickety ladder, the first level up brought you to the back of the clock faces and what a site to behold that was, the next level up you cam to an old brass bell that once rung to establish times, further past that was the peak, and there you stood over looking the city as gusts of wind blew past you. After enjoying the view and climbing down we made our way out to the roof to enjoy some celebratory cigars and enjoy the sunset before heading home. This life we all live is short, so make it an adventurous one.
Safe Travels Friends