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May 09, 2018
I've been promising to recount a mini-adventure for a couple of weeks now.
Here it is.
I've mentioned on several occasions walking by the old David T. Howard School by my house. It's been locked up and seemingly abandoned for many years.
They're about to renovate and reopen the school in 2020. I've been anxious to get photos of the inside.
Martin Luther King, Jr., attended this school when it was an elementary school. I couldn't imagine them renovating it without getting some good photos of the inside as it stands now.
I attend the Old Fourth Ward community meetings once a month. A couple of months ago, one of the leads on the renovation project was at the meeting to discuss the trees on the property. Some of the locals had filed an appeal to save more of the trees than the plan called for, which they did.
After the meeting, I asked if I could get inside to take photos. I was told I probably could.
"Just call this number."
And called, and called, and waited on hold and waited and waited and talked to 10 people and finally....got transferred to the guy I spoke with at the meeting.
Sigh. Love dealing with Atlanta Public Schools. He told me I could go in. It was a matter of finding the facilities person who could open the place for me.
And then...I was walking Bauer a couple of weeks ago, and the gates were wide open. Wide open.
I ran back home as fast as I could, put Bauer in the house, and grabbed my camera bag.
I called my friend, Lauren, who lives close by and told her I was going in.
When I got back over and walked through the gates, I saw a few trucks and heard loud banging from inside.
The doors were wide open, so I walked in. I was trembling with excitement to be in the old school.
The sun streamed through the doors illuminating the peeling paint.
It smelled of old dust and who knows what else. I tried not to breathe too deeply. I'm sure that was lead paint. The banging overhead continued as I turned and walked down the corridor.
I didn't know what to take a photo of first.
I love being in old buildings - something about the history. I can feel the stories coming to life, see all the people wandering the halls. The place is certainly a ghost of its former self now.
Time and vandals have taken a toll. There's graffiti everywhere. Windows are broken.
But I was mesmerized.
There was some light streaming in from a few windows. But, the photographic conditions were poor. Some of the hallways were dark. I don't usually work with flash in places like that, but I tried it and was pleased with some of the results.
Lauren caught up with me after I got to the second floor.
The Army used the old school for ROTC for a while. It's also been used as a movie set. One of the rooms appeared to have been set up like a courtroom.
I was in heaven wandering around taking photos.
Heaven never lasts.
About a half hour in, a construction worker discovered us walking around. He told us we had to leave.
He was very nice about it. He said he wouldn't mind showing us around and letting us take photos, but he wasn't supposed to let anyone in. He did give us five minutes to check out the gymnasium, which was super cool of him.
It was nice to hear that they're going to save all the old gym benches.
I'm glad we didn't miss that sight. Loved the retro scoreboard.
We didn't want to get the guy or ourselves in trouble, so we promptly left after seeing the gym.
I could have stayed in there for several hours taking photos.
I'd like to go back. I see them working there almost every day now. I'm not sure if I want to go to the trouble of dealing with the school system.
That remains to be seen.
In the meantime, it was a fun little adventure, and I got a few good shots.
Be open to adventure and have a great rest of your week!
And, see you between the raindrops!
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