Monday, June 29, 2009

The "Indiana Jones" of Cincinnati.

How an adventure to a not-so-interesting abandoned location reminded me of my intense, dislike for slithering creatures.

It was hot out and sunny with a bright blue sky. Today, Jeffey and I were in search of a relic we had seen off I-75. Just as you go southbound through the Lockland split, a smokestack can be seen peering above the trees, rusted and overgrown by vegetation. Pulling off into the Village of Lockland, an overgrown road was found nestled in this residential neighborhood.

Walking down the abandoned road, we were trying to figure out what used to be back here. Concrete pillars, overgrown by the weeds and surrounding plants made it seem like there must have been a large industrial complex at one point.

- Remnants of a lost civilization? Probably just a demolished industrial plant.
A rusted sign on the fence read "Gate 1" hinting that maybe this was once all part of the now demolished Celeotex factory that was located just across the hightway.

- "Gate 1." The entrance to the "Well of Souls."

Walking past "Gate 1" we came to a decaying, small bridge.

Passing an abandoned speed boat, we found that this was only a small portion of the kind of trash we would find dumped back here. In the middle of a two opposing sections of highway and a large residential neighborhood, we crept through a large wooded area. The cars rushing by on I-75 could be clearly heard, very odd that all these woods have survived.

- A boat. Dumped here as trash or evidence of past urban explorers who were not so lucky?

Finally, deep in the woods, we arrived at the smokestack both of us had remembered seeing from the highway since we were kids, affectionately dubbed the "Well of Souls" to continue with a long string of Indiana Jones references that will become more clear in a second.

- The "Well of Souls." Otherwise known as an abandoned trash incinerator in Lockland.

Approaching the entrance, large holes in the concrete floor made us a bit wary of where we would be walking.

According to some quick internet research via Google, this was once a trash incinerator for the city of Lockland. No record of when they stopped using it or abandoned it but it has since become a canvas for graffiti artists, dumping ground for trash and a base of operations for paintball players. Interesting, yet this place had hardly anywhere near the charm or significance of some of the other abandoned structures in the area.

The incinerator is only one room with a basement below it. All the glass in the windows has been knocked out and there's nothing there to indicate any real historical information. Sometimes half the fun of exploring abandoned places is seeing the personal items and clues to the past that are left behind, here though there wasn't much to see.

Seicer and I had been here during the previous winter. Due to the cold, we didn't stick around long, but managed to check out the basement. Jeffey and I took a look down the dark stairs. Before making our way down we checked for flashlights and realized we forgot them. Gazing into the dimly lit basement below I noticed a black rope about three feet long, almost like a bungee cord. This is where both of us got reminded from that famous scene in "Raiders of the Lost Ark." The one where Sallah says to Indiana Jones: "Indy, why is the floor moving?" Then Indiana throws a torch down to the ground to see that the floor is covered in hundreds of slithering snakes to which Indiana reply's:

"Snakes, why did it have to be snakes?"

I threw a rock at the supposed bungee cord. The bungee cord then started to slither and move further down into the basement. This was no bungee cord, it was a black snake. That was enough for us. Like Indiana Jones, we enjoy exploring and uncovering the past, but at the same time just like Harrison Ford's character...I absolutely hate snakes. Figuring there would be no treasure below like in the movies, or at least anything remotely photographically interesting, we left the abandoned incinerator.

Bordered by the highway, we continued to explore the surrounding woods. Now mostly overgrown by the surrounding plant life, asphalt still remains in some areas revealing there was once a road back here.

Very jumpy after coming face to face with a three foot long snake we walked very carefully through the overgrown weeds and tall grass. Did I mention I hate snakes? At one point Jeffey's camera strap fell on my arm while we were walking. Mistaking this for a snake, I must have jumped five feet off the ground letting out a loud "What the hell, man!?"

It seems many of the locals use this are to dump trash. Televisions, old roofing, metal scraps and ever the aforementioned boat were among many things dumped on the grounds back here.

Eventually we came across a clearing where there was a large collection of children's toys, chairs and old metal silverware. We figured this may be an encampment for a homeless resident. Not wanting to bother anyone or spook the natives, we cautiously pressed forward into the wooded abyss between the interstates before coming to an impasse:

Left or right? A fork in the road, which way would we go? What would we find down each road? More snakes? More trash? The answer...

...absolutely nothing! Just more clearings, not a clue to what once was back here.

Hot, sweaty, uninterested and not desiring to come into contact with any more snakes, we made our way out of there. Stopping first to check out some of the construction that screws up everyone's morning commute:

The adventure will soon continue...


  1. I've always wondered what that smokestack used to be used for. Thanks for the post! I love your site.

  2. Great write up sir!

  3. Awesome update. Great photos - thanks for sharing!

  4. Another great adventure. I love the shots you posted and that scene you mentioned of Indiana Jones and Sallah. I think you guys were wise not to venture where the snakes were. Have a great night.

  5. I think the last time I was there was around 2005 and while there was garbage back there, there was no where near that much. I also notice that someone rolled up that metal door. Getting thru that when it was hanging down was pretty daunting.

  6. Love the photos, thought I'd add a note here. It's likely those open clearing you found are ash dumps. Most incinerators of this type, when in operation, will produce a ton (no pun intended) of ash. Since they can't really do anything with it, they'll usually pile it on the property until it can be trucked away to a landfill.

  7. The concrete pillars were not from anything that used to be back there. They were used to keep cars and people out. I grew up in the house next to the road and remember playing back there as a kid.

  8. ^Thanks for clearing that up folks.