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Monday, October 31, 2016

Abandoned School Playground


Hidden behind an active athletic complex and school, a suburban playground sits forgotten.





I recently started to get back into cycling and on a warm day, I took a ride around West Chester in my final few weeks of living in the area. People don't seem to like bikes out here. Even when you use a bike lane (and there are a few around) or ride politely to the right, people like to remind you that they feel you should bike on the sidewalk. There's some roads I won't even bother going down, 45 mph two lanes where I just know it'd be a problem and I'd hate it even if I was driving a car. So as I rode around this northern Cincinnati suburb trying to find places to get in a nice long path for exercising, I came across one of the freshman high schools and elementary schools. The campus was so big that you could work up a decent heart rate doing laps around the parking lot and out to the football field. As I was about to leave, I noticed a worn path heading up into the woods and curiously followed it. Up on the hill, I find this place:

- Leftovers from an attempt to turn the area into a makeshift skatepark.
Apparently once a playground, tennis court, or basketball court - the chainlink fence is well rusted and nature has reclaimed quite a bit of it. Edit: Thanks to a user on social media, we now know that this place was once tennis courts. With posting so many articles about abandoned exploration over the years, I often get asked if I encounter any homeless people, squatters, junkies, deviants, gang members, etc. in these places. Usually people have a preconceived idea of what you're going to find based off of their experiences watching movies. The truth is I've never really run into anyone. Aside from the occasional signs of squatters, the most notable encounter was running into other photographers/explorers in Detroit a few years back. This West Chester playground was different though. As I crept through the brush and onto the court, I emerged to see a figure standing there.

- Random passerby who also happened to be in the area.
Some kid, maybe an older teenager, just walking about. My sudden appearance didn't seem to startle him, he wasn't carrying a phone and gazing at it, just walking around. I asked him if he had any idea what this place was for or how long it had been abandoned and he just shrugged. “Not sure,” he said so casually as to think strangers often meet at abandoned playgrounds in the woods. He slowly walked off, down a path that apparently connects directly to another parking lot and doesn't require you to crawl through the weeds.

Nevertheless, here's one of the few interesting abandoned places I've ever found in the northern burbs:








- Crumbling stairs leading up to the old playground.

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