Sunday, April 23, 2017

From the Archives Part 6: Nelsonville/York School




Built in the early 20th Century: an abandoned school in Southeastern, Ohio.




When I first went to school out at Ohio University in Athens, I was just fully getting into photographing abandoned places and writing about their history. QC/D launched in the fall of 2007 and this website became a great coping mechanism for myself at a time in my life when I was really, truly unhappy. For some people, OU and Athens bring up great memories and evoke nostalgia. Although I made some great friends, loved the staff and classes, living there and existing there never clicked for me. I often found it lonely and cold. In my free time, I’d often find myself either traveling back to Cincinnati or out on back roads searching for abandoned history. Nearby Nelsonville, Ohio was full of it and one day I came across this abandoned school.


I don’t remember completely, but on that bright and sunny afternoon I think I hopped through one of the many open windows. The school itself reminded me exactly of the Catholic school I had attended in Hamilton, Ohio from kindergarten through 8th grade. Both schools had been built around the same time and featured several of the same hallmarks: ornate decoration, actual chalk boards, wooden doors with windows above them, brick exteriors, etc. 



Inside, there were plenty of remnants from the school’s final days. Offices still had papers sitting on desks, a mural lined the gym, and although it lacked a microphone - the guts of the PA system still remained. 



Erected in 1907, one source claims that this building was closed in 1993. At the time I made these photographs, the building was just over a century old. In the time since, there have been several efforts to save it. 

In 2015, the building was condemned by the city, but a revitalization effort was also announced. As of April 2017, renovation into affordable housing apartments seems to actually be happening.















Over time, a lot of urban exploration content has been featured on QC/D. During the past ten or so years, some photographs and stories from my interest in documenting abandoned, forgotten, or little-known locations have fallen by the wayside. They were either never featured or only had a small mention. Over the next few weeks, this “From the Archives” series will dig up some of those older stories and share more history and exploration of abandoned places across the Midwest. 

- The road between Athens and Nelsonville, OH circa 2007.

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