Urban Decay Photography of Midwestern Church

November 24, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

Auditorium

I had a great trip to the Midwest this year, and this was one of my favorite locations.

I don't do a lot of research on these places beforehand, because it would probably deter me from exploring.  Many locations turn out to be pretty dangerous, either because of the state of the buildings, or crime in the area.  It's really interesting looking into what these places were, and what became of them once I get back.

I can only hope my ignorance leads to great images, and you all enjoy them :)

The gymnasium

 

 

 

 

Built in 1925, the site of this massive Gothic church was donated by the U.S. Steel Corporation, who also paid for a large portion of it's construction.  Construction at the time cost over $1 million.  For some perspective, that's over $13.3 million today.

In addition to the church itself, there was also an auditorium with a stage and balcony seating (above), a gym (left), classrooms (below), as well as commercial and office space.

 

 

 

 

Classroom 1

Classroom hallway Classroom 2

 

Over the decades the complex was a cultural hub, but through the 60's & 70's, the collapse of the steel industry hit the area hard.  The poor economy, changing demographics, and sharp increase in crime caused membership to drop from 3,000 to a little over 300.  People were afraid to go after dark, and during one wedding ceremony, the father of the bride reportedly had his car stolen.  The church leadership finally closed up shop in 1975.  While another religious group briefly used the church in the 80's, it's been mostly abandoned for nearly 40 years.  Arson in the late 90's caused significant damage to the area, and took down the roof of the gym pictured above.

 

Fire damage

There's a door...right there. Second floor To the balcony Upper floor office?

Unlike many of these abandoned structures, this church didn't feel hidden away. While the area has seen better days, it also didn't really blend in among so many other crumbling buildings, as it might in Detroit.  A busy city surrounds it, with children playing just across the street.  It was very strange to be in a place once so architecturally beautiful, now disowned by it's city, literally at arm's reach.

I was glad to have seen it before another disaster, or demolition, takes the rest of the building down for good.  Apparently some part of it was used during the filming of Transformers 3, but I didn't spot it.  Then again, who knows what was going on in that movie.

You can click on any of the images to visit the print store and pick up your favorite.

As always, don't forget to like the facebook page and show your support by sharing it with your friends!

What's left of the sanctuary


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