Tag Archives: Graffiti

Abandoned Farmhouses 3

Empty Farmhouse and Packing Plant

I think I have saved the best for last.  This was the last stop on a quick tour of three, easily accessible, derelict farmhouses in and around the Upper Valley in El Paso.  This last property is not far from the Gato Road House.  It’s along Highway 28, on the way to La Union New Mexico.


View Empty House and Packing Plant in a larger map

I hesitate to call this property abandoned.  There is a house on the plot that while it’s empty at the moment, has been maintained and even has a security system visible from the front porch window.  All of its doors and windows are intact with no signs of vandalism or forced entry.

White House
White House

To the left of the house is a storage shed. It contains a lot of old supplies and stuff you would expect to see on a farm. There was a pile of old Glidden paint cans and a cool old oil lantern that was missing its glass.

Lights out
Lights out

The next building on the property is the largest.  It looks like it was some sort warehouse or packing facility. Old refrigerators, stacks of flat cardboard boxes and other assorted junk are scattered all around.  The roof looks to have been removed save for a few pieces of corrugated metal left in a few spots.

Warehouse
Warehouse

This building could have started life as some sort of feeding place for livestock.  On each side of the building a concrete trough ran the length of the building.  There was one neat find in here, some old hubcaps.

Nice!
Nice!

Outside on a large concrete slab a old tracker trailer sits.  It won’t be going anywhere fast, all of the tires are rotted to the hub.

Not Truckin'
Not Truckin’

The last building on the property is the oldest.  Its an adobe structure that has lost it roof and all the wall plaster.  Slowly its returning back to the earth.

long gone
Long gone

This collection of buildings was the most interesting and really shows the range of how long it had been in use. It could have easily spanned two or three generations and been an important player in the areas farming past.  I took a bunch of pictures that I could not include in this post so if you want to browse the full set on Flickr click below:

Abandoned in the Upper Valley

The previous two abandoned properties I vistited are here:
Abandoned Farmhouses (pt. 2)
Abandoned Farmhouses (pt. 1)

Abandoned Farmhouses 2

The Gato House

After moving on from the shell of a house, I traveled down Westside drive turning left on Gato road to the next structure.  This one is a bit more traditional, It even looks like somebody at some point was trying to revive it but for some reason their plans had been cut short.


View House on Gato in a larger map

The adobe construction looks to have stood the test of time and it may have been a comfortable home in its heyday.  Its a single story dwelling with a storage shed in the back.

Gato House
The Gato House

Inside the house is gutted and what remains leaves little to be desired.  The original construction looks pretty rough and the fix up attempts don’t get past the basic stage.

Outside in
Outside in

I’m not real sure how salvageable the structure is.  The condition of the house may have been what derailed the reconstruction. Not much is left save for a few doors and some old cabinetry. The fireplace is a real wood-burning one complete with an old school chimney.

Brick Hearth
Brick Hearth

Out back in a gated area is a storage shed.  Whats interesting is how this area is fenced in with the house on the outside. There is a clothes line and in the shed is either a hot water heater or well storage tank.

Storage Shed
Storage Shed

Not much else is on the property so I packed it in and headed on down the road to the final abandoned property.  If you missed part 1 you can find it here:
Abandoned Farmhouses (pt. 1)

 

Abandoned Farmhouses 1

The forever advancing suburban sprawl has snaked its way through the upper valley, turning farmland into shiny new homes.  Most of the time when a field gets bought, it’s quickly subdivided with ease. Occasionally a relic to the areas agricultural past gets left behind.  Many of the older established farms had very big houses that were well maintained and will continue to live on well past their previous life.  Often the less successful ones wind up forgotten and left to the elements.  There are 3 good examples of this not far from where I live.  I went and and captured them because at some point their land will be bought and they will most likely get razed.

Topless in the Valley

The closest one to me is in the worst shape.  It is not far from the intersection at Borderland and Westside drive, a short drive down a dirt road gets you there.


View Topless in the Valley in a larger map

The first building on the property is the farmhouse.  It has no roof and has been exposed to nature for some time.

The Farmhouse
The Farmhouse

Given it’s close proximity to the new neighborhoods, It has it share of graffiti from local kids. The graffiti isn’t that remarkable most likely because its easy to be seen with all the windows and roof opened up.  A couple of the interior rooms have some more detailed pieces but again its just a grade above regular tagging.

Graffiti ???
ZOAG ???

The structure also houses a large assortment of shipping pallets. Most were wood, but there were a few plastic ones.  The other odd thing is there is no sign of any part of the roof in the structure or on the grounds nearby. It may have been a simple flat roof that has long been scavenged for something else.  Nearby is a small pump house, storage shed and large metal awning.

rest of the property
The rest of the property

The storage shed had been opened but nothing interesting remained.  The pump house has been left alone with no obvious attempts at forced entry.

The Pump House
The Pump House

The size of the property and collection of buildings is pretty interesting. It would appear that it did OK at some point in the past, maybe some sort of onion or cotton processing. However in its current state it won’t be returning to its farming roots anytime soon.  Next I stopped at a more traditional structure not far away. Stay tuned.

Abandoned Terminal Redex

Several months back (July) I went to a weird site at 3670 Doniphan.


View Abandoned Terminal in a larger map

There are a few scattered buildings and a single sign that displays “Terminal” at its top.

Terminal
Terminal, that way

The few buildings at the back are the only remnants of industrial activity and they don’t match the age of the other foundation bits and pieces scattered around.  There are these weird blocks that seem to be marking some sort of station locations set next to train tracks that snake through the property.

Six
Six

The last time I was here the main “office” building had been locked up with entry accessible only through a hole in the wall. A side storage area was broken in to but not very interesting.

Open for business
Open for business

This time around the front door had been pried open and the second story graffiti was new, overlapping the older tagging.   Once inside I noticed something kind of weird, the walls had sections broken out in seemingly random spots.  I also noticed some exposed ceiling tiles and cut sections of pipe insulation on the floor and then it hit me… copper scavengers.

Plastic fantastic
Plastic fantastic!

A couple of fake plants and a desk was all that had been left behind. The drawers had been rifled through, though I wager there wasn’t anything to begin with. After walking back out I headed over to the electric station were it was obvious that nothing is going to be going on here for a while.

 Off
All Off

At about this time a white Jeep Liberty with a flatbed trailer drove up behind the building.  I continued to take pictures, waiting for some sort of acknowledgement for the driver.  Eventually I got a nervous “¿Qué Pasa?” from the driver who was holding some very large bolt cutters.  I approached him with a “Hey what’s up?” trying to explain that I was taking pictures because well you know… abandoned stuff is cool.  Confused, he clearly had no idea what I was taking about and asked if I understood Spanish. I went with “No” to make things nice and simple and continued take pictures but not of him fearing I would spook him further. There wasn’t much was left around to look at except for this nice canister:

RUST!
RUST!

I headed out leaving the scavenger behind, I guess there was still some copper to be had that he wanted. Recycling is all the rage right now, so I guess he can be considered to be doing his part for the environment??? The full Flicker set can be viewed here: Abandoned Terminal Pt. 2, for comparison here’s part 1: Abandoned Terminal. My very first view of the site from next door with my Holga can be viewed here: 2008 Graffiti

Chalk the Block ’11

This weekend downtown El Paso held the 4th annual Chalk the Block event.  The organizers bring together artists, artist teams and other performers for a free event that turns the sidewalks around the plaza and museum into temporary art installations.  With the recent removal of the fences around San Jacinto Plaza the downtown park makes for a great place for artists to create chalk and pastel works on the concrete.

Big Red Heart
Big Red Heart

We arrived early Saturday morning so many of the artists were still working on their pieces. There was still a bunch of other things to see as we wandered around. Poetic Kinetics was on hand displaying one of their Holding Flame sculptures:

Poetic Kinetics
Holding Flame

Jack was mesmerized by it but Shaun was a little afraid.  The flame visuals created by the burner at the top really can hypnotize you.  The heat kicked by the flames keeps you mindful of the danger overhead but the distance keeps you safe. Fiat of El Paso was also using this a showcase event for their just launched 500, with artists creating works around and on the spry little hatch.

Fiat 500
Fiat 500 Art Car

There was a large selection of food trucks on hand hawking all sorts of nacho-churro-relleno-on-a-stick concoctions. We opted for a stop at Kipps Cheesesteaks for their awesome hot sandwiches.

Eat at Kipps!
Eat at Kipps!

I guess no outdoor event is complete without some sort of protests.  The Occupy Wallstreet protests that are currently sweeping the globe have even spawned a local group who were standing out in front of the Cortez Building.  They had wanted the center of the Plaza but were supplanted by the arts this weekend. Go Arts!

Occupy Mesa Street?
Occupy Mesa Street?

Main street had been turned into an informal gallery space with several booths set up and artists displaying their wares. Local El Paso artists David “Grave” Herrera  and Mitsu Overstreet of “Border Youth” were on hand laying down some paint on a Sun Metro bus:

Grave's Border Youth
Grave’s Border Youth

The kids were about done at this point and we had seen everything that was worth checking out.  This years event was well organized and looks to be something that will continue and only get better.  My full Flickr set can be viewed here: Chalk the Block

Swift Meat Packing, Fort Worth Texas

Right next to the Fort Worth Stockyards is a large abandoned industrial complex that used to be the Swift Meat Packing Plant. It was part of Gustavus Swift’s family of companies and was in operation from about 1902 to 1971.  It soon fell into disrepair due to numerous fires from trespassing vagrants, gang activity and graffiti taggers.


View Swift Meat Packing Plant in a larger map

There are still several large buildings on the property that are open to some urban exploring though care should be taken, it’s quite apparent that numerous homeless have taken up residence here.  I didn’t do this excursion alone. I had a friend with me as a second set of eyes. It’s funny but one of the creepiest things we encountered was this lost child’s toy:

Lost Toy
Lost Toy

It really puts some nightmarish Freddy Kruger/Halloween thoughts in your head.  The first building we entered, Processing 1, was the smallest at the complex and had some of the freshest graffiti:

Processing 1
Processing 1

The names I’m giving these buildings are for reference and based on the order we entered them or from what they looked like.  Processing 1 was two stories and except for the graffiti, it was rather unremarkable.  Next door was Processing 2:

Processing 2
Processing 2

It had a lot of internal damage from fires and the second level wasn’t accessible. The stairs were missing and we didn’t want to chance climbing up the outside ladder. Behind Processing 2 was the Garage.  It was a large open metal structure adjacent some storage areas. It had one of the more interesting homeless shelter setups:

A bed and chair!
A bed and chair!

Most of the doors were free to swing in the breeze so as we wandered around we could hear various banging and squeaking which really plays with your mind. Fires and the passage of time have really done a number to the place.  Interestingly though, in around 2008 the site was used as a set piece for the TV show Prison Break.  They converted one of the structures into a South American Prison and added several guard towers:

Prison Break
Penitenciaria Federal de Sona

The grey stucco facade and windows are complete fakes but its interesting how your mind is fooled by the movie magic.  The three guard stations that were built also have paint that mimics age but upon closer inspection you can see the timbers are new.  Its a sharp contrast to the wood that’s been around since about 1902 making up the roofs of the warehouse structures:

Roof collapse
Don’t be scared little tiger

The remains of the roof looked like it could come down at any moment but that doesn’t scare the tiger guarding the place.  He wasn’t the last toy we came across, parked outside of Processing 4 was this little tike:

Little Tike's last ride
Little Tike’s last ride

If you will notice, the fourth floor of Processing 4 has no windows.  Winding up the interior stairwell lead us to a room that was behind a large heavy refrigeration door:

The Black Room
The Black Room

It was dark, but the sky lights let in enough light to see that the walls had been painted black causing the graffiti to also glow as if under black light. That room kind of creeped us out so we didn’t stick around there.  The last structure we entered was the largest and had extensive damage to it’s northern face.  The wall had completely fallen exposing the interior to the elements:

Exposed
Exposed

This building is different from the others in that each large room is accessed from the stairwell through large refrigeration type doors. It kind of implies that every floor was heavily cooled for what ever processing that went on.  It also has a large service elevator that would have serviced all five floors. We were about out of time so we headed out to meet back up with Virginia and get some much deserved beers.  In total we spent about 3 hours there and the complete Flickr set can be viewed here: Swift Meat Processing Plant