Friday, November 1, 2013

Return to School Four: A "Haunted" Annie Lytle Public School Clean-up

Caked in filth after cleaning up a classroom. 

I recently wrote about my "Haunted" School Four explorations. Soon after I received an invite to help clean-up the school so it can be bought and preserved for future generations. Of course I jumped on the opportunity!


Again when I first pulled up I saw cops, this time walking in to the school. I saw cars and coolers of gatorade within the fenced school area and felt safe to venture in. After snapping a few photos of the previously unexplored downstairs I met with the clean-up organizers and signed in to get cleaning.


Here's a look at the incredible downstairs cafeteria, I believe.


It had a breathtaking brick fireplace.


I can't imagine a public school with a brick fireplace in the cafeteria. Things were different 100 years ago!


Here's the hallway leading to the only exit, again, you can see how teens would be terrified sneaking in here in the pitch blackness. Definite draw to this exploration.


I peeked again at the auditorium from the second floor this time, the roof collapsed from a fire started by transients. From my research the majority of the damage began after this school was condemned, such a sad waste of resources.


Another interesting peek outside in the schoolyard.


A favorite spot is this hallway on the left wing with plants reclaiming their territory.


A room cleaning in-progress.


An amazingly clean room! The last time I was in this room it was cluttered with debris!


Now you can actually see the beautiful old wood flooring.


The graffiti is another story but it does add an interesting dimension to the school. While cleaning we discussed the potential future for School Four, the idea of it becoming an "art building" where artists could paint murals for public enjoyment came up.


The light shining through the boarded windows was incredible. I've never seen anything like it outside of Michael Jackson's Can You Feel It music video!


Dust masks are highly recommended to protect yourself from the clouds of dust floating in the air as you clean up years of debris and filth.


It was rewarding to watch the floor emerge.


This was in the room's closet, the sunbeam! Incredible.


I followed it to the corner and was excited to find...


Loads of vintage paper ephemera! I was hoping any would be 100 year old relics from the school's time in session but most were from the 1960s to the 1980s.


Still quite the mystery, what was this stuff doing in here? You can see lots was burned from various fires throughout the school's condemned history. Note my boots at the bottom there, when I came in they were a warm chocolate brown!


Sudden Change on the wall is right, amazing what a few people and a little time can do to a room.


A few volunteers are trying to clean this school so the current owner has a better chance of selling it.


And preserving the rich history that it represents.


Come check out the clean-up group on Facebook if you're local and want to help, they host clean-ups once a week most of the time. It's one way to see this beautiful school legally!

What do you think they could turn this school into? What would you do with it if it was yours. I've had a dream or two about living in it since I've visited...
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19 comments:

  1. Looking good in the first photo! ;) Grrrrrrrr

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  2. That's awesome that a group of volunteers see the worth in that building! Im from Detroit, and they are just demolishing all of these incredible beautiful old homes because most of them just become crack houses. Spending the time and money to refurbish them wouldn't work because no one will pay money to buy them and live in them because they don't want to live in Detroit. Its so tragic!

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    1. I always hate to see that waste. Makes wistful for Europe were many old buildings are kept inract and lived in.

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    2. A guy I know here in Toronto just bought a house in Detroit for $2,000. $400,000 in Toronto, $2,000 in Detroit (probably wasn't much of a house, though, but still).

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  3. What a great idea for cleaning up. If the property market wasn't so glutted I would say they would make beautiful condos with all that brick work and high ceilings.

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    1. Another old school closer to me was turned into condos. I'm curious to see the insides! School 4 is a huge investment of time/money. I wonder what could be done with it.

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  4. That's so awesome that you got to go in again (you know... legally! hehe!) It looks so good all cleaned up. And those sunbeam pictures are absolutely incredible! I've never seen anything like that before. And I love how that sink (?) looks like a little red-eyed monster.
    I think if not condos, it could be a really cool small hotel or big bed and breakfast. Play off the haunted look, and lure people in to come stay in the haunted B&B. I'd totally stay there! Some millionaire with too much money on their hands needs to snatch it up and do that.

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    1. I had to take several photos in the bathroom because it reminded me of scenes from horror movies and videos games! ;D

      I love the hotel/bed breakfast idea too!

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  5. It could be so many things. It depends on the environment. I'm living in 360 degree land from Phoenix. In Phoenix you knocked it down and put up something super beautiful like a Best Buy that promptly went out of business with the recession. There was a group of us who fought tooth and nail to have buildings not torn down. The last one, they wanted to tear down a Frank Loyd house a FUCKING FRANK LOYD WRIGHT HOUSE. We almost lost.....oh how I hate you Phoenix. Then there is Portland, small town gone a bit to big, hemmed in by a river and big hills everywhere. Some so deep I'd personally have a panic attack living in those houses. So places like Safeway have no choice but to use old buildings and make it a Safeway. Of course you got the old buildings made into a condo. I think its happened so much at this point. New places are forced to address other issue's too. So you have condo's that are extremely sustainable or for us who refuse to have a car, bike friendly. If Florida is anything like Phoenix. They need to start to tell business's if you choose to buy here you have to use what you see. They'll do it if they don't have a choice. Is it always the best scenario for that building? No. Its not like the Safeway here is super duper cool looking and they didn't stick with the integrity of the building (on the outside at any rate). But urban sprawl is at a minimum and the one's of us who refuse to even deal with it? We don't have too. ANYWAY this building is a stunner. Maybe condo's but not just condo's. Condo's for people who need space to create. Whether its a coffee shop or a art studio. Make it a place to live and a place to work. Like this- http://www.fordbuildingpdx.com/

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    1. While cleaning we discussed possibilities: artist's studios, night club (baaad idea, too big to police but still kind of neat), love the idea of turning it into a space where you could have artist studios, cafes, book stores...Thanks for sharing the Ford Building link, amazing what they did with the space. There's an old school converted into condos super close to me, I wonder if they'd let me go in and take photos for inspiration. The owners of School 4 could use it as an example for potential investors of the school's potential.

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  6. I meant on the inside of the Safeway, quite cool looking fro the outside. Makes finding a Safeway a bitch at first though.:)

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    1. I can't wait to visit Portland one day to see it :D

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    2. We don't have Safeways in North Florida I assume they're a grocery store type deal?

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    3. OMG no Safeway??!! Ha, just kidding. Yeah its far more expensive than say Wal-mart but not as expensive as a Whole Foods (organic grocery store, you got those right?). Can't say I am a big fan. Here its New Seasons a combination of Whole Foods and Safeway. I can buy all my organic stuff and my husband can have his stupid bologna WIN! You would love Portland!! And Portland would love you!

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    4. Thank lawd we got some organic grocery stores in in the last 9ish years. They ironically opened our only Whole Foods in a 3 minute walk from my first apartment, would have killed to have that there back then. Thought I'm currently spoiled by an organic grocery store in biking distance that insures all produce is as local as possible :) And a "farmer's market" not too bad of a distance too though the sources are dubious.

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  7. You are so lucky to legally be able to go into that beautiful abandoned building! I used to hang out with some of Toronto's infiltraters, but have given up the hobby. The infiltrater zine is from Toronto. A beautiful building like that would be demolished here & turned into million dollar condos. If someone applied for a historic merit or whatever it's called to keep the building from being torn down, they'd just burn it down anyways. Sickos.

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    1. I thought better of Toronto than that, boo! Boo I say!

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  8. Van, we are still here! Working but not each weekend as before. We have Event Clean Ups. You would not recognize the inside since you were there (with Ry?) If you or anyone else is interested and sees my reply they can contact me thru FaceBook or email annielytlepreservationgroup@yahoo.com. We are always looking for people who sincerely wish to help out.
    Thanks, Patsy Bryant

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