One last visit to the Scranton Lace Company
Urban exploration is bittersweet, for its assets are always depreciating. Those of us with the urbex bug will wax poetic about abandoned places frozen in time, but they're not. Our universe is constantly keen to prove that nothing is static. If anything, change is the one constant. Even the most stoic of derelict structures will decay, and that decay is often exponential.
See, there I go. We're a loquacious bunch.
I've been to the Scranton Lace Company three times now. I've explored it from many angles, made a short film about it, and locked my keys in my car there. It's seen a lot, and my time there has been anything but boring.
This time, however, I spent just as much time watching my steps as I was watching for photo opportunities. Water damage has launched an assault on the crumbling structure, and floors have been pockmarked with holes as gaping as manhole covers. Towards the end of my visit, I absentmindedly looked down at a wooden pallet to discover that I could see the concrete of the floor below mine. An old, wet piece of stacking equipment was all that protected the clumsy visitor from a fifteen foot fall.
Landmarks and furniture from previous visits have been upended and smashed, either by the asbestos abatement teams or by drunk teenagers looking to vent anger. Nature has a tag-team partner to help it erode these places, and it's us, the people who build them.
Matthew Christopher/Abandoned America, the organizer of these explorations, announced that this would be the final event at the Scranton Lace Company. As dismayed as I was to lose it as a location, I can't see myself returning anyway. After a certain point, the hazards begin to outweigh the lure of more photographs.
The Scranton Lace Company will continue to cave in under water damage, vandalism, and gravity. At this point, I don't see any hope for salvaging the place; bureaucracy at its finest has led to countless delays in the restoration and repurposing process. Shame -- it could've been something great.
I suppose that's why we document places like this. Nothing can remain static, but photographs and video come close to preserving that intangible allure of abandoned structures before, like everything else, they change.