Discovering a forgotten silk mill
Graffiti and vandalism go hand-in-hand with urban exploration. They're so prevalent that I've developed a subconscious filter; I've learned to see through the spray paint, broken glass and fire damage to the remains of the environment beneath.
My first few minutes in this silk mill felt a little strange. I couldn't pinpoint why, until I reviewed my first few images: there was little-to-no evidence of human activity (nefarious or otherwise) in the building since it shut down. What I was experiencing, then, was an unperturbed time capsule, and my mental filter needed to adjust for it. This building has genuinely been forgotten.
Dense, veinous ivy covers the outside of the building like a sentinel, sheltering it from too much sunlight and the attention of ne'er do wells. As a result, the building is eerily well-preserved. Calendars from 1957 look as fresh as they were 60 years ago. Thousands of spindles sit as they were left in the rows of looms, awaiting the next shipment of silk that will never arrive.
The sounds of the neighboring town's Sunday fair meandered in gently, if the breeze carried it just right. Otherwise, the air was thick and silent, and smelled of musty wood and metal. The basement, dark and damp with its lack of ventilation, required a respirator. Multi-colored mold and mildew slowly attacked its deteriorating contents, which included a pristine newspaper from 1962.
I can't help but think about how many more places like this exist. They must be out there, tucked away in other small, sleepy towns, whose townspeople don't give them a second thought. If this building was anywhere near a major metropolitan area, it'd be long ransacked and sullied.
One thing it does share with other abandoned buildings is an uncertainty over its future. The owner has offers of restorations spanning back decades, none of which have come to fruition.
Thus, the mill remains a victim of inertia and the elements. Vandals and drunken idiots with spray paint have largely stayed away, and I hope that lasts. Perhaps being forgotten, in this case, is a blessing.