An exploration with my friend.
After six weeks of interrupted exploration plans, we finally made it back to the hospital campus for our first exploration of the new year. But there is a yang to every yin - this is our last planned trip to the southern half of the NSH campus and its incredible surgery building.
But first, with so much time having passed, we wanted to check out the advancing demolition and abatement on the other buildings.
Turns out, the demo crews advanced faster than we thought.... 01: Rubble
To our surprise, the demolition teams obliterated over half of O.T.'s Cold-War-era aboveground structure. The theatre is gone, the solarium is gone, and the plant-filled courtyard is now nothing more than a field of broken concrete and mutilated rebar. 02: Solarimissing
The cream-white section of tile between the black bricks and red bricks is right about where the patient art hallway leading to the solarium used to be. The solarium's foundation is still outlined where it used to be on the ground, visible later in the thread. 03: Earthquake
The courtyard had brick paths running through it the last time we were here, and except for a few precious spots it had been crumpled and destroyed. 04: Hills
What used to be the newest building on the campus is now nothing more than piles of raw material. 05: Field of Destruction
It looked like the aftermath of some huge battle. Over half of O.T. is gone. 06: The Lanes Last Glance
The encroaching demolition will soon reach the bowling alley to finish what nature started. The theatre is gone, but we were happy to see that the bowling alley is still there for now. 07: Came
It wasn't until I got home that I realized this didn't say "GAME". I assume this is the manufacturer's name. 08: Carved Curves
The alley here was by no means automated, but each lane did feature ball return rails made entirely of gently sloped and sanded wood. Years of water damage has since warped these beyond usability. 09: Doorframe Bracing
It was while setting up for this photo that my tripod decapited itself. The plastic bracket that the camera clips onto snapped clean off the vertical adjustment pole. This was not fixable in the field and so the rest of these photos are a crash course in stabilizing a camera by hand or by balancing it on a headless tripod.
I liked the green at the end of this hallway and thus took a photo by pressing the camera against the doorframe to keep it steady. Any water that had leaked into the basement over the last week or two had frozen, and some rooms were like ice rinks! 10: Caving in Green
What used to be a ventilation shaft to upstairs is now a large hole somewhere in the courtyard's wreckage that let a pile of rubble fall down into the basement. Just around the corner to the right, where the green steam tunnel was in my second NSH thread, is a wall of rubble where the tunnel was completely collapsed. The elevator to hell (through the door and around the corner to the left) looked to still be intact though! 11: Concrete Sheet
It looks as though the demolition team may be starting demolition of the basement as well. On our first trip here, we couldn't figure out what this room was, and I guess now we'll never know. 12: Olympic
In a room we somehow missed before, we found several murals painted by what we assume was a patient at the hospital. Unfortunately the photos I took of them all came out blurry; this is the sharpest one. 13: Asymmetric Ceiling 2
Compare with "Asymmetric Ceiling" from my second NSH trip thread. This hallway and the solarium behind it are both somewhere in the rubble piles outside now. 14: Sorting Scrap (Left)
The solarium's foundation is visible in the bottom right corner of this photo. Being of Cold War vintage, I'm sure this place is giving the demolition team a good fight! 15: Sorting Scrap (Right)
In front of the large pile of concrete at the right, in the little lowered area, is an autoclave that the construction works have apparently repurposed as a fire pit, complete with grilling rack and emergency fire extinguisher. 16: Punch Down
Every now and then we would stumble across a punch-down block for different sections of the phone system throughout the building. Scrappers don't seem interested in phone or Ethernet wiring because of how small the copper wire is compared to how much non-copper material is actually in the cable. I was able to balance the camera on the tripod's stump for this shot. 17: Power Boxes
This is my favorite photo from this trip, especially considering it was shot while supported by nothing but my bare hands! 18: Three Weeks Notice
After we finished our last tour of O.T., we elected to enter one of the two freshly-abated buildings to see how it had changed since our first, brief trip to this incredible land. This chalkboard, which had somehow survived unmolested all these years, still had some writing from the staff when the building closed in the 1990's. 19: Ventilation
Since this building was in service well into what can be considered the "modern" era, it had many newer technologies installed compared to its sister buildings, such as an HVAC system that wasn't idiotic. 20: Naked Hall
The demolition crews gutted absolutely everything in this place except for the attic. While this photo is blurry, it shows that not even the wall tiles were spared. 22: Unsalvageably Off Center
Satisfied at finally having seen the previous building's interior (or what was left of it) in the daylight, we began our last tour of the surgery building. 23: Moss Garden in the Sky
I finally had enough light to photograph the upper mossy green room in surgery's small, two-story greenhouse. This shot was excruciating to take because of the tripod difficulties. 24: Heater Core
This is when my lack of a tripod really reared its ugly head; if I'd been able to get the camera steady this would've been one of my favorite shots from the trip. We believe that these large heating elements, which were contained in a giant brick chimney of sorts, had air pulled down and past them from outside, which heated the air as it went past, which was then pumped through the rest of the building. The surface area compared to modern "fin" heating elements is abysmal and the system is vulnerable to rainwater falling in from above. 25: Farewell, Surgery
Having accomplished just about everything we set out to do in the southern half of the NSH campus, it was time to say goodbye and head home. I took one last, blurry parting shot of the surgery building on our way out. 26: M Building Exterior
On our way back we passed the M building, and I realized I had almost no exterior shots of any of the buildings in in this place. And so I photographed M's exterior. The low light and lack of stabilization made all of these photos blurry. In the distance there is surgery, with the left side of M at the right. 27: Full Circle
Passing the R building and trekking past O.T. on our way out, I felt that a recreation of the first photo I ever took of O.T. would be a fitting way to round out this last tour. 28: Farewell Southern Campus
This is our last planned trip to this side of the campus. We must set our sights North now before demolition commences on that half of the hospital campus as well.
And so concludes one of the most fascinating series of explorations I've ever undertaken. From the sodden basements to the wooden attics, from the dot-matrix test pages to the circa-1948 patient records, and everything in between, there was something to see in every room in every building. I doubt I'll be able to top this place for a long time; here's hoping the Northern half of the campus is just as interesting! To those still putting off their explorations of this place, now is the time to go.
There is a large and well-funded company dead set on expanding their operations to the land these buildings stand on and I don't believe the Southern campus will still exist by the end of the year.