August 21, 2015

Abandoned School on Clevelands West Side


Repurposing Is A Good Lesson

Abandoned School on Clevelands West Side


This crumbling heap of old bricks is the former Watterson school on Cleveland’s West side. I had an opportunity to check it out before it comes down, and I seized it! The crew working on the building that day told me how they were carefully removing some of the decorative elements of the facade. Basically anything you see in white on the reddish brown brick building was going to be repurposed on another school in the city. They were instructed to be especially careful with the cherub looking faces on either side of the entrance.

The interior of the building was in terrible shape – one of the worst buildings I have been in. After you walk in the doors and up the lobby steps you are immediately met by open air as the ceiling was long gone. Every step I took crunched another hole into the rotting floor boards that had been exposed to the elements for who knows how long.

The basement was pretty much empty, and creepy. And creepy. I don’t do basements alone but with people outside I decided to do it anyhow. The rooms were big and wide and dark. There was not much down there, besides the row of toilets and an old electronic typewriter. The boiler room was huge with two humungous boilers. As I was entering the boiler room I could see the beam on my flashlight getting smaller and smaller. I was pretty worried about getting in the darkest room of the basement and have my light go out on me. So onto the next room.

The building was crumbling at every crevice it could, with piles of dirt, plaster, asbestos and wood everywhere. There was only one room that looked like a classroom still, all the other room had deteriorated beyond recognition. There was one piano, one cabinet full of workbooks and a globe split into two. Besides that, you had to use your imagination to see it as a school.

This building has been on my list for a while and I was excited to be able to explore it. Walking through it, I had felt disappointed not seeing  more “school” things – but once I saw my photos I was glad I had gone in.



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