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Jason Toews and fifi (the band)

Storage Building 01, July 2011


I’ve only been doing this urban exploring thing for a couple of years, but I’m willing to bet my experience is not unique: I now find myself freakishly attuned to the presence of abandoned structures everywhere. I can’t travel anywhere without taking mental note of every darkened building, scanning the ground level doors and windows for possible entry points, assessing security risks…

Needless to say, a road trip through the southern U.S. was a sensory overload, a bonanza, if you will, a veritable golden cornucopia of abandonment. I was with my son, and we had a fairly busy schedule, so most of these opportunities went sadly unexploited. One site, however, was too tempting to resist. We stopped at a Family Dollar to purchase swimming goggles, and I noticed a suspicious cluster of trees in a field behind the store. Closer examination revealed a barn-shaped, two-story building, completely obscured by the dense foliage.

I climbed a tree and jumped in a second-story window (which made me feel pretty spry and youthful, I can tell you; I wish someone had captured that moment on film), then pried open a ground-floor window for Max. A feral cat fled as we entered, and an angry squirrel ran back and forth across the tin roof, chattering his disapproval. The building was apparently used as a storage facility for local movie theaters and a law office. There were several old projectors, stacks of movie magazines and theater schedules from the 1960s, an antique gumball machine, an entire set of Florida Jurisprudence books, theater seats and other furniture, an ancient Singer sewing machine with amazing painted details, thousands of legal files, and much more.

My most treasured find of the day, though, was this men’s magazine from 1962:

… which came complete with a pull-out “Girl Watcher’s Coloring Book.” I scanned the pages of the coloring book and put it together into a PDF for your coloring (and leering) enjoyment. Click the link below to open the PDF in your browser, or right-click to save it to your hard drive.

Girl Watcher’s Coloring Book

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  1. Stunning, my friend. Completely stunning. Wow.

  2. I don’t know how, but you manage to make garbage look so interesting!

  3. Crazy creepy. And that mag is the crap I grew up surrounded by. I’ll alert my dad to your find.

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