Part of what attracted me to both photography and urban exploration was the idea of capturing bits of what used to be.
The German-Roman orphanage on the East Side was around for over 80 years and saw thousands of young people pass through its halls. It has recently been converted into apartments although many of its buildings were demolished in the process due to damage.
The door was part of a classroom building where the work of former students could still be found stuffed into cubbyholes. The detritus of the people who taught and learned there made it feel even more abandoned than had it been cleaned out. Did they leave in a hurry or was none of it worth saving?
In another part of the building, a long hallway connecting the administration building to the chapel, there was a student gallery of sorts. The blocks that made up the hallway had each been individually painted by a student. Each one had a name and some had messages. Phrases like “don’t forget me” and similar were on many of these bricks.
I have no idea what happened to these students but I imagine some of them still live in the area.
If you’d like to see more of what the Orphanage looked like before it was rebuilt I have a series of videos that act as an unguided tour. They can be found linked on my write-up about my trek through the site here.
Video of the wall of messages can be found here.