My brother sent me the video below taken recently in his old prep school, and it broke us both. In 1980 (or so), when my parents decided to move my brother from the local Catholic grade school to the Episcopalian school in the posh town nearby, I was over the moon. I remember thinking we had arrived. Seriously. I thought that. Even as a child, I was in love with architecture, and to my young eyes, this building looked straight out of a fairy tale. Clearly anyone associated with the place would have magical powers, or at least superior social standing. During my brother’s time there, every time the family attended a school event, I spent my time there examining every detail. I really was obsessed with this place. Years later, reading Harry Potter for the first time, I laughed at myself when I realized I was picturing Hogwarts as my brother’s school.
The boarding school, though glorious, was apparently going through very hard times, and in 1991, it closed its big, gorgeous doors forever. It has been sitting there, unloved and un-lived-in ever since.
Watching the video below from the urbex duo known as The Proper People absolutely broke my heart. I don’t think there’s ever been a building I’ve loved more than that school, and to see it wasting away made me so very sad. I was also amazed at the sheer volume of still-gorgeous architectural salvage hanging around in the building. Chandeliers, stained glass windows, carved doors, solid wood panels, all those beautiful pews, the bookcases and amazing fireplaces, and those staircases. I think the newel posts and railings alone would be worth a million dollars. What a terrible, terrible waste. The one thing that made me feel a little better was seeing that I hadn’t glamorized it in my memory. It really was as magical as I remembered.
As sad as the (illegal) tour of the building made me, when I did a little research to find out what was to become of my architectural soul mate, the results made me even more depressed. The city plans to turn it into a sports complex, gutting the building and keeping only the front facade. Ugh.
I guess that’s better than letting it fall in, but the thought of all that gorgeous stuff inside being discarded makes me crazy. I’m going to try to find out when they’re doing demo, and see if I can’t score us some keepsakes. Construction site dumpster diving used to be a hobby of mine, you know…
And because I can’t leave the post on that dismal note, here are some other very cool locations The Proper People have explored.