Thursday, January 22, 2015


Exploring abandoned America is a dream for many. I myself have been lucky enough to visit numerous places that not only are abandoned, but also have a positive and negative role in history depending on who you ask. Some would say with risk comes reward but at times it is debatable whether the risk out weighs the reward, but I've always been one to test my luck where others fall short because of intimidation and are comfortable with mediocrity. This is the first project that I've done since my back surgery on November 5th, 2014. Despite what the future brings with my health, this is one thing I have always been passionate about and will continue to produce the best of my capability with what I have. 

Some of the planning processes of finding a location is doing your research whether it be from the internet, word of mouth, or satellite, you never really know what your getting yourself into until you are actually there. Things change throughout the years, and at times you will discover that the place you've been hoping to find just does not exist anymore. As much as you prepare yourself each place has its own obstacles and you really should not go alone. It is a feeling of accomplishment and an adrenaline rush that doesn't leave until you are out safely. Luckily on January 17th, 2015 myself, my long time friend Tom Herres and another photographer named Tyler Bowman did not come across anyone while inside the jail but it was obvious there has been squatters, dealers and drug-addicts living here at one point or another, regardless of the weather and unsafe conditions.

Essex County Jail is located in the University Heights section of NewarkEssex CountyNew Jersey, United States, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places on September 3, 1991. The jail was abandoned in 1970 when a new county jail was built. The jail is Essex County's oldest public building. The grounds are located adjacent to the Norfolk Street station of the Newark Light Rail.

The original building was designed by architect John Haviland and was built in 1837 at the corner of Newark and New Streets. John Haviland was an established prison architect at the time who was most notable for Eastern State Penitentiary. The Morris Canal ran adjacent to the jail and formed the back of the property line. When the building was first built it was known as the Newark Street Jail. The jail was built to replace an earlier structure that was located at the corner of Broad and Walnut Streets and is the present site of the Grace Episcopal Church. The jail consisted of a two story square building built of brick and local brownstone in the Greek Revival style. 

In 1890, the original building was expanded with multiple additions increasing the number of prison cells up to 300. The building was also updated to include running water and toilet facilities in each cell. The building served as Essex County's main jail until 1970 when a new jail was built. The buildings were closed in 1970 and haven’t been used since 1989, when the county’s Bureau of Narcotics moved out after engineers deemed the facility unsafe. In 1991, scenes for the film Malcolm X were shot at the jail. In 2001, a fire caused severe damage, collapsing walls.

Since the fire, Newark acquired the site from Essex County on behalf of the nonprofit group, University Heights Science Park, using a $750,000 federal grant. The developer plans to build a 50-acre (20 ha) science and technology park in the Central Ward that would eventually contain one million square feet of laboratories and offices. The design calls for demolition of the remaining parts of former jail, but the city's landmark's committee, which seeks to have it restored, rejected the plan in 2010. The jail is rapidly decaying and many sections have already fallen down. In particular, The Wardens House, which dates from 1837, has collapsed due to lack of maintenance. Other sections will have to be demolished if the prison is ever rehabilitated.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Tuesday, January 6, 2015