jjmaccrimmon: (Me - Headshot)
Finishing the exploration.

As the city employees who were my escort took me deeper and deeper into the former high school, the dust and age of the ‘left-overs’ gave the impression that these areas had been largely untouched even by the swatters and metals thieves. There were several areas that disturbingly colder than the surroundings. Before it’s asked, no, I didn’t notice any permanent residents.

Boys and Girls Club photo School095FCa_zps0014f40f.jpg

Read more... )
jjmaccrimmon: (Me - Headshot)
Continuing the exploration...

As mentioned in several replies, WCHS was finally shuttered in the 1990-1 timeframe. The main cause was water. Much of the downtown and surrounding community around old Huntsville is undermined by natural springs and underground streams. By the time the Councill Community Center had closed, the building had been settling for over 60 years. Water was seeping into the foundation and the walls causing structural and electrical damage. The roof was last replaced in the 1970’s and given the warm, humid southern environment, it could only last so long.

Failing the grade photo School070FCa_zps59bc4adc.jpg
Failure was just a matter of time

Read more... )
jjmaccrimmon: (Me - Headshot)
I was researching a photo article I wanted to offer to several publications including Alabama A&M (University). The article focused on a little known abandoned gem lying in the heart of downtown Huntsville. In the winter of 2011, I managed to get a guided tour of Huntsville’s former segregated African American high school. William H. Councill was the founder and first president of what became Alabama A&M (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alabama_Agricultural_and_Mechanical_University) in 1890. Councill, a former slave, rose to become a lawyer, newspaper editor, legislator and Alabama Supreme Court Justice. He was without doubt one of the rare cases of success in the Jim Crow era.

Exterior photo School022FCa_zps278978a6.jpg
It seems appropriate then that the US Martin Luther King Jr holiday (and several days after), I offer some images of the high school building named in his honor.

Read more... )
jjmaccrimmon: (Default)
Last year when the tornadoes blew us out of the house and on the road, we visited family in central Alabama. Within walking distance of the house was this gem. Constructed in the 1930’s, the Calera School was the combined elementary and secondary school for farming community.

The complex is now in a state of arrested decay. The main building has been used most recently as a haunted house attraction and municipal storage. Adjacent to the brick and mortar building is a large two room school house, which was moved to this site for renovation. Plans for that seemed to be on hold for a while.

School's out for-ever )
jjmaccrimmon: (Me - Shooting Profile)
In the United States, today is the Martin Luther King Jr holiday. Several years ago the US chose to honor the slain civil right leader on his birthday to recognize his and in effect, many thousands of others contributions to be equal regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, and by extension, sexual preference (note: many civil rights laws enacted have been used to protect the LGBT community).

In Huntsville, there is a relic of that era. A former segregated high school building still stands in silent testimony of the days when black children and white children did not attend the same schools. Welcome to William Councill High School.

School’s Out For-ever )
jjmaccrimmon: (Me - Shooting Profile)
The Scary Dairy (Part 2 of 2)

A clarification. The Camarillo State Hospital started closing down wards in the late 1980’s. The hospital was closed down completely in the 1990’s.

The past is written on the walls of time [13 behind the cut] )
jjmaccrimmon: (Default)
History still in the making (part 3)

Past, present, & future [21 behind the cut] )
jjmaccrimmon: (Default)
History still in the making (part 2)

This building was selected in 1953 by local business as a perfect location to offer to the US Army for the Rocket and Missile test program that was moving to the city. Many government specialists, scientists and engineers from the government and various contractors including Martin Aerospace, Brown Engineering and Rocketdyne worked side by side in the old complex with Von Braun and his team. It was here that key conponents of the Redstone and other rockets were designed.

When NASA and the Army left the building in the 1980’s, it went through a series of owners. Much of the 2nd floor is a mix of water damaged offices, storage rooms, and workshops dating to previous owners. Some areas have power, others are pitch black.

Past, present, & future [16 behind the cut] )
jjmaccrimmon: (Default)
History still in the making

At the end of my previous post, I asked ” What does an 80 year old cotton mill and NASA have to do with each other? Huntsville is a city of contrasts. It was a center for the cotton industry for the first half of the 1900’s. In the second half of the 1900’s, Huntsville became the host to the developing US Space and Rocket program. Lincoln Mill was the bridge between the two eras.

Past, present, & future [14 behind the cut] )
jjmaccrimmon: (Default)
1. The Hawes Communications Bunker (Visit #4 because she wanted to see it);
2. The Atolia Tungsten Mines (4 miles square – 100+ mine openings);
3. Randsburg, CA (A Class C “living” ghost town – 300 houses, 78 residents);
4. Boron Minimum Security Federal Prison Camp (This required two visits)

The Dorms

The prison complex had some notable features which may have eventually led to its closure. The majority of the inmate population lived in dorm complexes versus cells. In fact the only locks on the building were found on the entrance and exit doors to each dorm (and even then they had alarmed fire exits). According to the info on the prison, the population here varied from 350 to 450 inmates at any given time. Coupled with the evidence, this would put three to four inmates per dorm room. Even with the good conditions, the lax security arrangements led more than a few inmates, simply walking down to the nearby highway to be picked up by an accomplice.

This house is not a home [12 behind the cut] )
jjmaccrimmon: (Default)
1. The Hawes Communications Bunker (Visit #4 because she wanted to see it);
2. The Atolia Tungsten Mines (4 miles square – 100+ mine openings);
3. Randsburg, CA (A Class C “living” ghost town – 300 houses, 78 residents);
4. Boron Minimum Security Federal Prison Camp (This required two visits)

The Visitors Center
Unlike most prisons, this facility seemed to have very low key security for the visitor compound. Remember that inmates here were low risk, non-violent offenders. Think middle age, white collar and stupid. As such, the security for visitors and directed at inmates was very loose compared to a ‘traditional’ jail or prison you see in the movies or television.

Safety first - this warning seemed to be more to keep kids from climbing the fence, back in the day.

This house is not a home [20 behind the cut] )
jjmaccrimmon: (Default)
1. The Hawes Communications Bunker (Visit #4 because she wanted to see it);
2. The Atolia Tungsten Mines (4 miles square – 100+ mine openings);
3. Randsburg, CA (A Class C “living” ghost town – 300 houses, 78 residents);
4. Boron Minimum Security Federal Prison Camp (This required two visits)

Boron Minimum Security Federal Prison Camp was a place that only the lowest risk offenders were sent to. The site was considered remote enough and the offenders low enough risk that the facility had no perimeter fence, no watch towers (video surveillance instead) and dorms instead of cells. Prisoners there were mainly white collar and convicted for fraud & tax evasion. To earn their keep, inmates did maintenance and refurbishment to military and government vehicles and equipment from the nearby bases and facilities.

The Admin Complex

You can still make out the Federal Bureau of Prisons seal on the hill

Operations [15 behind the cut] )
jjmaccrimmon: (Happy Dance)
One of the things that I've noticed in the primary election yesterday in New Hampshire was the heavy turn-out by voters. Before that in Iowa, caucus participation was equally heavy. Today none of the new services seem to be picking up on a possible trend. Americans are taking very substantial and significantly increased interest in the election process. In Iowa, the numbers I read showed a nearly 40% increase in voters across the board. I haven't seen figures from NH, but the reports of polling sites making emergency requests for more ballots due to "record heavy turn out" is very heartening.

I hope this trend continues
jjmaccrimmon: (Default)
As mentioned before, on this trip, my partner and I visited 4 locations on and close to US Highway 395 in the western Mojave Desert.

1. The Hawes Communications Bunker (Visit #4 because she wanted to see it);
2. The Atolia Tungsten Mines (4 miles square – 100+ mine openings);
3. Randsburg, CA (A Class C “living” ghost town – 300 houses, 78 residents);
4. Boron Minimum Security Federal Prison Camp (This required two visits)

Without a doubt, one of the most amazing places I’ve ever gotten to photograph and explore was this next site. Boron Air Force Station was a remote but in military terms autonomous ‘radar” base in the Mojave Desert near Edwards AFB. The site was constructed in the 1950’s and housed several radar complexes, including the primary regional air defense radar for the Los Angeles/San Diego region. It is also included a backup radar control site according to some documents for the Los Angeles NIKE missile batteries that protected the area until the 1970’s. The configuration of the radar towers seems to support that a NIKE radar site was here at one time, though the nearest acknowledged launch battery was over 70 miles away. In the 1970’s (about the same time NIKE was deactivated), the Air Force declared the site surplus and turned it over to the Department of Justice Bureau of Prisons) and the FAA. After two years of modification, the Boron Minimum Security Federal Prison Camp opened for business.

Boron Minimum Security FPC (outdoor views)


into the Great Wide Open.. [16 behind the cut] )
jjmaccrimmon: (Default)
I'm planning to send a copy of this message to the Icelandic embassy. The e-mail in the previous link is to the translator/friend of hers.


To His Excellency, Albert Jónsson, Icelandic Ambassador to the United States,

An Open Letter Regarding the Treatment of Miss Erla Osk Arnardottir Lillendahl

Yesterday I learned of a horrendous and heinous breach of some very basic principles of conduct and behavior that most citizens of the United States hold dear. The treatment that Miss Lillendahl received in the hands of representatives of US Homeland Security during her recent visit to the United States was appalling and shameful. The behavior of the officials who detained her was inexcusable and aberrant in my eyes.

I visited Iceland years ago as a member of the US Air Force. The warmth, friendliness and easy going nature of the Icelandic people stuck in my memory. Those attitudes are also typical among common citizens here in the US. Her treatment at the hands of a group of small-minded, vicious, security bureaucrats is not what we expect of our government’s representatives.

Most Americans have expectations of fair or normal treatment for people whether they are US citizens or visitors to this country. Sadly my government has become irrationally paranoid of terrorists. That fear has been instilled into the organizations that are supposed to watch and protect the borders. What happened to her was neither fair nor normal. It was a breech of respect, protocols, basic rights and due process. I can only speak for myself in this letter, as a private US citizen. As such, please convey to Miss Lillendahl my sincerest and heartfelt apologies. Hopefully in years to come, she will be able to visit this country without fear of harassment. On that occasion, I hope she will be able to see for herself the real measure of good will, friendliness and hospitality common among the citizens of the United States.

With deep regret,

jjmaccrimmon: (Default)
A good friend posted this story and associated news article in her journal and I went beyond livid after reading this.

Here's the news article about a young woman from Iceland who flew into NYC for a shopping trip. She'd visited the US over a decade before.


Here's her account (translated) with vivid detail on how our Homeland (fucking fasist term) Security people treated her.


Imagine a country where the people who guard the borders have a high school (or lower) level education. Imagine a bewildering set of rules, restrictions and protocols they must follow, but they aren't accessible to the public or human rights groups. Imagine that these people have the right to detain, question and imprison 'foriegners' for days, weeks and months on end without ever giving a reason, producing charges or permitting (legally mandated) contact with Consular officials of your government..

Welcome to Amerika! Special thanks to the "USA Patriot Act" for making all this insanity possible.

To tell you, I have visited Iceland where the young woman in the story is from. These are perhaps the friendiest and most easy going people in the world. This is inexecusable behavior on the part of the small minded, dim-witted and cruel 'Homeland' insecurity apperatchiks.

I may will e-mail this young woman to express my shame as citizen of what used to be a free country and beacon to the world. NO-ONE should be treated like this. S he was denied her basic rights to contact her embassy, counsel and to have summary review per multiple diplomatic agreements and treaties.
jjmaccrimmon: (Republican Rant)
The Bush Adminisitration...

Not content with merely lying, defrauding and cheating; the admininistration has finally cut ties to the Evangelical / Christian community. What better way to show the dark side in which King George serves than do so than on the newest dollar coin?

Treasury Department has released (accidently?) a new one dollar coin. A large batch of these beauties have a unique birthmark. "In God We Trust" isn't there.


Funny, but the Treasury is making no effort to recover the "at least 50,000 error coins were put in circulation" and some of which are selling openly on eBay. Funny how demand in dollar coins suddenly skyrocketed?.. I wonder, if they'd shown Sacagawea in a loin-cloth*, or Susan B in her younger, wilder, mini-dress years*, whether their coins might have been a bit more popular. It's a shame the Eisenhower "thumbs-up" (Steve Colbert style) coin was rejected in the stodgely 1970's.

* This is humor, refer to wikipedia under the subject of wild, silly sarcasm before commenting that JJ is being insensitive


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April 2017



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