On a Maryland hilltop, amongst thick forest and sprawling underwood sits the long disused campus of a once-illustrious private academy. Every passing year finds it sinking further beneath the tide of nature and time, like some beautiful ship slowly disappearing into the murky waters of the sea. Even with the severe decay, overgrowth, and scrapping of it's most valuable parts, this campus retains a kind of broken elegance not often seen. The primary focus of our time here was the main hall, which even after all it has been through still proudly stands at the far end of the Italian Gardens. A garden now full of nothing more than weeds and thistles.
Constructed between the years of 1898 and 1902, this campus sat upon some 300+ acres and contained many building finely cut and formed from the local granite supply. The school grounds were designed in a Beaux-Arts style, with heavy influences of Georgian architecture. A perfect example of this is the main hall itself. The grand lobby and beautiful stairways are prime examples of Beaux-Arts, while its outward stretching wings of classrooms very much echo the more subdued (but still beautifully trimmed) Georgian tones. Needless to say; the youths privileged enough to walk these halls were almost exclusively the offspring of affluent families from the region.
Though considered an upstanding institution, by 1942 dwindling enrollment forced the school to relocate back to it's pre-1902 campus and facilities. This was good news for the US military though, as they were eying the grounds for use as a training facility. In 1942 the campus was acquired for use as such, and several hundred (far less elegant) buildings were erected on the campus and surrounding grounds. The military base operated until 1976, graduating more than 500,000 recruits before it closed. After vacating the property the military leveled and removed most all of its buildings, leaving the campus more-or-less as it was before they had arrived. For a time after the demilitarization the grounds had come to be utilized as a job training center. The center eventually closed in 1990, marking the end of service for the old school and grounds.
Gazing upward at the vaulted ceilings, it is hard to fathom this collection of rotting wood and blackened plaster was once a distinguished school for privileged youths. The natural world cares not of classes and hierarchy, for all are equal when turning to dirt.
( Collapse )