May 14th, 2012

An Elegant Death

This entry is primarily (like 90%) about the video which can be found behind the cut...
It's been a long time since Christina and I have been to the old finishing school, and during that span we have both learned a great deal.
I, of course, shot a couple pics of the place upon our revisit, but Christina went on two different occasions to film it.
Once was pre-dawn (hence the golden sunrise hues throughout the video), and another time to wrap up all the shots she couldn't get that day.
And now, onto the entry...

Constructed in 1890 as a resort, this grand hall only served for a brief time in its original role.
By 1900 it was in use as an the upper class finishing school for young women. Built of wood and stone, the structure is equal parts elegance and frailty.
Intricate carvings can still be seen adorning corners and peaks, reminding passers-by that it must once have appeared a palace on its hilltop. Today, it more
closely resembles the classic image of a haunted mansion, the long lines of its architecture bowed and uneven as its windows stare blankly to the horizon.

The students here would likely have been the daughter's of industrialists, bankers and other members of society who's wealth permitted such an education.
Here, young women would learn fine arts and languages, and be schooled in all the lessons of societal behavior and etiquette that would make them
successful in their future roles as the wives of future bankers and industrialists.

As time progressed, such an institution began to seem more and more archaic. As the once-radical ideas of feminism became mainstream, finishing
schools became a symbol of sexism and a greater number of women began attending true colleges. In the 1970's, the school made a last-ditch effort to
modernize by expanding to a four year college, but the expanded curriculum only delayed its inevitable close in 1977.

Some places keep time differently from the rest of the world. Within these halls, it is still an era of floor-length dresses, horseback riding,
etiquette lessons and the long forgotten art of the curtsy. The very fibers of the decaying wood excrete these ideals, and cast them in long shadows across
the filth covered floors. The smell of lavender and the sound of a softly played piano are almost expected, even among the damp and dimly lit hallways
which have so gently replaced them.

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