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.
The main entrance
WCHS (http://www.huntsvilleal.gov/gis/HistoricMarkers/site/marker_031/page.htm) opened in 1892 on the site and the campus was closed in 1966 when the state integrated the schools. After closure, the school system turned the property over to the city for use as a community center and home to a number of civic organizations including the Huntsville Community Choir, Huntsville Ballet and the Boys and Girls Club. To the best of the records I can find, the last tenants were moved out of the building in 1991-2 (http://www.hmdb.org/Marker.asp?Marker=36065). Built in 1927, the structure was in need of a substantial renovation to replace decayed electrical systems and a completely new roof.
The Community Center Directory
A sleeping pallet used by the homeless lay in front of this boarded up doorway
Fire alarm bell
This guardian kept a close watch on us
Exterior of the gym
Scrappers and metals thieves have already pulled copper cores from the air conditioning condensers
Huntsville Community Chorus (Choir) signage, slowly fading away.
Near the entrance
Vents and wasps – not the only residents here
After making arrangements with the city and signing a waiver to acknowledge the place was dangerous, two gentlemen from the City Services Dept, met me at the main entrance where they had to remover the various bits of wood and bracing to open an entrance.
Into the depths
From that opening, this was my view into oblivion
To my right was a stairway leading up where a fire alarm pull lay intact on the steps
Moisture and mold hung in the air and had contributed to peeling the heavy paint from the walls in places
Class room converted to a studio
An adjacent former classroom held a poignant message telling of a tenant who’d had a heart attack and that family needed to be contacted
Looking down one hallway
The other direction - Note the water damage to the tiles on the floor
Mural for the Arts Council of Huntsville
Adult education materials
Out of tune, old in play
Detail of the floor tiles in the bathroom
Central courtyard access
Part 2 to follow tomorrow