More than a year had passed since I ran into the abandoned abattoir in my childhood village. I had tried entering it several times, but had always been unsuccessful. I was able to drive to the village, walk towards the place and get to its gates. After that I could only stand. Stand and look at its dark, broken windows and the tower rising towards the sky. I had driven there at least five times since getting my driving licence. I never got further than the gates.
Then I ran into another building…
The large building in the center of this amazing high quality photo is another former abattoir. It stood empty for years, was vandalized and became a sort of a manhood test for the local youth: if you were brave enough to enter it in the middle of the night, you were a tough guy.
I wasn’t a tough guy, I was actually quite the opposite. But I was extremely interested in this building, as a family member of mine used to work here, when I was a child. I actually had some memories of my own from here. I remember that the abattoir canteen was on the second floor, I remember that the floor was made of brownish plastic, I remember orange plastic chairs and I remember the bottles of Worcestershire sauce next to the mustard and ketchup. I always wanted to try it, but my family forbade me from spoiling my food.
It was my final day of high school, or Penkkarit, as they call it in Finland. We had celebrated since early morning, and now it was almost midnight, dark, windy, icy and rainy. I left my friends’ place to go to a bar, and when passing the abattoir, I noticed demolition had started.
I had wanted to explore this place for years, but had been too afraid to do it. I knew, this was my final chance and I had drank myself brave, so I started walking by the fence surrounding the demolition site. There, behind the building, next to an already demolished petrol station, was a gap, and so I entered.
The place was a mess. There was smashed concrete and bricks everywhere, the wind was throwing pieces of insulation around. They had only just begun the demolition, and only one wall in one wing was smashed. I walked past a huge excavator and climbed through a hole. I was inside.
I didn’t carry a camera with me, so there’s not much to show. This was, how it looked there before demolition, but when I entered, there wasn’t much to see anymore. Empty brick walls, concrete and debris. I soon realized, that I was drunk in a partly demolished abattoir in the middle of the night, walked out and went partying with my friends.
The place greatly fascinated me, and I started looking the world with totally different eyes. Suddenly abandoned houses seemed to be everywhere, but I was still afraid to enter them. I don’t know what I was afraid of. Was it the house collapsing, was it homeless people potentially living there or was it the police catching me for breaking in? I don’t know, so I never entered, until…
Here we have another high quality photo. Apparently I wasn’t aware of a function called Print Screen, as these have been taken from the computer screen with a mobile phone camera. Genius.
The demolition of the two wooden houses started in late April the same year. I was walking home from the city after celebrating the first of May, was happy and drunk. I noticed that demolition had started, I noticed that there was a gap in the fence. I went to investigate further.
This time, however, I didn’t get inside. The abattoir was easy, as the gap the demolition crew had made was pretty symmetrical and clean from the edges. This was different. There was smashed wood everywhere, and the risk of injury was just too great to take.
The next week the house was gone. But abandoned houses and building projects now seemed to be everywhere.