By Rebecca Drew
HAUNTING photographs reveal the crumbling remains of the late 19th century castle that was later converted into a nightclub by an eccentric millionaire known as Prince Mongo who claimed to be the 333 years old King of Zambodia.
From grand staircases and entrance halls to stained glass windows and graffiti clad walls the castle is a far cry from its heyday as a thriving club owned by serial Memphis-mayoral candidate Prince Mongo. Other shots show the blackened basement walls of the club and a sign advertising its opening hours.
Exterior shots show windows flung open and plastic sheets hanging from the windows of the 11,000-square-foot building.
The eerie images were taken at Ashlar Hall, Memphis, Tennessee, USA by an Urban Explorer known as Abandoned Southeast. To take the pictures Abandoned Southeast used a Canon DSLR with Tamron lens.
“This is a mock castle in downtown Memphis, when the family who owned and built it could no longer take care of it they turned it into a restaurant,” said Abandoned Southeast.
“In the 1990s an eccentric businessman who goes by the moniker, Prince Mongo purchased the building and turned it into a nightclub.
“Most people enjoy seeing what’s inside the building through my photos.”
Ashlar Hall was built in 1896 by real estate developer, Robert Brinkley Snowden and spanned 3,000 acres. By the 1950s, the mansion was converted into a restaurant.
In 1990, the house was bought by eccentric millionaire, Robert “Prince Mongo” Hodges who later converted it into a thriving nightclub called The Castle which advertised cheap drinks and wet t-shirt competitions.
When the club was closed down due to over occupancy, Prince Mongo, who claimed to be 333-years-old, moved the revellers outside into the car park outside.
“I just want others to see the beauty of the architecture that I try to capture in the photos,” added Abandoned Southeast.
“I started photographing abandoned places after many around me were being demolished.
“I wanted to preserve these places through photographs.”
For more information see www.abandonedsoutheast.com