By Mark McConville
EERIE images from a new urban exploration book have revealed the stunning but abandoned remains left behind in a former industrial powerhouse city.
The haunting pictures show an abandoned steel works, a bank vault inside the City Federal building and vintage furniture left behind in an office tower.
Other striking shots show inside an abandoned city jail, a shuttered Masonic temple and the desolate Carraway Hospital campus.
The spooky snaps are showcased in freelance photographer Leland Kent’s (34) new book, Abandoned Birmingham.
“The images are a look into the city’s past, from the forgotten steel industry, the closed schools, and so much more,” he said.
“In recent years, Birmingham has seen a resurgence giving many of these structures a new life through historic tax credits.
“The message I want to convey is really simple, it’s a look back at history. These places are not going to be around forever so I want to give the reader a view of what they once were, since most of these places are being renovated and are never the same again.
“I’d have to say the Colored Masonic Temple is my favourite location. It is a hidden gem in downtown and needs to be restored. The owner is currently working to raise funds to restore the building. The architecture inside is the Grand Hall is beautiful.”
Founded in 1871 after the Civil War, Birmingham rapidly grew as an industrial enterprise due to the abundance of the three raw materials used in making steel–iron ore, coal, and limestone.
Birmingham’s rapid growth was due to the booming iron and steel industries giving it the nickname “Magic City” and “Pittsburgh of the South.” The city was named after Birmingham, England, as a nod to the major industrial powerhouse.
The iron and steel industries began to dry up by the early 1970s, leaving behind dozens of abandoned structures that now dot the city’s landscape.
In the last several years, Birmingham has begun to experience a rebirth. Money has been invested in reconstructing the historic downtown area into a pedestrian-friendly mixed-use district.
In Abandoned Birmingham, photographer Leland Kent gives the reader an in-depth look at the forgotten buildings and factories throughout the city.