By Alex Jones
AN EERIE apartment complex built for returning Second World War heroes has been abandoned for nearly THIRTY YEARS – and is now home to vagrants, drug addicts, and prostitutes.
Once an architectural jewel in Alabama’s crown, remarkable photos of the decayed Grove Court Apartments in Montgomery showed a dirty, cracked face punctuated with smashed windows; graffiti-strewn rooms with threadbare pieces of tattered furniture; and shattered, peeling kitchen cabinets which have been ransacked through countless times.
The apartment complex was recently investigated by an urban explorer, known only as Bullet, who was drawn to the building after hearing of innumerable stories of neglect, abuse, and death in the concrete construction. Urban legend also suggests that a three-year-old girl’s body was found in the basement of the Grove Court Apartments in the 1990s.
“I moved to Alabama to live with my girlfriend and she told me about the Grove Court Apartments and the stories that surround it, so I just had to go see it for myself,” said Bullet, who uses the Instagram handle @rust.devil.
“The Grove Court Apartments were built in 1947 to help with the surge of veterans coming back from the war as well as their families or widows. It fell into decline in the eighties and has sat abandoned since at least the nineties. Since then, it’s been overrun with homeless people and vandals and has ongoing issues with drugs, thieves, and prostitution.
“There have been times as well that a body has been found there, with the victim overdosing on drugs. Reports of ghosts are rampant there as well. I’m told that in the nineties, a girl was kidnapped from her home in Montgomery and it wasn’t until three days when her body was found in the basement of the apartment complex.”
The Grove Court Apartments building is on state and national historic lists, but nearby property owners have long been saying that it is an eyesore that needs to be restored or demolished. The overgrown weeds attract unwelcome wildlife and the promise of a roof over their head has attracted crowds of squatters and people with nowhere else to go.
The current state of the building is a far cry from its auspicious early days. Built in the early post-war years, the apartment complex consisted of 54 one-bed room units and 27 two-bedroom units. The visionary organisation behind the striking property, the Pearson, Tittle, and Narrow architectural firm, were awarded a national design award for their modern International Style apartment.
Today, the building hosts a far more hostile crowd.
“I usually don’t have issues with homeless people but as I walked into one room, a man asked me what I was doing,” added Bullet.
“I replied that I was just shooting photos. He was visibly upset with me and told me I should “get the f*ck outta hea’ before my boys make an example of you”.
“I met one person who told me that she actually lived there with her grandparents when she was a little girl. Back then, it was a terrible place with leaky ceilings, fixtures falling off the walls, constant power failures due to the old wiring, and people up at all hours of the night, yelling and slamming on doors – which was assumed to be drug-related.
“I love this type of photography though, I get to see history before my eyes and become a part of it. I shoot and see things that many others will never see in person, and I’m also one of the few to shed light on many of these places.”