November 28, 2011


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I got a call from my friend Jacques Gudé yesterday suggesting we do some kind of cross promotion / collaboration post for today’s image. He and I shot together exactly a month ago today in the DC area, so it seemed appropriate.

Jacques did his homework for this adventure. When I landed in DC and was told by the flight attendant that I could safely use my wireless device, I was greeted with about a half dozen emails from Jacques. Each email had a link or two to possible urbex locations around the DC area. One of them was this place, in DC’s Maryland suburbs.

Forest Glen was built in 1887, originally as an exclusive hotel for Washington’s elite.  When the hotel failed in 1894, it was converted to a post secondary school for women, a role it enjoyed for over 50 years. It grew from the original building to a sprawling complex with varying architectural styles, most prominently, Dutch.  It struggled through the depression and was eventually taken over by the US Army. It served as a rehab center for soldiers during WWII, Korea and Vietnam.

Evidently, Jacques and I missed it’s heyday as a ripe urbex location by a couple of years. The facility is now in the middle of a transformation to condos. Several buildings are completely renovated and lucky owners seem to be enjoying their historic digs. We couldn’t get into any of the remaining original buildings, but what was left for us was fun to shoot – wonderful decayed architecture and delightfully overgrown grounds.

The title for the image comes from Jacques. When I previewed it for him, he said it reminded him of something from Grimm’s Fairy Tales. He must have had fairy tales on the mind. Jacques’s interpretation of this same building is called “Rapunzel” and is absolutely amazing. The steps and entrance in my image can be seen in the left corner of the building on Jacques’ shot.

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  1. Also love your version, Bob! The contrast between the cold and warm tones works really well. Seems to be a really nice location to explore!