Archive for June, 2010


Please see our updated post following our second visit to the Atlanta Prison Farm HERE.

Upstairs Dormitory Cell Blocks


My search began on Google by typing, “abandoned buildings atlanta”.  Once finding information on the old Atlanta Prison Farm on Key Road, fellow photog Jonathan Cipolla and I headed out on a photo-adventure.

A cursory search of the internet reveals some history on this place.  It was opened in 1945 and closed in 1995.  Closed for almost twenty years, the facility caught fire in October 2009 and allowed to burn itself out.  According to Dekalb County Fire Captain Eric Jackson, as quoted by the Atlanta Journal Constitution, “We haven’t found anything or anyone yet,” said Jackson. “We are letting it burn while controlling it. It is not worth putting our fighters in any risk.”

Upstairs cells nine months after the Oct. 2009 fire.

While exploring the facility it’s apparent the fire was recent with the contrasting red rust and charred black up on the roof / second level.  Most astounding were the medical records just spread about in what appears to be the old infirmary where I read about a married resident on a form dated October 1989 with a broken arm and a ninth grade education – requesting pain medication.

According to the City of Atlanta Online, the historic account of the city’s Department of Corrections, the Atlanta Prison Farm was described as “…the City of Atlanta’s 700 bed prison farm located within Northeast Atlanta on Key Road.  Inmates at this facility, who served sentences for ordinance and traffic offenses, were routinely assigned to farming, livestock, cannery and dairy operation details.  This enabled the detainees to benefit from vocational training and contribute to their sustenance.”

Jonathan Cipolla

It doesn’t appear this was a maximum security facility with a history of any famous hard-core criminals, but if seeking some of the best Urban Decay, it’s all here!  We did anticipate some contact while here, not with the ghostly type, but perhaps the homeless or roving teen type, but could not find anyone.  We also saw very little proof of any recent visitors.  I think the most dangerous thing about this place is being caught in an unflattering photograph at the hands of a fellow photog.

I may return to this site to take a second look and explore more of the outer buildings.  I never did get down to the boiler area, and Google Earth indicates other smaller buildings worth exploration.

What about the asbestos?  I couldn’t find any record of this, but learned by word-of-mouth that the city was forced to conduct asbestos abatement in this facility due to the number of homeless people frequenting the location.  I looked at some of the floor tiles and was suspicious some may be VAT (Vinyl Asbestos Tile) but if this facility’s plumbing went through abatement, then the flooring would be required to be done at the same time and would have been a much less expensive way to abatement than plumbing.  Any exposed plumbing we could see seemed to be clear of asbestos.

In the end, it appears this gem of a photog find isn’t a very well kept secret.  A simple Google search of “Atlanta Prison Farm” will reveal many web sites by eager photogs both pre and post fire (Oct. 2009).  Recording artist Aaron Shust was also photographed in this location.

I would love to bring in a model and do some additional shooting – showing a sharp contrast of modern and kept versus old and decaying.  Would be interesting….

Salt Lake City Airport

Photographed 7 image autobracket +/- 1/3, Processed with Photomatix Pro and finished with Picasa 3 and Paint Shop Pro X2.