Up in Smoke – The Fairview Training Center in Salem, OR

While I was looking through old photo sets to choose the next one to upload I was re-reading background info on various sites. I found some more recent articles about one, and unfortunately it has joined many of its kind as a victim of arson.

The Pierce cottage was part of the Fairview Training Center, a former psychiatric hospital in Salem, Oregon. After standing for nearly ninety years, it was burned down by people who “…said they thought it might be humorous to imply a “ghost” had something to do with the fire, amid stories of hauntings in the building, investigators said.” The place was due to be deconstructed and recycled, so it isn’t as big a loss as a building that had potential for reuse in situ, or preservation, but it is still disappointing to see anything destroyed so flippantly.

I won’t try to explain the whole history of the campus, others do a better job than I could hope to. If you’re interested in learning more about its history the Wikipedia article is not a bad place to start.

Despite having been largely gutted and partially demolished when I checked it out, it was an impressive and interesting place to explore. A lot of the history of the buildings still showed through in the notes on the walls, small personal items scattered about, and in the way the buildings were laid out.

An extensive network of tunnels carried utility lines from where the main plant used to stand to each of the buildings on the campus. It also provided convenient passage between the buildings, out of sight of worried neighbors and the rumored security guard. And of course, they also had that delicious quality steam tunnels do of making you feel simultaneously like a secret agent infiltrating some forbidden place, and a character in a horror movie who is going to be messily devoured by whatever is waiting around the bend.

Here’s the rest of the set: