This is the former Lehman High School in Canton, Ohio. It’s in rough shape. Here’s how it looked in happier times:
Once upon a time that town used to be able to support more than one high school. But that was back when the steel mills were going full bore, and needed much more employees than they do now.
Canton is a shell of what it once was, but it’s not a dead town. It’s just another in the many cities of the Rust Belt that has struggled as manufacturing jobs have moved away. And this isn’t something new. Watching the news and listening to the pundits, one would think that thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions of jobs were just plucked out of the United States in the last few years or so. That isn’t the case.
Canton, Akron, Youngstown, Cleveland, and countless other smaller burgs in Ohio and elsewhere that had a mill or two have been going through this loss for half a century, and little has been done to address it.
I spotted Lehman on Google Maps back around Christmas 2015 while I was scouting around for shooting locations to occupy my time visiting family for the holidays. Even from the satellite view it’s easy to tell the building is abandoned. There are no cars in the cracked and decaying parking lot, and the athletic field is in sore need of minimal caretaking.
I was hoping that the building would have been neglected enough by the city of Canton that there would be a way inside and I could get some nice urbex shots, but that wasn’t the case. At the time I was there, the city had been doing its diligence, and the school was locked up tight. All the ground floor windows were covered with plywood and all the doors were screwed shut. The only way in would be to break in, and I don’t do that. Trespassing is something one can possibly talk their way out of if the cops show up, especially if there isn’t a complainant. But breaking and entering is a guaranteed arrest and maybe even a felony charge. There’s already enough risk involved in crawling around abandoned buildings without having to worry about getting a record, so if a location has no way to enter by simply stepping inside, I resign myself to outside shots. It’s no longer urbex at that point, but a few good pics can be had, keeping the trip from being a waste.
These pics were taken in December 2015 using a Holga. The color shots are Kodak Portra 400 and the black and white are Kodak T-Max 400.