In December 1998, a group of friends and I headed up to Phoenixville, PA to explore the abandoned Phoenix Bridge Company. It was a huge, sprawling industrial ruin of a steel company that went out of business in the mid-80s; the few remaining structures were in the process of being torn down.

We spent a good portion of the day exploring the huge empty buildings. After crossing a rather rickety and rusting narrow gauge railroad bridge, we came to the Welded Structural Tube Dept. The place was enormous, with lots of rusty old catwalks and cranes. In what appeared to be the foreman's office, I noticed someone had scrawled in chalk on the door:

Do Not Enter

5 Foot Rats Inside

I heard a noise and glanced up just in time to see the silhouette of a huge rat scurrying along a wall outside the office. I don't think it was five feet long, but I wasn't about to try to measure it either. Suffice it to say it was pretty damn big.

The next building we came to was the pump house, which we explored briefly. We found file cabinets full of personnel records for the plant workers. We searched through a pile of disciplinary notices, chuckling about how frequently the former employees seemed to get in trouble for parking in the wrong place or leaving their post early.

Just south of the pump house was the Rolling Mill. Based on a map of the property we found in one of the offices, it appears that about two-thirds of this building had already been razed. The place looked as though it was abandoned rather suddenly. Desks and filing cabinets were overturned but still full of books and manuals and paperwork. There was a large supply room there, still stocked with parts. In one of the plant offices, we opened a refrigerator and found some food that was at least a decade old. Yuck!

We were running out of daylight, but quickly explored the rest of the building. There was a huge generator and furnace, and more catwalks. Great place to base a Quake level on.

I'm told that all the buildings have since been torn down. You can't go there anymore.

Disclaimer: Urban exploration can be fun but dangerous. This writeup should not be taken as encouragement for unauthorized persons to visit.

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