Atlantic Cities
Postcard

The Depressing Stuff You'll Find Inside an Abandoned Inner City School

Today's Postcard comes from Buffalo, where Aaron Borngraber's photos of an abandoned school offer a small window into the struggles of the city's public education system, and the neighborhoods that have declined with them.

Borngraber, an undergraduate in urban studies and planning at SUNY Albany, began this project by trying to shoot Buffalo's abandoned churches. After too many rejected requests for access, he decided to explore other kinds of abandoned properties as well, convincing the city to let him inside a former school on the city's east side last month.

P.S. 75 is one of 11 former public schools in Buffalo currently sitting vacant. The school closed in 1979, seeing limited stints as an AV center and storage facility afterward.


The former P.S. 75 and its surrounding neighborhood. View Larger Map

Just one mile away from a slowly improving downtown, the census tract where the former school sits in saw a 32 percent decline in population from 2000 to 2010, while City Hall attempts the impossible task of demolishing properties at pace with abandonment

Borngraber, whose images recently made the rounds on Reddit, was in awe of what he found inside the school. "Nearly everywhere I went inside the building there was something from the past," says the photographer. "Writings on the chalk board, old signs and posters. I was in a time bubble." 

Below, Borngraber's eerie trip back in time:

All images courtesy Aaron Borngraber

Mark Byrnes is an associate editor at The Atlantic Cities. All posts »

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