Welcome back everyone!

For those of you who observed the Memorial Day holiday, I hope the extended weekend was enjoyable. In addition to the day of remembrance, the holiday is also known as the “unofficial start of Summer” and the weather certainly has been very Summer-like during the past several days. Yes, the meteorological Summer is still weeks away but with temps in the high 80 to low 90 degree range, it’s a tough argument to make. :-)

Recently I had some business to conduct for the county and noticed an old building on the grounds. Immediately you could tell that it had been standing for many years so, a photo opportunity was there for the taking. This could be considered URBEX, although the area is quite rural, but urbex is a better keyword than rurex. Anyhow, I took a few dozen images and wanted to share a few here today.

Above is a distant view of the old Sparks Elementary School in Northern Baltimore County. It opened as “Agricultural high school”  in 1909 but underwent a name change to Sparks High School around 1920. As mentioned above, this area is very rural, even by today’s standards. This is farm country for the most part, although the continual advancement in time has changed things a good deal from the days when this was a thriving schoolhouse.

Looking up the staircase you can see right out the front door, which is still in place but ajar.

Sometime prior to 1953 this structure was a combined high school and elementary school but became totally elementary when the new high school opened (1953) in nearby Hereford.

Now this is what really does it for me, this great stonework. Likely from a nearby quarry, these stones remain beautiful. By the way, this building suffered a devastating electrical fire in 1995. The place had been sitting idle and unused for many years prior to that event.

This is the front entrance with it’s lovely archways and, after all of these years, flagpoles that have somehow survived.

You’ve likely noticed that most of these shots are looking skyward. The building is surrounded by chain-link fencing which does not lend itself to what I want to see. In a couple of the previous images I removed some of the fencing from the bottom of the image using Photoshop’s spot healing brush with the content aware box checked.

Now we’ve come full circle to take a look at the front doors. The building code-friendly push bar remains in place but shows it’s age and exposure to conditions.

There is a lot of history associated with this building and the area in general. I’ll be sharing other images of this old schoolhouse in a future post.

Thanks so much for clicking by!

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27 Responses to Old Sparks Elementary School

  1. Chantal says:

    Imprssive inside look
    Chantal recently posted..Cubans

  2. Len Saltiel says:

    Great find Jimi. Love the rurex reference ;-o Excellent shots too.
    Len Saltiel recently posted..Keyhole Beauty

  3. Marc Collins says:

    It’s great to come across these old buildings. Nice captures Jimi.
    Marc Collins recently posted..Mission Impossible

  4. Rick Louie says:

    That’s some cool texture in the 2nd shot! Nice find.
    Rick Louie recently posted..The Path

  5. Great textures in all these shots, and I really like the curve of the stairway in the first one.
    Steven Perlmutter recently posted..Rays of Light

  6. Edith Levy says:

    Fantastic series Jimi. I do love the first image with the stairs and railing leading the view to the school. Great find.
    Edith Levy recently posted..The Stables at Casa Loma

  7. Curt Fleenor says:

    What a great find Jimi!
    Curt Fleenor recently posted..Road To The Sky

  8. Jim Nix says:

    great place to shoot Jimi and well done!
    Jim Nix recently posted..Looking down the Danube

  9. Great find, Jimi and a nice series of shots to illustrate the conditions of the buildings today. Love the rurex reference – we really do need a better description for such shots.
    Mark Summerfield recently posted..Red Clover (Trifolium pratense)

  10. ken bello says:

    Nice find, Jimi. and great shots, too!
    ken bello recently posted..RED, BLUE, GREEN, etc.

  11. LensScaper says:

    Although the building in general is crumbling, those magnificent stone walls look like they will be standing for quite a few years yet. Well captured, Jimi
    LensScaper recently posted..Hunting down those Fields of Gold

  12. Brilliant, Jimi! LOVE this series, my friend, really looking forward to seeing more! These sorts of subjects are wonderful to photograph; you’ve done a fan-flippin-tastic job!
    Toad Hollow Photography recently posted..An Afternoon At The Villa

  13. Adam Allegro says:

    Cool shots Jimi!! Historic and full of detail indeed!
    Adam Allegro recently posted..A Nighttime Stroll in the Colosseum

  14. Rich McPeek says:

    Great series Jimi! Terrific shots and processing!
    Rich McPeek recently posted..Hidden or Haunted?

  15. Mark Neal says:

    Really like your processing,Jimi. First shot is my favorite. Great leading curve. :)

  16. A.Barlow says:

    wow man, that place looks so much fun to explore!
    A.Barlow recently posted..Another Kind Of Trap

  17. T.J. Powell says:

    Great shots. I love old abandoned places.
    T.J. Powell recently posted..24th Annual Blossom Time Balloon Festival

  18. What a great place and images Jimi! I love exploring places like this.

  19. [...] Old Sparks Elementary School – a long abandoned and fire damaged school is the prime subject in this series by Jimi Jones.  Jimi’s series highlights some wonderful textures and details in the remaining stonework, and the inherent interest in the schools remains are perfectly captured, producing a set that is a must-see. [...]

  20. This is a wonderful series of images you have here Jimi! I really like all the colours in that second shot.
    Anne McKinnell recently posted..Supermoon at Bryce Canyon

  21. [...] Old Sparks Elementary School – a long abandoned and fire damaged school is the prime subject in this series by Jimi Jones.  Jimi’s series highlights some wonderful textures and details in the remaining stonework, and the inherent interest in the schools remains are perfectly captured, producing a set that is a must-see. [...]

  22. Claudius Elmore, Jr. says:

    I took the same pictures – I attended that old school from 1940 to 1952.

    • Jimi Jones says:

      Hi Claudius, thanks for stopping by.
      I am glad the old structure is still standing, although I have no idea what the county plans to do with it. The park behind the school is prone to flooding so the ball diamonds and basketball court are not really maintained any more.

      The old wooden facade from the old school now resides within the entry hallway of the new Sparks Elementary on Belfast Rd.

      Do you still live in the area?

      Feel free to share any stories of historic facts about this beautiful stone building. :-)
      Jimi Jones recently posted..iPhone Friday – Life’s a Beach

  23. Amanda says:

    These are beautiful, I attended this school and was sad to hear it had been destroyed by fire. So many memories.

    • Amanda says:

      I remember that field in back filled with carnival rides and games, track and field day activities. There were some days that found me outside the massive brick arches that were at the entrance of the building… banging erasers :) I loved that school, it was like going back in time, bell in the tower and all.

      • Jimi Jones says:

        Hello Amanda.

        So glad you had the opportunity to reminisce about those wonderful school days. :-)

        Carnival rides out back sounds like quite the time. I was there fairly recently and there were tire tracks on what was once ball diamonds (lower portion of the property). That area flooded some years ago and has not been maintained, other than the occasional grass cut to keep the place from going back to nature.

        Perhaps someday, a rejuvenation project will take place.

        If you ever visit the new Sparks school, you’ll find the original wooden sign at the end of the entry corridor.

        Thanks for visiting!
        Jimi Jones recently posted..Shoreline Living