HammerSpaces: Urban Exploration

I’ve always been interested in urban exploration. Enough so, that I’ve snuck into abandoned buildings, crawled into water pipes, and explored hidden places — much more so when I was a kid, and could be excused for such behaviour. I always wanted to find a hidden cache of treasure, or antiques, or even just really old newspapers, so that I could find out more about the past. Since we’ve mapped the entire world from space, there are precious few places to explore, save those we’ve forgotten about.
Take that hidden parking lot I blogged about a while back. Known to some … but hidden from the rest of the world, unless you happened to stumble upon it by taking the wrong bike trail, or by turning into an unmarked entrance from the main road. Hidden in plain view.
I photographed another such spot, also hidden in plain view, and visible from Northfield Drive, in Waterloo. It’s right beside the Williams Coffee Pub, but no one ever seems to visit the spot, and nothing ever seems to change. It’s crammed in-between the Williams and the Home Depot, and the property must be quite valuable.
Behind the main property is a narrow rectangular one-acre buffer zone, lined with tall cedar bushes, and adjacent to that zone is the loading area for the Home Depot. The only things on the main property, are a shed, a snow blower attachment for a large truck, and several old microbuses. Also, a “No Trespassing” sign. It’s not even immediately evident where the access point is, though it appears to run parallel to the entrance to the plaza. If you look at the satellite photos, it’s pretty easy to see.
I want to call these places HammerSpaces, from the concept of hammerspace, the hidden pocket from which cartoon characters pull hammers or other objects. I was going to title this entry “In-between Places,” or “Interstitial Zones,” but HammerSpaces sounds more fun — more steampunk. It sounds more appropriate to the kinds of spaces I’m interested in. Those locations forgotten about by normal people — places you don’t even notice, which seem to be squeezed out by society.
I’ll try to get a few more locations uploaded as I find them. It may not seem like there would be many hidden spots in K-W, but that’s probably because they’re so well hidden.
For those interested in urban exploration, an excellent starting point is Web Urbanist’s beginner’s guide to urban exploration. A very cool publication is Infiltration magazine, which is based out of Toronto, and showcases some of the locations around the city that have been explored.

One Response to “HammerSpaces: Urban Exploration

  • Thanks for pointing that out Mr. Zucker.. Yeah, I tend to notice these places quite a bit actually and have seen the place you mention here. You always have to look real close to see if it is in fact vacant or if some old witch still lives there and is either too proud, lazy or stupid to sell the property and leave. They usually involve a weird old house, usually a bungalow and ALWAYS some old cars, such as your picture points out. The interesting part about these places is that there is almost NO WAY of finding out what the real story to them is..
    Hmph.. makes for better blogging that way.
    Nice shout-out to Infiltration.org – old school web ezine.. my old
    Taking a plunge at hotels!