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Welcome to this weeks post regarding our friendly neighborhood elementary school, Willson.

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Built in 1903 by architect Frank S. Barnum, this K-8 Cleveland historic landmark got it’s name due to the street it faced (Willson) before the street itself was renamed in 1905.

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May 5th 2010, Cleveland Metropolitan School District announces that 25 schools will be closed, 5 will be rebuilt and the remaining 20 will be sold, with the exception of Woodhill Quincy Admin Building. Being a resident of Cleveland, Ohio my entire life… it was hard to watch these buildings go. I lived on W. 41st since birth, and watched Orchard Elementary come, go, and come back once more.

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Although I live a little far from Willson, I am writing this post solely for the fact of accomplishment and slight bitter feelings. How you ask? I went to the school 4 days ago to take more photos and look for USA maps, only to find that Willson has been boarded up and sealed shut as of yesterday. I cant say this is the first building I’ve cursed with getting sealed, but I know it wont be the last. I am just happy to have had one last hurrah in these lonesome hallways.

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Five years of neglect has taken its toll on these withered floorboards and empty rooms, but we will forever remember this building in its entirety.

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I suppose it is best for the building and neighbors that it be sealed, seeing as how this has become a common ground for vandals and graffiti artists and has recently been destroyed in separate rooms.

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The neighbors may now sleep in peace without the constant sound of breaking glass and bowling pins being smashed around.

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During my most recent trip to Willson, bowling pins were smashed against the walls, broken into pieces. Maps and chalkboards were ripped apart and smashed off of the walls. It is really saddening that vandals have to destroy things to have “fun.”

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I think the saddest part about this closure is the fact that our old Cleveland friend who painted “Perch” will forever be locked behind these boards until the building comes down. Our graffiti friend, “Perch” lost his life a few years ago, and whenever a piece of his is found we have a habit of posting them to show our respect.

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This is a closure that truly hits close to home.

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Between the hundreds of photos people have to share and the handful of music videos filmed in this auditorium, it will be hard to stay away.

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Here is to hoping Cleveland does it’s part to help rebuild and revitalize this structure into something the community can be apart of once more.

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As with any explore, I add caution. Aside from being boarded recently (if you are not phased by this) the ceilings are crumbling very rapidly on the upper floors. The roof is actually really well preserved given the circumstances, but the drop ceilings have had their fun. Hallways are littered with rain water/ice depending the weather, and broken glass. There is mold and beginning stages of asbestos as well.

Goodbye Willson and Perch.
You both will forever be remembered.