The Linfield Industrial Park is massive, silent, overgrown. Peeking from between the trees at PA State Game Lands 234, it’s decaying pre-World War II architecture is intimidating. A. and I went out last Saturday, a mild, slightly overcast afternoon, to trespass, to look to observe.
Neither of us had an clue to it’s identity, it’s purpose, it’s history. We entered from the back, the buildings in neat rows, crumbling under the weight. Trees grew from the tops of buildings and the dead grass around us was well above our knees. The rebar in the concrete has started to show through the concrete it supported, the graffiti was abundant, the doors to the buildings locked to prevent the inevitable trespassers. Notes on the doors to the buildings had handwritten logs from people checking the doors, in pencil, on who was there last and what they did. The first dates were from 19998, the last from 2008. Glass littered the ground in some places, melted plastic in others. Smelling of dirt, of dried grass, of something sharp, metallic.
The buildings occupy 2 million square feet and the site is 192 acres of land. It was home to the Kensey Distillery from 1930’s (it opened after prohibition ended) to the 1980’s. It was owned by the Continental Corporation, who also made industrial chemicals here and at a plant in Philadelphia, and the history of the company is bizarre and extensive.
We wandered for about 2 hours, looking, poking, inspecting. The thing about places like this, with their disintegration, their overgrowth, it is so difficult to stay away. A monument to failed industry, one can’t help ponder what the place was like when it was fully functional. Like a cold steel mill, the energy and manpower that it took to power was enormous. It is so hard to see the space for its former purpose; in its present state, it is just empty, dead. The juxtaposition between the past and the present (its future like its present) is jarring. For me, it asks so many more questions than what it can answer.