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Abandoned GE Factory

At the beginning of 2015, General Electric closed down the last of their operations at their 100 year old factory complex on Broadway in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The sprawling complex, which included numerous large multistory brick buildings, once employed more than 20,000 people, including my great-grandfather and three of his sons.

In 2017, plans were finalized to redevelop the historic industrial complex into apartments and retail spaces. The development will be called "Electric Works."

I had tried for several years to get GE to allow me to photograph the buildings, to no avail. They refused to allow anyone into the fenced-in property. I made a series of black and white photographs of the buildings that were visible from the streets, which you can see in The Last Days Of General Electric in Fort Wayne.

In April, 2018 the developers of Electric Works invited a small number of Fort Wayne photographers, myself included, to tour some of the buildings and photograph them. Over the next few months, they held more public tours and I went on a couple of them to do more photography. The tours were led by retired GE Facilities Manager Kevin Gilliam, the last GE Employee in Fort Wayne.

The buildings are in pretty bad condition. Although GE still had some operations at the site until 2015, most of the factory buildings had been closed down and abandoned more than twenty years earlier. One building that was still in wonderful condition was the GE Club building, which houses a gymnasium and basketball court on the upper level, and a bowling alley in the basement. In the past, large corporations like GE built recreation facilities for their employees!




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