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Inside the Late Edison High School, Philadelphia’s Forgotten Castle

March 13, 2013


(Photos by Ruin Porn)

I recently stumbled across my potentially greatest Instagram find ever – @RuinPorn, a stunning array of Urbex pictures of abandoned Philadelphia. (Urbex stands for ‘urban exploration,’ if you were wondering!)

Over the 2 plus years I’ve been running this blog, I’ve been lucky enough to take a few such adventures myself, so this was right up my alley (and yours too, probably.)

After my excitement wore down a bit I reached out to the creator of the account (who would for obvious reasons like to remain nameless, and who I will refer to simply as Ruin Porn) only to find out that she was a huge fan of my blog too!

Long story short, I asked her if she would like to submit any of her photos to Streets Dept – and she said yes. Leaving us where we are today, with these incredible shots from inside the late Edison High School, whose 4-alarm fire on August 3rd, 2011 saw the dramatic final chapter of this near century-old building.

Check out some more thoughts from Ruin Porn on why so many people are into these sorts of explorations, and what it was like inside Edison…

Streets Dept: What do you think it is that attracts you, and so many people on your Instagram, to urban adventuring?

Ruin Porn: I’ve lived in Philly since 1988 and I have always loved Philly’s abandoned buildings. I would ride my bike past all these architecturally beautiful, decaying buildings and imagine how they looked when then were new. Now, 20-some years later, I stopped admiring them just from the outside and explore the interiors.

I get a visual high after I slip into a building and see it in an advanced state of ruin. I think many people are fascinated by, it which is why me, and other Urbex Instagrammers, get a lot of followers.

Ultimately, I am motivated by love for these buildings. I wish they could all be mindfully renovated for adaptive reuse. I want everyone else to love them, too, so we can fight for them when developers come to demo and turn them into strip malls.

SD: What was your sense inside Edison? Did anything in particular stick out to you?

RP: I love how Edison High is like a castle in the middle of Fairhill, it is such a unique structure. Fire and neglect had really taken a toll on the building.

The adventure was tense, because there were scrappers (or maybe taggers) inside who were shouting and throwing stuff. I have to admit I was a little scared, but toughed it out. The auditorium, remains to this day, the most amazing UE sight I have ever seen. It was so massive and beautiful and completely overwhelming.

I shot these photos a little while ago, so I am sad I will never get a chance to shoot the inside again as it is currently being torn down to make way for a Save-A-Lot supermarket, Burger King and Family Dollar. I think this is such a loss for Fairhill, they are losing their castle. I can only imagine how amazing it could have been if it was renovated.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Moc permalink
    March 13, 2013 10:35 pm

    Thank you for posting these incredible photos. I have driven by on my way to work every day for the past 14 months and have always wished a developer might see the beauty of this facility and creatively renovate it. Sad that it is no being torn down…even more sad that it is being replaced by a Sav-a-Lot.

  2. March 19, 2013 1:46 pm

    Reblogged this on walkingphilly and commented:
    A couple of great photographers and some beautiful, if not heartbreaking, shots of old Philadelphia.

  3. Scott permalink
    March 28, 2013 10:16 pm

    Exactly what Philly needs, another strip mall….

  4. Daniel Buckner permalink
    April 21, 2013 6:00 am

    great pictures, it’s sad though
    I live in knoxville, tn. and there have been some beautiful mansions and buildings that were torn down and what were they replaced with? something better no – ether a parking lot, empty lot, burger joint, or super market. now the city wants to fully restore the downtown area but in the late 50’s, 60’s – 80’s so many buildings were torn down that there isn’t really near as much to restore as there should be

  5. C.Horn permalink
    January 21, 2015 6:33 am

    That building is originally the old Northeast high school, which sadley became edison.
    My dad graduated there in 1950.
    Lots of history of the people that went to school there. Thanks for posting the pics.
    Felt like I was walking inside the building with you.


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