Bailey Power Plant has stood abandoned for years. As long as I can remember, it has been this mysterious run-down industrial building, surrounded by a huge wire fence, but begging to be explored.
I never had the courage to sneak in though.
It has been undergoing renovations for the past few years now, just as all the old tobacco factories have.
But on this day, as the renovations are getting closer to completion, the fence was finally down. The power plant was open for wandering.
The inside of the building still requires much work, but it was exciting to be able to wander around the outside, under all the tunnels and bridges that remained illusive for so many years.
The view inside the broken windows
A space that was once a muddy swamp, is becoming a nice little patio with string lighting. I imagine it will be a popular spot when summer comes.
This area that was once a ghost town, is now turning into one of the most popular parts of the city and I can’t wait to see it continue.
Whenever it snows I just want to be out in it, exploring. Everything has a diffeernt look to it when its all covered in white. On the day it snowed last, I went exploring downtown. I wandered all over.
Eventually I came to this little park I always forget exists.
A little waterfall, with suspended concrete walkways all around.
Nobody was around as I wandered up the steps and navigated the little maze. With views of the snowy city all around.
It’s always interesting what you can discover, or rediscover, when you wander around.
One summer evening, I wanted to explore Reynolda Gardens. The sky was dark with rain clouds, but it looked like they were passing by, quickly so we decided to head out anyway. Halfway there we caught up to the rain. It was pouring on and off but we kept going. We got to the gardens just as the last rain drop fell.
A slight fog floated just above the trees and the storm clouds were beginning to clear away, so the setting sun’s golden light could shine through. It looked like we had discovered a secret and magical garden. Nobody else was there.
We wandered around the gardens for a while, and there was never another soul in sight. The quick rainstorm had scared everybody away.
A few years ago I found out there was a secret abandoned rock quarry in my city. I figured out where it was and wanted really badly to go and explore it. But the mysterious rock quarry was completely fenced in with intimidating signs and cameras. I may have still tried to sneak past if I hadn’t also heard that the quarry was soon going to be turned into a park. So I decided to wait until the quarry was open to the public instead of sneaking in.
Three years later the wait is over the the quarry is finally open. It is a simple park, with large fields, a few places to sit, and one big overlook that extends to the very edge of the rock quarry, with a view of downtown and the mountains that surround the city.
The water is so still, and looks like a layer of glass. Apparently many construction vehicles are submerged underneath the quarry’s glassy surface. There are also rumors of cars and bodies that have reached their final resting place at the bottom of the quarry! I would love to know for sure what is down there.
The quarry was in operation from the 1920s to the 1970s, when it filled up with water and remained that way, causing the stone mining to stop for good.
I’m glad they decided to turn this interesting feature into a park instead of keeping it closed off.
Bailey Power Plant, with its smoke stacks that make Winston-Salem stand out from all the other cities, will come alive once again after being abandoned for more than twenty years.
This building was once the center for the tobacco manufacturing giant, RJ Reynolds Tobacco, and provided power for all the factories in the area. But when tobacco manufacturing moved away from this city, Bailey Power Plant fell out of use and was left to sit vacant and crumble over the years. The center of Winston-Salem soon became a ghost town of abandoned forgotten factories. Nobody ever came downtown anymore.
But luckily, the potential of these old buildings was realized, and they began getting turned into lofts, office space and research labs as part of the newly named Innovation Quarter. As the years went by, and life began to creep back into downtown, everyone wondered when and if the old power plant, the city’s most intriguing building, would also be brought back to life. Sure enough, early this year, work began on the old power plant.
So on a warm summer afternoon, I wandered around the old building to document the changes.
I just wish I could slip past the fence and look inside!
It will soon be home to many small businesses, restaurants, a patio with string lights, and who knows what else!
I am glad to see these old buildings restored and saved.
The Mimosa trees bloom during the middle of the summer, after the time of flowering springtime trees is long forgotten. When the beginning of summer seems so long ago, but the end of summer is so far away. When it feels like summer never ends, and it will always be this way.
The feathery pink blooms that stand out from the never ending sea of green, remind me of adventures late into the endless summer evenings, and times that made me forget that winter was ever here.
On this summer evening, a bike ride towards Salem Lake led us to this secret path we had never noticed, that ended with a Mimosa tree at the lake’s edge. It was one of those mini adventures I love so much, that kept us out later than expected, but it didn’t matter because it stays light for so long these days.
The trail I watched being built all last summer from my office window is nearly complete.
My blog post Forgotten Corners shows what it looked like when construction first began. What used to be an overgrown meadow over a once busy industrial area, is now a nicely landscaped greenway.
The old Railroad track that ran though this area providing coal to the factories has been preserved.
On the other side of the path lies the current train track where freight trains travel back and fourth all day.
There was hardly another soul in sight on this new path, since it is not quite finished, and maybe not too many have heard about it yet. But I’m sure it won’t be long until it is packed with people. But I prefer how it is now, in it’s empty state.
I’m happy to see this plot of land being put to good use, and that some of the old elements of what it once was got to stick around.
And they kept the cobblestone!