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H O W E L L   C A R P E T

Be wary then; best safety lies in fear --Shakespeare, "Hamlet"

*this location has since been demolished

Howell Carpet, Howell, New Jersey

explored & photographed by: Shady

On the northbound side of Route 9, in Howell, sprawling Howell Carpet casts it's looming shadow. I had never even noticed it, really, til the crisp November day just after Halloween when I stopped to shoot pics of the Sesame Inn, and I spotted the abandoned Howell Carpet, which was right next to it, through the trees. I just had to head over to explore it...

This was a pretty large place. There were a couple of graffiti-spattered semi-trucks out back, and many of the huge rolls that used to hold the carpets were also strewn about. And, apparently, someone had recently taken out some aggression on a helpless Jack-O-Lantern in the parking lot.

The entire building looked like it was about to collapse; parts of the roof had already caved in. A rusted ladder was bolted to the wall, leading up to the roof, but I didn't think it safe to climb it. The windows were really interesting- well, the ones that weren't smashed in or boarded up, anyway- fitted with art deco glass blocks and multi-colored panes.

The rear of the lot was reallllly gloomy; for some reason it seemed to get about 50% darker (and frankly, spookier) back there as I rounded the corner. The deep dark forest encroached from the area right behind the building, swallowing up the edges of the weed-eaten property. Graffiti marked most everything in sight, and there were weird looking faces painted on the walls. My nervousness was increased by the heavy atmosphere, and the knowledge that I was out there all alone...

Out back, about 60 yards into the thick woods behind the place, I stumbled across a strange sort of outdoor "room"... several old couches, easy chairs, and folding chairs arranged in a circle and nearly hidden from view by the sheltering branches of an enormous tree. It seemed that nobody has used the spot for awhile- the chairs were practically buried in crisp yellowed leaves, and someone had set fire to a couple of the couches, leaving behind charred husks. I couldn't help but wonder whose "room" this was, and if they would react kindly to finding a visitor there

While crunching through the piles of dead leaves in the darkening woods, I began to have a very strange sensation- the feeling that I was being watched. I glanced around; nobody in sight. Still, I had the distinct feeling that some unseen pair of eyes were fastened on me. Maybe it was my imagination, maybe it was because the impending twilight was approaching. Either way, it kind of creeped me out...

As I stood in the shadows of the rising moon, peering over the littered landscape of this place, I felt a sense of impending doom surrounding the place.

I turned out to be correct- not long after I shot these images, it was completely torn down, making these snapshots the last testament to it's existence. All that remains is a large pile of broken rubble... construction vehicles are already there, ready to start on a new structure. Even the neighboring Sesame Inn has been demolished. I treasure these photos of a place that is now but a ghost.

Another Route 9 Roadside Find! For even more, check out Trippin' On 9


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