For about a year, I’ve been eyeing a fenced-off area near Alley 26, directly behind 118 Got Soul. The two-room space was cordoned off with imposing razor wire and a chain-link fence (and a warning sign that said the area was under surveillance, which I think was a ruse) that left no room to slither through.
I could only photograph it from the top level of the parking garage of the Oprah Building, which I did last summer.
Well, 118 Got Soul closed after its umpteenth fire, and the spot, once verboten, is accessible. It’s a bit creepy: There’s a large waste can full of fetid, part-liquid, part-solid garbage and a lot of sharp objects lying around. However, it’s worth holding your nose and traipsing around, if for no other reason than curiosity. Just make sure your tetanus booster is up to date.
You can see remnants of an old awning frame that connects the two “rooms.” In the upper right corner, you can see the fire damage to the 118 Got Soul building.
According to Open Durham, this may have been the back of the Auto Gas storage building, or possibly Center Furniture.
There’s also a second-floor window that opens into what appears to be a bathroom, with an iridescent blue wall.
The second “room” of the vacant area, contains a lot of wonderful geometry and decay.
And apparently someone with a sense of humor, also drawn to this hidden space, hoisted a chair atop one of the metal poles.