The Rubber Duck Factory Revisited

Last Sunday Jeff, Jason, and I attended a lecture on Cleveland history. We learned the history of a handful of buildings downtown, and ate lots of snacks. It was pretty awesome. Not only was what we were learning interesting I absolutely love seeing people talk about their interests. It was wildly obvious this man loved researching our city and that was enough to get me excited.

After the lecture I was feeling a serious urge to get into something abandoned. I guess it really just comes down to the fact that passionate people spark my passions. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what I love about photographing abandoned buildings but something I really enjoy is documenting changes.

Something during the lecture that piqued my interest was when he was talking about this headstone and how he was really glad someone had photographed it way back when because it is no longer legible. It’s just a worn down obelisk now. He mentioned that a lot of things can last for a while, they might stay in the same condition for hundred years then all of a sudden in the next fifty go rapidly down hill. I’ve found abandoned buildings to be a prime example of that.

After the lecture, while waiting on a friend to get off work, we walked over to “The Rubber Duck Factory” just to waste a little bit of time. I hesitated to even take any photos of the place because none will ever been fun as the ones from my previous visit but then I thought about why I loved photographing these places so much and what he had said about deterioration of things.

This old warehouse is in no way, shape or form as significant as a headstone but it’s crazy to see how quickly it’s just crumbling away like the headstone I mentioned above. So much has changed since my last visit; furniture is gone, someone has been dumping shrubbery, there is tons more graffiti, the roof in one of the largest sections has collapsed and most noticeably… I couldn’t find a single rubber duck. My last visit we gathered nearly five hundred of these dirty ducks. I checked all the spots I knew I hide ducks and didn’t see even one.

It’s funny to me that now anytime someone goes there they’ll be left wondering “Why in the world is this called The Rubber Duck Factory?” I love that I was able to go there and document a time where there was an abundance of ducks because no one else will be able to do that again.  …Unless the ducks show up again…? I guess that’s not totally out of the realm of possibility. Maybe they’ve just been kidnapped!? Oh man, someone should have totally turned this into a puzzle complete with a ransom note. Opportunity lost! 

Like I said, this building isn’t all that important in Cleveland history but it’s certainly fun to record little things like this. Soon it will be demolished so that condos can be built and all that will be left will be the memories and photos myself and other photographers have captured.

Find my post from my first visit here

Sept 27, two days after drafting up this post, the Rubber Duck Factory actually burnt down. Such a crazy coincidence. 


Author: Kaylah

Just a green haired gal from Cleveland, Ohio! A collector of weird things. Plant Enthusiast. Wanderer. Beachcomber. Forever longing for the desert.

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