As I said, my first trip to the powder factory yielded little more than a tour of the outside, since we were faced with people using most of the facility even on Easter Sunday afternoon. The only place we managed to get inside of, as a matter of fact, was the end of the furthest wing of the whole plant, which turned out to be 100% inaccessible from the rest of the building. What they did down here when the plant was in operation, I don't know. It turned out to be the messiest and darkest part of the whole place because it had been used most recently as a Halloween haunted house, and was littered with wet pieces of fabric and discarded furniture used in the little monster scenes.

As you can tell, they spared no expense in their haunted house, even spraypainting WELCOME TO YOUR DOOM on the door leading into this part of the building.

Once inside we managed to follow the rough outline of where they wanted people to walk on their way through. I joke about the haunted house because I've gone through so many abandoned buildings that have been used for this purpose, but this one was probably pretty good, considering the setting. The owners must have known how isolated from the rest of the building this wing is.

Why do the Halloween haunted houses so often dilute their messages by doing public service announcements about drinking and driving? Maybe it's how they get the cops to look the other way for a month while they walk people through an asbestos-laden abandoned building for eight bucks each. Above you can see the junkyard car used in the "Don't Drink and Drive" portion of the tour.

An interesting e-mail filled me in a little bit on the history of the Halloween haunted house:

I was involved in the "Haunted House" that is pictured in the outbuilding section. The haunted house you saw was our second attempt in the Peters Cartridge building. The first was actually in the main building, near the elevator shaft, in 1992. We rented 1/4 of the bottom floor for $25.00 a month. Walls were made by draping black construction plastic over ropes and wire. We went through hell trying to get the Township of Kings Mills building and electrical inspectors to pass it. Break-ins were common since this was near the bike trail and on the first floor.

The next year, 1993, the owner asked us to move because he had another tenant willing to pay $300.00 a month for the space. We then rented the outbuilding you saw and began construction. This time we used 2" x 4" lumber and a metal door we bought from a salvage company in Hamilton for $5 each. A proper electrician wired the place for us and approval from the township inspectors was easier.

The problem with this building was water! The roof leaked; worse yet, the gun range with the dirt area for the bullets was directly above us. Water would leak year round because it would seep through the dirt and through the cracks in the floor. This was the only year we used that building. We took away anything we could and left the rest to rot. I left the Haunted House business after that. The other guy involved still runs a haunted house every year in Hamilton, Ohio.

Sneaking back out and walking around the haunted house wing, we slipped under the perimeter fence by walking in the old concrete channel which used to take the creek under the plant. The water was used to cool the shot as it dripped from the high tower that is the factory's most prominent feature.

The grounds around the creek channel are very hilly and steep. They're overgrown with thorny weeds, scrub bushes, trees. The water in the creek was low both times I was there, so I'm not sure whether it still flows through here or not.

If you climb the steep embankment behind the building and walk down the ridge, you'll find it dotted with these poured-concrete storage rooms, which are built into the ground in such a way that if anything blew up, most of the blast would be contained by the hillside. They must have had enormously thick doors--as thick as the walls, I'd guess--but the doors have been taken off their hinges. Good idea, if you ask me.

The hillside storage rooms aren't the only things back here, but they're the only identifiable things. Lots of concrete rubble and twisted metal makes you wonder just how many accidents they had here. Then again, it's probably just time and weather that's done most of the damage. A few of the rooms back here are roofless, and look a lot like broad horse stalls. There are a few rusty water pumps and other maintenance relics half-buried in leaves and dirt. I'm sure that a metal detector would go crazy back here.

Above you can see another one of those hard-to-identify conrete things; this one is located right next to the parking lot across from the main courtyard entrance. It seems to be an old room with the roof missing, and you can take a look down into it by climbing up the ridge nearby.

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