For six years I chronicled the historical, yet desolate, Sockanosset Boys Training School in Cranston, Rhode Island. This institution was created in 1866 as a response to the societal challenges of that era: rising poverty and surging criminal activity. Driven by the notion that institutionalization could shape a more disciplined and controlled environment, isolating inmates from the temptations and influences of the outside world, the school meticulously designed activities to engage idle hands.

Within these formidable walls, young boys were encouraged to learn useful trades as they underwent a curriculum that included machine work, carpentry, masonry, and blacksmithing. The campus included structured cottages, extensive courtyards, and a gymnasium where school activities were held. At the school’s heart lay the stone chapel, which has since been repurposed as the Chapel Grille in Cranston.

My passion for abandoned buildings found a deep resonance in this project. These structures are not just the empty shells we now see, but testaments to the complex, oftentimes dark, stories of the past. When abandoned, these buildings are not frozen in time. They transform through a gradual decay, as each rusty handrail, layer of peeling paint, and dangling shingle narrates all that has happened since the structure’s prime.