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The Milk Depot: Exploring an Abandoned Milk Depot in Brewerytown

It isn't every day that you get explore an abandoned factory that's been shut down for decades. So when local Philadelphia developer, Jake Liefer, told me he had just purchased an old Milk Depot, sight-unseen, at a sheriff sale, and was removing the padlock to explore it for the first time, I knew I had to be a part of it.

VSCO Film 04 - Kodak E200 - Milk Depot Garage Door

The old garage door, shot from the interior. The late-afternoon sun shining through the cracks made the whole wall glow. Processed using VSCO Film 04 - Kodak E200


When I first stepped inside, the afternoon winter sun was streaming through massive garage doors at the entrance. The old doors had become translucent over time and they were glowing a rich, golden color. It cast a soft light on an otherwise dismal and chaotic scene. There were old cars, old doors, stacks of tires, trees growing through the roof, trash everywhere, and yes, even an old milk bottle.

VSCO Film 06 - Kodak E100VS XP (++) - Old Milk Bottle

A relic from the building's past. Processed with VSCO Film 06 - Kodak E100VS XP (++) - which gives it this cross-processed look.

The place was, after all, a functioning milk depot once upon a time. Amid the rubble and debris, there were still reminders of this everywhere. Locker units, still open, lined the 2nd floor entry, after we scurried up a stair well that had become more of a ramp over time as the individual stairs collapsed over time.

VSCO Film 04 - Fuji Astia 100F - Old Locker Doors

Locker units from when the building was still a functioning milk depot. Processed with VSCO Film 04 - Fuji Astia 100F

There was also some beautiful, original artifacts that I know Jake is hoping that he can maintain. Some of the old subway tile is remarkably well intact and has stood up to the elements (and graffiti artists) quite well.

VSCO Film 04 - Fuji Astia 100F - Graffiti

There was a little graffiti here and there, but much of the tile was well-preserved. Processed with Fuji Astia 100F from VSCO Film 04.

And as much of a toll as time had taken on individual sections – with collapsing walls, missing windows, and missing roofs – the foundation itself seemed solid and unmovable. This structure was build to stand hundreds of years, even if the milk depot business model was not.

VSCO Film 04 - Fuji Astia 100F - Missing Window

The second story windows look like they've been missing for a while. Processed with Fuji Astia 100F from VSCO Film 04.

Good things are coming to the space, and to Brewerytown in general. I can't wait to catch up on this later and see all that Jake does with the space!

VSCO Film 04 - Fuji Astia 100F - Jake Liefer

Jake Liefer, the new owner of the Milk Depot, plans to transform the space into modern apartment units. Processed with Fuji Astia 100F from VSCO Film 04.

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