Maas & Waldstein Company Chemical Factory

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“ATTENTION!! THIS CONTAINER HAZARDOUS WHEN EMPTY. Since emptied container contains product residue (vapor or liquid), all labeled hazard precautions must be observed.”

Urban exploration, in general, is much better in the winter than in the summer. Truly abandoned places get overgrown fast, making it harder to move(and almost impossible to do so quietly). Your respirator gets sweaty and uncomfortable, exposed skin gets scratched up, and the heat generally makes things less enjoyable. I faced all these problems at the old Mass and Waldstein Company’s chemical factory, but by far the worst part were the relentless mosquitoes coming from the stagnant, muddy puddles i had to slog through on the way to the interior of the area. Please, if you go here in the warmer months, take some bug spray. Or just wait until winter.

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Inside the chemical factory, with huge overturned chemical vats seen on the right side

The Maas and Waldstein Company’s factory was founded in 1876 near the shores of New Jersey’s disgusting Passaic River. Over the years it grew, adding on new buildings and producing everything from soda flavoring to explosives used by the WWI French Army. It was abandoned sometime around the 90’s.

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Despite being abandoned fairly recently, the factory is in terrible condition.

The Maas and Waldstein Company Factory has a grim side to its long history. In 1916, workers went on strike for better hours(they only wanted to work 10 hours a day, how lazy is that?) and better pay(they wanted a whole 30 cents per hour!). The company did not listen to their complaints and hired new workers, causing many to lose their jobs. One of the company’s most exploitative ways to get new workers was to send recruiters down south to try and sign on as many poor blacks as possible. To increase the numbers of workers they brought in, recruiters would describe the lynchings of the south in gory detail in attempt to scare blacks to move north and work. They advertised that “To die from the bite of frost is far more glorious than at the hands of the mob.” Blacks came seeking opportunity, but found poor wages, long hours, and dangerous work. The factory had multiple fires and explosions during its history, some so large that people in the area felt their houses shake.

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Chemical vats

Today, the Maas and Waldstein Company Factory’s many buildings are in very poor condition. If you’re interested in exploring here, try to go soon. I have a feeling it won’t be around much longer.

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“NO SMOKING”

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Evil looking black ooze

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Factory room

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Spray paint cans on an old shelf 

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A can of kerosene, probably used by arsonists

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Total chaos

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Pretty standard abandoned factory sights

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The standard red brick smokestack

The Oil and Gas Building

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Since the later 1800’s, the prosperity of the city of New Orleans had lagged far behind other major American ports. After WWII however, the city experienced a boom, and rose back to the status of a major center of American money-making. Being a port near the oil rich Gulf of Mexico, many oil companies set up headquarters in the city’s downtown. In 1959, the Oil and Gas Building was constructed, with the intention of having different floors bought up by different companies.

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The lobby

The Oil and Gas Building still has its power on, even though it has been abandoned for a number of years now. Most lights are still lit up and you may even be able to feel an air conditioner/circulation system. Despite the benefits, like making a flashlight much less necessary, exposed live wires are some of the most dangerous things to encounter as an explorer, and i suspect there are many in here.

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A staircase still illuminated by the building’s power

The second floor seemed very utilitarian, with low ceilings, pipes and vents. Most of the doors were locked, the ones that weren’t seemed to be for storage. At the end of the second floor, a metal gate with a big lock stopped my progress into the rest of the building.

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Floor 2

Time to get out! The access point was very public, making getting in and out a risky process.

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Creepy hallway

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A busted exit sign still glows red

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The modern looking facade, uncharacteristic of abandoned buildings