Prowling the Dupont Underground

I recently had a chance to explore an abandoned site under Washington, DC’s Dupont Circle. Dupont Underground is promoting the site as a performing space for “cutting-edge arts, architecture, design and creative endeavors.” They made it available to our group of  urban explorers and about 12 of us went down to check it out and take some photos.

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urban explorers photo by Liz Roll

I probably took about 200 photos down there and spent some time later editing them down to just a handful. I wanted the photos to express a feeling about the space, rather than just document it. I ended up with a mix and here are some of my favorites:

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This was part of a sculpture that was abandoned there.

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Inside the sculpture.

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The underground station opened in 1942 and was originally designed for street cars. They would discharge their passengers here, below Dupont Circle. Walkways led to the mix of streets above. Everything is closed off now and, except for a few months here and there, has been shuttered since 1962. You can read a Washington Post story about the history of the space here.

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This is what remains of a fanciful installation by a team of architects.

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One of the tunnels to nowhere.

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When the underground streetcar station was in operation. Washington Post photo

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I love how the light plays on the tile and rusted ironwork.

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This fanciful composition I discovered at the entrance is just part of a rusted iron grating.

As you can imagine, it takes creativity, vision and persistence to transform a Dupont Underground into something we can all use and enjoy. Still, it was not too long ago that the Highline in New York was an abandoned, rusting hulk. Now it’s a major attraction for visitors and residents of the city. I hope The Dupont Underground can do something similar here in DC and wish them well in their effort to create a haven for makers and creatives. They have events there from time to time, so if you’re interested, check out their site.

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About Dan Bailes

As a writer and storyteller I explore the creative process and how we understand ourselves and our place in the world. For my blog, The Vision Thing, I write on creativity, innovation and vision – with a focus on pathfinders and the inspirational moment. I also consult and write for clients, play drums in a blues band, practice yoga and enjoy photography.
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