The Iola Campus was a group of buildings in Rochester that was originally built as a tuberculosis hospital. After some time they then became the Monroe County offices before becoming abandoned. I had noticed them from the first trip to Rochester and had wanted to explore them for quite some time. On one of the first few trips up Bill went showed me to one of the buildings. It was an office building that had some nice woodwork, and fireplaces. We explored it and in the basement found a jail area and in one corner of a cell we found the entrance to the tunnels. We went part way into the tunnels before losing daylight. It would be around two years before I made it back.
The second time I got to see it was after I heard that plans were going through to demolish it to build an industrial/residential complex. So I got with Mike and he and I decided to meet up and check it out. This time we started early and made sure that we went through it all. We started in what appeared to have been a school and worked our way from top to bottom and then went through the tunnels. The school building had some very nice woodwork, and some nice marble. I did ask after I saw demolition begin, but was told they were salvaging as much of that as possible. From there we went to an area that seemed to be part maintenance, and part recreation area. Then it was to the main building, This was quite large and a bit of a maze. This held everything from offices, to an auditorium, to the city control grid. And it had a very nice view from the roof. Though the main building was the most destroyed it was still very fascinating and complex. After this I went to a smaller building that had the feel of a summer camp activity building.
We also went to what appears to have been a group house that was part of the campus as well. It was pretty well salvaged by the time we saw it, but was still a nice place. I took Howie here one last time a few weeks later, by that time they were working on the demolition. I almost made a nice haul on what has become a bit of a game to me. If I am exploring and find a scrapper has been by but not taken all their tools, I will take the tools and leave. We must have startled a scrapper because he left in such a hurry he left his backpack full of tools and the beer he was drinking was still there and still cold. But, with the demolition workers almost directly above, and city workers working on the street next to us, and having to walk by both, I didn't want to risk walking by both with two backpacks, one full of tools that could get me arrested.
After Mike and I left Iola we grabbed a bite to eat and Steve T Hots and Potatoes. They have the best dish, called a Plate. It is the best, you get to choose your to sides, normally its macaroni salad and homefries, but they have a list. and your meat. Anything from sausage to chicken fingers, to cheeseburgers. They then cover it with their homemade Texas hots sauce on it and mustard and onion if you want them. We got a hold of Bill and had him meet us at the old part of Genesee Hospital. It is a fraction of what is left after demolition. This part is going through asbestos removal and cleaning. Mike and I feel its for renovation and will be opened as an extension of the new part that is connected to it. Bill claims demolition, we'll see what happens. We snuck in after the workers left and found some of the rooms still intact. This was definitely the cleanest old beuilding we explored. It was neat finding some of the equipment still in there, and a bit freaky to walk down a hallway to a doorway and have nothing on the other side of the thresh hold. It was dark while we were still going through. We were near the top floor when we heard a door slam. After running from one side to the other and down a couple flights of stairs we decided we weren't being followed. It wasn't until we were outside and on the street that what we heard was an open door on the roof being blown open by the wind.