The rickety wooden ladder trembles and shakes as my feet navigate its broken and missing rungs into the subterranean depths. My trusted fellow explorer, Ed, stabilizes the ladder’s base with a firm two-hand grip and buttressing feet and leads our afternoon exploration of Woodward Avenue Presbyterian Church. The decrepit structure – more colloquially known as St. Curvy – is hallowed ground amongst those of us who love to explore and document abandoned buildings.
The soles of my boots make contact with the basement room’s grungy floor, while our other companion Sarah awaits her turn to join us below. Like a fire bucket brigade, she passes her camera bag and tripod into the darkness and toward my outstretched hands. And her right foot then connects with the first intact rung.
Before descending, Sarah slides the formerly secured steel panel window cover back into position with a gentle but firm pull to reseal the makeshift entrance. Obscured from street view by a group of shrubs, the recently breached enclosure has become the de facto access point for a handful of knowledgeable urban explorers who desire to see St. Curvy’s legendary interior.