Www.illicitohio.com is a site I started back in early college during the down time we experienced at my college job. Sometimes we would have as many as four or five hours where we were stuck at work with no work to do and great internet access. I first made a 'me and my friends' type of site just to learn the basics of creating a site. Remember, this is back in 1995 -96, so html was new to me. I quickly realized that I didn't even want to read that garbage, so I looked for a topic that interested me and had room to expand. I had always been in to snooping around old empty buildings just to check them out, so I made that my topic.
This is where my site's link to forgottenoh comes in. The owner of that site was a co-worker and friend of mine. We both decided to start our sites one bored afternoon in the basement computer lab. I knew some html and taught what I could to Andy at forgottenoh. He then built on that, and I learned some things back from him. Somehow neither of us were overly competitive, so we just helped each other out and let each other know of some cool places to check out. Back then we visited quite a few places together. As the years went on and we moved on with our jobs, we sort of lost contact other than an occasional email. Andy has been able to expand his site vastly. The massive amount of effort he put in to research, travel, etc has resulted in one of the, if not the best resource for this sort of thing here in Ohio. My site hasn't grown quite so well, but I have been able to keep updating it from time to time.
The site I originally started was just a geocities free site. At the time there were no limits on usage and size like there are now. The site took off pretty well. I couldn't believe I was getting emails from people that I'd never met about the site. I really only had a few things featured at the time. The direction of the site was basically anything I could find that was abandoned. That really hasn't changed, but I did branch off with one unique focus... the Amusement parks that are now on sbno.illicitohio.com.
Due to growing up near Youngstown, I had always visited Idora park, first when it was open, and then once it was closed. That was the first unique location that I went after. At the time I had already covered the State Pen in Columbus, and the tunnels under OSU (that is a touchy area, hence the lack of photos). The Amusement park was noteable because it eventually led to me finding Chippewa Lake Park, and after I had two parks, I had a unique flavor to the site. I certainly wasn't the first to cover that stuff, but there really weren't any abandoned building sites that were doing parks that I knew of. It was more or less either Amusement park sites with a mention of an old run down park, or abandoned building sites with no mention of amusement parks.
Over the years, the rest has basically been history. Due to traffic caps and the large number of photos, I had to leave the free geocities site and go with a geocities pay service. Their ploy of capping sites and then offering a pay alternative worked. I purchased a monthly service and moved everything over to www.illicitohio.com and sbno.illicitohio.com. To this day I've yet to update all links, email addresses, etc.
There have been many significant gaps in progress here. I simply don't have the kind of time that I used to have. Lately I've tried to update and add a few things just to get my mind off of other things.
Over the years there have been some highlites and a few lows. I've only really recieved one nasty email. I've had a few talking about broken links, poor configuration, slow loading, etc, but they've mostly been friendly and helpful. The one nasty email was in relation to Americana park. At the time I made the page the park was to be closed for good. I made a remark about how I'd sneak in via the access we used and once the park reopened someone felt that I was hinting at how to get in the park for free and causes them to lose business. I removed the reference only because it was a valid complaint once the park had reopened. The person was still quite an ass about the entire thing considering. If you're thinking of sending me an nasty email, just remember, you'll only be the 2nd jerk out of hundreds and hundres of people that email. Nobody wants to be a jerk, right?
Some of the highlites of the site have having photos featured on the cover of a magazine, and band's album cover, and various other websites. I always enjoy the idea that kids use photos in their school reports as well. I've actually recieved a few emails regarding that and often wondered what the teachers thought. I was lucky enough to be asked to do a channel 10 news thing with Andy and later one with channel 4. Channel 10 never aired theirs. As of this time, we're waiting for channel 4 (it was only about 10 days ago. The best thing has been all of the emails I get from people around the country, and of course the interesting places I've been able to see.
Right now I'm just trying to bring everything up to date and add somethings I've been sitting on. I've recently had a few offers to come capture the architecture of places that are in the process of closing or renovating. I wasn't able to oblige in the two recent ones, but in the future I'd love to move forward with that.
That is about all for now...
It seems that I do get certain questions frequently. I certainly don't mind, but I'll try to touch on the answers breifly here.
Is this trespassing?
Sort of, but don't intentions count? Probably not, but we tread lightly and leave no signs of our visit behind other than the pictures. These places have been left to rot away, so a quick walk though seems harmless. Ultimately I'm in the wrong.
How did you get started?
Boredom. Actually my Father and I went to an abandoned hotel in Daytona Beach during a vacation. We were walking down A1A and came across a hotel, right in the mix with the nice places, with the front door standing open. We barely even entered the place, and found old 50s postcards all over the floor. I thought that was pretty amazing (I was a kid remember)but that was the first step in me being interested in this stuff.
Do you make any money from the site?
None. I lose about $15 per month on it.
Can I use some of your pictures?
Depends on the use. You can use them for anything other than making them appear to be your own.
Its just a hobby like anything else.
Isn't this nerdy?
Yes. Its far from being a major part of my life. I'm a dork anyhow.
What is next?
Whatever comes along. I have nothing specific in mind right now.
What is your favorite place?
There are a few. Heritage USA was really cool, but I wish I had seen more. The oppritunity just wasn't there when I was in town. Chippewa Lake has always been really amazing. The Prison was top notch, but I never got interior pictures. The staduim in Miami Florida was really cool just because I didn't expect to find something like that. Really, they all have an interesting history when you are in them. The Seneca was really neat, but freaky due to the known crack smoker that lived there.
Tell me more about the news, or magazine, books, etc.
Andy of ForgottenOh and I did channel 10 news back when we were in college. We did Channel 4 news in early 2005. The band that used my photo was a small rock outfit from down south by the name of Squint. Nice guys, good band, great music. The magazine cover was an industry magazine for the entertainment industry. I've lost track of the various news articles, but occasionally someone will put a blurb about the site in a news paper or something. Andy used a couple of our pictures in his book called forgotten columbus. That's all I can think of right now.
Please feel free to drop me a line any time... admin.illicitohio.com. I'm always willing to do what I can to help you out, so don't hesitate to ask. Remember, this is just a back burner hobby, so I don't always respond right away.