An Hour Away: The Basket Building

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She loomed out of the misty, evening air, a hulking, yet graceful piece of the rural landscape. A classic Ohio sight to see. It was the basket building.

In this feature the Thrill highlights Ohio places and things that can be reached in roughly an hour drive. This week we are featuring the Longaberger Building in Newark, Ohio.

From the creators of the ever relevant Ramen Ranking, now comes the basket building excursion of Fall 2018.

This past week was a heavy one. We were all sick, had 48 midterms, didn’t call our moms and generally felt like garbage. Fellow Thrill Staff Writer, Lillian Fox Peckos (LFP), and I (JZ) decided to throw all of our grievances with this hellish week aside and travel an hour away to check out the Longaberger Building, colloquially known as “that big basket building”.

Expectations:

LFP: “I think it’s gonna be kinda lame.”

JZ: “Yeah, a basket is just the normal shape of a building.”

LFP: “Honestly, I’m expecting it to be closed or just demolished. Maybe, we get there and it’s gonna be gone.”

JZ: “Kenyon construction has taught me that no building is safe.”

The Anticipatory Drive:

For this trip we asked 3 different friends to borrow their cars. One friend said their car was already being lent out and they were confused by my cryptic texts about needing a car for Thrill journalism. The other friend didn’t get why we needed a car to look at a bread basket. The third friend supported our endeavor and allowed us to set off in a trusted Subaru.

JZ: “Ooo look at these leaves!”

LFP: “I didn’t think fall was going to be nice this year but it’s nice; it really surprised me in the end. Also, I want you to take note that we are turning onto ‘Purity Road’–look at the school!”

JZ: “Can you image going to Purity Elementary?”

First Sightings:

LFP: “OH MY GOD!”

JZ: “Wait, it’s crazy.”

LFP: “Why do I feel like we’re going to get murdered?”

JZ: “I’m so nervous.”

LFP: “It’s because you’ve been telling me about meth*. I think there are definitely squatters in this building.”

JZ: “This is maybe a zombie land apocalypse, maybe Disneyland,  maybe mental asylum.”

LFP: “Honestly, first impression is Dunder Mifflin. So corporate. Corporate basket.”

*I had watched Louis Thoreau of the BBC’s documentary “The City Addicted to Crystal Meth” the night before (would recommend but it’s not uplifting)

Making Contact:

LFP: “Take a photo of you trying to hold it. This is actually massive, I did not expect it to be so big.”

IMG_8461IMG_8462-1JZ: “What was this originally for?”

LFP: “Like a basket company?”

JZ: “A factory? How can a company just be baskets?”

LFP: “I don’t know it’s just Longaberger.”

JZ: “This is a front for something.”

LFP: “Woah, look at these fancy doors!”

JZ: “This is like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It’s scary, but should we look into a window? I’m scared.”

LFP: “Yeah, let’s look into the window because you know, Halloween.”

*peaks in window*

JZ “What?! It looks like an old bank inside!? Was this building bought by scientologists?”

Pros: 

  • Very big
  • Literally a building shaped as a picnic basket
  • It’s abandoned
  • Less than an hour away, 39 minutes according to Google Maps
  • You can eat in Granville after, a town in which it is always Christmas time

Cons:

  • It’s abandoned
  • Denison gets this basket and a real college town and we have a street of Lentz look-a-likes and no big baskets
  • The doors were locked

Final Thoughts:

LFP: “I’m honestly scared.”

JZ: “I’m scared and I’m nervous and it’s just because I brought up meth in Fresno.”

LFP: “Yeah, you have to preface this whole thing by saying you watched this scary meth documentary last night and were telling me about it and now we’re putting our prejudices on all of rural America”

JZ: “Danny O’Conner should have had a rally here– next time.”

LFP: “Yeah, that’s how he’s going to get the people to come out. It’s such a good idea, and there is so much space here. He can talk about economic revitalization of the district because this is a building made into a basket.”

JZ: “I still want to know who is doing the upkeep for the gardens here? Frank Bryce the guy in the beginning of the 4th Harry Potter book who does the gardening for the Riddle house?”

LFP: “No, no don’t do this, don’t put that in.”

Goodbye big ass basket you were fun.


“It’s… it’s a building…?”

“This is actually so stupid.”

“Okay I think we did it.”

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