ByRebecca Raymer, writer at Creators.co
I am a writer and director. #WomenInFilm #WomenDirect
Rebecca Raymer

Usually I do posts on locations in and around Atlanta where filming has already occurred. However, I have discovered so many amazing places that I haven't yet been able to associate with any well-known films or television shows. These places are wonderful, and magical, and would make AWESOME film locations, so I decided that I am now a location scout in addition to being a proxifan.

I have a mild obsession with dilapidated structures and graffiti. When I come across dilapidated structures with graffiti on them, I get very excited. When I found out about Decatur Waterworks, my mind almost exploded, and I couldn't wait to get over there with my camera.

There are a lot of old mills in Georgia, and I had recently shot some pics at a mill in Stone Mountain Park. I fell in love with the mill there. When I got home, I googled, "old mills in Georgia," and came across this list. Mason Mill is not far from my house in Atlanta, so I did so more research on it, and found out about the Waterworks ruins.

The ruins can currently be accessed very easily (on foot) via the South Peachtree Creek Trail behind the tennis courts at the Mason Mill Recreation Center. There is a paved and well-maintained path leading into the woods, and it was only a tiny bit scary going in alone.

Well-maintained path, South Peachtree Creek Trail.
Well-maintained path, South Peachtree Creek Trail.

In the above photo, you can see a bridge that crosses some train tracks. That is about where the graffiti starts to show up, but it is mostly under the bridge.

Under the Bridge (Downtown - you're welcome).
Under the Bridge (Downtown - you're welcome).

Atlanta photographer Kelley Wenzel, owner of Pear Tree Photography Atlanta, has used the Decatur Waterworks a number of times in the past for photo shoots. One of the big draws for her is that "the graffiti is constantly changing." This gives her a particular advantage, and she "loves the variety of locations for backgrounds."

On the day I was there, I felt all kinds of sweetness, as there were messages of puppy love all around me. The wall under the bridge had this declaration on it:

Nicole is insanely beautiful.
Nicole is insanely beautiful.

Across the boardwalk from Nicole's love note is the first glimpse at the actual ruins of the Decatur Waterworks. There is a lovely retaining pond, which reminds me: if you ever personally visit here, wear a lot of bug spray - the serious stuff, with DEET.

View from the well-maintained boardwalk.
View from the well-maintained boardwalk.
Mosquito surveillance trap near Decatur Waterworks.
Mosquito surveillance trap near Decatur Waterworks.

In order to access the ruins, I had to leave the main path, which was slightly more scary than being by myself on the main path, but I was so intrigued by the sights in front of me, I threw caution to the wind. It was totally worth it.

FYI: I'm scared of being anywhere at any time; the fear I experienced at this location is not necessarily rational. I don't know of any particular danger of visiting the Decatur Waterworks (unless you're offended by street art), but it's not a bad idea to watch your back anyway.

The wonderful ruins of Decatur Waterworks.
The wonderful ruins of Decatur Waterworks.

There are little creeks, and stairs to nowhere, and chunks of wall all over the place. It is gorgeous and whimsical.

Little creek, known as a "river" in California.
Little creek, known as a "river" in California.
Chunks of wall.
Chunks of wall.
Stairs to nowhere.
Stairs to nowhere.
This is your brain.
This is your brain.

I have never wanted to write a screenplay, but after seeing this location, I am seriously considering adapting my first novel (I'm working on the second one) for the sole purpose of incorporating this space into something related to motion pictures.

It really helped that I went on a beautiful spring day, but I am very much looking forward to returning in the fall and winter to take more photos. Just thinking about the seasonally changing foliage intertwined with the constantly morphing graffiti is absolutely thrilling (for the record, I know I'm a dork, but I just turned 39, and at this point in life, I'm just embracing it and having fun).

Okay, now I am going to tweet this article to major studio executives and film producers, and see what happens...

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