The San Francisco Police Athletic Club

July 29th, 2010 -

The San Francisco Naval Shipyard was declared a Superfund Site in 1989 and is a now a 936-acre dead zone on the San Francisco Bay. Accordingly, it has long been a source of inspiration for my photography. There are many strange things to see in the yard, which is also known as the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard. It contains the remains of both the former "World's Tallest Industrial Escalator" and the former "World's Largest Crane." It houses an abandoned diner located across from an abandoned cryptology & periscope building. Gamma radiation is seeping up from the ground and unknown pesticides are floating in the air, according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

One of the strangest things inside the shipyard is the abandoned San Francisco Police Athletic Club. Also known as Building 120, this was once a canteen and enlisted men's club, according to the SF Planning Department. As recently as 2002, it was a thriving boxing gym, home to a "stable of amateur fighters," according to SF Weekly. Today, however, the building feels like a sealed time capsule from 1985. Out back, there is an empty swimming pool and a rotting Tiki bar. Inside, dozens of dusty weight lifting machines have been left to rust. An old arcade game sits next to a full-sized bar. Military posters line the walls. Several rowboats sit near a crowded work station. The floor is littered with certificates and badges from The Widows' and Orphans' Aid Association of the Police Department.

Its not clear when the Police Athletic Club was closed down or what the future of the building will be. This past Tuesday, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to move forward on a massive redevelopment plan for the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard. The plan "calls for 10,500 residential units, along with 320 acres of parks and open space," according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Much of what remains in the shipyard will be demolished.

For more photographs from the shipyard, click here.

Tiki Bar

Mess Hall

No Boxing Without Coaches Present

Shining Lift

Omega Race

At the Bar

Beer Only

Miss 1985

Apocalyptic Lounge

Dual Screen

Row Boats

Weights and Plates

Locker Row

Dumbwaiter Shadows

Shadows, Door and Locker

Shower Light


  1. these dimwits abandonded cool rowboats and video arcade games.... do I sense entitlement?

  2. So great. The place you show in your pictures are like the perfect exemple of the places I'd just like to go, sit on the floor, and smoke a cigarette.

    (I'm french so please excuse my strange english)

  3. Nathan, I'm scouting locations on a documentary style music video shoot for an up and coming neo-soul artist form Brooklyn. I would love to talk to you about some locations, we are looking for locations exactly like your pictures. The artist is Charles Bradley, check out his song: . Please email me back at
    I really like your photos, keep on it man.

  4. Beautiful.... Have you been to Fort Ord in Seaside/Monterey? A little over a year ago they demolished a small section for housing. There's still so much that's just rotting into the ground. It's really big, and easily accessible.

    1. Yeah, Ord still has some decent stuff to see and the security is nice and lax.