Graffiti Pier on the Delaware looking south, Sunday June 11, 2017, 6:09 am

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Built to transfer coal between rail cars and water carriers early in the last century, the coal facility was stripped of its salvageable equipment and all but abandoned in 1991 by Conrail, the company that still owns the property.

The pier with its two concrete viaducts was used for other purposes and guarded for a few years, but as security was cut back, people filtered in. Fishermen at first, then graffiti artists.

Knowledge of the pier spread slowly in the graffiti and urban explorer communities through early web forums. The explosive growth of social media made the place a kind of tourist attraction known around the Northeast if not the country.

Artists and vandals came in greater numbers so by 2010 virtually every ground-level surface had been painted and painted over again.

Since then the pace has accelerated so that some graffiti is over-painted monthly and sometimes weekly despite efforts by Conrail to discourage visitors. Graffiti Pier remains private property subject to trespassing statutes, and the Philadelphia police occasionally chase everyone out.

Hopefully this site provides a sense of the place and the rapid, intense evolution of art and vandalism there.

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