The AOK Team
Justin Tyler Moore
Native Oklahoman, Justin Tyler Moore is the founder of AbandonedOK, having launched the site in January, 2009. Justin is 29 and grew up exploring old buildings. Justin, recalls exploring an abandoned mill on his grandfather’s farm in Kay County.
Justin brings a diverse background that is ideally suited to establishing the urban archeology site. His career includes television, motion pictures, and advertising.
Born and raised in Tulsa, David has developed a strong appreciation for old buildings over the years, especially around Tulsa. He knows the city very well, along with the surrounding towns, and has been avidly exploring since 2007.
His alias “Fiend” was a nickname middle school derived from a video game (Tiberian Sun), which ended up sticking with him. He has almost an obsession with the past, always looking at something and wondering how it came to be there or how it was built, who was here before him, what was it like in the past. To him (since he hasn’t mastered time travel), abandoned buildings and structures are a way of seeing into the past.
His first actual abandoned building experience was an old movie theater off of 71st and Memorial (now a Wal-Mart) in Tulsa. At the time he didn’t even own a camera, and just did it for the thrill. The experience was “life changing”. The dark, musty smell of the building was unforgettable, it was something he was instantly interested in.
Now, almost 6 years later, he has been all over the state documenting historical places. What started off as just a little hobby, has now started to grow into a way of life. He met some good friends through their common interests of old buildings and now share some incredible experiences with each other. He spends hours researching maps and old documents constantly looking for buildings, which have been lost and forgotten, and has become quite good at it. He has contacts with local historians and city employees that occasionally help him with his research and endeavors.
One of his other favorite past times is exploring the underground or “draining”. He has always had a fascination with the underground, walking around the streets wondering what was below his feet. He has explored countless tunnels under Tulsa, and has started to see what OKC has to offer as well. Finding something long forgotten underground is a constant desire of his.
As much as he likes the “awesome photo opportunities” of abandoned buildings, his ultimate goal is to see them saved and restored. He believes that if enough people see his pictures, the buildings can be saved, and hopefully invested in. His only wish is that he could have done something to save or even photograph the countless old buildings and schools in Tulsa that have been lost forever due to “city progress” or were damaged beyond repair because of neglect.”
If you have ever driven by a building and wondered what has happened within its walls, walked by catching a trace of that stagnant smell and thought about what lies inside still, you know what drives Billy Dixon. Born and raised in Oklahoma, Billy has spent countless hours researching, exploring, and combing through the walls of Oklahoma’s forgotten and neglected buildings.
“I first got introduced to this by hanging out with friends in Jr. High that were going to an old abandoned dairy factory.” said Billy, “Once we got there, everyone but myself got scared about going in. As soon I stepped out of the car, I knew this was for me. There were awesome old documents, labels, old bottles, and just so much stuff left inside. I immediately became curious of what happened and why all this was left behind.”
Since his first exploration Billy has been head first into discovering and exploring other unremembered and passed up places. “It’s a really awesome hobby, which I wish to turn into a career at some point. I would love to help restore or document the last moments of pieces of history that many have never seen or would not have access to otherwise.”
If you are driving or walking along that building you pass almost every day and your curiosity peaks, take a look around this site. You might just find out what is lurking inside its walls.
Johnny Fletcher ( psychosaw13) is the oldest member of the team. Born & raised in Bartlesville, Ok. He has lived on the same street his whole life. He began exploring in 2008 officially.
When he started out exploring it was only small homes left abandoned around his neighborhood. His first memories of exploration was an old two story home down the road from his neighborhood that had been converted in to a “Spook House” by a local organization.
Later in years a friend on Facebook mentioned a UE site to him. After viewing it & searching through the forums, he discovered that others enjoyed exploring too! After looking at some images of Dogpatch U.S.A. (an abandoned Arkansas amusement park) …He was hooked.
After 6 months or more of documenting his explorations he received a message from a local explorer in Tulsa (Fiend) . Looking to meet others with the same passion, he answered the request. Little did psychosaw13 know that this explorer would become one of his good friends.
Their first adventure was the Lincoln Beerblower Power plant in Ponca City.
Abandoned Oklahoma soon went live. The administrators asked if psychosaw13 would be onboard to help out & get the site rolling. “The site was fantastic!” it was the best site he had seen since he got into Urban Exploration
After a few more meet ups & working with AbandonedOK, Fiend had mentioned another member of the site “Billy!” Soon they had all met up for an exploration in the Ghost town of Picher.
After another big meet up with the guys from Abandoned Ok at the Chillocco Indian School, He says “there just isn’t any feeling like it. Once you step onto those empty streets you feel like you are the only man left on earth”
Psychosaw13 continues to work to preserve history with his pictures & stories. “It really has become a full time hobby” he says. There are lots of hours of editing photos & sometimes months of research just to find the story behind the discovery.
He continues, “I love it, I have already captured Images of things that are now gone & demolished. I have the history no one cared about, but in 30 or 40 years we can show the future generations what it used to be like, because I’m the one who did care.”
Michael Schwarz’s interest in film started at a young age when he first viewed the movie “Titanic” because of the emotions the movie evoked in him. He didn’t immediately start making movies but around the 8th grade, started making short films for his school. By his senior year in high school, he was hooked and aspired to attain his degree in the film industry.
While making one of his short films, he was out scouting locations but was having difficulty obtaining permission to shoot on sites of currently active businesses. His friend told him about an abandoned circus in Edmond, OK. Michael was intrigued and went to see the location for himself. With his camera in hand, he explored the location to see how to build a short film around this interesting site. After on-set difficulties, he realized another location was needed for his film. This time, he investigated the old El Reno, Oklahoma Rock Island Depot Railroad. It was perfect. This stirred Michael’s interest which lead him to other abandoned structures.
In January 2012, Michael saw a television newscast reporting an abandoned building which was on fire. This building, Dunjee High School, was a place Michael had visited before. That same day, he went to the school to photograph the remaining ruins of the building. There he met the widow of the former principal of the school. Her story evoked strong emotions in Michael because, through her tears, she revealed this building was the last tangible memory which remained of her husband. This story changed Michael’s perspective of abandoned buildings from this point forward. He realized they weren’t just buildings but places that hold history and valuable memories for many people.
By this point, Michael was already contributing to the website Abandoned Oklahoma. He has explored and documented over 100 locations in Oklahoma and continues this diary of bygone days to be preserved for generations to come.