Saturday, January 31, 2009

Gone

Yesterday I to attend to some business that took me a distance from our small communit and closer to the location of the herb farm and packaging facility that the Farmer manages. I decided to drive over and check out his choice of paint color. He's having his office repainted.

The drive home took me past an old farmhouse that I had photographed for my photoblog last July.

Photobucket

At the time I'd walked through the inside and took photos. After entering I became aware that it probably wasn't a good idea to be in the house alone. There was evidence that it had been used as a drug/drinking hangout and there was a possibility that someone could still be inside. Luckily, it was empty.

These places are often structurally unsafe so I limit my adventures into these properties.

The house was a very ramshackle affair, with a strange arrangement of rooms, like a rabbit hutch. There was a section of house that was a cheap add-on and two sections of the upstairs were not connected, only separately accessible by two different staircases. The whole place said fire trap to me.

But the image I captured that summer day has a dreamy quality to it and it represents a lifestyle that is in danger of passing by the wayside.

As I drove down Route 47 just north of Huntley, Illinois, I looked to my left. The farmhouse, outbuildings and HUGE barn are simply........GONE. It's as if they never existed. And for that I am sad.

20 comments:

Lucy said...

It saddens me and I'm not even there. I hate seeing old buildings go down. Especially in the name of 'progress'. Wouldn't this be a great house if it could be fixed up. Huge amount of work, but I'd love to see it saved.

Sand Flat Farm said...

Me, too, Lucy. It's a great old house - good bones.

I see a painting there. I'd love to come set up my easel in the exact spot you took your photo. Nice picture - you be careful investingating those old places. Wish I could tag along...

Liane said...

I'm always sad to see old homesteads disappear, too. Whenever I see an abandoned home, I wonder what was that first moving-in day like? Was there a newly married young couple excited about making their family memories? I think of the children born there and traditions began. So sad. . . .

Jenni said...

That is sad. I wonder if it was torn down because whoever owned the property was tired of having people trespass to drink or do whatever there.

I'm curious. Did you know for certain that no one was living there? Did you go knock or poke around outside first? I wonder about these things because I see old houses and buildings I think are abandoned and I would love to photograph them, but I'm a big chicken. There has been more than one house that looked absolutely uninhabitable and that I considered pulling over and taking pics of, but then driving past on another day I saw someone there. Then I also figure that even buildings which are falling down are likely owned by someone. Would they be angry at my poking around and taking photos? How can I find out who they belong to to ask? I had never even thought of that other possible danger which you mentioned.

Johanna said...

There was a sweet little barn on the side of the road on our way down to the Lake of the Ozarks. It always had a ramshackle For Sale sign stuck on the side sitting crooked. "I'll have to stop by and shoot that," I'd say to my husband. Every.single.time.

I don't travel anywhere without my cameras, and yet I always had an excuse: the light wasn't right, the weeds were too high, not enough color....

In December, it had collapsed upon itself.

One more reason to always document these places when you see them. My lesson.

In N. Illinois, however, it's even more imperative. Suburban sprawl is eating everything alive.

It's sad, really.

That's a terrific picture. Do you have links to the inside photos you took?

cityfarmer said...

yes, and in their place are Pulte Builders' homes that are sitting empty or foreclosed on.

You were only minites from my back door, girl!

cityfarmer said...

p.s. you are now front and center on my blogroll!!

peek on in~~it's "kitchenmakeoverseason"

Amy said...

It's sad that not everything lasts forever, some things we choose to preserve and others we let go..but all of these things have had meaning in the past. I could see that home with new paint, cut grass, people sitting outside on the front porch drinking ice tea on a hot summer day...there was life in that house...it was a home and not it's just a faded memory..glad you were able to immortalize this farmhouse in photo!!

Suzanne said...

Lucy - I'm very sad each time I see one go "missing". Unfortunately the house looks alot more romantic from the outside. It was structurally unsound and a crazy patchwork of lean-tos and add ons.

Sand Flat - I wish you could have done that before they tore it down.

Liane - I wonder the same things. Who lived here....who were the children that grew up in this home?

Jenni - Here's the way it works around here. The developers buy the property several years before they intend to actually develop the property. The owners move out and it becomes a rental property. It's usually at this point that the buildings deteriorate terrribly. Then the renter move out and it stands empty for awhile before they bulldoze. In this case the house was structurally dangerous but the huge barn seemed to be in great condition.

You're right - it's not always obvious whether a property is actually empty. There are some HORRID houses that look like haunted houses and there are people living in them!!! This house had broken windows and missing doors so it was obviously empty (except for squatters doing drugs). There are also dangers in the yards, wells covered in weeds, etc. I no longer go photographing these spots alone.

Johanna - Many properties, including a large historic barn simply collapse, having deteriorate from lack of use and maintenance. I posted one photo of the interior, it's here:

http://farmerwife.blogspot.com/2008/07/room-with-view.html

You are correct. I've really neglected my photoblog and it's intended purpose, to chronicle these properties and their way of life before they are gone. I have promised myself to get back in the groove.

City Farmer - Omigosh! I was traveling all over Kane and McHenry counties that day. Whew. You're going to have to join me on one of my adventures. Thank you so much for the blogroll feature. I need all the help I can get!!

Amy - I was entranced by the site when I pulled into the driveway. The light was so wonderful and the dew on the weeds seemed to simply glow. To enhance the effect I ran the photo through Photoshops Diffuse Glow filter.

Thanks everyone for visiting with me today. You are the reason I do this every day.

Suzanne

Jody Blue said...

I love an old building, our home is 100+ and showing its age. They are hard to keep up, dusty, and expensive to heat. But the creak of the floor at night, the charactor of a built in china hutch, the way it looks all decorated for Christmas, finding a board with writing on from when it was built, etc. on & on these things are worth it. We will move from here in 3-4 years but will pass it to someone who will enjoy it and add one more layer of history to it.

The Blue Ridge Gal said...

It's especially sad in the midwest when you pass a home in that condition and you re-call knowing the people that lived there in the 60's and 70's. It's like your childhood memories are rotting away, collapsing, being bulldozed over... very sad.

Di

lifeinredshoes said...

I'm so glad I bought your calender, the pictures capture it all.

lifeinredshoes said...

P.S. Keep snapping, before they're all gone!

dara said...

I am sorry to hear that the house is gone. I had your picture of it up as my backgroun on my work computer for quite a while. It reminded me of my great grandmothers house. It is terrible that they tear down places like that.

Vee said...

I would never have noticed that it was gone... I am so unobservant that I would have a vague sense of something being different, but it would not completely register what had happened. Why do I confess these things over here?

American in Norway said...

That is sad...I love old farm houses...

Susan said...

Your story reminded me of a happening in my childhood and I referenced to you in my blog.

tam said...

OOOH that is sooo sad! But life just moves forward doesn't it? ~Smiles~Tam!

Rue said...

You know... that just breaks my heart :(

mtnmom said...
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