Wednesday, April 29, 2009

North-South, East-West

When I began publishing my photoblog over 4 years ago the intention was to chronicle some of the old farmhouses, barns and outbuildings that were disintegrating, being burned down or torn down to make way for advancing development.

During the past year I became very aware of an odd visual that I'll call North-South, East-West. I've entertained the thought about producing a photo book demonstrating this clash of then and now. What am I referring to? I have found that on the north side of a road an old farmhouse will stand and across the road will be a new McMansion. It's just a strange juxtaposition.

We're about 50 miles west of Chicago and this has now become the farthest outer edge of the greater Chicagoland area.

These aren't very good photographs. I snapped them quickly today while I was out running errands. I just wanted you to see what I'm talking about.

Looking south is a beautiful old brick farmhouse. There are some nice outbuildings behind the house.

Photobucket

Just across from the farmhouse on the north side of the road is this house:

Photobucket

That is the back of a single family home, not a public building! I am guessing that it's close to 20,000 sq. ft. It's three stories and probably 6,000 sq. ft. on each floor.

I have counted many, many similar North-South, East-West visuals.

In my blog surfing I've discovered that this is not something that's only happening in our area but in places across this country and around the world. Do you have such crazy housing situations in your area?

30 comments:

Black & White said...

Does anyone live in the old brick farmhouse? Very beautiful- I love the outlook on top- you just don't see those kind of details with these cookie cutter houses these days.

belladella said...

Those McMansions just make me sick. Gee- I wonder why we are in such a housing crisis. No one needs that much house. I wish we could go back to simpler times.

Susan said...

Come on....anyone can see the home with the most class is on the north side of the road. Interesting observance, Suzanne. Will be watching this in my travels from now on.

Susan said...

Dang, I meant the farm house on the SOUTH side. Too early for me...

Molly said...

Aack! my neighborhood is originally cottages but there are houses that are going in that dwarf the lot they are on and put the houses on either side in the shade. Fortunately for me, my neighbors haven't done that.

Texas Gardener said...

That is a huge house! My first thought is always, I would hate to clean it! There is this mansion that got started on I-35 north of Denton about 25 years ago. Oil money was around then and I'm sure it was being built for some oil tycoon. Well, the money fell out of oil and the construction on the house stopped. Over the years it will start up again, then stop. Last time I went by it was just a shell. Someones lost dream.

Sarah (JOT) said...

I would take that brick farm house over that monster house any day.

The Blue Ridge Gal said...

Hubby used to work for Palo Verde Nuclear Power in Arizona. The plant stood 50 miles west of the Phoenix city limits... last time I drove past it in 2006, there were homes going up just a few miles of the NUCLEAR POWER PLANT!! Talk about strange juxtaposition. Would any of you out there want to live next to a nuclear power plant? Sheesh!

Di
The Blue Ridge Gal

Heidi said...

OH YES!! What make me angry is that they buid on GREAT farmland that took years to build into somthing profitable - pick the rocks on it, pull the stumps out of it till the soil and then bang - Isnt that a nice place for a home??? wtheck already - I have the perfect picture of it. I will put it up in the next couple of days... Those houses are SO UGLY! and I would bet that there are only 3-4 people living in that huge thing - what a waste....

chocolatechic said...

Hello! that is a humongous house.

I'd much rather have the old farm house.

Lucy said...

I hate McMansions. They are a blight on the earth. It reminds me of the time in a little farming town in Idaho when the local owner of the town grocery store built a mansion on some ground there. My brother saw him on the street once and said something like....Nice house you're building there. But tell me....am I going to be able to see the sun come up anymore? Amid all those humble farm homes, that house looked ridiculous.

RC said...

hey wow, that looks like the same mcmansions that are going up around here! I could take a similar picture on the road to the elementary school

Jenni said...

If you're going to spend that much money on a house, why wouldn't you give it more character? And why would you put it in an area with other houses just like it all close together? I don't understand the thinking behind that at all. I wouldn't worry about the cleaning. If you can build a home like that, I assume you are able to hire a housekeeper. Give me the farmhouse any day. That's a pretty fancy farmhouse, too. I love the little room on top.

Frosted Giraffe said...

I'd much rather live in the old farm house than that huge thing.

Sand Flat Farm said...

Yes, I've seen a little of that around here, too. I know of a certain street right here in town where an elderly couple have stood their ground hanging onto their cottage-y home and Dr's offices and clinics have gone up all around them. It's strange to see it there and I guess when they are dead and gone, their kids will sell the place and more medical facilities will replace that pretty little home. A little piece of history is gone, and when people drive through that area, no one will even know that it was there, and no one save their family, will even wonder about the lives of the people who lived and grew up there. They will be a forgotten part of the past. Sad... (sorry I'm waxing philosophical this morning...but I always think about the families whose old farms and homes and lives are razed flat by bulldozers...never to be thought of again...a tiny piece of history is gone...) Time marches on I guess. That's why we're trying to preserve our old family farm.

Vee said...

Nothing that striking comes to mind... How charming the brick farmhouse is set upon its hill. I'm glad that it wasn't lost to McMansion development.

Anonymous said...

When that brick farmhouse was built IT was the Mcmansion in the area. Someone is always trying to outdo the Jones.

Anonymous said...

To Di

We built our house about 20 years ago and it's a few miles from a nuclear plant. Now the plant was in another state so it didn't cross our minds at the time. Then we got the Emergency Booklet for the event of a nuclear disaster. Yikes! That was a wake up call. The plant has since closed down.

Laura said...

We have that kind of thing here a lot in NC. I've seen a few old houses turned into "clubhouses" for developments that sprout up around it. We also have a lot of older homes torn down to make way for condos. It is very sad to me. It breaks my heart to see such beautiful architecture destroyed to put up cookie cutter developments.
~*~

Domestic Diva said...

we don't have much of the north south thing, we more along the lines of have all of the mcmansions in little subdivisions just outside of town on one side. So all the wastefull huge houses look silly together. It's where the dr's and lawyers and people who work at the nuclear power plant (davis besse) all live. They dont have much to do with us, and we dont have much to do with them. They have tried to buy farmland more out in the country to put mcmansions on, but guess what?? NONE of the farmers will sell it to them. They have even begun legally handing down land under "farming use only" so that it can never be mcmansioned. Well, our town, it's a village, really. very small farming community. Just outside of town also start all the old farm houses. I LOVE going on drives just looking at them all. I cannot wait till we have saved enough to have one of our own!

Piecefulafternoon said...

In Bellingham, WA they are intent on getting rid of the old - and building zillions of McMansions. It is a shame to see there are very few old farmhouses left here any more. You see the monstrosities rising up everywhere, and with the economy going down like it is - you still see the for sale signs, some after two years, on the ones that were built for speculation.

Just a few miles south of here you still see the wonderful older farms and farm houses - too bad that can't happen here any more.

Steph said...

I think it has something to do with the McMansion owners wanting to "live in the country" and leaving one old farm house and an acre of land automatically means country living for them.

~ Sara ~ said...

HA! I say HA! My area is toooooo poor to build such houses. We have to get really close to a big city (somewhere with more than 2 lanes of highway) to find such homes... makes me ill...

bv said...

i am living that story...we moved to the 'country' 10 years ago. to a sweet LITTLE ranch style home and had a lg walnut orchard across the road, horses to the right and left. walnuts were subdivided and now stand THREE GAINT spec houses...all forclosed on, empty, surrounded by fox tails. horses on the right are gone and new owners are building their gaint new mac man on our fence line. they can see into our bedrooms! my mom told me not to use the H word but i H it all. can't wait for them to start complaining about our animals. roosters crow, you know.

Farmchick said...

I am a total sucker for an old farmhouse and I currently live in one. That old brick farm house is stunning. I don't like the newer homes. They have no individuality or character....or history for that matter! The county I live in is very rural. We don't have any real large modern homes. Well, the newer ones that we have are "in town" and most folks around here cannot afford that kind of lifestyle.

Significant Snail said...

'single family home'...like there is a single family that needs that much space. these monster homes are just that - monsters. quite often they are crammed onto small urban lots that makes them appear even more ridiculous.

Becky Mushko said...

I live a few miles south of Smith Mountain Lake in
Virginia. The lake, built by the power company about 40 years ago, is surrounded by McMansions. A lot of farmland—in what used to be a poor tobacco-farming county—is now under that lake.

Forty miles from me—in Roanoke—McMansions are climbing up the mountainsides.

Cottage Rose said...

Hello Suzanne. I live in a small town sort of, any way when I take a drive in country, I seem to find the same thing. But with all the housing developments popping up, the country area is slowly disappearing, it is a sad thing..... love your photos by the way.

Hugs;
Alaura

lifeinredshoes said...

Yes it IS happening everywhere! My husband sells building supplies and gets to see some of the monstrousities upclose. The current "home" he is assisting iin is 50,000 square feet, yes, you read that right! The master bedroom is 10,000 square feet alone.
I could go on and on. I would be thriled to have a 2 bed 1 bath little old house, thank you very much.

And they CLAIM to be eco friendly, that is one BIG ASS carbon footprint!

apples for poppy anne said...

That big obnoxious house is disturbing indeed...yuck!
e.