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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A House is Not a Home . . .

The lyrics written by composer Burt Bacharach kept going through my head while I was preparing this post. You may recall some lyrics to the song popularized by vocalist Dionne Warwick in the 1960s:

A chair is still a chair
Even when there's no one sitting there
But a chair is not a house
And a house is not a home . . . 

A room is still a room
Even when there's nothing there but gloom;
But a room is not a house,
And a house is not a home . . . 

For several years, Grenville and I would take long drives along the back roads of the VA eastern shore, especially when we first relocated here from NJ. It always amazed us – and still does – when we would come across homes abandoned by their former owners. Grenville would comment that “a good paint job and some windows were all that were needed.” Sadly, most of these homes would need a lot more attention and work – and love as well.

Abandoned farmhouses are a common sight along back roads.

old house collage1Some would be lone sentries left standing in the fields, which years ago could have been family homesteads on productive farms.

old farmhomes collageOther homes would be well hidden by years of overgrowth, so that you really have to search for to see them.

hidden homes collageanns cove oldhoiuse2Some come with a view – from all sides – claimed either by the passage of time or ravaged by fire and left standing to slowly disintegrate.

room with view1 0306

House burn1 Franktown

accomac burnt1 042906Many are left standing in open fields as if the former residents simply walked away.

farmhouse chancetown 1006This abandoned house provided a glimpse into the lives of former owners who left behind their belongings.

deep creek collageThis house showed unfinished construction on the left side.

IMG_0398All the photographs shown in this post were taken either from the street or using a zoom lens. No private property was trespassed on and many of these houses can still be seen today – several years AFTER these photos were taken.

18 comments:

Anvilcloud said...

These places make great photo op. We just don't see many abandoned places up thisaway. It's all part of the great rural-urban migration that has been going on for the past 150 years.

Montanagirl said...

Lots of neat old structures there. I'd love to know the history behind all those. We have old abandoned barns, houses, here as well, including old country schools.

Lois Evensen said...

Wow, you certainly have a great collection of images. It is amazing how fast Mother Nature reclaims her land. We would have a forest here in no time.

Sandra said...

i love old houses and even the ones that are falling down tell a story of our heritage. there are many like this in rural Georgia, but not to many down here in Florida. i think the tropics just rots them down to nothing if they are abandoned. great post

thecottagebythecranelakeolof1 said...

We have them around here too, but now days they get torn down one by one. It´s so sad to see those old homes just fall apart. But there´s beauty in decay too strangely enough.

Beautiful photographs!

Have a great day now!
Christer.

Out on the prairie said...

It amazes me when people pull up stakes and leave a home.

grammie g said...

Hi Beatrice...I just love the photos of old buildings.
I am always wanting to get some pictures like that,but we don't seem to have that many any more...did you see many in your travels here!!
I have this thing for old barns,those seem to be seen more!!
As much as they are photo-graphical there is that element of wonder, behind those walls there is a story about a family!!

dogsmom said...

Sadly, in these tough economic times people are again walking away when they can not keep up payments. I doubt todays homes will stand the same test of time.
The subjects of your photos have charm even in sad times.

Daisy said...

It's so sad to see these empty, abandoned houses. I can't help but imagine how they used to be and try to picture the people who lived there.

L. D. Burgus said...

All of your photos of abandonment are very fascinating to see. In Iowa they would still be taxed so they all were torn down.

Elaine said...

Nice series of shots! I especially like the one being devoured by the vines! Across the country we've seen many abandoned houses like these. I'm sure the stories are as varied as the buildings. They always seem sad, but perhaps some of the owners left for a better life somewhere else and there was a happy ending to the story. At least I like to think that's the case for some of them.

possum said...

How often I, too, have wondered about the history of these old houses. One of them is still being used like a huge storage shed - the one boarded up.
When I used to drive around with my old auntie, she would often tell me who lived here or there, sometimes of the parties she went to in them when she was a little girl...
Old abandoned houses make me sad.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Hello Everyone. It's clear from your comments on this posting that we all share similar feelings and questions about these abandoned former homesteads. All share a history of some sort which sadly will never be known.

Yes, AC, they do present great photo ops and more so if converted to B&W or sepia tone, perhaps in another post. CHRISTER, there is a certain beauty in the deacying of these structures.

MONA, DAISY, ELAINE and POSSUM, I agree that their history would be interesting to learn, but sadly not possible. And, yes, MONA there are lots of old barns and schools here as well.

STEVE, it is amazing how many folks seems to have pulled up their stakes, or at least their belongings and simply walked away. Perhaps in some cases, folks just died and there was no one interested enough in their homes? Or, as DOGSMOM commented, perhaps some folks found it less costly to just walk away in hard times.

SANDRA & LARRY, interesting to read that in both FL and Iowa there are not as many abandoned structures. However, I can understand there being a lot throughout rural Georgia, Sandra, most likely also on back roads.

GRAMMIE G, while touring Maine we saw many old mill factories now empty and abandoned - maybe a post of several of those soon.

Kathleen From Eggs In My Pocket said...

Lovely old places! Enjoyed looking at all of your photos. I always wonder about the folks who lived in these homes and what their lives were like.......don't you? Blessings,Kathleen

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Thanks, Kathleen, and yes I do wonder much the same things whenever I see one of these deserted places.

martymom said...

I, too, wonder about the abandoned homes. I think about the people who lived there at some time in history. I wonder if they were the last of the line in the family and when they passed on, there wasn't anyone to inherit the home. Or, was there a tragedy in the home and that might have caused the family to leave. Were the homes there during the Civil War and the family had to leave in a hurry. So many questions. I always thought it might be fun to pick just one of the lonely, lost, homes and use my imagination to write a short story about the house (home). The problem is, I am not a good story writer.

The Retired One said...

Very cool shots, but oh, so sad. I always think of the families raised there and the life they once held.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

MARTY, there must be lots of stories in these old homes. RETIRED ONE, me too.

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