Once home …

On our recent road trip, we found an abandoned homestead. At least we think it was abandoned … but the barn may have been in use – based on the barnyard smells.

As we looked forward (parked in the end of the driveway, just off the narrow township road, we saw the house on a knoll — still commanding a grand presence, in a perfect setting – surrounded by full growth trees. The multi-roofed structure is typical of large farm homes, complete with the enclosed porch. A garage structure, now absent the windows, is attached to the house and open to the elements. I wonder what time has done to the inside of the house. I wonder what stories it can tell. I can visualize young children running across the knoll, perhaps flying a kite or playing tag. I imagine a woman hanging clothes on the clothes line. I imagine picnics on the lawn. What do you imagine?

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The barn on the site is starting to deteriorate (but may still be functional). It still has great character – with broken or open windows, missing boards, and weathering.

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This blog ends the posts of buildings from our recent road trip – well, almost. The upcoming Amish blog has a few buildings.

 

Next: A tour of Amish country – Long Prairie and points north and west

Thanks for reading! I hope you return. 

 

 

Beautiful old buildings … a mix

This blog is part 2 of the old or abandoned building focus of our recent road trip. This time I am featuring a variety of structures – all majestic in their own way; all containing stories from the past. If only we could hear those stories …

As in the last blog, because we visited so many cities and wondered from here to there, I really have no recollection of the exact location of these buildings. They are west and north of St. Cloud – somewhere.

Snuggled somewhere along the route, and tucked back in the trees, is this beautiful rural church.

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In one of the small towns, we found this mostly abandoned feed mill. The building takes up a large area next to the railroad tracks. Just think of all of the people who worked here and the stories they could tell.

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DSC02118bJPGa.jpgAs is common in many of the small towns, we founded this boarded up at-one-time retail building Sadly, the buildings eyes (windows) are now shut to the outside world (they are boarded up). Do you see anyone peeking out of the upper windows?

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This town hall sits out in the open. As you can see, it is fully complaint with ADA (the American Disabilities Act) handicap-accessibility requirements. It looks a little forlorn with no trees or other vegetation but buildings such as these have served townships well for many years.

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This retail space was converted for use as an historical society – a perfect reuse. Note the mural on the right side of the building – a nice touch.

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This last picture is my favorite – an abandoned – or not – outhouse — one with character and charm – in a perfect setting. It has a bit of a Halloween look to it – with eyes (windows) that are shut (or are they?), a doorknob as the nose, and no mouth – leaving you to wonder. Can you imagine the stories this little building could tell? Would you be willing to go inside? (No, I did not. I took the picture from the road. I must admit, however, that I thought about it.)

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Thanks for reading! I hope you return.

Next time: An abandoned homestead – almost.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The mystique of old buildings … barns

One of the purposes – other than to be in air conditioning – of our recent day trip was to look for old buildings. I am fascinated by them. If only we knew the stories they could tell.

We traveled through the countryside west and north of St. Cloud, Minnesota. This area is quite rural with numerous farmsteads. Many of the ‘out-buildings’ (often called accessory buildings, such as barns and sheds) are in a state of decay. Still, there is a sense of beauty in their sagging roofs, open spaces and missing boards.

I must note that I really  have no idea – other than very generally – where these buildings are located.

This building appears to be mostly empty. Note the small window in the center – perhaps looking out from a loft area. Imagine children playing in that loft – hiding from the outside world, telling stories and having fun. Imagine a tractor or other farm equipment parked in the end bays. 

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The barn below appears to still function. While weathered and worn, with only hints of its previous red glory, the barn stands tall, straight and majestic. 

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The barn and silo below have seen there last useful days. Now lying in a pile of rubble, they unfortunately reflect the status of many rural barns. 

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The barn below, though tattered and torn, is standing tall – as are the other out-buildings and still functions for farming purposes. 

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My next blog will feature an abandoned farmstead.

 

Related blogs: 

https://carolynlbraun.com/2016/08/22/a-peek-through-time-continued/

https://carolynlbraun.com/2016/05/19/a-peek-through-time-the-mystique-of-abandoned-homes/

Thanks for reading. I hope you will return. 

A peek through time … continued

One of my previous blogs, found HERE, featured abandoned homes. This blog continues that blog, featuring photos of various buildings or structures. There is just something fascinating about these buildings – the nostalgia of times past, the stories they hold, and the opportunity they create for those who choose to imagine. I am one of those.

The first two pictures below are pictures of a building in Estes Brook, Minnesota – a very small place that used to be considered a village. More than twenty years ago, we leased this building to manufacture camper cushions and employed about twenty people. The building was set up with sewing machines, cutting tables and tables where the cushions were stuffed with foam rubber and wrapped for shipment. There was a constant hum of machines and people working. Today this building sits decayed, silent and forlorn.

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Next to that building is an old church which has significantly decayed over the years. There is no longer joyful voices found here. Only the sound of silence.

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As we were travelling around the state, we found more … This coop building stands tall  … and still used but not like it was used in its glory days.

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Recently I learned that my great grandfather worked part time as a blacksmith. I wonder what his shop was like.

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And this lovely abandoned silo … still standing proud …

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And, finally, a photo with a young girl looking out the window … through eternity … (you see, she is a doll  –  but it sure makes you look twice).

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Thanks for reading!

A peek through time … the mystique of abandoned homes

What is it about old, abandoned homes and buildings that draws you in? Do you wonder who lived there long ago? Do you wonder who passed by or stopped for a visit? Do you wonder about the lives of those who lived there?  I sure do.

For me, the buildings are begging to have their story told. This can be done by reviewing the property abstract to find out who lived there. Then the real search begins – looking in newspaper, census records, historical society records, genealogies, etc … to create a building history based in large part on the people who lived there. Similar work is done when properties are listed on historic registers. Typically, however, those properties are eligible for listing because of the architectural character, important events that occurred on the site, or people living there who had a significant impact on history. I find that many properties – not eligible for listing on a historic registry, have equally interesting stories to tell … stories of common people and how they lived and died. They all hold a mystery begging to be told.

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Of course, abandoned buildings are also great settings for a fairy tale, a creepy story or a ghost story. Can you see a woman looking out of the upper story window? Look long and hard … she may well appear.

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It’s not just homes that have stories to tell. The building below is struggling to keep the windows  and siding in place … while standing tall. Who played in that loft? What landscape did they see when they peered out the window? Where they hiding? Was it there hideaway?

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Next time you drive by an abandoned building, will you wonder about its story?

Thanks for reading!