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.
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.
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.
Recently I learned that my great grandfather worked part time as a blacksmith. I wonder what his shop was like.
And this lovely abandoned silo … still standing proud …
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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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.
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.
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?
Next time you drive by an abandoned building, will you wonder about its story?
Thanks for reading!