On Friday night, we decided to go out for dinner. In light rain, we headed west and south, to Orrock, Minnesota – a very small unincorporated area near the junction of Sherburne County Road 5 (184th Street NW) and Sherburne County Road 4 in Orrock Township, Sherburne County — to the K J’s Refuge Bar & Grill. The facility serves traditional American food. We chose broasted chicken.
Instead of going home right away, we decided to take a little road trip on the way home, meandering back and forth on township and county roads, all within 15 miles of our home, crossing back and forth of Highway 95. We really haven’t done this in years so it was fun to see the changes in the landscape.
The rain had stopped but the clouds were amazing. Several times my husband stopped so I could pop out of our vehicle to catch a photo.
After an hour or so of driving, the skies changed – with a few raindrops here and there – but rainbows appeared.
Heading home, we were a little surprised that we had spent two hours driving around – peacefully observing nature’s color show. What a fun time.
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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!