Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Abandonment Issues: Eve r yt h i n g f a ll s a par t
Shortly after exploring the Bata shoe factory in Batawa, while driving north up highway 14 between Sterling and Marmora, i spotted this little gem off in the distance, and hollered at ninja IX to pull over. NO TRESPASSING signs were nowhere in sight, so a stealthy approach wasn't necessary, just a long walk down an overgrown driveway. It is miraculous that this old farmhouse is still standing, given the fact that the inner and outer walls have collapsed in numerous places, the first and second floors have both succumbed to the weight of furniture and other stored objects, and have also collapsed. Rumour has it that the owner has been reclaiming the bricks for another use at a different location. Even more miraculous is the fact that i survived the ascent to the second floor, a tour of the first floor and a quick walk through what was once a barn. Yes, i have a death wish, do not try this at any home. Although it is always nice to inspire others, i must proclaim that i am indeed a touch crazy and would hope that people don't follow in my footsteps on some of these more dangerous missions. My conscience forces me to say this, as i don't want my perceived stupidity to lead to anyone being injured or killed. Be aware that people have lost their lives while UEing, don't be one of them.
A former resident of the home contacted me and shared his story, as well as detailing what rooms were captured in each image inside the house. He provided the following quote, and the titles of the photos are his descriptions.
"My family lived here from 1981 to 1998. We rented the home from the Thompson family in Springbrook. The Thompson's worked the farm and we lived in the house.
It's funny that you explored Bata Shoe Factory in the morning. My father worked there the entire time we lived here. He was a leather cutter who worked on the 5th floor. My stepmother worked there as well.
The front part of the house is where we lived. the rooms you can see from the front are the livingroom on the left of the stairs (South) and my parents bedroom to the right (North)
I left the house and family part way through highschool in 1992. My stepbrothers left shortly after me and my dad and his wife left in 1998. There hasn't been anyone living in the house since then. The house should've been torn down before we moved in, in 1981. None of my friends liked being in the place. Babysitters would look after us once and not want to come back. The place was creepy, spooky and strange."
"Front door and the livingroom. The door in the back part of the livingroom never opened while I lived there. It was sealed shut. Funny that it is open now."
My first steps were tentative, and as i cautiously ascended the stairs, my heart began to race like a steroid infused Ben Johnson. The floorboards creaked in the most unnerving way, the staircase disappearing under slopes of accumulated debris. The ceiling and the walls were but chunks and powder under my feet. I saw the house collapsing on top of me in my imagination, but this fear inspires me nowadays. My fear of heights was once crippling, but no more. Mind over matter, nothing else matters. My hand gestures signaled to my wife ninja IX to stop and wait outside, which she did, phone in hand. At the top of the stairs i held on tight to the door frames of each room and snapped photos. Holding the frame, framing a photo, i saw what remained of a leaning chimney through the lens. And just then, a gust of wind whistled in over the open field and the house moaned like a dying soldier. One last gasp before it would swallow me whole with it's last breath, i thought. It stopped me in my tracks, it was eleven to eleven at St. Joes all over again. Frozen in a moment, time stood still, the world stopped.
"Stairs to bedrooms and the only bathroom"
"Bathroom, Stepbrothers bedroom to the right"
"I can't place this picture. I believe it looks into the back part of the house in what I refer to as the attic over the back porch."
"This was my room. The opening on the right of the picture used to be a window. the opening on the left of the pic is the wall crumbling away."
The first floor was seemingly just as dangerous, as the contents of the second floor are busting through the ceiling. The entrance to the basement had been buried in a collapse that occurred at some unknown moment in the past.
"The back area of the house was what we called the back porch, for storage as all of this area of the house was unheated."
"Storage. I had my bikes and stuff in here."
"Dad's bedroom. There used to be a chandelier on the ceiling but it was stolen the winter before we moved in. (1981)"
"At least the light was turned off."
"This room was the kitchen. This window looks west into the barnyard."
The roof of the barn is also in a profound state of collapse. With feather-like movements, i fluttered through it, the click of my camera louder than my footsteps.
Abandonment researcher extraordinaire Vital Films was kind enough to hook me up with the small amount of info he could find on this property. Although he could not find any dates, he provided the following information: The property was owned by a German immigrant named James Rawdon, married to Elizabeth Harris. The house sat on 96 acres of farmland, and he also owned 103 acres of farmland across the street to the east. Unfortunately this is all the info he could find at this time. If you have any further information by all means share it in the comments section below.
click here to check out all of jerm & ninja IX's ABANDONMENT ISSUES