Sunday, March 25, 2012
Abandonment Issues: Cordova Mines Vansickle House 6
Everything must come to an end. After regaining our bearings in the car, in the wake of exploring the very creepy Cordova Mines Vansickle House 5, we came to the end of the road. A dead end. That is where the 6th and final abandoned house on Vansickle road stands, on a vast property that is still farmed to this day. Cattle rustled about near the barn as the farmer tended to the fields, and we climbed the fence and entered this beautiful old home.
Just as the road came to an end with this 6th house, so to will this series. It began with a question that I attempted to answer, so what better way to wrap it up then to try to answer another pressing question that the series prompted me to ponder: why is this road such a gold mine for abandoned houses?
A number of factors could likely be cited for the more recent abandonments, such as the deaths of inhabitants, the shift from family to factory farming, an exodus to urban environments resulting in an overall decline in rural populations, and the high cost of retrofitting old homes. Overall though, research tells a cyclical story: this area is no stranger to abandonment.
In the mid 1860s, a young town clerk by the name of Marcus Powell discovered gold shimmering in the walls of a cave. As the news of this discovery spread, the town of Cordova Mines boomed virtually overnight. Boom turned to bust quickly however, as it was found that the gold was difficult to mine.
David Vansickle opened the town's first general store and post office in 1880. By 1886, with an estimated population of 50 people, the small hamlet was also home to a carriage and agricultural implements business, a cheese factory, a school, and two churches: Methodist and Episcopal. This decade slowly brought forth advancements in technology which greatly improved mining production, and by the 1890s, the mines were in full operation. In 1903, the mine was abruptly closed and remained idle for the next 8 years. Again, the population dwindled. In 1911, another company set up shop, and once more the community was bustling. But the 50 year plan was brought to a halt in 1917, when the plant was destroyed by fire. Again, another exodus. The mines sat dormant until 1937, when yet another company decided to resume mining. In 1940, the mines were closed forever, the mining buildings were destroyed, the mouths of the mines were sealed, and the population saw its final decline. That is, until this most recent wave of abandonments.
Like many mining communities in those earlier days, Cordova Mines was a dry town. During periods of activity at the mines, a trailer would set up shop on Vansickle road selling alcohol. When authorities approached, to avoid legal recourse, the trailer would be moved to the opposite side of the road, which is a boundary between Peterborough and Hastings counties.
Today, many of the original buildings are long gone, but a small population still calls the tiny hamlet of Cordova Mines home. In the 4th installment of this series, we visited my grandparents cottage at Ma Bell's house, where I spent time in the summers as a young boy. These days, we have a family cottage just around the corner, and so in the summers, I still call it home.
This is where we were
This is where we brought warmth into our world
This is where we washed away our sins
This is what we turned into
This is what we wore
This is who we were
This is where we created memories
This is where we came from
This is where we've been
This is where we dreamed
This is when time stopped
This is what we did
This is what we left behind
This is who we thought we were
This is what we were made of
This is when we stopped dreaming
This is what became of us
This is where we went
This is when we moved on with our lives
And so now we have reached the end of the road, and thus, the end of the series. This is where we part ways, and follow in the footsteps of so many before us, and depart from Cordova Mines.
Once again, Vansickle Road offers up more of it's ghosts. Push through the dense forest and come on inside the Cordova Mines Vansickle House 7.
click here to check out all of jerm & ninja IX's ABANDONMENT ISSUES