when bad things happen to good houses

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Here’s another one with just days to live.  Don’t know exactly how this happened.  Looks like it was loved, and lovingly restored, in the last few decades, yet here we are.  I’m told it is to be dozed to dust in just two weeks’ time.  But that was two weeks ago.  Not sure I want to go back to verify.  If we were younger, hardier, and less cynical than when we began, I would have called, would have pleaded, would have found a way.

But we’re in another age.  One that has a lot more bureaucracy, regulations, and expense.  One that cares more about the future than the past, as it is found in a few pieces of old wood, and wavy glass.

This one’s location is fairly remote, and a field of solar panels will inhabit its back forty for about that many years.  It’s called progress.

I was never a fan of houses built into a hill, where the front looks like a two story farmhouse and the back, like a cape.  The first level is essentially the basement and tends to be damp.  It’s a bit confusing as to which should be the main floor, up or down?   But this particular one retains a charm, at both levels.  The last owners/restorers did a really nice job.  The addition of glass and a door at the side of its basement/modern kitchen, I think, worked really well.  They held the dampness and mold at bay.

These owners gave it good windows, a wood roof, and lovely clapboards.  Inside they insulated, plastered, paneled, designed a charming kitchen, added nice electric sconces.  It was obviously loved.  As to what happened – it’s anybody’s guess.  Since left abandoned, for all to enter, many have, and much has been lost.  Vestiges of what was, fluted corner posts, exposed beams, lovely stone fireplaces, are all that’s left.  The present (corporate) owners have no vested interest in having the house remain, and vandalism is their best excuse for erasing a history they previously pledged to preserve.

Another good old house, its owners and its history, become ghosts of our colonial past.

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7 thoughts on “when bad things happen to good houses

  1. so sad when old houses are lost, i’d save fix them all if i had the time and money!! I enjoy viewing pictures of any old house, good job preserving them in photos. I owned an old victorian farm house for 10+ years but lost it when the economy crashed a few years back. As a die-hard old house fixer-upper the thought of going back to renting just killed me, so on the hunt I went and found myself an old colonial cottage long abandoned and on the verge of falling in on itself. Took alot of work to get the town to give me some info on it and sell it to me but after the town attorney realized I wasn’t giving up we finally got the ball rolling, $1 to the town and $5k to my lawyer to foreclose on back taxes and get everything squared away legally and it was mine! The town lists the house as 1950’s, however very old 12/12 windows and other details told me otherwise and while removing some siding I found a hand written note stating “this house built the first time 1803” and near that was another note of some 1930’s work. Perhaps the house was moved there in the 50’s. Anyways I could go on and on here, trying to be brief is tough! The on a beautiful flat piece of land surrounded by woods and within walking distance of our local big lake, i love it and hope my family will too one day when its all fixed up! If you’d like to check it out i made a blog for my parents and friends to see the progress acolonialcottage.blogspot.com
    -Jason

  2. Do you have any idea when this house in a hillside was built? I’ve been trying for a long time to date my house circumstantially, and I see so many similar features in the house you’ve pictured. Also, where is it?

  3. Town? Mine is in Pomfret. The wood in the chimney, layout of the fireplaces and oven, and color of the mortar are strikingly similar. Do you have any more pictures? Is there a family name associated with the place? I’d appreciate any more you can tell me about it. I’ll send you my email address if you know how I can do that, and don’t want to share the exact location publicly. Thanks

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