A Photo Tour of Rural Norfolk County

Posted in Abandoned House, Norfolk County, School with tags , , , , , , , on September 12, 2016 by countybandits

I set off on a tour today with no destination in mind. Armed with my camera and an iced coffee from McDonalds, I drove around for at least an hour before I found my first abandoned house all the way in Norfolk County. I always start to think that I’m not going to find anything and then – bam…! A pleasant surprise pops up out of nowhere. These first two abandoned houses were actually next door to each other. They were both posted ‘No Trespassing’ so I did not set foot on either property; I just photographed them from the road.

One concession over, my good luck continued with a very cool one room school-house. While it appeared plain Jane at first glance, it had a surprise in store for me. When I walked around it, I noticed that the bricks had extensive carving in them! I wonder if it was the former students who left their permanent mark on this old school?

One property over from the little school, I found an abandoned Ontario farmhouse. This home looks like it’s in the final stages of demolition. I’m sure it’s days are numbered.

dsc_0202 Further up this fruitful country road, I drove past a ‘Bridge Out – Local Traffic Only’ sign. I decided to ignore it and I’m glad I did. I came up to an ‘abandoned’ bridge, blocked off with cement barriers. I walked across it gingerly and snapped some photos of the wood and iron relic. It was a cool find!

The final discovery of my day was this beautiful brick farmhouse, hidden away by a tall crop of corn. I would have loved to creep down the laneway and get up close and personal, but the road was fairly busy and other properties were close by. Maybe some other time.

There is a huge amount of Norfolk County left to explore, and after today’s findings I’m very excited to continue my exploration. I need to be a little more systematic in my approach so I don’t miss one single mile of road. Norfolk has a lot to offer and I don’t want to miss a single historic home.

Until next time…



A Saturday Drive Around Haldimand County

Posted in Abandoned House, Haldimand with tags , , , , , on September 3, 2016 by countybandits

After a gloriously long sleep-in today, I decided I would like to spend the rest of the day getting some use out of my Nikon. With no solid plans for a destination, I headed out to tour around Haldimand County and see what I could discover. I’ll organize my findings individually below.

After at least an hour of driving up and down sideroads, I finally came across the first abandoned place of the day. I had almost relinquished myself to the fact that I would not be seeing anything abandoned in my travels; in fact I had just said it to a friend! This home is located outside of Cayuga, and is set far back in a field. Luckily I had a zoom lens. Sad to see a home with such beautiful masonry and classic style rotting away.


Closer to Selkirk, I passed by this hidden farmhouse. I parked in the laneway and was greeted with a “Property under video surveillance” sign, but since I was only there to take a few photos during the day I wasn’t too worried. I didn’t poke around too much as I didn’t want to get myself in trouble with an angry property owner.

I caught a glimpse of some bricks and a steel roof as I drove by a heavily treed property also in the Selkirk area. I parked in the little bit of laneway that wasn’t completely grown over with tall weeds and attempted to get back to the house. Unfortunately I was not as successful as I would have liked. The weeds were so tall they were above my head. I had a t-shirt on and was getting scratched all to hell by burrs and thorns, and mosquitos were having a feast on my arms! I also didn’t want to inadvertently anger a hive of bees or anything like that, which is always a concern at this time of year. I did get a few photos but maybe come winter, I will revisit this one.

I’m sure Haldimand County has many more abandoned places to discover, but this was the extent of my findings today. Once fall arrives and the tree branches are bare, it will be easier to see hidden homes and barns. It will also mean the end of the bugs – something I look forward to as I try not to scratch these mosquito bites. A small price to pay for having these adventures, right?


A Crumbling Brick Beauty in Scotland

Posted in Abandoned House with tags , , , , , on August 28, 2016 by countybandits

I finally made it back to Chatham-Kent to pick up my fixed and functional HP desktop computer (which I am posting from now, hooray!). On my trip home, I exited the 401 at London and took a different route home, hoping to see an abandoned place to photograph.

My wish was granted when I rolled in to Scotland, a small community in Brant. A beautiful, but very dilapidated brick home caught my eye immediately. I had to do a couple passes in my truck to figure out where I could park; the home had no laneway nor were there any side streets nearby. I found a small utility yard and backed my truck up to the chainlink fence, grabbed my camera and walked the short distance back to the house.

No one seemed to notice or care that I was wandering around the home, but it was the middle of the day and I had my camera around my neck. I suppose I looked like I had a reason to be there. The front windows and doors of the stately brick home were boarded up, but were open on the sides and rear. The roof and floors were almost completely caved in and I dared not risk setting foot on the small shreds of flooring that remained.

I’m unsure what this style of home is called, but I could see how beautiful it would have been in its prime. The windows were large and let in a flood of natural light. The rooms seemed like they would have been spacious and the house felt like the perfect size. I loved the layout and would love to clone it brick by brick and live in it today. I hope my photos capture that airy country feeling the house still has about it, even though it’s a mere shell of what it once was.


A Hidden Gem in Malahide Township

Posted in Abandoned House with tags , , , , , , , on August 21, 2016 by countybandits

Recently I invested in a Nikon DF, a uniquely styled DSLR that looks like an old film camera. I didn’t really consider the problem of post-processing my images until after I had the camera in my hands from Amazon. I currently use a tiny Kangaroo portable desktop computer; fine for web browsing and blog posting but not capable of running Photoshop et al. I did have an older HP desktop tower in the basement collecting dust with an I7 processor and pretty decent specs. I dug it up, wrangled it to my truck (it must weigh 15lbs) and headed down to Chatham-Kent to have my wonderful friend breathe some life back into it.

I decided to take the scenic route and head down Highway 3, hoping to see subject matter worthy of the DF. After a while I realized I probably wouldn’t see much on the main highway so I started to weave down sideroads. Somewhere along the back roads of Malahide township I passed a white farmhouse with a yard full of old vehicles and equipment. Right next to it, so hidden by overgrown trees that I nearly missed it, I caught a glimpse of a gothic window surrounded by gingerbread trim. I turned around and did a slow drive by. Yes, there was another farmhouse hidden on the lot beside the initial white home! I turned around again, parked my truck as far off the narrow road that I could, slung my camera around my neck and jogged up to the hidden property.

Initially I tried to get photos from the road, but the trees and shrubs were so overgrown that it was impossible. I took a look around at all the weeds and overgrowth, glanced at the flip-flops I was wearing and decided to hell with it – I’m going in. Possibility of poison ivy and thorns be damned. I’m so, so glad I made that decision because I was rewarded with perhaps the most beautifully preserved Ontario farmhouse I have seen to date. I bounded around it in my sandals snapping photos as quickly as I could, peering in the windows and being in awe of what I was capturing. I had to work quickly since my truck was sitting halfway on the road with the 4-ways on and I was trespassing in broad daylight.

This farmhouse looks as though the owner left, the door was boarded up and the clock was stopped. The home boasts the original glass in every window, original wood siding, original carved tulip-motif gingerbread and all the original wooden baseboards, doors and staircase intact inside. Even the delicate lace curtains framing the front door look to have been there for an eternity. What I wouldn’t give to own this beauty and carefully restore it, maintaining as much of that amazing originality as I possibly could. A large tree branch has fallen on one side of the roof so I feel the home’s days are numbered. Enjoy the photos of this old Ontario farmhouse that remains in a bygone era.


(PS – These photos are NOT post-processed in any way… I still haven’t managed to find a free day to retrieve my computer!)

The 1885 Church – Photos from GPSguy

Posted in Abandoned Church, Niagara with tags , , , on June 5, 2016 by countybandits

With the help of a friend – GPSguy – I am able to share some photos of the interior of the 1885 Church from my previous post. He was kind enough to explore the property and grab a few photos through the windows, before getting shouted at by a neighbor! It turns out the power is still connected to the church, and the interior is relatively clean. A new lock on the front door also indicates someone is caring for the place.

I wonder what the owner’s plans are for this century building? The exterior is certainly falling into a state of disrepair and would need a significant amount of money, time and energy to bring it back to it’s former glory. I think it would make a lovely little home… but one would need deep pockets to make that happen. Thanks again to GPSguy for this glimpse inside the church.


A 3 Year Hiatus – Finally Over!

Posted in Abandoned Church, Abandoned House, Commentary, Haldimand, Niagara, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on March 16, 2016 by countybandits

Life is crazy. Perhaps that is a bit cliche to say, but it really has been the case for the last few years. My career has consumed every part of me, taking all my waking hours and leaving me exhausted and worn down by the time I manage to escape and head home (if I even got to go home, which usually, I did not. Life on the road…). The long hours, 7 day work weeks, stress and pressure of my job completely drained the creativity and adventure from my soul. I recently turned 30 and sort of had an epiphany, or maybe just really got tuned in to what I already knew deep down inside… that this is absolutely, 110% not how I want the rest of my life to go.

Yes, I make a generous salary and yes, people around me have often commented on the ‘luxuries’ I am able to afford… yet, all of it means absolutely nothing. The realization that things – material items, possessions – mean nothing and have zero impact on your happiness and satisfaction with life… has hit me like a freight train. I have completely re-arranged my priorities in life and am creating a plan to exit my mainstream, high paying, high stress career and downsize my entire life into one that I can manage on a shoestring budget. The quality of my life comes from my relationships, my family, my creative spirit, adventure and freedom. Spending all my hours slaving to make someone else rich has done nothing but leave me empty and miserable.

So, what does this realization mean for this blog? Well, it means that the Bandit is back, and back with a rekindled fire in her heart. I have never stopped looking for abandoned houses and old barns wherever I go. My eyes are always scanning the landscape for that one telltale broken window or overgown laneway, completely devoid of tire tracks. I have seen so many in the past 3 years, all of which I was just too busy to stop and take a quick photo. Every time I would tell myself, ‘I’ll do a tour around on my next day off…’ which of course never materialized. No more! I am making a promise to you, the dedicated readers who still check this page, and you, the fans who still email out of the blue and ‘Like’ our Facebook page – The Bandit is back and I have so much to share with all of you.

Thank you all for never forgetting about the County Bandits. This is the 9th year of hunting and adventure; hard to believe! Today I have 2 places to share, so lets get to it!

The first is a tiny white Church in the Township of West Lincoln. Built in 1885, it is now abandoned and I often wonder how long it has sat that way. One of these days, I am absolutely going to go take a peek inside the windows and snap some photos that way as well. Looking in the front windows from the road, I can see a bookshelf and some other stacked up furniture. I wonder if there are beautiful original pews inside? For the moment I will have to keep wondering, but watch for an update on this beautiful country Church.

This second property is located near Empire Corners in Haldimand County. I’m not sure it truly qualifies as abdoned so much as it just seems… empty, but I really wanted to post it because of an anomoly that appeared in one of the photos. I drive by this century brick farmhouse every day on my way to and from work and admire it each day. I finally stopped on the road and snapped a few quick photos from my iPhone and then carried on before traffic approached from behind me. I sent these photos to a friend and never thought too much about them. A few weeks went by and my friend send me a text that said, hey, I think you captured a spirit in one of the photos of the house. He cropped and zoomed in on the anomoly, so enjoy the original photos and draw your own conclusion.

Until the next adventure,


A Letter From Our Friends, “S & D” + 7 Photos

Posted in Abandoned House, Lambton County with tags , , , , , , , on May 13, 2013 by countybandits

We received a great email from a blog reader the other day. I enjoyed it so much, I wrote back and asked for permission to share it on our blog. The author was gracious enough to allow us to do so. We would love if more of our fans would email us and share stories and photos that we can post here! Please email us at county.bandits@gmail.com or leave us a comment with your email address.




Good morning County Bandits!

I have been admiring your website/Facebook page for a couple months and even visiting some of the places you’ve posted. My girlfriend and I definitely share the same interest when it comes to old forgotten places. My name is “S” and I am from St. Thomas, if you’re unfamiliar with the city it’s about 20 minutes south of London. My girlfriend “D” was living in Sarnia, so we were constantly back and forth!

In our travels (we alternate from back roads/the highway) we’re constantly keeping an eye out for places we can explore. Although, we don’t take such beautiful pictures as yourself we always have a Kodak disposable camera on hand!

Recently, we discovered a house half way between London & Sarnia! I was thrilled because as soon as I saw it drew me in, however “D” didn’t think it was abandoned but still turned around so I could go fulfill my desires. Upon pulling up there were logs in front of the drive way blocking any vehicles from pulling in. I got out to check it out and doing so provided me with the confirmation that it was abandoned. Grass was over grown, there were things in the yard, the big two story brick house was no longer being cared for. Somebody had put a brick and a coffee can in front of the screen door almost to sign to keep people out. There were hand painted ‘keep out’/’no trespassing’/’private property’ signs that made me think of who the person was that painted those signs and why they left.

We were traveling to Sarnia to do a few things and return to St. Thomas so we decided that we would come back at night to avoid any trouble. When we returned it was so dark due to no street lights and lack of the moon, it scared me! It’s unusual for both of us to be a little freaked out. After pulling up to the house and turning the car lights completely off, I had such weird feelings about going in. I must say, the entire time I continued to want to contact you guys! So, I hopped on my phone and went through your entire website and Facebook page and from what I’ve seen, you didn’t have the house posted. I also checked a few other websites and I was absolutely thrilled when I couldn’t find it anywhere.

So, I was just curious if you guys ever meet up with anybody else to explore or even chat about the places you’ve been. If so, maybe we could check this location out together.

I have included some pictures of places we’ve visited.

Looking forward to hearing from you, “S”

[Here are the photos that “S & D” sent along of different locations they have explored. We love them! Thank you SO much!]

Abandoned Place 031_31 033_33 034_34 035_35 040_40 573_10152240642080007_443886801_n