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.

~Bandit

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.

~Bandit

(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.

~Bandit

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,

~Bandit

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.

Cheers,

~Bandit

-~.*.~.*.~.*.~.*.~-

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

32 Previously Unposted Photos from Lambton County

Posted in Abandoned House, Commentary, Lambton County with tags , , , , , on October 27, 2012 by countybandits

Our county.bandits@gmail.com email has been exploding lately. People have been liking our Facebook page, messaging us, and leaving comments on the blog. We even had our first donation to the gas fund! Thank you SO MUCH “mccfrank”! We apologize for being absent and leaving the blog idle for months; it’s never our intent, but life always finds a way to becoming increasingly busy. Seeing all the likes, comments, messages and traffic volume that has been coming to the blog has rekindled our passion for abandoned house hunting, and I promise you that we will be back on the trail as soon as the snow flies. Thank you to all our fans who continue to support us, even when we are off being consumed by our jobs and far-less-fun obligations.

I decided to take a peek in the County Bandits folder on my desktop and see if there were any more photos I’d not yet posted. Jackpot. I found a folder containing 32 wonderful photos from Lambton County, spanning from just around Dresden, to Petrolia and Sarnia region. Without further ado, I will post them here for your enjoyment. These were all taken in January of 2011.

This first brick home sat not far from Dresden, if I recall correctly. It’s a beautiful Ontario Farmhouse complete with lightning rods and a detailed porch. The strange thing about this place, and little bit creepy, was the coffin shaped wooden box sitting on that porch!

Incredible doesn’t even begin to describe this ‘abandoned’ mansion in Petrolia. This is the Sunnyside Mansion, built in 1891 by the Fairbank family. Situated on a main road in Petrolia, the home is a familiar site to many people from Southwestern Ontario. At the time these photos were taken, the home was empty but possibly being restored or worked on. There had been a fire and rumor had it that there was a fight going on with the insurance company, so progress was at a standstill. As of today, I honestly couldn’t tell you what the progress is or how the house is looking. There are several websites dedicated to the history of this home; google “Sunnyside Mansion Petrolia” or “Fairbank Mansion Petrolia” to learn more about it.

The Accomplice and I have a fondness for yellow brick Victorian homes, as you may have noticed by now. This Lambton County home, in the Sarnia region, has been a longtime favorite of ours. It’s absolutely stunning and the fact that it has been left to rot makes us feel ill. Inside, the floors are completely rotted away; the last time we stopped in to check on the place the porch had nearly fallen off the back. Such a shame. I hope the place is still standing because it is truly magnificent.

These final two homes are also in the rural surrounds of Sarnia, just down the same road from each other. The little wood sided home is very quaint and sealed up tight, marked no trespassing. All we did was photograph it from the road to be respectful of the posted warnings. The brick Victorian farmhouse just up the road was visited by us on several occasions, and there are more photographs of it somewhere. The basement was full of canning jars, most of them still filled with ancient preserves. The main level was trashed completely, with all the cupboard doors in the kitchen thrown open, drawers hanging out, newspapers, food, garbage strewn around the floor… all the furniture upside down and so on. The upper level was no better. I imagine trespassers had done this to the home, but there were bottles of anti-psychotic medications mixed in with the debris littering the kitchen. One will never know what the real story was here.

Thanks again to our fans and supporters for never losing interest in our abandoned house hunting adventures. We promise there’s more to come.

Cheers,

~Bandit

Six Houses from Chatham-Kent, Lambton & Middlesex Counties

Posted in Abandoned House, Chatham-Kent, Lambton County on December 28, 2011 by countybandits

The Accomplice and I went out for a daytime tour back in early November and were able to photograph six beautiful abandoned houses. Some were already known to us, and a few were brand new discoveries that made our hearts beat a little bit faster when we spotted them. Our absolute favorite house from this tour was near London, somewhere in the country just outside of the town of Lobo (a town I had no idea existed until the moment we drove through it). But, first things first! I will post the photos in the order which we photographed them.

This small brick farmhouse sits along Highway 2, now known as Longwoods Road. The Accomplice and I first discovered it back in 2007, and at that time we stopped and explored the property. It appeared that the house was being used by the owner but wasn’t inhabited. We did not venture any further at that time and never managed to take any photos of the place until now, even though we have passed it countless times in our normal travels. There are several barns on the property, and I used to admire the lightning rod balls on the smaller barn. When taking these pictures, I noticed someone had removed the lightning rods entirely from that barn. I’d like to believe it was the property owner, but the more likely situation is that it was copper thieves. Unfortunately I’ve noticed lightning rods disappearing from lots of abandoned places lately.

Taking decent photos of this impressive yellow brick Ontario farmhouse was a nearly impossible task. Located just off Courtright Line, the property was covered in giant mature trees that obscured most of the house. The only way I would have been able to get better photos would be to walk onto the property itself, which I wasn’t too keen on since it was the middle of the day and neighbors are close by. I had seen this house on a few trips to Grand Bend and Goderich, and admired it more and more each time I saw it. These yellow brick houses are my favorite and I’m jealous that those of us in Kent County don’t get to enjoy them like those in Lambton.

The third house we came across is the one I spoke of at the beginning of this post. When I saw it, I couldn’t believe someone had left it abandoned to rot away. It it simply one of the most beautiful houses I have ever laid eyes upon. The Accomplice and I dream about buying this one and saving it, but I’m afraid that’s just a dream. There is a hole in the roof and things are going downhill quickly for this beauty. I’m just glad we were able to take photographs of it and enjoy it before it’s gone. The amount of detailed gingerbread trim on this house and the incredible front door make me all the more sad that no one cares enough to fix it.

A simple, white sided farmhouse sits just off Highway 4 near Lambeth. The cluster of satellite dishes hanging from the porch had us questioning if it really was abandoned, but the overgrown laneway confirmed our suspicions. It’s not terribly exciting, but I felt it was worth noting all the same.

This white frame Ontario farmhouse is a common sight to anyone who takes the 401 from Chatham to London, as it basically sits on the Iona Road westbound on ramp. We have admired this sturdy old home for years, and have wrestled with how to go about getting photographs of it. The house sits so far back from Iona road it is impossible to take pictures that way, and standing on the side of the on ramp seems horribly dangerous. We settled for stopping on the overpass and I hopped out with a zoom lens and gave it my best shot. A couple of pictures focused on the tree, which I didn’t notice at the time since I was trying to be quick. The property is fenced and gated off, so these will have to do. Whoever owns it keeps the place in beautiful shape, even though it’s been empty for as long as my memory can recall.

The sixth and final house from our November tour is this farmhouse we found on a back road while heading home. The sun was setting, which made the colours in the photos really golden and vibrant. The house was fairly simple but beautiful, and the bricks had an odd pattern to them which you can see in the pictures. I enjoyed wandering around in the overgrown lawn until the Accomplice warned me of an approaching vehicle. The name of the road this home was on escapes me now, but it was somewhere not too far from Iona road and I *think* it started with a K. Not overly helpful, but maybe someone knows this house and knows the road name.

I hope you enjoyed these six abandoned house as much as we enjoyed finding and photographing them.

~Bandit

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