Archive for the Abandoned House Category

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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A Highgate Beauty – Photos From 2007

Posted in Abandoned House, Chatham-Kent with tags , , , , , , on September 29, 2011 by countybandits

It seems like 2007 was a great year for our abandoned house hunting. It was the year it all began for us, and we pursued it with a passion. Night after night we would pick a section of the county, draw out our map and hit the road around 1:00 am, Tim Hortons in hand. We’d usually return home around 5am, just in time to get the first breakfast sandwiches of the day back at Tim’s. The servers at the drive thru on that early shift knew us well. If I could turn back the calendar to 2007, I’d do it in a heartbeat. Times were simpler and abandoned house hunting was the most important thing we had going on.

Sometime in 2007 I got my first ‘smart phone’, an HTC P4000 which ran Windows mobile. It spent more time frozen than functional, but this was nothing surprising from a Windows based device. However, the camera on it was amazing at the time (1.92 megapixels according to a quick Google search), and so was the GPS / maps when it worked. I had this phone on me during a few of our explorations, and recently I found the folder of photos I took with this phone back in June 2007. I was pleased to find 40+ photos of one of my favorite abandoned houses in Chatham-Kent, which is in the Highgate area.

This brick Victorian has not had an easy life. When we discovered it in 2007, the entire property (a farm) was for sale. The house had been converted in to a sort of bunk house for migrant workers who must have worked on the farm or a farm nearby. It looked as though the house was completely updated sometime in the 1960’s judging by the remaining decor. The most unbelievable part of the house for me were two bathroom stalls built from plywood that were located just off the kitchen. This house was so incredibly beautiful, with detailed masonry, gorgeous mill work, finials decorating the roof peaks and a set of doors opening to a balcony on the second floor. How could anyone just let it go so far into disrepair? I believe during our walk through the house, we discovered a homemade shank in one of the rooms. There must have been a rough crowd in there at some point.

I don’t know if anyone ever bought this farm, but we have driven past this property in the last year and it looked worse than ever. the majority of the windows on the house were broken out, and the masonry was starting to crumble in places. It would take someone with extremely deep pockets to turn this place around. Can you imagine it restored to it’s former glory? Walking to the end of the hallway upstairs to open the double doors… stepping out on to the balcony, breathing in the fresh country air. It would be something else.

~Bandit

[Note: A few photos show the inside of a small shed behind the house.]

Amazing Abandoned Farmhouse In Michigan

Posted in Abandoned House with tags on September 9, 2011 by countybandits

I know this house is out of our usual realm, but it was so striking I had to share the photo here. On our road trip to pick up our gingerbread trim (which is now installed – yay!) we passed this abandoned farm just off the highway. It was close to an exit, so on our way back we got off the highway and ducked down a back road to find it. I would have loved to get out, walk up to it and take a ton of photos, but the thought of getting chased off by someone with a gun was enough to quell my urge. I wonder if any readers from MI have ever seen this house? I think it’s quite a find. Click the photo to see the full size version, taken with my smartphone.

~Bandit

A Drive Down Courtright Line, Lambton & Some Interesting Search Engine Hits

Posted in Abandoned House, Commentary, Lambton County with tags , , , , , on August 17, 2011 by countybandits

In my effort to unearth any and all my old photos, I found many that I had completely forgotten about and never got around to posting. The following images fall into that category. I shot these on May 28th, 2008 and I wish I had made a post about them at the time, because at the present moment I have no idea why I was even on Courtright Line that day. I do remember shooting these pictures however, and being fairly impressed that I had found 3 abandoned houses on one short stretch of road. Such a sweet score doesn’t happen very often, but if it’s going to happen anywhere – Lambton County is the place.

I really enjoy being able to share the stories that accompany the abandoned places we explore and photograph, but unfortunately I know nothing of these 3 houses. Since I don’t have any exciting information on them, I’ll share my thoughts on some popular searches that lead people to our site. I love viewing the site stats and seeing what brought people here, I find it fascinating.

“what kind of things can you catch from going in old abandoned houses” — This one made me laugh, because the Accomplice and I often discuss how many years we must have taken off our lives by now from entering these abandoned houses. We’ve seen plenty of asbestos insulation around old boilers and pipes, and walked through more raccoon feces than I’d care to admit. The smell of cat urine has been so strong in some places that in one instance, it actually made the Accomplice sick to his stomach (was it wrong for me to find this hilarious? I’m not bothered by the smell myself). So while I’m not sure if there are specific things you could ‘catch’ from these places, they can definitely be pretty nasty.

“what is valuable from a abandoned houses” — We get asked about finding valuables or antiques in abandoned houses quite often, but our answer isn’t as exciting as most people hope. The truth is that these houses have been abandoned long before we ever came across them, and we are certainly not the first people to walk through them. If they are open to nature (doors freely open, windows broken, holes in the walls / roof), then chances are slim to none that ANYTHING of interest is left. We have seen a few neat things, like vintage dresses and appliances, old iron beds, some portraits – but nothing of any real value or rarity. If you are hoping to come into some riches by exploring abandoned houses, you will likely end up with criminal charges before you end up with something of value!

“gingerbread trim, gothic trim, metal gingerbread molding” — I suppose this isn’t quite as interesting as the first two, but a lot of searches come in from people looking for information on gingerbread trim for old farmhouses. For our own 150+ year old Ontario farmhouse restoration, we purchased reproduction vinyl gingerbread pieces. We figured this would save us the huge headache of trying to repaint wood gingerbread every so many years, and would resist splitting or breaking with age. We ordered our pieces (custom made!) from Wholesale Millwork and the price was really reasonable for what you’re getting. Inside our house, we ordered a reproduction tin ceiling from Imperial Production along with some other trim pieces. Hopefully this information is helpful to someone out there.

Now, on to the photos, and as always please feel free to comment.

~Bandit

The Beautiful Brick Farmhouse in Guilds (41 Photos)

Posted in Abandoned House, Chatham-Kent with tags , , , , , on August 7, 2011 by countybandits

The past few days, I’ve been off work and just dying to get out and shoot some photos. I managed to find colour process black and white film and loaded some up in the F5. Of course all my time has been consumed by other things, more important than going out wasting gas and time shooting photos. Things like trying to decide on a counter top for our new kitchen, picking up our refinished 1930’s dinner table, delivering overdue shower gifts and catching up with  an old friend over Indian food. Since I have yet to get any shooting done, I figured I should at least work on posting up some of the existing photos I have waiting.

This brick Victorian house sat along Highway 3, across from the lake in the town of Guilds. I say sat because I haven’t been out that way in so long, I’m honestly not sure if the house is still there or not. It was in near ruins when these photos were taken in May of 2008 so I don’t have high hopes for it today. Also, I’m sure town isn’t the proper descriptor for Guilds. It’s more or less a cluster of houses and a sign. I wasn’t there for this photo adventure, so the accomplice went with a fellow photographer friend and took this lovely series of images.

I remember that the accomplice fell through the second story floor that day, and was damn lucky to catch himself with his elbows somehow and not fall the rest of the way through. I’m sure if he hadn’t managed to stop himself, he would have crashed through the main floor as well and found himself in the basement with some serious injuries. He managed to escape with some nasty scrapes and a small mark on his 50mm Nikkor lens, where it had bashed against the floor. When you view the pictures, you’ll understand why he fell through the floor. The majority of these houses are severely rotted, whether they look it or not. Moisture, insects and sheer age have deteriorated beams and floor boards in ways that can’t always be seen. Walking through them can be a dangerous undertaking.

Enjoy these pictures from 2008, and please leave a comment if you’ve seen this house lately. Is it still there, or did it finally rejoin the earth?

~Bandit

Another Historic Farmhouse Lost Forever

Posted in Abandoned House, Demolished, Lambton County with tags , , , , on July 26, 2011 by countybandits

Lambton County is rich with abandoned houses. In fact, the county is home to some of my absolute favorite abandoned homes of all time. There we have found beautiful old farmhouses with lavish gingerbread details, yellow brick Victorian homes with examples of incredible masonry, and large wood-sided century homes. We have yet to fully explore Lambton as it’s quite a drive for us to get all the way out there and start cruising the grid of back roads. On Sunday, I was reminded of why it’s so important to get out there and document these homes now – before it’s too late. They are disappearing from the landscape at an alarming pace.

We were driving home from a Stateside shopping trip and decided to take the back way home, coming down Kimball road. To get to Kimball road, I took the Modeland road exit from the 402 and headed towards Plank road. I remembered that after the second overpass on Modeland, there was an impressive brick Ontario farmhouse that I had photographed a couple years prior. Those photos never made it to the blog, as they were film. As I crested the overpass, I saw the mature trees but no familiar barn. A very new gleaming galvanized fence sprawled across the front of the property and on down the road. As we drew nearer, my fears were confirmed; the house was gone.

Two years ago, when I photographed this house, it looked to be in amazing condition. We peeked in the windows and saw gorgeous pocket doors surrounded with heavy wood trim, all original to the home. The trim had even managed to escape being painted all these years. The gingerbread around the porch was in excellent shape as well and was quite intricate. I hope they salvaged some of the millwork before it was destroyed. We never got a chance to actually go inside, as it was locked up as I recall. I’m happy that I at least have some record of this beautiful Ontario farmhouse, and it can live on here on our blog. Enjoy it as we once did.

~Bandit

Raleigh Township Abandoned Houses

Posted in Abandoned House, Chatham-Kent with tags , , , , , on April 30, 2011 by countybandits

Finally! My crutches have been left in the dust, my leg brace kicked under the bed. I’m happily walking about with just a slight limp, so I slung our new Nikon D7000 around my neck at the first opportunity and went for a tour. Mind you, it was very short and only around our ‘neighborhood’, but it’s amazing what you can find so close to home. With warmer weather approaching I can promise there will be many more photos coming your way. If you haven’t already, please follow us on Twitter – http://twitter.com/countybandits and ‘Like’ us on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/thecountybandits#!/pages/County-Bandits/145244382204288

When I first pulled up to photograph this two-house property on the Ninth Line, I was greeted by the breathtaking sight of a giant turkey vulture sunning himself on the barn roof. I wish the lens I was using at that moment had a bit more zoom, but alas I was only able to capture him from a distance. The Ontario farmhouse on this property has incredible window trim, like nothing I’ve ever seen. The gingerbread on the porch is also beautiful. Simple, but elegant. I wish someone had cared enough about this home to keep it from sliding into such derelict condition. I find it amazing that someone stole the lightning rods from their metal stands atop the roof for the little bit of copper therein.
Abandoned Ontario Farmhouse, Chatham-Kent, Gingerbread Window Trim

The second house on the Ninth Line property appears to be a newer addition than the Ontario farmhouse across the lane way. I wonder what circumstance led to both houses, and presumably the entire ‘farm’, being abandoned? This small residence didn’t have much going on in the way of architecture, so I only snapped two photos.

I continued down the Ninth Line until I stumbled across this giant, wood sided Victorian home. I had actually completely forgotten that it was located on the Ninth since I haven’t seen it since I first blogged about it here, years ago! It belongs to a prominent Chatham-Kent ‘legend’, “Crazy F—”. If you’re a Chatham native, I’m sure you can complete the name without much trouble. As I probably said in the last post about this home, I would strongly recommend that you stay away from this property as the eccentric owner is often present.

This final home is not located in Raleigh Township, but as I made my way to Dorothy’s Antiques (in a very leisurely, country tour sort of way) I found myself driving past this beauty. Located in the Charing Cross area, this stately brick house has always piqued my interest. I thoroughly enjoy the style of the home. Understated but beautiful to look at. Something about it says Martha Stewart to me, but maybe that’s just my unhealthy Martha obsession coming to the surface. Many years back on a stroll past this property, I wandered my way up to it to poke around a little. A sticker on the door indicated the ‘contents were marked for identification by the OPP’. After asking around a little, I was told the home had been broken in to at one point and some tools were stolen. Storing valuable items in an abandoned home seems… well, I don’t even think I need to finish that thought.

Thanks for reading, and I promise to have another update for everyone soon.

~Bandit