Archive for Abandoned House

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…

~Bandit

 

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.

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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?

~Bandit

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 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

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

Four (And a Half) Houses From Lambton County

Posted in Abandoned House, Lambton County with tags , , , , on November 5, 2010 by countybandits

After having exceptional luck with houses on Tramway Road in Lambton County, we continued on around the area and eventually back to North River Line just outside of Dresden. We found at least 6 or 7 houses during this extended portion of our tour. Since we had ventured out in the daylight, there were people about so we only photographed what we could. For instance, on North River Line, there were actually two abandoned places but we were only able to shoot photos of one. I promise to make it back there eventually and photograph the other house (which has an odd story to go along with it, but I’ll save that for later).

If my memory serves me correctly, this impressive brick home stands somewhere on Aberfeldy Line. I absolutely love the dated cement piece above the front window. It looks as if someone drew the floral design with the tip of their finger. The house appears to be in steep decline and has lost a fair number of bricks from it’s exterior. These photos were taken February 8th, 2009 and since then we have not returned to this area so I cannot even say whether it’s still standing. I do hope it makes it to it’s centennial in 2011, but one never knows if or when the death sentence by bulldozer will come. The style of the bricks themselves on this house are a little bit different than what’s usually seen in this area. In the yard, we stumbled across a good sized Crown jar filled with (what appeared to be) salsa. Who knows what it really was?

The exact road on which we discovered this white Ontario farmhouse escapes me at the moment. Looking at Google Maps, I’d hazard a guess and say possibly Marthaville Road or Robinson Road. Don’t hold me to that information though, as these pictures are creeping up on two years old. One night, we managed to explore the interior of this place. There was a good deal of furniture remaining, as well as a kitchen table and chairs. A calender on the wall seemed to indicate the house had been empty less than ten years or so. The interior of this house was quite expansive and we spent a good deal of time sifting through each room. Upstairs, the rooms were much emptier and the only thing I found of interest were boxes and boxes of preserves. I’d never seen a jar of black pickles until that night! The preserved food seems to be a fairly common find in older abandoned houses. Today, canning is almost a lost art.

I only have one photo to show of this tiny baby blue home. We spotted it just down the road from the farmhouse above.

Half a house may have been overstating things just a little. Unfortunately, we never photographed the house here before it was burned to the ground, leaving only the skeleton of a couple walls. I can say with certainty that this house was on Robinson Road just outside of Dresden. We ventured on to the property one evening with hopes of checking out the inside, before the arson. Walking around to the back of the home, a humming noise made us stop dead in our tracks. Was someone running a central air unit or something here?! The entire front of the house had seemingly collapsed in on itself, so I felt it improbable that anyone was living there, let alone using climate control of some sort. After standing still for what seemed like an eternity, I shone my maglite around looking for the AC unit. Instead of finding the central air, I found a large crack between the siding and the exterior wall of the house. The entire crack, top to bottom was filled solid with honeybees. We were standing less than 7 or 8 feet from a giant wall of bees. Needless to say, we made a calm but hasty retreat.

The final home I have to share with you today was on North River Line. I suppose that the house seems more “empty” than “abandoned” at this point; In a few short years it will make the full transition if no one moves back in. Regardless, it was such a grand and impressive home that we had to photograph it. We returned to the house during the night on one other occasion and stood around the yard in the blackest shadows, straining our ears for cars and people. After spending a good deal of time on that, we finally approached the side entrance only to find it locked up tight. This is our personal boundary so naturally we just left it alone and went on our way. As I said if no one moves back in to the home, there will be a day when the door swings freely in the wind and curious footprints spiral through the rooms.

~Bandit

The Most Abandoned Road In Lambton County?

Posted in Abandoned House, Lambton County with tags , , , , on October 30, 2010 by countybandits

Many parts of Lambton County hold a good number of abandoned houses in a fairly small geographical area. As you can see from prior postings, the areas of Aughrim, Aberfeldy and Cairo (just to name a few) were rich with interesting places to explore. However, none of these little towns can compare to Tramway Road. This has got to be the most abandoned road in Lambton County, hands down. If there is a road that rivals it, I’d certainly appreciate having that information passed on to me.

This gravel road stretches a good distance, and is dotted with amazing abandoned houses down it’s entire length. Some brick, some wood sided, some in better repair than others. All together, there are 6 abandoned places on the road. What on earth is happening on Tramway that made 6 families pack up and leave? The area in general of Tramway, Esterville, Marthaville and others is very… well, dead. Don’t let the lack of traffic fool you though. On our exploration of Tramway Road, we were chased by an annoyed resident for some distance after their dog alerted them to our presence. The moon was full that night and shining off the hood of our truck, so camouflaged we were not. If you do decide to explore this road for yourself, I strongly suggest you do it during the day so people can see that you are just out taking photos, and not “up to no good”.

Coming from Croton Line, the first home you will see is a dilapidated brick farmhouse. The steel roof is peeling off like the lid of a tin can, and nearly all the windows are broken or boarded up. Chimney bricks have crumbled away, and even the lightning rods seem to have given up long ago on trying to stand straight. The night we explored the interior of this house, it was snowy but not cold enough to have frozen the ground. Our truck found a large rut as we pulled in, and became firmly planted there in the mud. When we left, not having 4X4, we had to floor the gas and pray we’d get out before a farmer woke up and dealt with us. There is a house very close by, but somehow we managed to get out without so much as a light flipping on. As far as the inside of this home, it’s in similar condition to the exterior – a mess. There’s really nothing left to see. An old TV flipped upside down, some chairs strewn about and a good amount of raccoon feces and fallen plaster. The traditional decor of the abandoned house.

Yet another brick home will greet you as you continue down Tramway. This home is an impressive size with some beautiful brickwork. The most interesting detail of the house is the skylight roof peak. I don’t quite understand it’s function, as it isn’t visible from within the second story of the home. We had to poke our heads into the [wasp filled] attic to see the skylight. Once again the contents of this place were scarce at best, consisting only of an old decorative wood stove and several pairs of shoes. There was a staircase leading down to a full basement, but since it was completely flooded we may never know what was down there. I’d like to imagine there were some nice canning jars under all that water…

This style of farmhouse is seen quite often throughout Kent and Lambton County, however I am not sure of the correct name for this design nor during what years it would have been popular. I would hazard a guess at around the 1910’s or so, but that is only my personal feeling. This home seems like it may have been recently abandoned as all the windows are intact and the siding is still in great shape. Even the weeds were yet to totally take over the front of the home. We did not attempt to explore this one any further than taking photos from the road, as it didn’t look at all open to the elements.

The final brick home on Tramway is a gorgeous Ontario farmhouse. If you view the first image, you can see two other abandoned houses not too far off down the road. Only here can you see such an occurrence. Inside of this home was quite surprising; it was filled to near capacity with knic-knacks, papers and junk of all kinds. After finding a filing cabinet in what was possibly the living room, all of this “stuff” was explained. The file folders were stuffed full of auction receipts. My imagination tells me that it was most likely an older gentleman trying to occupy his time by attending auctions and picking up anything of interest, or anything that was cheap. There were dishes, cameras, clocks, lamps, Christmas decor, buttons… and it went on, room after room. I must report that the last time we visited this home, the inside was not nearly as full as it had been when we first explored it. Someone in the family either cleared it out, or people stole whatever they could get their hands on. I hope it was a family member, but… that may just be wishful thinking. We enjoyed the ‘museum’ of auction finds while it lasted.

Nothing more than the shell of a house, this wooden skeleton is fairly close to the end of Tramway Road. This property also happens to be where the neighbor’s dog started barking, finally rousing it’s master in to coming outside and chasing us away. Nothing like a car chase in the wee hours of the morning! Now quite barren, it leaves us to imagine what it used to look like in it’s prime. In the weeds growing around it, I found a beautiful wild rose growing in vibrant pink. Perhaps it was a throwback to a day when the house was surrounded by quaint gardens… perhaps not.

The sixth and final abandoned house on Tramway is a mysterious square-shaped residence. The old window trim has managed to peek through in the more modern siding, confirming that this is indeed an old home. While we didn’t venture inside, we looked through windows and doors and saw that it was full of someone’s personal things. Long forgotten clothing hung in a closet and the kitchen cupboards were strewn with cans and bottles. The strangest part of this place wasn’t really the house itself, but the small camper trailer parked on the lawn. It was chock full of stuff as well, including a fairly full bottle of ketchup and an envelope of photos. I just wonder what situation was unfolding there; we can only hypothesize now.

While this may conclude our tour of the six houses of Tramway road, our exploration didn’t stop there for the day. Check back again soon to see what else Lambton County had to show us.

~Bandit