Archive for Brick Victorian

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

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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

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.]

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

The Infamous Snobelen Road Property

Posted in Chatham-Kent, Commentary, Demolished with tags , , , , , on July 21, 2011 by countybandits

Several years ago, we came across this article in the Chatham Daily News – “Demolition Ordered For Longtime Eyesore”. How could we resist going for a drive to check it out? We packed up our camera gear one evening and headed out that way to view the property, and what greeted us was truly a sight to behold. The entire place looked more like a junkyard or landfill than a residence. We parked along the side of the road and stepped out with cameras around our necks. Countless vehicles rotting away, piles of tires, old school buses,  transport trucks, garbage, scrap metal and camping trailers were just a small selection of the junk piled all around us there. We managed to get a small number of photos of the true prize amongst the chaos; a dilapidated but beautiful brick century old home, almost completely obliterated from view by the trash.

Within a minute or two, a family member approached us asking if we were in fact there from the Chatham paper. When we said we were not, she asked that we not take any more photos which we were happy to oblige. She did however chat with us for a moment or two about the house and growing up there. She recalled the night she was sleeping in an upstairs bedroom when the roof collapsed. Two members of the family continued to live in the house until it was demolished, which is hard to imagine as this woman also told us there was no running water nor had there been for years. Although this wasn’t exactly an abandoned house, it certainly looked the part. I am happy that we were able to photograph it then, and share the photos and story here 3 years later.

~Bandit