Archive for Lambton County

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

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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