Archive for Ontario Farmhouse

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

 

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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

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

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

The Fate of Botany + New Photos From 5 Houses

Posted in Abandoned House, Chatham-Kent, Lambton County with tags , , , , , on October 24, 2010 by countybandits

I was flipping through a file folder buried deep amidst countless other forgotten files when I came across something called Jan 08 Houses. After checking out all the photos, then cross referencing the blog, I discovered that these had never been posted! Perfect… a nice new (but old) photo post for the new (but old) blog!

The house at Botany line was one of our earliest finds. We visited that house countless times and whenever we had a friend with us for a tour, that was a mandatory stop. We had quite a lot of adventure there, from finding worthless but exciting Crown jars to recording interesting EVP. Unfortunately, the Botany Line house was demolished in January of 2009. The bricks were taken for salvage, and the frame was pushed into a pile. The owners were very kind and allowed us to walk through it one last time and take a memento or two. I found an old cork-stopped medicine bottle, and removed a couple transom windows from above the bedroom doors. All that remains of Botany is a fading memory.

The brick house on Botany wasn’t alone. Nearby, another beautiful home sat quietly blending back in to the landscape. We had driven past this house before, but a quick survey had left us unsure of whether or not it was occupied. Upon a closer daytime inspection, we discovered the house was indeed empty and also in very poor repair. I am not sure what era this house would have been built in, but it has amazing architectural elements. The different types of fishscale siding used, the elegant trim around the windows, and the beautiful Eastlake carved doors. After doing some poking around, it turned out that the owner of this home was a person known to my family. My accomplice and I approached the homeowner one day when he was on the property moving some farm machinery, and he graciously allowed us to take photographs. The doors were so beautiful we had to try and save them, but our efforts were in vain as the owner would not sell them at any price.

Moving on from Kent County in to Lambton County, we found there was an astounding number of abandoned houses just waiting to be discovered. The accomplice and I devoted many nights to touring the historic Dawn-Euphemia township, and found some gems in the area of Aberfeldy, Aughrim, and Cairo. This first farmhouse is nearly pristine – at least from the outside. It was sealed up tightly and looked to be in the early stages of abandonment, not yet open to nature and the elements. We loved the clean lines and simplistic beauty of this house. Maybe someday the door will swing open and we can see what’s hiding within those pale green walls.

Not far from the pale green home, we found this stunning, stripped down Ontario farmhouse. All the windows were missing, and once we stepped inside we noticed that mostly everything else was gone too. It appears there was a fire that originated from an oil tank in the basement. A hole was burnt through the kitchen floor, and the whole place smelled of heating oil. All the wood trim was removed from the home, which in a way was nice to see. At least someone was prudent and made sure it was used in another home. The brickwork on this house is beautiful, and hearkens back to the days when such elegant details were used lavishly. I love that the gingerbread is all still intact as well. Such a shame that the fire put an end to this home’s useful life.

What appears to be another stripped out Ontario farmhouse sits far back in a field, inaccessible and out of reach. We didn’t see any type of lane way, and the field was blanketed in snow so we decided it was best to just take a couple shots and move on. From the long distance photos, it does look like the windows and any brick or siding has long been removed. Perhaps we’ll make it back there one day and find out the real story.

From what I recall, this quaint home was somewhere in the Aughrim area. There was a small closet filled with canning jars that I was delighted to poke through! The strangest thing in this home however, was two good sized pillows on the floor, each with a pair of underwear fitted on it. I don’t even want an explanation for that. On the property also was a good sized barn or shed of sorts, that seemed to match the house in time of construction.

I can’t recall the name of the road this final house was on. It was so tucked in to the trees that I barely caught a glimpse of it was we drove past. We were on our way home, thinking we were done for the day when it pleasantly surprised us. The interior of this Ontario cottage type home was in total ruin. The entire second floor had collapsed down on to the first, making it very tricky to navigate through the small areas that were still accessible. I find the design of this home to be quite captivating in it’s simplicity and subtle beauty. The gothic window is lovely. In the field next to this house were several beehives, and it was interesting to see a couple honeybees lying frozen on the pristine, glittering snow.

I promise there are more posts like this one coming soon. Remember to share the blog address with anyone you feel might appreciate and share in our strange captivation with abandoned houses, in Kent County and beyond.

~Bandit