Tag Archives: abandoned buildings

The Hillbilly Archaeologist Strikes Again

15 Mar

The Abandoned In Stone County Series

Way back off a now closed paved county highway I stumbled upon this gem sitting in a steep gully on a hillside.

It was overgrown, it was classic. A perfect place for an off the grid lifestyle. The “hollar” was laced with trash from dumpers, not the former owners but what I call traveling trashers. It kills me that people think they can drive up in a remote area and simply unload their trash.

Amazingly the property wasn’t more trashed. I guess the dumpers thought someone still lived there and left the driveway untouched with their garbage. I noticed the stone landscaping had been carefully placed at one time with a fairly long run of it, lining the drive. Cleaned up and polished this would be a nice cottage for a retired couple or some first time buyers.

A little closer look at the stonework above the garage shows it wasn’t just thrown together. I think someone had laid the stone after the house was constructed. This place had to have been rough cedar as shown above the front door. I also imagine the runoff from rains would have been a bit nasty from time to time. To the right of the house is a good sized ravine, maybe 40 foot drop near the house. I also bet it’s a magnet for copperheads.

That corner fireplace is sure a looker. Not much of a yard but here on the hill who cares…weed whack the yard. The front steps and porch had crumbled away so there wasn’t much to see. I keep looking for those copperheads…geez.

This perspective gives you an idea of the elevation on the place. The ravine on the other side was impossible to capture, trust me, it was wicked deep. It added to the charm, at least that’s what my wife would say. Besides the copperheads I kept my eye out for a cave where I might find an old still.

The real feature to this place wasn’t the house or the remote location. It wasn’t all that remote, it was just off the main highway not more than 500 yards. Across the highway was the James River, I could drop the boat in the water in 5 minutes time. This would be a great weekend getaway, a real mancave. Bet it’s cheap.

If this were to be “The Mancave” I’ll have to figure out where to put the giant flatscreen and the satellite dish. The corner fireplace was in pretty good overall shape…needs an insert though and a few of my buddies to watch the Chiefs…whose bringing the beer and wings?

Hillbilly Archaeologist

25 Feb

Abandoned In Stone County

Ever driven down an old country road, past a crumbling old farm house and thought to yourself “I bet that place has a million stories. I wonder who lived there?” I know I have and in most cases I am so busy going somewhere I don’t even pay attention to them. Once in a great while I get up just enough gumption to park the truck and grab the camera. This is one place I couldn’t pass up.

This home was struck down by a huge tree that uprooted and fell through most of the structure.

Sometimes you have to look beyond the current condition of things and use your imagination to see the positives to a house like this. The stonework is classic Ozarks, you don’t find work like this in many places other than the Ozarks. It’s color and size make it especially nice and the craftsmanship was excellent. It is a shame that the tree took it out. It gets better, just follow me…

At this angle you can see that the tree simply ripped it's way through.

This tree was massive and did enormous amounts of damage.

The back porch is roughly a 10′ span attached to the house and covered with clear material to let the light in. I bet they had plants. It sat on a poured concrete slab which was very cool to the touch, we’ll get into the natural air conditioning shortly. The porch actually held under the weight of the tree, amazing stuff.

Behind the house stood the family (root cellar?), a two story built into the bluff side.

The well house was something extraordinary, two stories with built in shelves upstairs and large material storage downside. It was also equipt with electricity and ran a refridgerator which was still sitting where they left it.

Built in shelves to store canned goods, and lots of them.

Standing at the well house the view to the back of the house and the spring house in the foreground.

Notice the steps leading down from the house into the spring house, a perfect set up for the milk cans.

Used for storing milk and cream cans I imagine.

However another possibility hit me like a trout takes a mayfly…it might have been used to raise trout. With a small cool water lake adjacent to the house and connected to the spring it is possible.

This spring was really putting out the water, and cold...really cold. Making the concrete cool all the way to the back porch of the house. Natural AC!

I noticed that the walls of the springhouse were brown from probably iron in the water.

It flowed out and then into the lake through a concrete whistle that was built by hand.

This is what really caught my interest. The iron bridge minus the wood walkway is still usable.

I would love to walk out in my front yard to a view like this.

The proximity of the lake to the house was just right, not more than 50 feet away from the house and access from the back and the side of the house. This was well thought out, if I had the chance to do something with this place I would simply clean it up, remove the wooden structures and rebuild as close to original as I could. Cleaned up and fresh this would make one nice place to entertain. On a sad note, the house was fully furnished including clothes still hanging in the closet, a half stocked kitchen, appliances in tact, a wood burning stove,  couches and chairs, bedding and such. It makes you think that the owners may have suffered consequences from the tree as it hit directly in a bedroom area and the fact it’s still furnished. It doesn’t look like it’s been lived in for 10 years or more.

I will mention I only take photos away from places like this. I never give out any locations and I usually am careful about property owners privacy…but I couldn’t resist. My apologies.