Abandoned Houses

One old house’s view of another.

One of my favorite photography subjects over the years has been abandoned houses.

Hiking in the desert we might come across old adobe walls.

In the middle of cultivated fields in Nebraska there will be gray wood skeletons of big farm houses.

They seem so sad.

Quite a house in its day.

A miner or homesteader or ranch family made the effort to form and mortar adobe blocks.  Someone built the large foursquare house with plans to raise their family there.  They had dreams of a full life and possibly generations living there.

Old wood and trees

So why are these homes now in ruins?

What happened to that family?  To those dreams?  I just couldn’t see how these nice houses ended up abandoned and beyond use.

On this trip to Nebraska I found and photographed several old houses.

When I got to my destination, I went by the family farm.  It was sold in the 1980s after my grandmother died.

Family farm house in the 1920s

Horse barn going to pieces.

The 100-year-old house changed hands a few times since then.  The current owner chose to add a huge extension to the house.  And then he put the house up for sale including the 10 acres of the old farmyard.  The barns are falling down.  And the house has been vacant for years subjected to vandalization and neglect.  Only the ignored grove thrives.

A neighbor commented on the poor construction of the “new” addition, saying it would collapse before the main house would.  Probably true.  But it made realize that the beautiful old house would collapse some day.

Farm house porch now

It would cost too much to upgrade and maintain it.  If the money spent on the the addition had been spent instead on fixing the foundation and basic restoration…  If, if…  The end result is that our family farm house will most likely become one of those shells that slowly return to the soil.

I understand how it happens now.  And it makes me sadder than before.

Abandoned house on the prairie

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28 Responses to Abandoned Houses

  1. the tow path says:

    I also take photos of old houses, most in their last gasps. It is depressing to think no one cared enough to grant them a longer life.

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  3. seabluelee says:

    What a poignant post. I’m fascinated by old houses such as this and always wonder about the stories behind them. They always make me sad, too.

  4. sandy whitman says:

    Abandoned houses have always made me sad. What could the walls tell, if they could speak, of the joys and sorrows contained within. How sad for the family that had to abandon it, leaving behind lifetimes of so many.

    One of my favorite children’s books is called “The Little House”. It is about an abandoned house that becomes surrounded by the city after having been built in the country, no longer cared about by it’s owners….but then……(you’ll have to read it.) More than once I have been in tears as I read that precious little story,

  5. dorannrule says:

    My feelings are the same as yours about abandoned houses. I extend that to buildings in general – barns and others. Thanks for visiting my blog. I am following you.

  6. S Tyrrell says:

    Thought you might like this abandoned house in the Black Mountains, South Wales:
    Looks like it was abandoned some time ago, judging by the tree growing through the roof! You’re right there’s something very poignant about these sort of places.

  7. This brought back such good memories. I would go on drives with my parents as a child. They always stopped at abandoned houses! They were fascinated by them.

  8. suej says:

    Oh, I’m on the same page…I love abandoned houses, decayed buildings, dilapidation. The beauty in the decay, and you wonder at the back story.

  9. azleader says:

    Seeing some of your houses reminds me of a classic image I’ve wanted to capture for a long time, but haven’t… 😦

    That image is a nighttime, timed-exposure of an old abandoned house where, during the exposure, I walk into the house and trigger my flash through the empty windows from inside to give an eerie, ethereal quality.

    There is a great little western townsite a couple miles away that would be perfect for that. I even have a bunch of colored cellophanes I could try out with it.

    Sooo… what the heck am I waiting for?? LOL!!!!

  10. A very poignant post and lovely images-I grew up in Nebraska and remember seeing many deserted and abandoned farm houses and outbuildings. As an architectural surveyor, it is the buildings in the rural areas that strike me the most deeply-I look forward to seeing more of your work-

  11. Taylor Dahl says:

    Where are these abandoned places located in Nebraska?

  12. Beverly says:

    Great subjects to photograph – lost in time. Nebraska is so big and wide open too!

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  14. sarah leamy says:

    Great images and yes, I came across so many abandonned farms on my way through the Midwest on the back roads. It made me sad.

  15. Sarah Smith says:

    I am pretty sure Square House 5 was on the East side of Funk, Ne? If so, that house is gone now. I always loved driving past it on the way to visit my grandparents. I was so happy to see it pop up in a random post of abandoned buildings! Thank you!

  16. There is clearly a fascination among photographers about old buildings, structures, barns, houses…. Something about the mystery of the past.

  17. Saundra says:

    You sound like a kindred spirit. I, too, have such a wave of emotion when I see old, abandoned houses. I am flooded with thoughts of how old it is, who built it, who lived there, when and why it was abandoned, etc. Sometimes I just want to cry, it all seems so sad. I hope that it saw happy times before it’s demise. Keep taking your pictures, they are part of someone’s history.

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