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.
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.
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.
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.
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.