Once upon a time, when I was probably only 10 years old, my daddy brought me to explore an abandoned old house in Wisconsin near our cabin. The adrenaline was pumping as the fear of meeting a monster was intense. And then, of course, the pigeons flap their wings, squawk, and fly out the window…scaring the tar out of me at the time. We were trespassing, but always respected the rule of “look and don’t take.” Every chance I got, I loved to go back and explore that old place. Like all of these old buildings, it was eventually torn down and the excitement was lost forever.
Decades later, I get to explore old buildings as part of my job. The fear has been replaced by both awe and sentiment. We see these old barns and think about what they have seen over time. I imagine what it was like to build the awesome structures with just men and horses. We also visit houses that have been boarded up for decades with some of the old contents still inside. In the basement of these old houses, there’s often a collection of canned produce that is probably decades old. In the barns, we joke that there is always something dead and something alcohol related. In all truth, the buildings sometimes seem a bit like people. Some are unsettling and others are at peace.
On rare occasion, we find on old gem like Prince Albert snuff box with a prayer card that reads, “God bless this house and our family.” The other day, we even found a small diamond ring that we subsequently returned to the owner.
So here is a little collection of photographs from old buildings and such throughout the years. We have seen lots of barns, granaries, and log cabins. Sadly, nearly all of these buildings are gone. Most of these are probably the last known pictures of each building.