In 2014, I made many trips to Chicago for work and, when possible, tried to bring along a camera in order to take photographs during the Ohio portion of the trip. In early September 2014, I made one such trip. Time pressures allowed me little time for back-roads journeying on the trip, but I did manage to take a precious few shots, most centered around an interesting abandoned homestead. I present them here, without any thematic or pseudo-philosophic commentary. Count your blessings.
[Remember that you can click on each image below to see a larger, better image. Also, the EXIF data for each image contains GPS coordinates that you can use to locate the exact place where the photograph was taken.]
Delaware County is due north of Franklin County, where Columbus mostly resides. As such, much of the county is essentially a distant suburb of Columbus. It is one of the fastest growing counties in Ohio, which has resulted in a great deal of development. Strip malls and housing tracts are more common than abandoned buildings. Despite this, I managed to chance across an interesting abandoned farmstead about 5 miles northwest of the city of Delaware itself. As happens a lot of time, I was practically beyond the place before I realized how interesting it was. I turned around and headed back, taking this photograph of the barn behind the house first.
In front of the barn, closer to the road, is this derelict wooden home, which I presume dates from the early 20th century. However, it is much harder for me to date wooden structures than brick structures, as there can be so much more variation in aging. But note that there appears to be no television aerials or even electrical wires, so it may be quite old—in which case it would be quite well-preserved for a wooden structure. At one point, or many points, a family must have lived here, but all the accoutrements of habitation have all long since been swept away; only the bare structure remains.
I cannot help but note that, although this place has long been abandoned, and clearly never will again be inhabited by humans, the current owner of the property continues to keep the yard nicely mowed. To a mow-happy Ohioan, this is the equivalent of crack cocaine to an addict.
A handful of miles to the northwest, north of Richwood, Ohio, is this abandoned home of a later era. If I remember correctly, a newer home is on the same property, with this older one now being relegated to slow decline—a not uncommon sight in rural Ohio.
We continue to the northwest, deep in a very rural and agricultural area of northwest Ohio, some distance from even small towns or villages. Here is a rather impressive old barn, with a nice row of windows.
Every time I head out into the countryside, I come across a community I have never heard of before. On this trip, the community was the hamlet of Forest, Ohio (population 1,461, salute!), a tiny community that is very much sans actual forest anywhere nearby. It bills itself as “Tree Town USA,” for reasons that are not exactly clear to me. It began in the 1850s as a railroad town. It is small and unremarkable and, like a lot of rural communities in Ohio, slowly fading away—though in all likelihood, Forest probably never had what could be termed a “heyday.” Were it not for a few key area businesses to provide a substantial number of jobs, the population probably would be a lot smaller.
I like this old building in Forest because it shows the “stairstep” style of architecture I sometimes see in old buildings in Ohio towns, in which a low building rear gradually “steps up” to a more impressive front. I am not exactly sure what this building is—the sign in front seems to suggest it is McBride’s Furniture Village. However, the large sign on the side seems to suggest that building is two blocks further down. The style of the front is more suggestive of a bar than a furniture store. It may just be abandoned.
You can see that many of the few business buildings in Forest have seen better days. This building (both halves) seems these days only to be used as a storage facility for someone selling antique signs. Notice the writing on the windows? One thing I see all the time in small town Ohio are school spirit messages painted on the windows of empty buildings. It always makes me sad, because it contrasts the eternal optimism and enthusiasm of high-school students with the all-too-common dreary reality of stagnant or declining small-town economies and populations, a reality that dictates that many of these kids will leave these towns for greener pastures elsewhere.
How’s that for ending on a downer?