This is not a photography post. Rather, I write to inform readers that an oft-photographed building that appears in this blog, the so-called Mud House Mansion, was abruptly demolished today by its owners, who had neglected for decades what was a wonderful and historic example of 1870s architecture. Continue reading
Artists, they say, can become fascinated with certain subjects, returning to them over and over again because the subjects are so compelling. Of course, the same is true for stalkers. I am no artist, but I do confess that certain sights I see on my excursions manage to exert a certain hold on me, sending out their siren call long after I have departed the premises. Though I always want to explore and see new things, in the time I have been engaging in this little hobby, a few places have so intrinsically interested me that I have returned to them, sometimes more than once.
It was February 2014. Cold and brisk, but the weather was fine and it looked like a nice day to take an excursion. I decided to do something I had been hankering to do for quite a while, which was to return to Mud House Mansion. I had discovered this fascinating old building located a bit east of Lancaster only the month before, so the landscape (barren, winter) would look pretty much the same, but what I wanted to do was to get there very early in the morning and get some good pictures of the mansion during the pre-dawn and dawn minutes, the so-called “golden hour” of photography. Well, the plans of mice and men oft gang agley and my exquisite timing was ruined completely when a woman driving a jeep mounted with a battering ram rear-ended by Pilot in downtown Lancaster. She had a grill guard on the front of Jeep (designed to protect vehicles from deer and such hitting the front of the car), but it was one that protruded well in front of the vehicle and that steel frame ploughed into the back of my SUV, caving in the rear door and doing about $7,000 or so worth of damage. So much for golden hour.
In which our intrepid hero chances upon the manse macabre…
A is for Amy, who fell down the stairs.
B is for Basil, assaulted by bears.
C is for Clara, who wasted away.
D is for Desmond, thrown out of a sleigh.
Those are the first few lines of the Gashlycrumb Tinies, an alphabet book consisting of 26 different children meeting untimely ends. The Tinies are the work of Edward Gorey, a rather amazing author and artist, whose distinctive visual style was a sort of goth Edwardiana. I first encountered Gorey in high school and fell in love with his dark wit and unique artistic style.
Little did I know that a bit more than 30 years after I discovered Gorey that I would encounter a mansion that looked as if it came right out of one of his books.