This was more of an urban farmhouse than a rural homestead. The surrounding area was a sprawling industrial landscape stretching outward the boundaries of Sioux City, Iowa and this little unsuspecting white farmhouse lingered quietly in the middle somewhere.
I made my father pull over and he waited in the car as I walked across the overgrown and noticeably lush front yard, careful not to trip over hidden objects or step into what I am assuming are gopher holes. The sky was above me was transforming fast and time was limited. Any moment it would begin to rain, the wind was already picking up.
I didn’t get inside the urban farmhouse, though I think I could have with some maneuvering on my behalf through a broken window and if my father wasn’t patiently waiting for me to return to the car.
Its funny how a parent’s presence can always alter the course of an event – no matter how old you are – regardless of their support and encouragement that they may give you. My father is very supportive of my need to photograph and document abandonment in Rural America, but sitting in a car while I do what I do isn’t exactly on his list of things to do. Though I must give him credit he showed patience when I am sure there were several other things that he needed to tend to.
Walking around the property I sensed that this is one of the last farms in the area to be torn down and transformed into something else. The air about it reminded me a little bit of West Manor Way – a rural road back home in New Jersey that was once filled with abandoned Victorian farmhouses, but now cleared for several rather ugly industrial buildings. This little urban farmhouse felt somewhat out of place and a bit lonely. About a half a mile in one direction existed storage like warehouses and small business strip malls with offices for truck parts or welding companies. In the other direction I could almost see the edge of the city as it began its transformation from urban center to outer industrial.
It was easy to see that this was at one point a well-kept homestead. The building itself was a classic white farmhouse with obvious additions built in the back. The grass, though overgrown, was not exactly an untamed jungle and to one side of the house along the edge of what would have been the driveway was a rather neat pile of short logs, possibly for firewood. Behind the house was a wooden fence dividing the property from a barn that was in poorer shape. The only real bit of chaotic mess, besides some small vandalism, were some random bits of wooden debris surrounding a car that was resting upside down.
I am guessing that the last occupants left the property within the last ten years at least and because the house felt so glum to me I don’t believe that it was a painless parting.