Monthly Archives: February 2011

Frozen House


I found this frozen beauty a few years back when I was just beginning my quest for rural decay. It is or was located on a narrow farm road in Northern Iowa. Most of it at the time was still standing with the exception of the front room and part of the kitchen. The front room had fallen completely to the ground and somewhat blocked the one clear entrance inside. I debated heavily about climbing over its gelid roof and into the open living space. There was a deep basement below and no one knew where I was, so I regretfully decided to remain outside. Inside the house the floor was covered with bits of the ceiling and a inch or two of snow. A few tattered bits of furniture remained behind. I felt that this house was once a jovial space.

For the duration of my time spent there I was trying my hardest not to succumb to hypothermia. Several times I had to return to my car, which I left running on the side of the road so that it also would not freeze, to thaw my fingers out and warm up before venturing back out into the Artic. The wind chill was equal to what was experienced in Fargo in the dead of Winter. It felt like it was blowing through all the layers and straight into your bones. It was FREEZING!!

Most of the photos taken on this infamously chilly day were pretty bad both technically and compositionally. I had little clue at the time to what I was doing, on what direction I was wanting to take this budding passion of mine and what my new camera was capable of doing. Everything, at the time, felt new and it was exciting. A few of the images taken then were okay and they are posted here now, but I know that if I happen back that way I will happily return to this little farmhouse and retake those images. If I am lucky the house will still be standing and maybe I can learn more about it.





Coleman Decay

In the past four years I have spent many uneventful days in this small Texan town, rarely ever taking the time to see it. It wasn’t until one late warm Summer day last year that I decided to explore the unknown streets and remote corners that lay hidden away from the eyes of Main St.



My little adventure on these desolated bucolic backstreets lead me to some interesting nooks and crannies along with some perfect examples of Rural Decay. I even learned to appreciate a little town that I had, up until this day, pretty much ignored for its possibilities.


Photography has taught me to be more observant of my surroundings and to break out of my own comfort zones to explore what is unseen and what has been easily forgotten. In the past I have stuck to the main roads, but with my camera I find myself sneaking down the side streets and often stepping off the road completely. Without it I would have seen and experience so little.




Leaning House of Oklahoma

The Leaning House of Oklahoma, so cleverly named for its lopsided structure, is located in Oklahoma’s sparsely populated Panhandle, also known as “No Man’s Land”.

I had passed by this quiet little house several times before finally noticing it. Once it did catch my attention I could not help but feel dumbfounded that the house had ever escaped my attention at all.

It is a small simple house of three rooms standing in solitude with a single towering tree against a vast grassy landscape.  Nothing else seems to exist when one finds oneself situated on the side of the road in front this deserted space. In every direction I look there is only tall sun-bleached grass, or the highway stretching into more nothing.  “No Man’s Land” is a very appropriate name for this region.

The house itself is would be considered very petite by today’s standards. Looking at it I cannot imagine it being a home for a growing family, especially for a modern family of today. My first impression, based on the architectural simplicity, was that it once housed workers for a local ranch or business, but upon further inspection my impressions later changed.

Stepping inside through the front door space, I immediately noticed the symmetry between the windows and doorways. If there is a window on the left wall then there was another window directly across on the right. The placement of each window frame perfectly matched the placement of another window on the opposite side. The front door was perfectly aligned with the door space between the two lower rooms and the backdoor.

In lower level of the house there were two basic rooms. The front was the common living area. On the walls was some pretty ornate wallpaper, dating back to the 1940’s, still clinging to the large slabs of plaster covering the wall crate. The wooden floor, which was still sturdy despite its kexy appearance, was bare of any covering and in the center laid the ratted remains of what appeared to be a small chair

In the back was the kitchen with a small space blocked off, possibly for a bathroom. The roof had mostly collapsed and is now existing on the floor, which was in a similar state of deterioration. Beneath was no basement or crawlspace, just a couple of inches between my feet and the Earth. The kitchen sink was still there, along with some empty cabinets and the rusty skeleton of an old mattress. In the corner was what I believe to be the narrowest stairway I have ever seen leading up to a single bedroom. The extremely tight space would not allow a person with any amount of girth to comfortably fit. I am not a particularly large person, average in size, and I felt like I would get stuck if I took a few more steps up.

From some basic research on electrical outlets, wallpaper design and the history of the region I want to date this house sometime from the mid 1940’s to possibly the early 1950’s. There was a single electrical outlet in the front The house was definitely not

My speculation is that this was probably built for a young couple starting their lives together shortly after WWII. There was only a single layer of wallpaper, this indicates to me the possibility that there may have been a single occupation and from the state of the house I suspect it wasn’t occupied for very long.  This house did not hold the same ghostly vibe that other abandoned houses have. It felt empty, like it had been empty a lot longer then it had ever been occupied. This area of Oklahoma was not an easy land to live off, hence the clever  nickname “No Man’s Land” and it is possible that who ever originally lived here, like with many rural communities, left for larger communities.