Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Jasper Exploration, Part 1

We were in Jasper this past weekend visiting with family and managed to escape a couple times briefly to do some exploring. I figured it would be easy, given that I'd seen some places right off the road, and that it was the country so there'd be less people to discover us. The problem I ran into though was that there were a ton of houses there that very well should have been abandoned, given their conditions, and weren't. Thankfully we weren't too nosy, and just scoped out the ones that were a bit more clear.

One I wasn't sure on was a beautiful old thing in relatively good condition on a larger piece of land, but there was another house built on the land adjacent to it. I decided, given the proximity of the neighbors, I couldn't go inside, but would at least take some photos of this excellent find.

After taking a dozen photos or so, the owners of the adjacent land drove up into their driveway and saw us. They, an older couple, approached us with a dog. My partner panicked at first, and I soothed him then put on my most cheerful smile and greeted them. I explained that I was a photographer and that the house was beautiful, and they proceeded to explain the houses entire history to me. Evidently, the gentleman's name I believe was Brett, and I didn't catch the female's name, but she was his sister. The house belonged to their mother, and Brett had grown up there, and was now in his 70's. It was explained where all the old farm buildings used to be, like the remnants of the 'corn house' and the 'chicken house' and such, and I was told personal stories about things that had happened there. Evidently termites have gotten the best of it, and at this point it's cheaper to tear the thing down and build a new one than fix it, but Brett hasn't been able to bring himself to do it. It has been empty since his mother died in 1991, then her caretakers inhabited it for a couple years after, and abandoned it. I suspect I could have pushed my luck and asked if I could take a few inside, but he seemed more concerned with me falling through the floorboards than any invasion of privacy. Thankfully the dog was friendly, too, and plopped down right at my feet. After chatting with us for a good 15 minutes, they told us about Brett's grandmother's house around the corner that "hadn't quite fallen down yet", and explained that it was from 1895 and invited us to go check it out, then left us in peace to take all the photos we wanted.

We looked into exploring the other house, but someone had moved a trailer within 100 feet immediately behind the building, in its shadow so to speak, and the trailer was heavily populated that day, as it was a weekend, so we did not explore it after all, despite having Brett's blessing.

I was gleeful for the rest of the day. I love hearing the stories of beautiful old houses like that. Here's a few of my photos of it. There's more in my photobucket if you'd like to explore them. Below, I've linked my photos from the exploration:

Photobucket Pics

and here's a few as well-


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