Back to the farm

Ransom Riggs

Regular readers of this blog may have noted a (perhaps unhealthy) fascination with abandoned places and ruined buildings on my part; past entries have included photographic explorations of the "exclusion zone" surrounding Chernobyl, blighted portions of Detroit which are being reclaimed by nature, the abandoned mines which litter California or creepy deserted Japanese amusement parks.

Now I can add to that list a place close to my own heart: the 18th-century farmhouse that had been in my family since the 1940s, until it was sold to a conservation group a few years ago. I recently returned to the Eastern shore of Maryland to visit family I hadn't seen in awhile, and also to see what the conservation group had done with the old place. To my great surprise, the answer was nothing. All the furnishings, mirrors, carpets and knickknacks had been removed, leaving the enormous, rambling place eerily barren. I had assumed they would turn the house into an office for the local Department of Natural Resources, as had been mentioned, but no one lived there, and it stood there empty, doors unlocked, slowly crumbling. It was both heartbreaking and enthralling, and I immediately grabbed my camera and began framing shots.

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If you want to see more, check out my Flickr page.

And if anyone has any bright ideas about how to convince a government agency to spend millions restoring the house you sold them ... uh, let me know.