Thursday, January 28, 2010

The House Next Door

Alternately titled "See, Charles, It Could Be Worse"

How amazing is this place!? As the first picture suggests, this cabin sits deep in the woods at least 1/2 a mile back from the road. I had driven by for years without even knowing it was there. There is no evidence that the house ever had electricity or indoor plumbing. I've been told by someone who grew up nearby that this place was already empty and falling down back in the 1950's.

Between the house and the road are the remains of a barn foundation. Supposedly the barn itself was burned down by a hired hand in retaliation against the homeowner. When this occurred I'm not sure, but the passage of time is clearly indicated by trees nearly a foot in diameter growing inside the barn foundation. According to the elderly neighbor who farms the land north of us, the barn was stacked full of original growth walnut lumber when it burned.

Normally, seeing an abandoned house saddens (and often angers) me. But this place is somehow different. The crime of abandonment occurred so long ago that whatever penance I would typically feel is due has surely already been paid. All old houses have a sense of story, but with this cabin, that story feels almost tangible. It sits right on the surface, with no 1970's paneling or 1930's linoleum to strip away. The appeal is undeniable, and yet, to give in to that appeal feels vaguely like committing a crime. The isolation that pervades this place is so overwhelming that any honest visit feels like an intrusion.

But I don't think that will be enough to keep me away.


  1. Looks great to me :-) I wish I lived nearby. I would respectfully peek at it occasionally.

  2. : ) I'm with you and Karen Anne ! blessings as you go... love, Aunt Barb

  3. That is really nice joinery at the corners. Would you call that a split log house?

    And have you ever heard who owns it now?

  4. I'm content to just call it a log house and leave it at that. :)

    The current owners live in town but bought 11 acres of woods (including this cabin) at auction back in the 1990's as a summer get away spot. The husband was working there one day last spring, so I stopped and asked about the cabin. The kids and I walked back that day to check the place out, and I've been back once since then.

  5. That's a very nice log house! The house appears to be made of hewn logs with V-notches at the corners. The portion to the left on the first picture is probably a later addition, with wood frame construction instead of log. A fireplace may have existed where the large hole in the side is. Most log houses are only one or 1.5 stories tall, but this one appears to be almost two full stories! If anybody knows the exact location, I could check and see if it's on the Ohio Historic Inventory.

  6. This house was owned by J. Spitler in the 1870s.