Memento Mori

Nov. 2014

Hall House

It’s with sadness that I report that this house has burned. All that remains is its brick skeleton, constructed in the 1840’s. I’m not surprised that this was its fate since it has set wide-open for years. The owners were aware. I was told there was a covenant on the house that as long there was a family member alive, the house could not be sold to a non-relative. What a stupid thing!!!!!

Ten years ago, there was the loss of a house, Evergreen Place in Nashville, that kind of hardened me. It was an unjust and illegal demolition of one of the oldest structures left in Nashville but that story is for another time. A number of the houses I’ve captured in photographs over the last 20 years are no longer standing which is depressing. It’s time to start digging through my negatives. I do practise what I preach by restoring one of the few Palladian Federal houses remaining in South Central, KY. It’s not an inexpensive endeavour since restoration is not remodelling but is a labor of love.

The first time I came across the house was 5 years ago when I decided to take a side road since I’d never driven it before. I’ve been driving by checking on it since then, recording the deterioration. In June 2013, a tornado touched down in the area and the tin on the back half of the roof was peeled away, exposing the house to the elements. Even then, the house could have been restored. It had some of the most incredible graining on the doors that I’ve ever seen which is highly unusual for a house in a rural setting. The entrance also had unique millwork,similar to an old side hall Greek Revival only mile or two away. Old houses are great story tellers but so many are deaf to their stories.

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6 responses to “Memento Mori

  1. Another sad ending. Thank you for sharing this bit of history and especially for your photographs that help preserve these homes in perpetuity.

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    • Thank you! I wish I could win the lottery and have these old houses restored. This particular house was beautiful.

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  2. Oh Pam. This makes me sick. What is wrong with people who neglect these buildings? I wonder if it was arson? 😦

    Sent from my iPhone

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  3. My grandparents lived in this house when I was a kid. I was shocked when Mom and I visited the house after the the landscape around it had been bulldozed away and it appeared as in the picture. We wandered through the vacant house and took pictures. Nothing prepared me for the picures my brother sent me after it had burned. I’m so glad we got one last look at it. There are so many houses in that area that are falling down that have a history like that one.

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    • I haven’t seen it since it burned but am planning to go out there this weekend. It hurts my heart that this happened to this house since it had a number of unique characteristics and it was beautiful, even in its neglect

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