Modern technology and abandoned spaces, two completely different worlds colliding with no regard for one another.
I travel for work and driving the same routes over and over is boring. So I begin to look for back roads that are not out of the way, but much more scenic. I have a thing for old farms and farm houses. Growing up in rural Iowa I witnessed many dilapidated farm houses and barns being torn down and burned. In fact, the house where my earliest memories were formed is no longer standing. The house and several barns that were no longer usable were torn down and destroyed. The only thing left showing someone lived there at one point is a more modern metal building used to store farm equipment, a grain storage bin, and a tree or two. Most of the land is now a farm field.
I happened upon the house pictured in northern Mitchel county Texas. I couldn’t resist pausing for a quick exploration. It was extremely well built for its time. If you look closely you can see holes that once housed windows just above the ground on the southwest corner. A partial basement or cellar that was probably used to store food and provide shelter from the tornados that torment the area. The floor of the entire house is concrete including the section above the basement. The stone walls are all plastered on the inside. I don’t know where the rocks used to construct the walls were sourced, but I am sure a lot of sweat was poured into the transportation alone, much-less constructing the 9 foot walls. The roof structure is wood that was also sourced from afar as there are few trees in the area that can be used for lumber. Sheets of tin were used to cover the roof and some can be seen strewn about on the ground where the high winds have ripped them from their place and twisted them before depositing them in the small mesquite trees that now surround the house.
I do not know when this house was built, but without any signs of indoor plumbing or electricity I would venture it was built in the early 1900s.
I did not venture inside because an abandoned house like this is a huge attraction to rattlesnakes, especially in January. About 25 miles east as the crow flies, is home to the world’s largest annual rattlesnake roundup in Sweetwater. I really despise snakes so I kept my distance.
Behind me are the remains of a stock tank, well, and some livestock pens. I imagine this house served as a ranch headquarters and was a magnificent sight to see in its glory. I am sure there was a windmill perched above the well, which was torn down long ago.
There is no way the builder could imagine that his creation now sits in the shadow of a 200 foot tall wind turbine. The house sits on the western edge of one of the largest wind farms in the world that stretches for more than 20 miles to the east. The wind that once harassed the ranchers and cowboys is now being harnessed and put to work providing electricity that this house never received.
We take for granted our modern amenities. We wouldn’t even consider living somewhere without running water, toilets, or electricity. In fact, the last 20 years has created a new necessity…internet and its sidekick Wi-Fi has become a necessity.
I tip my hat to the days of old and the men and women that settled this great land. They left an amazing mark, created by their blood, sweat, and tears. They battled cold winters, hot summers, droughts, floods, high winds, ferocious storms, and death to eke out a meager existence. There was no retirement plan, health insurance, matching 401k, or life insurance. They had to make do with their God given talents and the tools at hand to survive. They worked until they could work no longer, from sun up to sun down to leave their legacy. Unfortunately, the mark they made on the land is disappearing and not appreciated by many.