I read two blogs today that made me think about history and abandoned buildings. You might want to check out Marilyn Meredith’s post at http://marilynmeredith.blogspot.com/ about an abandoned house and M.M. Gornell’s blog at https://mmgornell.wordpress.com/ about the Barstow-Daggett Airport.
A couple of years ago I visited my daughter in Washington state. We went for a drive in the mountains because she wanted to show me an abandoned grist mill. On our way back to town I saw a path leading into the woods, and I wanted a picture of it. Washington is a beautiful state and this was a picturesque trail. I talked her into stopping so I could take my picture. I walked a little way and took a few pictures. As I turned to the right, to head back to the car, I saw an abandoned house. You couldn’t see if from the road and if I hadn’t wanted a picture of the path, we would have missed it.
I seriously thought about climbing through the overgrowth to explore it, but something moved. Well, I have no idea if Washington has snakes in the mountains so I decided against it. I suppose it could have been a mountain lion or something, but whatever it was, this Chicken Little wasn’t taking a chance. One day the house may go in a book. You never know.
The Abandoned House
The cover of Old Murders Never Die is interesting, too. The background is buildings from Bodie, California, a ghost town. However, the picture of an abandoned house in a frame is actually from Nevada, and the house, along with some old stories I’d heard about an abandoned town inspired a whole book.
Not all abandoned buildings are part of a ghost town. You find them when you least expect it. Nevada has buildings in the Middle of Nowhere, so to speak. So does Arizona. I’ve never understood why people would build a house in the wilds of the desert, and I do mean in the desert – not in a town.
Of course, both states have mining as part of their history. Who knows? Maybe the houses were built to be lived in while someone searched for gold, silver or copper. That’s a more romantic theory than assuming they were loners and didn’t want to be bothered by other people. I guess there could be a story in that, too, though.
I can’t help but wonder who might have lived in these houses. I wish I knew the history and I wish there were people to talk to about the buildings. Unfortunately, not only are the people long gone, but so are any clues to who they were and what they were doing so far away and alone.
In Old Murders Never Die I added a history where there was none. Many years ago I worked in law enforcement and I recalled a story my Sergeant told about his cousin. He went on a hunting trip in the mountains. All of a sudden, in the Middle of Nowhere, he found an abandoned town. People had left in a hurry. Everything was still in place, with dishes on the tables, pots and pans on the stoves, and clothes in the bedrooms. Furniture, although falling apart, still sat in the rooms.
This cousin was astonished. He made his way back down the mountain and made the mistake of going to a local bar where he imbibed a bit too much and bragged about what he’d found. Uh oh. A few days later he returned to the abandoned town, thinking there must be some valuables there, only to find someone had beat him to it. Someone, apparently from the bar, had cleaned the place out.
My husband and I once took the truck and camper and traveled through the deserts of Nevada with friends. We found a one-room house built out of rocks, and surprisingly, the ceiling consisted of roots. I don’t know what kind of roots they were, but still… Roots?
So when you travel, be sure to have your camera handy. Any of these things can inspire a story. Add a little history to your mystery and season it with supposition. You never know where your imagination might take you.
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve run across quite by accident?
Until next time, if you can’t travel, then read. You’ll visit all types of interesting places through the eyes of the author.
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