Tucked away in the Catskill Mountains of New York is an abandoned artist’s residence once belonging to the Romesky family. The house is now in an unfortunate state of collapse but much of the interior remains intact and includes glimpses into their livelihoods.
At first, paging through the mounds of unused picture frames, rolled canvas and boxes upon boxes of paintbrushes and paints in the attic, I suspected that one of the Romesky’s was a prolific painter. A corner desk tucked into the oriel window contained more used brushes and utensils, resting into the window bay next to a copy of The Magic of Flower Painting magazine.
Part of a set of Superfine Sewing Needles, made in Redditch, England, lay nearby. The needle case was invented by Augustus F. Brabant of Yonkers who had formed the Brabant Needle Company and patented in 1914. In the application to the patent office, Brabant wrote:
“In needle books or cases, as heretofore constructed, considerable difficulty has been encountered because of the fact that moisture has had access to the needles, causing the same to rust. To some extent, this has been occasioned by the fact that the needles are ordinarily placed in their holders before the holders are secured in place in the book or case, and as these holders are secured by paste or glue, which remains moist for some time, this moisture is apt to rust the needles. Moreover, any temporary protectors which have been employed, easily become displaced, so that the needles are without adequate protection from the moisture in the atmosphere.”
The needles inside were still rust-free, attesting to the quality of Brabant’s needle case.
Next to the needles was a bottle of Goddard’s Cabinet Makers Wax to protect the wood from sunlight damage, stains, drying and cracking. A member of the Romesky household not only painted but constructed many of the cabinets in the house that stored art supplies.
The remainder of the house was a time capsule into the Romesky’s past, with a stuffed bird case dominating the living room. Vintage amber and baby blue colored suitcases, timeless clothing and once adored knick-knacks commanded space in the closets and drawers in the bedrooms.
Despite the deterioration of the residence, it is surprising to find much of the interior intact and in good condition. I would hope that the owner would take better care of the building but seeing the structure neglected for so long, I surmised it will end up like many other residences in the Catskills: demolished through neglect.