Wilson Homestead

Nestled along a quiet side road in the heart of Appalachia, there lies a relic of times long past, a two-story house that whispers stories of the bygone era.

Nestled along a quiet side road in the heart of Appalachia, there lies a relic of times long past, a two-story house that whispers stories of the bygone era. Crafted as the 19th century gave way to the 20th, its clapboard sides and folk Victorian architecture speak of a time when homes were built with both simplicity and a touch of grace. This style, flourishing between 1870 and 1910, favored the modest charm of all-wood construction, adorned with just enough decorative trim to catch the eye.

Step inside, and you find yourself in a world frozen in time. Each room is a treasure trove of antiquities, a testament to the everyday life of our forebears. There’s an enamel-coated Home Comfort stove, its once-shiny surface telling tales of countless meals prepared over its burners. Nearby stands a Maytag Wringer Washer 2NL, enamel-coated as well, a relic of a time when laundry day was a testament to hard work and perseverance. In the corner, the traditional wood-burning stove stands guard, its blackened surface a silent witness to the warmth and conversation it once provided.

But perhaps the most intriguing aspect of this house is its walls. In an ingenious blend of practicality and resourcefulness, the walls are lined with newspapers, wheat-pasted in layers upon layers. This wasn’t mere whimsy; it was a means of insulation, a way to keep the cold at bay using the simplest of materials. These walls, now faded and peeling, hold stories beyond their printed words – stories of a community’s history, of frigid winters combated with the warmth of ingenuity, a vivid reminder of the resilience and ingenuity.


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I could look at pictures of old abandoned homes for hours. I always wonder what the state or nature of the residents were as they were leaving. Did they know they were leaving for good? Are the pots and pans that are in the sink from the last residents or more recent squatters? It’s so fascinating.

I think that when you’re emptying stuff out of a house, you generally make multiple trips out to the truck, or assign someone to come and get the rest and haul it to Goodwill Industries. Occasionally that last trip to the truck doesn’t happen–perhaps the truck was already too full, and you planned to come and get the rest of the artifacts later.

Of course, all of those dozens of children who used to visit and play in the yard are gone now. Where could they have gone? Do not look in the basement.

One layer of newspaper provides approximately zero thermal insulation. Up until the 1940’s Sears sold a heavy paper for draft-proofing and insulating walls somewhat. But I don’t have any other explanation for the sheets of newspaper. The house looks somewhat older than ours here in Lancaster, Ohio, and we’re pretty sure ours was built in 1888. The windows of your house look a bit small, and the ceilings are lower than ours. But I really appreciate your fine photography and your entire project. Have you visited the abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike tunnels in Breezewood, Pennsylvania? They’re huge and immeasurably spooky.

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