Bringing Down The House

Do you feel a draft?

Do you feel a draft?

It’s time for another Photo Phrisbee Wednesday, hosted by the ever phabulous Marilyn.  I went a few years into the WABAC machine for today’s gallery, to a time when I was still calling the real nest my home, featuring the fall of the house of Usher our bizarre next door neighbors.

Just a little off the top, please.

Just a little off the top, please.

The house I grew up in was a modest two-story right across the street from a chemical plant in the industrial part of town.  Because the homes in my area quickly fall into disrepair due to the constant tremors from all of the nearby plants shaking the foundations into pebbles, and the real estate’s not exactly booming, what you see here is generally what happens when homes go vacant for too long.  The blocks around my neighborhood are heavily dotted with vacant tracts of land where the city has stepped in to raze the shabby structures that were once homes in my formative years.

Eh, we didn't really need that roof anyway.

Eh, we didn’t really need that roof anyway.

In the 31 years I made the old homestead my residence, there were three sets of neighbors in the yellow house next door (It had yellow siding that was removed before it met its maker here).  Some guy named Max, a really old couple with a dog named Pal, and lastly there was your typical redneck family of three…

Anyone interested in a good deal on some used windows?

Anyone interested in a good deal on some used windows?

The man’s name was Keith, though we called him Keifer.  He dropped dead of a “heart attack” back in 2001, and we always suspected his wife did him in for the insurance money… especially since it was quite obvious from her physical appearances that she had a meth habit to support.

A wrecking ball would have been cooler... especially with Miley Cyrus underneath it.

A wrecking ball would have been cooler… especially with Miley Cyrus underneath it.

With Keifer out of the picture, the couple’s teenage cunt of a daughter took over… or I should actually say, the juvie hall boys she hung out with ruled the roost while her mother was either too stoned or too scared to do anything about it.  They were a menace to society if ever there was one, and often got in territorial pissing matches with my Dad.  I lost the back window of my Neon one night in retaliation for my Dad calling the cops on them.  When the Meth Queen finally OD’ed herself into an early grave in 2007, the daughter and the punks really had a field day with the fort all to themselves.  No red condemned signs nor interventions from Child Protective Services could keep them away from their very own teenage wasteland.

Nothing flattens like a Deere.

Nothing flattens like a Deere.

After two years of sitting as an eyesore and a den for assorted young hooligans and bums, our beloved city finally sent the bulldozer out to knock the piece of crap to the ground on February 20, 2009.  I grabbed my Mom’s camera and took these pictures of progress in action!

Thank you Mayor Goldie Wilson.

Thank you Mayor Goldie Wilson.

The lot is still an empty tract of grass with nary a scar of the old structure remaining on it… and almost certainly will remain that way for the foreseeable future.  Such is life in the old part of town in an area that nobody in their right mind would ever try to revive due to the constant shakes and the metal flake showers from the nearby steel mill.  Suburban blight at its finest.

And the walls came crumblin’ down….

Mission accomplished!

Mission accomplished!

I’ll have more pics from the album that are guaranteed to bring the house down next Wednesday…

About evilsquirrel13

Bored former 30-something who has nothing better to do with his life than draw cartoon squirrels.
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21 Responses to Bringing Down The House

  1. Mental Mama says:

    Damn, that’s harsh, though effective.

    • It’s for the best, though. Within 20 years, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the entire neighborhood pretty much gone, like some of the other blocks in the area the plants or the city wound up buying out…

      • Mental Mama says:

        That’s sad. There are areas here that are like that and fortunately they’re being re-developed, at least some of them. Of course that’s when the fucking hipsters move in and you end up paying $7 for a cup of shitty organic coffee in those neighborhoods.

      • Yeah, I don’t see that happening around here. Hipsters wouldn’t appreciate steel flakes landing in their coffee during one of our infamous “snowstorms.”

        I think a prerequisite for revitalizing industrial neighborhoods is for the industry to go dormant. The city is doing everything it can to fight that since the mills are the major taxpayers. Everyone was hoping decades ago we’d get bought out as a buffer zone, but nooooo, we got blight and demolition derby instead 30 years later. I’m happy to live a little farther away from that now (and where the squirrels are!)

  2. I am glad that in the tearing down process, all-American machinery by our beloved John Deere was used. I am mildly disappoint it was not green, but I can live with it.

    We don’t have chemical plants around here, but we have a LOT of nuclear reactors, hidden from view behind tall barbed wire fences, trees, and sculpted hills. When the mills exited for the south and its (then) nearby cotton fields, we still had the Blackstone River … a perfect little river, so let’s build nuclear generating plants all OVER the place. Per capita, we are the nuke capital of the world. I think you can hold up a light bulb anywhere in the valley and there’s enough current floating around the air to light it up.

    And yet … it’s sooo bee-oot-ee-ful here.

    • If you want something torn down, always buy American! We love to tear shit down in this country.. even if it’s still in perfect shape!

      I don’t think we have anything nuclear nearby, but we did have the infamous “lead pile” from decades worth of old, discarded batteries that contaminated the soil of practically my entire half of the city. I remember the EPA digging up a lot of people’s yards back in the 90’s (They did the neighbor’s yard on the other side, but not ours… go figure).

      I wish I had a camera handy the morning I came home from work and one of the buildings at the chemical plant was on fire… and the fire department hadn’t even shown up yet. It’s the only evacuation I’ve ever been a part of…

  3. seems Mr. Keifers insurance wasn’t a good one … I always feel a little sorry for such houses… I always hear Jim Morrison in my head singing This Is The End…..

    • It’s always a shame, especially for those who have memories there. But in this case, I was very relieved to see it brought down (Even though I moved out of the neighborhood just three months later)…

  4. Trisha says:

    Whenever I see abandoned houses, I always wonder what happened for them to end up that way, so it’s interesting to hear the story of this house’s demise. Insurance fraud and possibly murder, meth, teenage hooligans…it’s a little bit like the story of the house I grew up next to.

  5. Ally Bean says:

    I like your photos of the last gasps of this sad little house. I see houses like this one around the edges of town, and like Trisha said, wonder what happened to them. Now I have a back story to put with them!

  6. The Cutter says:

    My neighbors are all awesome. They keep their meth habits mostly to themselves.

  7. Great post, Squirrel, and a very good back story as well. Glad to see the meth den gone, of course. But it makes me sad that at one time that neighborhood would have been thriving, filled with families, squirrels and the laughter of children. Over here, we don’t have enough land to let it go “to seed”. It is cheaper to revamp than to move elsewhere, so what exists – even in the “rougher” areas – stays put, is eventually improved, and more people move in when the losers get evicted. It’s just how it is. Looking at old properties tumbling down gives me the same sense of melancholy as looking at old photographs. Who would have thought, back in 193? that that house would become a nest of meth-heads and ne’er do wells? At one time, it was shiny as a new penny…

  8. gentlestitches says:

    Was that Mellencamp song played while the house was being demolished? I feel sorry for people who have to live near “neighbours” like that. I am glad you moved away. 🙂

    • It should have been playing! The real notorious drug house was a few more houses down the street from there. Funny thing, when I moved out, my new neighbors were another den of druggies… though they finally bailed out after 2 years when they got foreclosed on…

  9. draliman says:

    Did they check for addicts before they started demolition, I wonder?
    That would be a cool job, driving one of those into a house.

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