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Archive for February, 2008

12719 Grandin, was discovered in rubble on the evening of February 19, 2008. It was one of my absolute favorites.

This house was one of my top five for photographing… I’m even working on a painting of the light coming in so perfectly through the broken white-framed windows. It was such a beautiful house… one I would have liked to live in. It was ornate, but not overdone. It had a wonderful chandalier in the dining room that was hanging at an angle which I took an innumerable number of shots of just to get that one, perfect photo. The best part of the house was the light and how much light came in through the living room windows glowing bright on the floor. The broken glass on the ground cast sparkling illuminations  across the opposite walls and ceiling. It was one of the very few houses that I felt absolutely comfortable inside.

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4246 Manteca was taken on Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

I was saddened by the sight of the bulldozer parked in the front lawn of 4246 Manteca on Saturday for many reasons. This house has been abandoned for over 2 years now, but it seemed like such a nice place for the longest time. It was one of those houses that, if someone decided, “Never mind- everyone can move back now!,” then this house would have been in ready to be a cozy home again. I waited much of Monday to see if they would come and take the house, but they too must have President’s Day off. The house was completely gone when I went to check on the evening of February 19th. Although the bedrooms looked as though they belonged to children, the outside seemed to be a home for a happy elderly couple who was into gardening. Particularly, the great arbor in the backyard that had an ancient wisteria vine winded throughout. The vine itself was so thick it might have been planted in Carrollton’s honeymoon years. For going years without trimming or pruning, this vine had taken over the entire yard and was well underway its masterplan to take over all of Manteca. (more…)

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12782 Celburne was the victim on St. Valentines Day 2008.

My friend Carol once dubbed this place the ‘Rat Trap.’ It had been abandoned in my whole working memory, and Carol couldn’t recall the last time she saw people call this place home. Evidentially, 12782 had been abandoned for many years, possibly since the Cordin/Allenhurst buyouts that started 10 years ago or more (that section was emptying out while I was in high school). The fact that the house was painted in the most neutral and boring shades of tan which matched the tan brick didn’t help the overall appearance and minimized any reverence for the place.

If any of the houses were tied up in some kind of never-ending court issue, this had to be one of them. Its been empty for so long, that the windows couldn’t be any more broken out and the place didn’t have a free spot from graffiti. It was one that got tagged with a swastika, but the garage door where the foul mark existed was broken and twisted beyond recognition in its final few months. In the garden that once existed just outside the living room window, a weed was allowed to go into a 5 foot tree. Driving past on the evening of Valentine’s Day, I was shocked to see the bulldozer in the middle of the yard with no other indication that a house was once there other than a thin strip of driveway left for the following day’s work.

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12764 and 12760 Woodford Way both destroyed on Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2008.

I knew they were gone before I got there. Yet, as I drove by that Thursday, I was in complete disbelief. They were favorites of mine. They some of my staples to photograph. When I had no idea what to take shots of next, I would come back to them. Every time I shoot them, even if I would frame them up exactly as I had done once before, I would get very different looks from them. Some of my best pictures yet came from their roof lines and siding edges, their wildly overgrown plants, and the angles from their collapsed awnings. I don’t exactly know when these houses were abandoned, by I do know it was around late 2006. I have pictures of them in better times to go with the pictures of their pathetic final days.

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Friday, February 8th was the day 4095 Weskan was taken.

When I first started the photographic part of this project in 2006, I didn’t want to interfere or intrude upon any homeowners who still remained. I avoided this small part of Weskan for this reason… to give them their privacy. They moved out soon after I started this blog, last October, from the “free stuff” photo of their front yard. The house itself is a cute yellow suburban home, predictable yet easily and comfortably livable. In fact, the three houses left on Weskan could be summarized in this way…. for that reason, this street has become a new favorite area of mine. Aside from some broken windows, the three houses in this section were mainly untouched. They are starting to show many more signs of neglect, but they are not victim to the vandalism more hidden streets like Manteca has seen, nor have these homes experienced the level of weirdness as the house on Ralls. No, in fact, these houses at first were boring in their inabilty to stand out. Be it that they are an untouched rarity in the disparaging neighborhood, or final nearly-preserved examples of what Carrollton houses were truly like, they are starting to draw my photographic eye in for a closer look. Although the yellow 4095 Weskan house is now gone, the last two are getting more attention.

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3909 and 3905 Bondurant was destroyed on Wednesday, Feb. 6th, 2008.

When Mike had his home built in Carrollton, he decided, “What the hell, why not get two?”

Mike and his wife are friends of my mom and the owner of the last home(s) of someone in Carrollton I personally knew. I know he lived in the brown brick house but I am not exactly sure who lived in the other home he owned, right next door. He was also the second to last homeowner on Carrollton’s north side to leave and I could tell he sorely did not want to go.

From time to time he would see photographing and bid me caution in my roaming of the area, as well as his luck on my various projects. Each time he sees me, he stops to ask when I am going to have an art show (it will be soon, Mike!). He and his wife are good people with a sense of humor who didn’t want to see their beloved longtime homes disappear. Their two familiar houses at the bottom of my street always seemed like the flagstone of the neighborhood. Mike himself was the friendly guardian of the area, keeping a protective eye on things until the very end. Even as a kid on some kind of late night prowling (perhaps to TP the homes of friends) I would use caution slipping past his house… somehow, I knew someone there was watching.

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14832 Ralls was taken on Monday, Jan. 28. Yes, it was the crazy hold-out house with all the weird crap. I took some interior shots the day before it was destroyed. All the paint cans, propane tanks, etc. that filled whole rooms were gone. The house was just as odd on the inside as it was on the outside- you can clearly see how it was boarded up from the inside. The house was added on to and adjusted so much that the floorplan was nowhere close to any other in Carrollton. Even the bedrooms had some kind of kitchen-like cabinetry hung on the walls (there were cabinets everywhere). In addition to his fondness for paint, the owner must have been some kind of hoarder…. especially if he needed cabinets hung in every room.

Friday, Feb. 1st was the day 4250 Cameo was destroyed. This was another house where the owner was a hold-out, but not in the same fight’em way as the Ralls type. This guy just simply stayed put. The airport expansion team had finally evicted him in November 07, close to a year after he received his check (typically, you’re given 3 months or more if you apply for an extension, and you’re given the date of when you will receive your check 3 months in advance). Many of his belongings remained outside the house for a week after his eviction. Rumor has it that after the guy got his check, he had his roof looked at to have a new roof replaced and did some other maintenance on the home as well. They say his car was still parked there even after they cut his electricity. He simply did not believe he would have to leave. The day I noticed his stuff in the yard, I also noticed arrows on the house highlighting some interesting landmarks. My guess is that he wanted to let the demolition crew know that there were some pretty important stuff around the house that needed to be preserved, should they otherwise overlook them. Items to avoid complete destruction included a rose bush on the side of the home and a wren house built above the garage. Their prudent locations were marked with silvery arrows in spray paint.

Well, at least its February now so hopefully the wrens were gone. Not so much hope for the roses.

One last note- I was told that they haven’t received any demo permits recently, therefore things will be rather quite for a while again. The reason being many of the remaining houses (especially the ones on the south side) are tied up in court over asbestos removal issues. I guess that would explain why some houses are left vacant for years while others go down only a few months after they are abandoned. They have capped off the water and sewer lines for three houses in the past two weeks, but that is an unreliable indicator given its a different company handling it.

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