Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Capturing the Past Before it's Gone

Do you have any regrets about not saying or doing something before someone you loved passed?  I feel that way about old houses.  I'll see an old house that is in danger of being demolished.  I think to myself "next time I'll stop."  Inevitably the next time I pass by the beautiful old house is gone.

To prevent any further sense of regret I carry a camera with me everywhere I go.  No longer will I pass an old house that is a testament to history and not stop to record its existence.  No longer will I say "If only I had stopped..."

The truth is many historic homes are in danger of demolition.  We pass by them all the time in our communities.  Perhaps we can't do anything to stop their decay or inevitable demolition but we can stop to preserve their existence for posterity.

Here are a few snapshots of dying houses that I have captured recently in Norfolk County, Massachusetts.  They may not be beautiful to you now but once upon a time they were new and elegant. At least these few won't be forgotten.


  1. Those houses are gorgeous! I love every one of them!

  2. Good point, Marian. One of the reasons I've started taking pictures of all the graves in Mt Vernon Cemetery was because many of them are deteriorating badly. I also had been planning to take photos of the old houses in the town but hadn't started yet. Thanks for reminding me that I should get going on that now!

  3. As always, I am so impressed with "you" genealogists! I would love to see your house, gravestone and other documentation projects done in collaboration with some local archivists. At the very least, those photos of historic houses you take could deserve a home in a formal repository. wonder if Norfolk has any other visual record of those homes?

  4. Ah, good story! In Londonderry they just tore down a firehouse that was built by volunteers in the 1950s. It was no big architechture loss, and the new one is magnificent. However, it was full of stories, and some of the same men who built it were around to tell the tales, and they found beer bottles and other objects in the foundations that made everyone laugh. Now I wish I had taken before and after photos, and written down the stories.

  5. Too true about the loss of historic houses. There is incredible pressure here in Virginia, and I'm certain I shouldn't be taking our historic houses for granted, either. Great idea!