Posts tagged decay.
Among the many myths and legends ingrained in our childhood memories, none ever seemed to inspire the level of intrigue and fascination as those ghastly tales of the haunted abandoned mansion or decrepit old building that plagued the imaginations of our youth. The stuff of legend indeed, yet as we have moved forward into the new century those myths and tales have increasingly become works of fiction as the creepy old mansions and homes to which these myths and legends were based have largely become a thing of the past.
During a long afternoon of rural exploration with Brian (vanishingsouthgeorgia.com), I had the opportunity to visit one of these increasingly rare behemoths that have become the archetype of countless childhood ghost stories and folklore. The Harville House has an actual history that captures the imagination just as much as the mysterious tales that have come to surround its existence. A historical marker has been erected recently on site that explains its early history. You can read it here.
I have been especially intrigued by some of the various personal accounts of the family that have been shared online by long time residents of the community. The “Harville Sisters”, the last living of Keebler Harville’s eleven children, last occupied the house during the 1960’s. The period during their residency may have provided the basis for some of the later mysterious rumors associated with the house, most likely due to the sibling’s supposed reputation as a couple of eccentric spinsters (neither were ever married) both with an equally odd demeanor. Nevertheless, the two sisters were evidently always held in high regard within the community. One memorable account offers some brief insight:
“Dr. Bohler would make house calls to the two sisters in the house. said it was neat as a pen and they would be dressed like made up china dolls without a wrinkle in bed spread!” (courtesy of joe, vanishingsouthgeorgia.com).
The last of the Harville family passed in the early ‘70’s, leaving the house abandoned. I was told that afterward it eventually gained favor among the college crowd and became well known as an ideal out-of-town party destination for a while (must have been great having such easy access to these places back then. I envy the Gen X’ers. They don’t realize how great they had it :)
So here we are 50 years since this place was last occupied. And as I observe the number of ‘no trespassing’ signs dotting the property while at the same time staring in awe at the dilapidated mansion standing on the hill, I feel much like I did when I was little; so enlightened yet so hesitant to approach any further over the fear of what will lie ahead. Only this time I’m not concerned with encountering a ghost, but more likely just a disgruntled property owner with an overzealous 2nd amendment fetish…
Despite my current paranoia of confronting armed landowners (justifiably so), I’ve read from several others that the owners were open to talking with visitors, and mentioned that they were hoping to begin restorations on the house soon (are in the process now). Looks like they will be at it a while. I’ll check back in another year or two.
Zuiko 50mm f1.8 (aperture jammed, corrected for color & exposure)
Fujifilm Superia X-tra 400
Bulloch County, GA