House of Dislocation

I accidentally stumbled upon this shrub ensnared abandonment in a hardscrabble Vermont town, and decided to stop and take a look. This slumping and fading edifice was thematic. The portrait of town is a sad one. What was once a profitable industrial hub has been reincarnated as a sordid and depressed community.

At one time, the solemn property contained a few blue collar business on street level, with the upper levels awkwardly converted into several apartments accessible by a wobbly network of staircases that climb the back of the building. Inside is leprous with water damage, mold and lead paint that rains down onto the floors.

When I explore these locations, I like to perform less than scientific forensic analyses to do a little urban archaeology, to find evidence of human habitation and demise through the relics left behind and external historical research. Using observation, I do some on site assessments and try to piece parts of the story together. In this case, I discovered a sense of pathos amidst the foul odors and animal feces; there was eerie evidence of recent human life, and there was a story to every corner in this place. 

The entire building is anything but abandoned, it’s been reclaimed by squatters. Each apartment belonged to someone, through some sort of unwritten social agreement, with dirty mattresses and crumpled sheets in each unit. Some had small osculating fans that were actually plugged into wall sockets, and one apartment had several printed Kodak film photographs of strangers, quite a few of them were children, and the photos looked shockingly recent.

But my creepiest find was in the dark, dank basement, an eerie space that held several old walk in coolers and meat freezers that were glistening with fetid brown ooze and filth. I noticed that many of them had also been converted into bedrooms as well, with more mattress pads and bunched up piles of moldering blankets discarded into corners. I decided not to hang around for that long, just in case a current resident decided to head home.

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