A post in rural_ruin a few days ago about the Tatham Hotel in Kentucky inspired me to finally get together my photos and make a post here about this old hardware store that was abandoned mid 1960s. I live in a small town, so it's a quiet street by night and the fact that it’s by the train tracks means many homeless people have been using it as lodgings during the night and leave during the day for years now, which is the reason why it was messy and abandoned for so long.
The Ferrari & sons Hardware Store, as it was originally called, opened mid 1930s and closed down around forty years later. It was original owned by my great-grandfather, my grandfather and his three brothers and one sister. All but one has died now, so the building is shared by sons and nephews, which makes the handling it a big affair. It’s up on the market for sale now and while I’ll always have hopes for it to be restored and turned into something else, the floors and walls are much too damaged to do anything else with it but demolish it. It makes me incredibly sad, so I went in a bit of an expedition to photograph it thoroughly. I went with my dad, my dogs and a friend of the family, so if you see a head or furry legs in two or three photos, it’ll be the overactive creatures that can’t stand still long enough.
The Grounds and The Porch
Having such a big blank wall by the train tracks of course attracts political propaganda
If in the previous photo you’d have looked to your left, you’d have seen this. The building is huge, and has five doors to the street (one is not in this picture)
You’ll excuse the crowded photograph, dogs and all, but it’s the only one I have of the entrance. I was handling two cameras, a Digital Kodak DX7590 and an Canon EOS RebelG (non digital, old fashioned. So much love!) so while I have a print photo of the entrance, I have non digital. Sorry.
Anyway, while we have the keys to the street doors, it’s much safer entering through what once was the vehicle entrance. The wood floors inside are very dilapidated and you’ll never know what you’ll find--or where you'll end up.
Upon entering and looking to your very left, you see this, which is the main building,
And this. We’ll returned to the main building later, let me tell you about these ‘barns’ first.
While years ago this was filled with old tables, planks of wood and machines (tractors, etc) in these later years one of the daughters of the original owners has started emptying it all, so everything that to the common man would be considered junk it’s gone.
Around ten years ago or so, we were awoken in the middle of the night by neighbors—one of the ‘barns’ had caught fire. The fire turned out to be in one old wooden cart that had grown out of control, but still easily controllable. The firemen had to be called, but there was nothing and no one hurt, so the incident passed. You can still see the black marks in the wall in one of the barns, easily seen in this picture.
When you exit the barn, you have two options. You can look at your left, where the main building is:
(again, excuse the crowded photo)
Or you can look at your right, where there’s a small shelter that was built for the carts and smaller machines.
The shelter is completely void of everything except this extremely cool old wooden cart, dating well back to the 30s or 40s.
You can see it better with the flash on
As I turned round the leave the shelter, I had to snap a photo of the view.
To the left of the shelter is the dilapidated entrance to a another part of the grounds, which once upon a time had a gate to divide it all. The gate is long gone, having been out in the elements for so long, but the wall is still there, though for how much longer no one knows.
The inside of the separate sort of patio is overgrown with weeds and trees that must’ve been saplings in my grandfather’s time, so there wasn’t much to photograph except a mysterious blank in the middle of all the weeds and shrubs. You can see the shingles at the back of the photo, which has served as wall for years, separating the train tracks from our grounds.
Here’s a better detail of the wall so you can see how old it is—you’ll excuse the detail, but I have a thing for old walls and extremely green plants on it.
As I walk away from it, I take a general photo of the entrance to the second patio. You can see the shelter to the left.
But let’s go back to the main attraction, the main building. The man in the photo? We like that man, because he was opening a very tricky makeshift door for us to get inside. So he needs to be in the picture.
So while he opens the door we look at our right. Past that wall used to be the original loose shingle we used to get inside, but that part has now developed a nasty hole in the ground large enough for a grown man to break a leg, so we had to find another way in.
The fact that it’s impossibly overgrown with weed doesn’t help either.
The door is open, but I’m attracted to an old window by it. It used to have a frame and a proper window with glass panes, I’m sure, but years of having it broken in by homeless people have taken it down.
Leaning inside we find the planks of wood that were once used to cover the Big Hole In The Wall, resting quietly on top of a pile of junk that has survived the cleaners—most rooms used to look like this before my relative came sweeping down with everything.
Looking a bit to the right we find that things were once attached to the wall. A shelf on top, maybe, a sink or even a stove on the floor? Our reigning theory is that this was the kitchen.
Looking to the left we have a clearer view of the junk, which in the case is old wood and the remnants of the wall that has fallen down. You’ll see why, even though it saddens me, I understand why this building has to be taken down: if you don’t fall through the floor, a wall comes down on you.
By the door we’re about to go through there’s another hole in the wall, but it’s a lot smaller and less fun: it leads only to a small empty room, and to nothing that could be photographed.
But let’s go inside.
Upon entering, the first thing you see is this, which is the door that leads to the inside of the building.
If we compare to a photo taken about five years back (With a Sony Mavica, so the quality is a lot worse) you can see just how much things have changed.
Here’s a general view of the area, old well included. Pass the well to the left is the door to the outside, and the open doors to the right is the door from the picture above. The area we’ re in now I kind of an open gallery, like the porch of a house. It’s closed off with shingles now, leaving only a small window over the well to peer from outside, but once upon a time it used to have proper walls around it, making it more of an extra room to store small things that wouldn’t be ruined by being out in the elements
Here’s a better view of the well and the window to the outside
The next shot shows just how much junk was in the floor in previous years. Now I’m kinda sorry I never grabbed that license plate and saved it.
Alright, I’ll admit it. I’m including this picture merely because I like it. Also, to show the amount of life those bricks have nowadays. That should be red, not green.
The inside of the well isn’t faring much better than the outside. What was once smooth wall, is now playfield for all kind of plants.
I lean in to look at the inside, and I have to admit I’m excited, because it’s the first time I’m this close to a real well. Yay. Hem, ignoring that, we can see the well actually looks like a bottomless pit, which would be useful the day I go to China. But…
… if I take my flashlight and illuminate the bottom, my camera can focus and snap a nice picture. We can see lots of junk around, the most noticeable being and old barrel.
This is the window above, from which we have a nice view of the grounds (and of my dog’s behind, sorry)
The ‘porch’ we’re in has another door leading to the inside, wide open as it can be. The wall is crumbling, leaving a gaping hole. You’ll see later why we didn’t use this door to enter.
If we take a closer look at the first door we can see the inside--which is where we’re going.
(The photographs sum up to around 70, so I'm posting it in two parts. Second Part coming right after this one)