Inside the Main Building
The first room we enter is completely bare—not much fun there. The floor is reasonably stable, although it’s in a noticeable bad state. My paranoia made me walk only where I’m sure there’s a good support (easily identified because you can’t see the basement through the bent floorboards)
To the left there’s a door, which used to be the storage area for the hardware store—nails, hammers, screwdrivers, you name it. If you look closely you can see some empty shelves.
Moving to the doorway, we can see both the walls and the door are in a terrible state, so this is as far as I go in this room.
The floor is horrid, with gaping holes and entire floorboards missing. The doors to the basement are completely off, and god knows where the ladder to it went. There’s an abandoned bottle of champagne or wine laying gathering dust.
Here’s a closer look at the basement, with junk from years acting as a trash bin. My dog fell down there a few years back and, somehow, got back up all on her own, using that plank of wood you see in the hole—how she did it, we don’t know, because she’s a big German shepherd, but it’s true. A friend of the family saw it all (he’s in one of the pictures.)
Now we move to another room but let me first show you photos from five years back. These photos show the main area of the hardware store, where the customers entered to buy whatever they needed. After the store was abandoned and for the following thirty years, this was the easiest place to store whatever my family wanted to keep but didn’t know where. There was everything here, including a boat and oars.
This photo shows the underside of the counter, still filled with boxes, bottles, and papers (most of them receipts)
Again, the customer area, but this time the part were the customers actually stood. The quality is not so good, remember this is a Sony Mavica that doesn’t even compare to nowadays’ cameras for inside photography
Here you can see a bit of the shelves and the other part of the counter, still filled with everything as if my grandfather had just closed the store one busy day and left for good. It was in this room that you really got the feeling of where you were, that people had practically lived here, that they had worked here for nearly 50 years. You could feel my great-grandfather and my grandfather here.
And this is how it looks nowadays, after the wrath of my relative and the passiveness of the rest of us swept past it.
Everything is gone.
The shelves, seemingly endless, completely empty. Only a box or two and a bunch of papers are left in the counter.
I’m not saying we should make this thing a museum—I know there’s danger of cave in or falling down to the basement—you can see the state of this building in every room, but it still makes me incredibly sad to see all this go.
Moving to the next room, and trying to leave the nostalgia for a time I never lived in behind (I’m only 25), here’s a photo of the Main office from five years back. This room was easily seen as the one the Head and Boss of everything worked—there was a safe, and shelves with papers (and even more boxes with nails and lightbulbs) as well as this incredible desk.
This is the desk, and besides the safe (too heavy to move) it’s the only thing that remains in this room. All papers from the desk are gone, which even though I know where only business papers, still makes me feel sad because they were my grandfather’s.
One of the things I’ve been berating myself about, calling me stupid on a daily basis, is not taking this 1959 calendar with me before. Now that I look closely at it, it seems to say it’s not only 1959 but seems to say 1949-1960. Maybe it was a kind of perpetual calendar?
This is the safe I was talking about. It weights a ton, and I’m not surprised to still find it there. (I am surprised, though, to find that after all this years, the floors hasn’t given out.)
The room to my right leads to the outside—its’ the one with the door that had a gaping hole next to it.
This is how it looked five years back.
The door has now been left wide open and in these photos taken alternatively from outside and inside, you’ll see that the floor is not giving out—it already has.
Something that is easily seen in this picture. See why we didn’t go into this room? It was completely empty anyway.
The extremely cool thing about this room, though, is when you look above. Ignoring the missing brick on the ceiling, we look at the wall—and the decoration on it is still beautifully preserved. It was all hand-painted (hand-drawn, I should say) and you can see some stray flowers in some walls all over the place, where I’d like to think was some big hand practicing or some little hand trying to imitate.
You’ll notice by now that the rooms are all one next to the other, like all old houses. The next room is easily the most disgusting one.
By the shape, I’ll say it was some sort of inside grill, or something relating to old hardware stores that I’m not privy in. The darkened walls and rotten wood, all from years from leaking rain, made me leave this room quick enough.
Following a door that looks downright heavenly compared to the last room, we go into the next room, but I stop at the door, and what obviously looks as metallic bars added later in life. What compelled my grandfather and his family to put them? Did they have a break in? Also, I’m amazed that one of the doors still have all glass panes intact.
In any case, we go into the next room and we come to the room that, five years back, was our entrance to the main building. (The one where the ground developed a hole just outside) One of the shingles at the end of this hallway is tied with wire so an apt hand could take it off and move inside.
But what does impress me about this room is the comparison I make to five years back. It’s a terrible photograph, but you can see just how full it was. Bricks, bags of mixture for cement, more wood, buckets of paint, even some old gasoline.
But looking up again we see the charred wood from an old fire, crumbling walls and gaping holes in the ceiling, so it’s (again) understandable why this has to be torn down.
Not all roofs are in that terrible state, though. If we ignore the light coming in from the wall crack in the back, all this roof has is the wear of years. See the nails in the wood and the wear around them?
And that’s it for the inside. We make our way back out again and notice something in the very first room we never did:
And old, small fireplace had passed absolutely hidden from us. It’s gathered lots of dust and the wood just in front of it has crumbled like the best, so I’m going to venture that in other years, homeless people have lighted it up and slept just by it in cold nights—which also explains the missing floorboards.
And that’s it for the inside. We close the door…
…and have a sudden flashback at how it looked five years back (ignore my dad in the photograph)
We prepare to leave by covering with shingles all holes in the wall
And I take one look at the grounds
The outside shows as much wear as the inside, though it certainly puts a much braver face that it actually is.
And, as always, I am left staring at this door. To my right, our entrance, where the trucks used to enter, and the train tracks. To my left, the street in the picture above. I am left picturing how this door must have looked in its day, when my family had just opened the store and when it was the go-to place in the neighborhood if you needed light bulbs, screws, or maybe bigger machinery. I live in a small town that is slowly being taken over by modern life—our McDonalds is less than a decade old, and we don’t have a cinema. This building has been a statement all my life, that my old town is still hidden somewhere, among crumbling walls and missing floorboards, lying under a pile of dusty papers that had frozen that moment in time.
I guess all I have left now is one thing: that even through the tearing down of this building, even if something modern and made of glass and plastic comes here, I’ll have these photographs as a statement that, at least somewhere, this time in my town that has not been lost into oblivion.