I can’t resist an abandoned house–that much, I promise you. But as much as I can’t resist an old derelict, I also can’t stand it when I cannot find the original history on a structure that promises a rich background, and that’s exactly what we have in this old house off Dixie.
I can tell you that this home appears to have been built in 1890 according to certain online resources (not verified). I can also tell you that the home was converted from a family dwelling into an office building for the B-T Energy Corp, an oil refinery, sometime in the 1970’s, abandoned in the 1990’s, and has been in a state of disrepair ever since. Twenty plus years of neglect–and likely, a bit of flooding and some less than-sturdy remodeling–have nearly finished the interior of the house, but despite it all, the brick exterior stands.
Take a walk with me again into another of yester-year’s mysteries, won’t you?
The scene upon walking up to this mysterious creature sitting quietly off US-31W just north of West Point. The area before the house looks like a parking lot, gravel and all. The overall structure of the house appears traditional to an older era–an L-shaped house, with the main house being the longer front portion and a smaller back portion coming off one side.
The house from the north side. Note the brick detailing over the door. My partner in exploration and I quickly determined this house dated back to the late 1800’s.
The photo above makes it clear that there was once a window of some size in the front center of the façade, as well as some sort of awning that has since fallen away, leaving only timbers jutting out over what would’ve been the old porch.
A full view of the house. Without the shrubbery of summer and spring, this house is suddenly starkly visible in white against the dreary brown of winter.
The remnants of the porch and evidence of the front door quickly prove that this entrance used to look much, much different.
Looking directly into the house via the front door–a shocking surprise as it became quickly obvious that the home was in a severe state of disrepair. Note that straight back, a passageway under the steps appears to lead to a back portion of the house.
Peering to the left, a very messy room is obvious beyond the 1980’s-esque wood panel remodeling. Reminiscent of an office entry, this was the second clue to what had occupied the house before its abandonment.
A tenuous step inside and a look through the secretary’s window revealed a remodeling job that ultimately gave way to gravity and the elements as the second floor now rests in the first. At the back wall, an old fireplace is obvious in the upstairs as is the wooden structure of the false wall that sits like a frame inside the brick skeleton of the original dwelling. Slats for the original crossbeams are visible to the right.
Moving toward the section of the house that wasn’t falling in, we quickly found ourselves in a front parlor with a chair waiting to greet us. Again, the plaster wall stands a good 1-2 feet off the original brick of the house.
One of the resounding questions from this trip is in the photo above. Three initials in a heart etched deep into what appears to be the original wall beg the question: was this the work of creative vandals…or that of the original owners?
From the front right room, we walked straight back into the back left room. Here the remnants of the 1980’s remodeling are even more apparent. Based on the walls, this appears to be original–or at least added soon after the main house was built.
Closer inspection reveals more cabinetry behind the plaster, just like in the front right room. What was kept in this house that required so much storage?
Walking through the back right room and taking a hard left, we made a U-turn into this room, which appears to have been divided with paneling into two rooms. This room is suspicious as it has very wide windows.
Straight ahead, a doorway leads into the door that we had initially noted under the steps in the foyer. As this area would be located straight behind the staircase, it begs the question: was the second floor on this side of the back of the house original?
The picture below answers the question almost without a shadow of a doubt. We exited the house via the room above and took a picture of the room directly as we stood outside. The room we had exited is on the lower left of the photo below.
Looking at the back of the house, this is a clear view of the back of the L-shaped structure. Note the original brick to the right and the wide windows to the left on the first floor. The upper portion of the left section appears to be sided, suggesting that the second floor was added later. This would explain why the window on the back of the staircase in the foyer was bricked in had an addition over the porch become necessary.
This is the back view of the house from the south, the portion that appears original. It also appears that on the right and back portions of the house, the second story remains intact, but there is no safe way to access the second floor nor is there any guarantee that it’d be safe to walk through, so we settled on surmising and speculating as to what lay out of our sight.
View from the south, or the right side as I’ve been calling it. Note the awning that has fallen and is bowed precariously over the ground at the side of the structure. Also note several large holes on this side of the house. We can only guess as to what caused those.
That sums up our adventures with the house. We decided to wander a bit farther to check out the surrounding area. Amongst several foundations that we noted along the way, we also found a large oil tanker, two pipelines leading down to the river, and what appears to be a partially submerged pier on the shore.
This was the only tank remaining, but based on the concrete foundations for other tanks nearby, it was clear that the area was once filled with them.
One of the two oil pipelines that appeared to run from the area where the tanks sat to the river. This is the northern most line.
On the river, this is a photo of what appeared to be a partially submerged pier, or if nothing else, some vital piece of the oil pipeline that leads into the river. Wheels and valves of some sort are visible on both ends of this structure, which runs parallel to the shore, disappearing into the murky Salt River on the side facing away from the shore.
Above is the northern-most pipeline and the rest of the submerged pier structure.
Two pipelines running through the overgrowth down to the river.
If you have any information regarding the house featured in the earlier part of this blog, please comment below. I’d be very curious to hear from anyone with a reliable, valid source of information.
I will soon have the full album of photos from this adventure posted to Flickr. Stay tuned for the link!