Faded White

The story of this rural Victorian begins way back on January 30th, 1857 in rural Ireland, with the marriage of Katherine O’Malley and James Drew.  The young couple immigrated and settled in New York for a brief time before purchasing land in Glenwood Township, Iowa.  James devoted his life to clearing, improving and developing this same plot of land and together, Mr. and Mrs. Drew would raise 12 children on its beloved ground.

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After spending a childhood helping his father on the homestead and becoming familiar with the farming trade, Mike J. Drew joined his father and brothers before being gifted his own quarter section of the property.  In the spring of 1890, he married Miss Jane Sexton, also the daughter of two Irish Immigrants and fellow farmers.  While raising 8 children of his own,  Mike would become very well known in Madison township as a prosperous farmer and respected businessman.

The youngest of his daughters, Lucy Marie Drew, was born on the farm in June of 1909.  She would continue on the legacy of the beloved family farm by spending the duration of her life tending to it with her brothers and caring for both of her parents until their own deaths in 1932 and 1960.  Living out her 90 years in the family home, Lucy would be the last person to cherish the beautiful Victorian that generations before her had lived, loved, and died in.

Sitting empty since sometime in late 1999, the beautiful white Victorian is waiting patiently for someone to show it the same love and attention it had spent generations basking in.  With each passing year, nature creeps closer and closer to it’s complete takeover.

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Upon stepping over the front threshold, it takes no more than a second to see how much love and attention went into the creation of this home.  A vast wooden staircase and intricately carved pocket doors are your welcoming sight.  Even covered in years of dust and cobwebs, the house is instantly remarkable.

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The vintage furniture, rusting radiators, and peeling paint sit and create a lonely image of decay… Vague reminders of a family that once loved these walls so immensely.

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In many ways, the house remains a time capsule.  A servants staircase can be seen branching off a collapsing kitchen; another set of stairs leading into the dark abyss of a basement.  Tattered remains of lace curtains hang from upstairs windows and vintage crystal light fixtures still hold on to the crumbling walls.

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Past a dark curved staircase leading to the attic above, a bathroom with nothing but a vintage toilet and a single light fixture can be found.  It seems likely that this house has never known truly modern amenities and with the advanced stages of decay at the rear of the house, it likely never will.

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A house like this, with so much time, attention and love obviously put into every little detail, shouldn’t be subjected to a world where these same things are no longer valued.  It isn’t hard to imagine it meeting the cruel fate of modernization; someone ripping out all the antique light fixtures, removing the pocket doors, and painting the beautiful mahogany trim a stark white.

In the end, maybe it is better this way.  It may have been left to decay, but this home has certainly seen enough love to carry it through it’s entire lifetime.

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3 thoughts on “Faded White

  1. Rich Lewis December 10, 2016 / 5:01 AM

    These houses are so sad and when you know the history, it is even sadder because you see the presence of this woman and her family in all of these photographs. I find the photo of the sconce very moving. It’s something that showed the taste of the person who put it there. It is in perfect shape, yet the wall is not. Artifacts like this one are particularly interesting and moving.

    Like

  2. taphian December 25, 2016 / 1:27 AM

    Beautiful photos of a very special place

    Like

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