The Places We Used To Live

This morning I went to Caspar, the small town I spent a lot of my childhood in. They call it ‘the friendly ghost town’ and while people do live there, there are large numbers of abandoned buildings. Many of these date back to the days when Caspar was a lumber town, and I think it’s really sad to be losing this heritage.

Most of Caspar is for sale, including both abandoned buildings and residences currently in use. It has been for sale for a very long time; perhaps if it were priced more reasonably, people could afford to buy and rescue these buildings and all of this beautiful open space. As it is now, it’s a price that will primarily appeal to developers, which means that these structures will be razed and these meadows will be replaced with something sinister and ugly.

So I thought I’d better start taking pictures of the Caspar I know and love while it’s still here. Today I went to the southern part of town, to visit two houses I used to know; I didn’t live in them, but I spent some time in both of them and remember happier days there.

View down a rural road. Two houses, mostly overgrown, face off against each other. The ocean can be seen in the distance.

It’s hard to see in this image, but there are two houses here, staring across the road at each other. They are surrounded by meadows. Cows used to graze here but now they don’t and everything is overrun with weeds.

A house almost entirely overtaken with greenery. One broken window is visible at the top of the roofline.

This house used to have a riotous and rich garden which, as you can see, has taken advantage of the situation. It was also fully habitable not very long ago.

A rusting faucet for watering the garden.

The porch, covered in ivy. The house is a shingle house and many of the shingles are still in place.

I remember sitting on this porch and watching the sunset a few times.

An abandoned house with mailbox. Plants are making inroads.

My friend Clayton’s old house. This house is on land that was acquired by State Parks when the residents of Caspar were fighting to preserve the headlands. Since the Parks Department doesn’t really have a mechanism in place for managing rentals and the house needed some work, they were forced to move, and the house has been left to rot.

A view of a meadow looking out across a valley filled with trees.

The backyard, and the view from the bathroom. I remember one summer night, sitting in the bathtub with a cute girl and a bottle of champagne, looking out across this very view alive with lanterns and people and dancing. All felt right with the world.

A vine snaking under a door.

Creepers are winding through every door and window.

Down the road, a structure that is not abandoned, but is definitely in need of some care:

A brick wall with a metal X in the middle of it. Cream coloured paint has been used to liberally cover both.

It’s unusual to see brick structures around here; this is the original Company Store. This building was given a very pricey remodel over 10 years ago to turn it into a recording studio and doesn’t appear to have gotten much attention since.

Basement access in the same brick building from the previous photo, with a big wooden door on rollers.

Basements are also somewhat unusual; it’s a little hard to tell here but there are actually stairs leading below ground level.

Matching brass doorhandles. One is covered in a heavy patina and the other is not.

I suspect that one of these doors is regularly used and the oil from people’s hands keeps the patina away.