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October 30, 2015

Today's Before and After Friday is bittersweet.
There are a few amazing restorations but also
several sad stories.

We're all familiar with the deterioration of historic
communities in Detroit but this picture says it all:
The top photo shows a row of beautiful homes in the early 1900's
and the bottom photo shows the same street scene today.

Located in Alton, Illinois, this 135 year old house has stood
empty for over 50 years.  How does this happen?!

The photo, below left, shows the majestic staircase in the
Gwrych castle in Abergaele, Denbighshire, Wales in 1891:
The photo, right, shows the abandoned staircase today.

Halcyon Hall of Bennett College, Millbrook, NY:

Halcyon Hall was built as a luxury hotel in 1890 but closed in
1901.  It later became Bennett School for Girls which grew into
Bennett College.  The school went bankrupt and closed in 1978.

Historic Arlington Plantation in Natchez, Mississippi, in 1934:
The decaying mansion, today:

Before we get too maudlin about the sad neglect of such architecturally
interesting homes, let's take a look at some houses that were salvaged.

This Victorian house once belonged to Nashville composer John W. Work
and was restored by the Columbus, Ohio-based firm Moody-Nolan :


A San Rafael, California, mansion, before:
 The amazing after:

This landmark was purchased and restored by a non-profit
group and is now an asset to the community:

Not all older Detroit homes have been
neglected.  This one was restored:

Thankfully this Victorian brownstone was restored to its original glory:

The top photo was taken in 1973 and the bottom
photo shows the family who bravely saved it.

This Rochester, NY, storefront received a loving renovation:

Felt mansion, Holland, Michigan, before:
 A close up of the mansion at its worst: 
The mansion after restoration:
A close up of the mansion, after:

The Governor's Mansion in Austin, Texas, following an arsonist's fire in 2008:
 The restored mansion today:

A sad decaying plantation in Bolivar County, Mississippi, before:

The beautiful house, after - stunning!

Originally, as a Halloween post, I was going to show decaying mansions
that have descended into abandoned haunted houses but it was just too
depressing.  I needed to see restoration and happiness.  The people
and groups who rescue historic treasures are true architectural heroes.

Have a fun and safe Halloween and, remember -
bring cats, especially black cats, indoors on Saturday night.
Some trick-or-treaters can be cruel to our feline friends.

1 comment:

  1. Unfortunately the restoration of these houses costs a lot of money, millions in many cases. I wish I had a practical solution as, like you, I hate to see them in decline.