There are a few shows on television where houses, cabins and barns are jacked up and moved, or dismantled, sold and rebuilt elsewhere.
Usually this Catskills photographer says to himself ‘they never do that here.’ However, over the past few years I have seen a number of houses raised and either moved or set on new and higher foundations.
I believe most of this activity is connected with severe flooding that occurred back in 2011 during a horrendous storm.
This house is in the town of Prattsville, one of several particularly hard hit in my part of the Catskills. Immediately following the storm, to travel past Prattsville required a series of squirrely detours. Things were that bad there.
Driving through Prattsville, once you could, was nothing less than heartbreaking. My wife would cry. I would say ‘don’t look.’ But then, I’ve never been one for rubbernecking.
As a result, I’ve never stopped to take photos here. Perhaps part of me wishes I had, because over time those photos would tell the love story so many here have for their town.
It’s one thing to stumble across a neglected barn or hotel on the side of the road; another altogether to chase ambulances. Did that metaphor work?
This beautiful old structure has probably been neglected for years – since long before the storm. I confess, I don’t know the history.
Now, all of a sudden, it’s been jacked up. I hope it won’t be moved. I hope this historic home will stay in Prattsville, elevated on a new, higher foundation.
Look at the detail. See the beauty through the decay, damage and neglect. Clearly, whoever has spent the money to bring the project this far along (rather than invest in gasoline and matches or a bulldozer) also sees the value.
Even if they move it, to save it somewhere else, I’m ok with that. It’s like a barn or log cabin that’s no longer needed or an old chrome diner that can’t survive where it is, and is sold to be restored and put in service elsewhere.
Preserving history somehow is better than not preserving it at all. Whatever happens next to this structure will be inspired at least in part by love.