The Best of Abandoned in Virginia – Week 2

Here are more of the best contributed images to Abandoned in Virginia on Facebook, culled from the flood of images that poured in during the page’s second week online.

My next blog post will feature a collection of my own photos posted to the page last year.

Many thanks to all of the contributors for these great photographs!

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in Amelia County. on the land now used as a Wildlife Management Area, by Barbara Lennard Scott
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ust off of Rt. 6, west of Richmond, by Pete Engel
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in Richmond, by Bobby Hudson
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unknown location and contributor
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in Bland County, by Linda Mullennex
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in Southwest Virginia, by Bobby Boyd Amateur Photography
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in Newport, by Dale Stephens
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in Lovettsville, by Chuck Fedorko
former Augusta Military Academy, in Fort Defiance, from Among the Ruin
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in Montvale area, by Wanda Richards
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in Shenandoah, by Larry Painter
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Old Mountfair School on Blackwells Hollow Rd, Western Albemarle County, by Dale Johnson
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Civil War era home in Chesapeake near Dismal Swamp, by Dianna McGuriman Keen
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along Monrovia Rd in Orange County, by Anna Larsen Porter
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in Powhatan, by Wade Johnson
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old general store / train station. in Wildwood, Fluvanna County, by Sharen Montgomery
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Swannanoa Palace, by Stacy Knighton
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back alley in Martinsville, by Darrin R. Doss
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Kents Store, by Phil Jones
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Thessalia Community, Giles County, by David Ferrell
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outside of Lebanon, Russell County, by Danielle Smith Kiser
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Victorian home, complete with turrets, gingerbreading, turned posts. This home built 1897, Round Hill, by Photos of Lehigh Valley
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the back of an abandon church at sunrise. Loudoun county, by Sheri Knauer
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in Gordonsville area, by Cathy Hoyt
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Alberene, by Fred Schneider
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Loudoun County, by Sheri Knauer
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in Hamilton, by Sheri Knauer
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Somewhere in King William County, by Rick Kidd
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in Vernon Hill, by Michael Schmitt
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Outside of Leesburg near Oatlands Plantation, by John James Sugar Donaldson
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Near Graham Forge, by Regina Lane O’Dell
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in Louisa County, by Arthur Peerson Wood
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unknown location and contributor
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“Virginia Dairy” Truck …Columbia,VA, by Rick Stillings
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Selma Plantation in Leesburg, by Sheri Knauer
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in Lunenburg County, by Lewis R Rash
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Old Mill, Near Graham Forge, by Regina Lane O’Dell
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in Pungo, by Coddie Russell Hann
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the Pungo house in winter, by an unknown contributor
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along Rt. 3 in King George County, by Mike Mercer
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James City, by tART – Photography & Art by Terry Rowe
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The Mitchell House in Bedford County, aka “Oakland”

I have driven by this stately old home near Bedford countless times over the past several decades and always found it fascinating.  It’s probably the oldest house along Rt. 460 between Lynchburg and Roanoke, and back in the 1980’s, I would frequently see its apparent lone occupant sitting on the side porch.   After many years, I never saw the old man again, and it soon became obvious that the house was abandoned.

The Mitchell House in 2004 in a drive-by photo…

In November of 2012, I finally paid a visit to the house and shot several photos, including of the family cemetery around back.  I also at the time learned through Facebook friend and local history “detective” W. Scott Smith that this house was built in 1826 by Dr. Thomas Mitchell.   It turns out that the old man on the side porch was Dr Mitchell’s descendant, a Mr. Grayson Mitchell, who passed away in 1994, and whose grave is among those in the family cemetery.  Dr. Mitchell and his wife Ann are also buried in the cemetery.  Ann’s small gravestone is still legible, but only Dr. Mitchell’s first name (Thomas) is visible on his stone.    (Correction 1/9/15:   The Thomas and Ann Mitchell buried in the family cemetery on the property are actually children of Dr. Thomas Mitchell’s son John Saunders Mitchell)

Dr. Mitchell’s office also sat on the property, in a small building along the roadside in the right corner of the front yard, which has now collapsed.    Demolished structures included a separate kitchen, slave/servant quarters, an ice house and a stable.  A small smokehouse still stands in the back yard.

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From a DHR submission (which also cites Bedford Villages Lost and Found, Vol. I):
Oakland was built in 1826 by Dr. Thomas Mitchell for his bride, Ann Dandridge Saunders, daughter of Col. David Saunders of ‘Pleasant Grove’.  The doctors’ office was a small one-story, one-room, side-gable frame building with beaded weatherboarding, brick foundation, and brick exterior end chimney. It stood in the ‘right corner of the front yard’.Dr. Mitchell received his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania and began practice in 1820. His son, John Saunders Mitchell also became a physician, graduating from the University of Pennsylvania in 1852, and father and son practiced medicine during the Civil War. “Mrs. Mitchell had the most beautiful flower garden in Bedford County.” … Reportedly, all brick used in the construction of the house and buildings was made on the place.”

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roof of former doctor’s office (foreground) in the front yard
family cemetery
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grave of John Saunders Mitchell, son of the original owner of the house, and who also became a doctor

In 1974, the house lost a considerable amount of its front yard with the 4-lane expansion of Rt. 460.

view of the house from across Rt. 460

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Sadly, the historic home was destroyed by fire on New Year’s Eve of 2012, and it sits in ruins along the highway today.

The Mitchell House burns on December 31, 2012 (news media photo)
The Mitchell House burns on December 31, 2012 (news media photo)
post-fire view of central wreath and circle on ceiling of east room on main floor
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The Mitchell House in ruins, post-fire (Jan. 4, 2013):

UPDATE:   The remains of the Mitchell House were razed today, January 14, 2015.

The Best of Week 1 in Abandoned in Virginia

I have culled and included in this post the best contributed images which I saved last March from the first week of Abandoned in Virginia on Facebook.   If you recognize the location on one of the unidentified photos, please comment and indicate the county or town…but please do not identify the specific location of abandoned old homes.

Thank you all again.   My next blog post will focus on a classic house I visited and photographed for the page.

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The Rosewell Ruins, posted by Nick Chandley

from Wikipedia:
Rosewell Plantation in Gloucester County, Virginia, was for more than 100 years the home of a branch of the Page family, one of the First Families of Virginia. Begun in 1725, the Flemish bond brick Rosewell mansion overlooking the York River was one of the most elaborate homes in the American colonies. In Mansions of America, the architectural historian Thomas Tileston Waterman described the plantation house as “the largest and finest of American houses of the colonial period.”[3] Through much of the 18th century and 19th centuries, and during the American Civil War, Rosewell plantation hosted the area’s most elaborate formal balls and celebrations. The home burned in 1916.”

former Austin’s Store in Vesuvius, by Kathy Jennings

This store along Norfolk Southern’s Shenandoah Valley Line was the location of the famous O. Winston Link photograph, “Sometimes the Electricity Fails.” Prior to ownership by Mr. & Mrs. Edgar Austin, the store was owned by Gray D. Secrist, whose name has become faintly visible in the weathered paint on the front of the building.

“Corner Minor” in the Highland Park neighborhood, Richmond, by Phil Riggan
The Parker House in Dendron along Rt. 31, by Joe Sites

Regarding the house above:

“The Parker House was the home of Thomas D. and Cornelia Spratley Parker, conveyed to them by her father, Stith Spratley, in 1890. Mr. Parker was a merchant, Dendron’s first Postmaster, and Vice President of the Bank of Dendron. He was installed by the Surry Lumber Company as a member of the Town Council established in 1896. The Parker House is an imposing two-story structure with large bay windows on both floors.

The house now belongs to a local farmer who owns the house and fields to the left and behind the structure. The Parker house is the most noticeable house in Dendron. We thought that there was a chance that the farmer would donate the house to the Historical Society and we would try to find a grant to save it. The house has not had anyone living in it for the past 15 to 20 years. The house has three bay windows. It also has a gutter system that is built into the eves which were not well maintained and have been leaking since the time when it was abandoned. We had a land survey done of the house lot but the owner wanted to be assured that we would have the work done to the house in two years. We just spent nine years repairing a boxcar that ran on the railroad that once was in Dendron so we could not make the guarantee that we could have the work done at some specific time. Thus the house sits and rots even more.”

Bill Richardson
President
Dendron Historical Society

Fleetwood Church in Brandy Station, Culpeper County, by Jeff Satterthwaite

from the web:
“Tax records indicate the church building was built in 1850 and the Methodist Church records indicate that the congregation was “established in 1881.” Fleetwood’s steeple is a landmark and lies directly across the highway from the Brandy Station Battlefield and two doors down from the Historic Graffiti House containing the signatures and artwork of both the Confederate and Union armies.”

in Orange, Virginia, by Marcia Degnan
old mortuary school, from Among The Ruin
in Jarratt, Virginia, behind the Owen Funeral Home, by Debbie Lynn Allen
old Arcadia Store, in Arcadia by Anna Larsen Porter
Buckhorn Elementary School in Union Level, by Lynn Harler
Abandoned farm house in Hanover County, by Cory Wright
in Hanover County, by Rick Kidd
along Rt. 58 between Abingdon and Damascus, by Ernie Braganza
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in Isle of Wight County, by Nancy Samford Bennett‎
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on a farm close to Christiansburg, by Bridgette Golden Dorsett
in Shenandoah County, by Larry Painter
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Green Bay School in Green Bay, Prince Edward County, by Pete Engel
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Alberene Soapstone Company’s president’s house in Alberene, by Trumbull Photography
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photo from 2011 by Dianna McGuriman Keen, of Wolftrap in Isle of Wight County. The house has since been dismantled and is being stored – hopefully to eventually be rebuilt in another location.
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by Craig Jones…possibly not in Virginia however
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Southwest VA near Chilhowie, by John Garber
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in Pulaski, by Lisa Dennis Landry
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in Pittsylvania County, by Karen Steinbach Eades
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off of Rt. 360 near Danville, by Norman Hall
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along the New River near Draper, by Peyton Breeden Walz
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by Craig Jones, but possibly not in Virginia
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west of Amherst off of Rt. 60, by Margaret Purcell
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Southwest Va., Castlewood, by Bobby Boyd Amateur Photography
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off of Rt. 360 near Danville, by Norman Hall
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East End Theater, Richmond, by Carl M. Spencer
in McGaheysville, by Lynn Lough
in Elkton, by Valerie Kopp
in Penn Laird, by Valerie Kopp
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in the Dismal Swamp, by Leslie Long
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Former homeplace of the “Stogdale farm” in Swoope, by David ‘Roscoe’ Fauver
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in Virgilina, by Mike Landrum
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on Jefferson Street in Danville, 3-4-14, by Richard T. Davis
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Collins Ferry Rd in Gladys, Campbell County, by Al Ensley
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Smithfield, Isle of Wight county, unknown contributor (with thanks to Lauren Jeanne for the location identification)
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in McDowell, by Eric Rogan
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in Luray, by Pete Engel
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Halifax County house, built by Dr. Richard Thornton circa 1831, by W. Scott Smith
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in Pungo, photographer unknown
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in Randolph, by David Roach
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in Central Virginia, by Connie Lucas
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by Among The Ruin

Abandoned in Virginia – Day One (3/3/14)

Immediately after Abandoned in Virginia was published on Facebook last March, contributions began to pour in.  Here are some highlights of the photos submitted by others to the page on day one, March 3, 2014.    If you recognize the location of any of the unidentified settings, feel free to comment with the city or county…but please do not identify the specific location of abandoned old homes.

As you can see, the page immediately began to flourish with a variety of excellent photographs of a variety of structures around the state.   I remain extremely grateful for these contributions and for the ongoing support of the page.

The first contributed post to the page…the former Rachel’s Inn on 221 in Goode. Known for chitterlings and the coldest beer in Bedford – photo by Steve Hammer
old McCauley Store & Post Office in Goode, Virginia, posted by Melvin Mick Brafford
former Piedmont Mills in Lynchburg, posted by Kai Rainey
near White Falls Mill in Pittsylvania County, by Stacey Yeatts Haskins
Piedmont Mills Historic District in Wirtz, Franklin County, by Megan Truman Dillon
former Post Office in Goode…not necessarily abandoned
old bank in Big Island, photo circa 2006 by Chris Tanner
Old Moneta produce store, used in the “What about Bob?” film, by Lynn Franz
building at former DeJarnette Asylum in Staunton, by Shanna Mueller
a rather unusual contribution posted on day one from Heather Taylor…

about the photo and house above:
This is an abandoned house located in Callaghan, Virginia. My horror photography company, GOREgeous, was granted access to use this home for promotional photos by the caretaker”

old fire tower in Nelson County, by Jenn Rodgers Callahan
Union Level in September 2013, by Brooks Lenhart Photography
old mill wheel in Campbell County, by Nikki Pugh
old McCauley Store in Goode, by Melvin Mick Brafford
Old Eggleston High School…. Eggleston, Giles County…posted by Samantha Anne Robertson, photographer Tim Williams
Nolde Brothers Bakery, Norfolk, by Steven Selinger
in Amelia County, by Kathie Kathie
western opening of the original Crozet Tunnel near Waynesboro, by Jim Pysell

About the photo above:

It’s the Blue Ridge train tunnel built in the 1850’s and closed in 1944. It is 4100 ft. long and currently walled off in the middle. The localities are trying to re-open & restore it to be used as a hiking/biking trail. It’s only a few miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway.”

A former country store on the Old Blue Ridge Turnpike (Rt. 231) in Uno, Madison County, by D. Travis Brandel
old school (or church?) in the Sunny Bank area of the Northern Neck–taken about 3 years ago – photo circa 2011 by PastorJan Grissett
in Appomattox, now demolished, by Melissa Sue Fulton

About the above house:
This house was built in the early 1900’s, and was demolished to make room for a parking lot the year before last. I believe they called it the Christian Home after the gentleman (Dr. Christian) who lived there from the mid-twenties, until his death in 1955. Since sometime around the early 2000’s, the property has been in the possession of Liberty Baptist Church, and had been sitting in disrepair for some years before the church finally decided to tear it down.
I’m sure their reasons for demolishing this building were sound, but I can’t help but wish they had chosen to preserve such a beautiful piece of the town’s history!

in Woolwine, Va. (Patrick County), on Rt 8 near 58 east – by Christine Davenport
in Rural Retreat, by Sarah Havens
near Soapstone, by Jim Talbott
in downtown Lynchburg, by Hannah Mcpheters
in Buckingham County, by Kathie Kathie
old house off of Rt. 221, by Melvin Mick Brafford
by Stan Burpee, location unidentified
in Meherrin, by Robby Batte

about the above building:
Main Street Meherrin is the county line for Lunenburg and Prince Edward counties. This building on the Prince Edward side of the road more recently was a church, prior to that a pool hall (I believe), but originally was a general store (thanks Linda Gee Nunnally). Photo taken last November.

now-demolished old house on Longwood Avenue in Bedford, by Melvin Mick Brafford
by Carissa Eichler-Crawford, location unidentified
in Pittsylvania County, along Rt. 29, by Jenn Rodgers Callahan
in Buckhingham, by Sherri Moyer Brooks
in Bedford, by Lola Via Meador
Rt 652 in Gladys Va. across from substation, by Jody Denton-Hudson
in Gladys area, by Kristin Nelms
along New River Trail, Alisonia, by Angela Koster Scott
in Matthews County, by Kathie Kathie
Jessee’s Mill, by Ashley Jessee
by Jeff Levy, location unidentified
another photo of old Eggleston High School, by Ashley DavidsGirl Williams
on the banks of the Appomattox Riverside Park in Ettrick, by D. Travis Brandel
along the Rolfe Highway in Smithfield, by Grace Harding
Abandoned AMC Javelin in Amelia County, by Tom Saunders
in Wirtz, by Megan Truman Dillon
in Pittsylvania County, by Michael D. Burnett
unknown location and contributor

the one that started it all…

After having passed by this eerie abandoned house for many years, I paid a visit to the location one afternoon in March of 2008 with camera in hand and shot several photos, not realizing that such outings would become a habit for me, and that five years later, I would launch a page devoted to abandoned structures in Virginia…a page that would immediately go viral (see below)…

The Tyler House on the former Duckbill Farm in Madison Heights, Virginia

Built circa 1826, and sold to the Tyler family in the mid-1880’s.   Descendants of the Tylers owned the house and its surrounding 250 acres for generations, until at least the 1960s.   (info from the Amherst New Era Progress).

Abandoned in Virginia on Facebook was launched on March 3, 2014, and the page took off like wildfire.  Two days later, WNBC in Richmond posted this story:

http://www.nbc12.com/story/24895052/abandoned-in-virginia-facebook-page-goes-viral

Since its launch, thousands have posted their own photos to the page, which now has over 126,000 Likes.   Here on this blog and as time permits, I will feature some of my best personal photos posted on the Facebook page, and perhaps some of the best photos contributed by others.

Below are more photos of the house that “started it all”…the Tyler House:

The Tyler House on the former Duckbill Farm in Madison Heights, Virginia

“Was a beautiful place at one time. Went in it for yrs. Mr Steven Tyler lived there, started in 1825 finish 1828. The English boxwoods came from England. It once was known as Duckbill Plantation, land was pat.by Chas Clark 1761, 1804- to Mundy, house built by James Lampkin , several owners last was Mrs Slaughter to Tyler’s . 250’s acres . Named Duckbill because of the creek behind the house. Tyler’s one room school house was where Dollar store is [today], another 2 room school was on the right of the house w/ a slate roof, a slave house back of the main house, even a early kitchen in basement old fireplace and a dumbwaiter.”  – from Facebook user “Tad Pole”

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The Tyler House in December, 2011, following the collapse of the double front porch
retaining wall for the Dollar General Store, which now blocks the view of the Tyler House from Rt. 29 Business through Madison Heights

This site is devoted to the aesthetic appreciation of abandoned and decaying old homes and other buildings and such, and is the official companion web site to the wildly popular Abandoned in Virginia page on Facebook.