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abandonedplaces

The Selma Plantation

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Apr. 9th, 2019 | 11:59 pm
mood: curiouscurious
posted by: dark_fetus in abandonedplaces

Far off, at the crest of a wild-grown field, stood a faded, weathered edifice. Ivy-wrapped and ashy white it lingered like a ghost over the housing development which had come to nest in the knolls below. Even from a great distance you could recognize that the old mansion had seen much, and from out across the meadow of tall grass and briar it invites you to come closer, to listen to its tale of life and death, and life again. To know the story of the Selma Plantation.

As we made our slow approach, and as the old structure became increasingly clear, and more minute details came better into view, the ambiance of the property began to turn. No longer did this old manor seem a looming phantom, it was in fact much more humble, much more melancholy, like an elderly person left without a family. Abandoned with only their thoughts, and no one to share them with. Around the side of the old manor a peeling door stood ajar.

Within, the air was dense. Not with dust or debris, but the atmospheric weight of a house which had witnessed countless generations of people pass through its halls, and recalled each one with clarity. All this history was held there still, palpable, coursing through the fibers of the lath beyond the plaster. A lifeblood of sorts which served to sustain a house which many may have viewed as long-dead.

Wallpaper hung in strips from cracked and tired walls, decorative woodwork adorned doorways to dark chambers of grime and murk. The oldest of these walls date from the turn of the 19th century. In a past existence they formed a beautiful home which endured upon this Virginian hilltop for near a century before surrendering to a terrible fire. For years thereafter a burned-out ruin at the crest of a field was all that remained of the former home. The walls that survived the blaze stood resolute though, as nature began to reclaim the once-proud property. After the passing of some years a new, grand, mansion began construction upon that same scorched hilltop, with the surviving walls of the original home incorporated into the design. This final form, completed in 1902, is what stands to this day.

An immense main hall was, by any metric, the backbone of the mansion. Three stories of balconies formed the master staircase which spiraled around the perimeter of the pillared hall. At the center stood a deteriorating grand piano, crooked and out-of-tune, a reflection of the manor which it called home. On the floors above were extensive chambers, many with magnificent fireplaces, all empty and weathered. So barren had the house come to be that every sound one made echoed seemingly without end as the noise bounced back and forth off towering ceilings and through arched doorways.

This estate, and the surrounding 200+ acres, existed as a private residence until the mid-1970s when it was sold off, and converted into a quite impressive wedding and event venue. This endeavor lasted until the early 2000s when the property was sold yet again. This time the land surrounding the mansion was sub-divided off for new construction, and the mansion was left deserted. As the years progressed new homes began to appear on the landscape, and the mansion watched on, every year slipping further and further into decay and the ever-encroaching wood-line. A once-proud estate, now home to the few buzzards who had taken up roost in the attic rafters.

As we readied for our departure a storm began to slowly roll in. In many ways it seemed to suiting. The rain and greyed-out skies matched the dismal ambiance which hung upon us as we made our way off the property. Mud caked our boots and our clothes were soaked through by the time we reached our vehicle, but the weather was a far off thought. Selma had struck a nerve that now seemed raw and unable to heal – How could a place so steeped in history be thrown away as it were? What does it say for us as a culture when we can build dozens of new homes a stone's throw from a historic mansion, on the very land which was once its property, yet take no effort toward its preservation?

Time passes.

One evening, while going through emails, we came upon a link. It led us to a Facebook page titled 'Selma Mansion Rebirth', and proved to be exactly what the name implies – A page dedicated to showcasing the rehabilitation of the old Selma Plantation. To see the neglect scraped away, and the home once again cherished, was uplifting in a way that is terribly difficult to articulate. Surely many people know the feeling, but it seems that the English language fails to convey it in a meaningful way. To see a building seemingly written off to rot in the forest, brought back to life in such a way that it now exists not only as a wonderful home, but as an example that others may point to in future preservation efforts, is something we truly hope to see more of. In many ways saving the Selma mansion may well save other blighted properties in years to come, and that is something we cannot praise enough.

There is an expression which goes 'if walls could talk'. When looking back upon the Selma grounds from the vantage point of today, what was it that those walls were saying as they slowly moldered on that hilltop for all those years? We would like to think they were quietly repeating, “We are not dead, simply waiting.”













Video!


If you want to see the full set of images you can do so on our website - https://antiquityechoes.blogspot.com/2019/03/the-selma-plantation.html

Hope everything is well here on LJ, seems even more dead than last time I visited...

~Rusty


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Comments {32}

Every Day Above Ground

(no subject)

from: mallorys_camera
date: Apr. 10th, 2019 11:04 am (UTC)
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LJ is still kicking in the back eddies although it's not a great promotional venue, fashure. :-) I appreciate that you still post your adventures here, though. I enjoy reading them immensely.

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Rusty Tagliareni

(no subject)

from: dark_fetus
date: Apr. 11th, 2019 03:44 am (UTC)
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I've been here too long to stop posting at this point Haha

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 L.J. Ferrari

(no subject)

from: tyler306
date: Apr. 10th, 2019 11:42 am (UTC)
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One a week I go to the Goodwill store in Clinton Connecticut. I always think if some of these things could talk the stories they would tell.

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Rusty Tagliareni

(no subject)

from: dark_fetus
date: Apr. 11th, 2019 03:45 am (UTC)
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They talk quite a lot, one need simply sit and listen. I'm not trying to sound cliche or poetic, it's the truth.

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the broken radio was playing suicide

(no subject)

from: volare
date: Apr. 10th, 2019 11:59 am (UTC)
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Not quite dead, just sleepin' pretty hard...
damn right we'll wake up when you post tho lol, it's great to see what you're up to! Amazeballs post as always!

It's always cool to see a place that hasn't been wrecked by vandalism yet... same old 'why we stopped posting exact locations'.

Hope you guys are happy and well, thanks for stopping by!

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Rusty Tagliareni

(no subject)

from: dark_fetus
date: Apr. 11th, 2019 03:49 am (UTC)
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Thanks! I felt that posing the location specifics was fine in this case as it's now someone's beautiful home. As for us, we are doing quite good. We just celebrated the tenth birthday of our website (www.AntiquityEchoes.com) and as of January have published our third book.

Before all that though, I was posting here on LJ, and it holds this weirdly sentimental spot in my heart. I hope one day it has more life pumped into it, and I don't think it's a pipe dream to say so. With so many people looking off Facebook for more intimate forms of social media, LJ fits that bill nicely.

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The Captain Of My Ship, The Master Of My Soul

(no subject)

from: gonzo21
date: Apr. 10th, 2019 12:44 pm (UTC)
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Amazing house.

Astonishing it's sitting empty and nobody has renovated it.

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Rusty Tagliareni

(no subject)

from: dark_fetus
date: Apr. 11th, 2019 03:49 am (UTC)
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It's actually been BEAUTIFULLY restored. There's a link in my text above that will bring you to the Facebook page.

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spikesgirl58

(no subject)

from: spikesgirl58
date: Apr. 10th, 2019 05:24 pm (UTC)
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How grand that is. Some of these buildings seem to take the neglect so much better than they used to.

LJ is still alive, but you have to know where to look. Sadly Abandoned Places has gotten very quiet.

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Rusty Tagliareni

(no subject)

from: dark_fetus
date: Apr. 11th, 2019 03:50 am (UTC)
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One may say it's... abandoned?

bad joke aside, has everyone moved to another 'abandoned places' community, or are communities in general just a dying breed?

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wanderingmogwai

(no subject)

from: wanderingmogwai
date: Apr. 10th, 2019 06:26 pm (UTC)
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Beautiful images!

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Rusty Tagliareni

(no subject)

from: dark_fetus
date: Apr. 11th, 2019 03:51 am (UTC)
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Thanks!

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imhilien

(no subject)

from: imhilien
date: Apr. 11th, 2019 05:03 am (UTC)
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Lovely post, thanks.

I think LJ is a bit of a 'Abandoned Place' of its own these days, which is sad. :(

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Rusty Tagliareni

(no subject)

from: dark_fetus
date: Apr. 11th, 2019 05:52 am (UTC)
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Well maybe life will return to it one day, like how this old abandoned mansion found a new life.

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Elenbarathi

(no subject)

from: elenbarathi
date: Apr. 11th, 2019 05:32 am (UTC)
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What a gorgeous house, and how wonderful that it's been restored to its proper magnificence again! Love those stairways.

Beautiful photography as ever - welcome back; nice to see you here again. Lj is by no means dead or abandoned; just a lot of folk here don't comment much these days.

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Rusty Tagliareni

(no subject)

from: dark_fetus
date: Apr. 11th, 2019 05:54 am (UTC)
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Thank you! I truly hope that the community returns here, I really enjoyed the interactions on LJ, they were, and are, wholly different than anywhere else online.

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Because there's something wrong with me!

(no subject)

from: batchix
date: Apr. 12th, 2019 04:42 am (UTC)
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It's a beautiful building for sure! And the restoration is great. At the same time I can't help but think about the slaves that probably ran the place for the original families... but i guess that's an elephant in the room the owners don't want to talk about.

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Rusty Tagliareni

(no subject)

from: dark_fetus
date: Apr. 14th, 2019 03:36 am (UTC)
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We actually plan to reach out to the owners in due time. The slavery, oppression, and all-around painful history that is attached to places like these are actually a big part of why my partner and I advocate for their preservation.

It's two-fold really. First, and most obvious, keeping the structures around for future generations allows for some critical thinking that would otherwise have been lost to history books. Physically seeing and touching bits of our past allows for a much deeper grasp of what once was.

Second, a building shouldn't be lost due to the failings of its past. If anything it's quite poignant to take something that may have a stigma attached and make it beautiful once again and to celebrate it in a new role wholely separate from its origins. Like a phoenix from the ash.

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Ennui in Suburbia

(no subject)

from: irreparable
date: Apr. 12th, 2019 06:47 am (UTC)
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What a beautiful building and what stunning photographs you took. I love your posts, and am always glad to see them. :) Thank you for posting this one.

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Rusty Tagliareni

(no subject)

from: dark_fetus
date: Apr. 14th, 2019 03:37 am (UTC)
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Thanks for taking the time to comment. I've said it before, but I truly miss the old days of LJ, and I do wish for its return one day.

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velvet vamp

(no subject)

from: hindustar
date: Apr. 13th, 2019 02:21 am (UTC)
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Wonderful post! Thank you!

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Rusty Tagliareni

(no subject)

from: dark_fetus
date: Apr. 14th, 2019 03:37 am (UTC)
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Thanks!

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Ponee

(no subject)

from: featherfire
date: Apr. 15th, 2019 09:37 am (UTC)
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What a beautiful house, and lovely pictures and story as always. I admit I only come to LJ once in a while (I post on Dreamdwidth but it's really just me babbling into the void), I was so pleased to see a post from you here! Journals are a dying breed and everyone has pretty much moved to facebook... even me, as much as it pains me to admit it.

That said, I followed your page on facebook. :)

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Rusty Tagliareni

(no subject)

from: dark_fetus
date: Apr. 20th, 2019 05:03 am (UTC)
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I hope to see LJ grow again one day. Until then, thanks for the facebook follow. Admittedly we don't push our social media pages as much as we are supposed to, but I honestly can't take the constant need to ensure algorithms keep me in people's feeds. besides all that, our work has always been extremely un-clickbait. Haha

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synnie

(no subject)

from: synnoveaevael
date: Apr. 22nd, 2019 01:38 am (UTC)
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Simply lovely.

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