A House Full of Strange Relics

Somewhere in our county, surrounded by miles of forest, stands an abandoned house.

abandoned house

Windows broken, doors unhinged, it resembles other old farmhouses that are no longer inhabited by humans.

An old bedframe and mattress spring define this small room as a former bedroom. The ceiling is disintegrating but still serves as temporary protection for swallows who build their nest there.

former bedroom

former bedroom

An ancient cook stove remains in the room that must have been the kitchen. These old wood-fired stoves served many functions: keeping the house warm, cooking and baking, and heating water for bathing and washing laundry.

old wood stove

old wood stove

A few remnants of faded linoleum tiles on the stairs suggest that someone long ago attempted to make this home attractive and inviting.

linoleum remnants

linoleum remnants

The last occupant lived here by himself, according to local legend. The tools he left behind hint at his abilities as a craftsman. A rusty paint can on the window sill invokes a sense of forlornness. One can well imagine someone sitting at this window decades ago looking at the trees blooming and listening to the birds twittering away. What was it like, then, to live so far away from others? Did loneliness call in the evening after the work was done?

paint can on window sill

paint can on window sill

Another room upstairs contained a work bench with remnants of tools and a strange homemade contraption that defies definition:

homemade contraption

homemade contraption

They say that the man who lived here last was an inventor. He built a motorized bicycle that served as his mode of transportation. He did not have much use for other people and tended to avoid them. His final project, nearing completion, filled up the largest room on the ground floor, extending from one corner diagonally across to the other corner:

The man built a boat in his living room!

The mast was still neatly laid out in two pieces on the front porch:

mast on front porch

The first question that comes to mind: “How was he going to get the boat OUTSIDE of the house once it was completed?”
It would have required tearing down at least one entire outside wall of the living room.

Maybe he was planning on leaving the woods behind and living a new life in the Gulf of Mexico, hunting gators in the bayous of Louisiana, or cruising the turquoise waters of the Caribbean?

Before he was able to complete his boat and follow his dreams, he was shot by police; somewhere in Tennessee, while travelling on his home-made bike. The circumstances surrounding his death are murky.

Was his name “Levi?” Who remembers him?

Graffiti on outside wall

Graffiti on outside wall

What will we leave behind that will become a relic and puzzle others?

plant growing through porch floor

For more posts on the theme “relic”, see The Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Relic.

About Beauty Along the Road

My name is Annette. I am passionate about nature, health, simplicity, self-reliance, truth, and life-long learning. Originally from Germany, I now live in Virginia, USA. I am a therapist, health coach, writer, photographer, and organic gardener.
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44 Responses to A House Full of Strange Relics

  1. seeker says:

    Sad story. I would want to salvage the stove though.

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  2. cindy knoke says:

    This was a wonderful man and he was beautiful, as is this post and your attempt to communicate this~

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    • Hi Cindy, thanks for your comment. I know very little about “Levi” (not even sure whether that was his name) and can only conjecture about him based on hearsay and the things he left behind. He was an amazing craftsman, that much I know.

      Like

  3. Aggie says:

    There is an old decaying house directly across the street that I’ve been wanting to check out, and now I will. Love the photo of the paint can and dark house framing the bright green outdoors.

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    • That is my favorite photo as well. It was very challenging to take decent pictures since the inside of the house was so dark in contrast with the bright sunlight flooding in through the window openings.
      Have fun exploring “your” old house…

      Like

  4. Fascinating story and lovely yet haunting images. Thanks for sharing!

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  5. I love abandoned buildings and the secrets they hold. So curious about that boat he was building in the house. It brings to mind Noah’s Ark. And I really wonder about the shooting. Did the police consider him a man of suspicion? A crazy man? I wonder how long ago this happened…. Interesting.

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    • I hadn’t thought of Noah’s Ark. but given that there are no navigable waters anywhere nearby for this size boat, I am wondering now whether “Levi” thought Armageddon was ahead?
      He was said to have been very eccentric, so maybe he was stopped by police and acted in an unusual or threatening manner; I think he had a rifle or a gun on him. I have heard other stories of Tennessee cops overreacting…toe the line y’all when traveling thru Tennessee!

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      • Annette, I wonder too what the boat builder had in his mind. Maybe he did think the world was coming to an end. Or maybe he just had a dream to build a boat, even if no water was in sight!

        Good to know about the Tennessee cops! Traveler beware!

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  6. Very thought provoking post….and the housebound boat is a wonderful relic

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  7. Dot Terry says:

    You bring so much to life in this story. Kind of impossible to move on to the next thing in my head, the story raises so many more questions than it answers! Feel like I would have benefitted from meeting this man.

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  8. Places like these really spark my imagination. It’s hard not to think of the lives lived and the circumstances under which a place becomes abandoned and left to ruin. Your photos are amazing, as usual.

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    • They do, don’t they? It certainly made me wonder who lived there, even before the last occupant and what it was like living in the wilderness, so far from any towns.
      In the back of this house, there are remnants of a very old log cabin. There are substantial trees growing where the cabin floor would have been. It might have been built 200+ yrs ago, during the early times of white settlement in this area. I often wonder what frontier life was like in these mountains – not for the weak of heart or body, especially in the winter.

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  9. Barneysday says:

    Is this house near you? When I was growing up in the Northeast, the mountains were dotted with abandoned farms, and the barns and homes yielded such wonderful treasures of their past and fodder for imagining what their residents lives must have been like. Thanks for re-awakening those memories.

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    • Larry, let’s just say it’s within “driving distance.” I don’t want to give the location away and lure more people there. I’ve been to this house several times over the years, and everytime it seems that more things are missing. There were definitely more tools on the work bench the first time around. Glad it took you down memory lane.

      Like

  10. indacampo says:

    This is a lovely essay and tribute to “Levi” Annette. One of my favourite captures is also the paint can but I like the detail of the little plant through the boards also. I always find something in your details that I hope will help me with my photos in your work! 🙂

    Like

    • Thank you, Karen. I love to discover and highlight those little details myself. I am learning so much, too, from various bloggers – style, photography, presentation, etc. We are all teaching each other by what we are doing. Thanks for all your great work highlighting expat life in Panama!

      Like

  11. Apu/Thorsten says:

    interesting brief glimpse of one the many surroundings of someones biography. thanks for sharing!

    Like

  12. suzjones says:

    What a sad story. I love the photo of the paint can with a view. And I would want to ‘rescue’ the old stove for myself. Of course I have absolutely nowhere to put it, but is seems such a shame to just leave it there to rust away. It’s sad that no family have come forward to claim the boat.

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  13. Amazing photos. Whenever my youngest daughter and I drive past abandoned homes, we always make up a story about the lives of the people who once lived there.

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  14. Wow! What a fascinating story and relic. A boat in his living room? That’s amazing. Do you know when Levi was shot by the police? I seem to recall something about this story in TN, but I don’t remember the details.

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  15. What an amazing and tragic story, Annette. So sad that Levis’s dreams didn’t come true. The ceiling in that “former bedroom” has just reminded me of what lies in store for hubby when he starts renovating the house we’ve just bought in Florida.😯 Fortunately we don’t have to live in it until he’s finished.🙂

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  16. Haunting, but beautifully communicated in pictures and words. Great choice.

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  17. Irresistibly good! Wonderful post!

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  18. Tina Schell says:

    OK, that was a really sad story. Maybe all he did was sit in the boat and visualize himself far far away. Very evocative post, nicely done.

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  19. Tish Farrell says:

    So many questions, Annette. Intriguing. Mysterious, and yes, sad too. It almost has the makings of a Coen Brothers film.

    Like

  20. Wow. What a fascinating peek into someone’s world and a stellar interpretation of the theme. The homemade contraption is intriguing – part recycled? part art? part functional? But the boat in the living room is totally amazing.

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  21. Pingback: His Name was Skip | The Beauty Along the Road

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