The Nostalgic Romance of Abandoned Homes

The Nostalgic Romance of Abandoned Homes

Abandoned Buildings Appear Frozen in Time

Looking at photos of abandoned homes, mansions, castles and other buildings I’m always struck by the random personal belongings that often get left behind. By this, I’m not referring to the paraphernalia that is often left behind by squatters, but to the pieces that were in place the last time the house was used and seem to be frozen in time with it.

Chair and Boots Inside an Abandoned Home
Abandoned House Interior

That helps add to the air of nostalgia that surrounds these sad, abandoned places. A few other places seem quite as ironically sad as the Grossinger’s Catskills Resort in Liberty, New York.

Abandoned Providence Methodist Episcopal Church Gets a New Lease on Life

Providence Methodist Episcopal Converted Church in Glenelg, Maryland

After decades of abandonment, interior designer Stacia Smith purchased the old Providence Methodist Episcopal Church in Glenelg, Maryland in 2012 and then went about meticulously restoring and converting the old building into a stunning residence & home office.

See can see it’s stunning transformation from an abandoned church to a beautiful house here!

Grossinger’s Catskills Resort

Grossinger's Abandoned Catskills Resort

Photo by Walter Arnold

Believed by many to be the inspiration behind the movie Dirty Dancing, this luxurious resort closed its doors one year before the classic movie was released in 1987. During it’s heyday, this was THE place to be in the summer. Frequented by the well-to-do, it flourished during the peak of the mid 20th century. But as times changed, so did a family’s summer vacation plans.  By the time Dirty Dancing could possibly have provided a nostalgic resurgence, the place had already closed.  30 years later, it remains sad reminder of its past glory and a relic left behind at the turn of the new century.

Wyckoff Villa, Carleton Island, New York

Abandoned Wyckoff Villa, Carleton Island, New York

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Wyckoff Villa was built between 1894 & 1895 for William O. Wyckoff, who made his fortune selling what was – at the time – an exciting new invention… The Remington typewriter. The Mansion was riddled with sadness before it was even completed. Francis Wyckoff, the owner’s wife, died of cancer a month before the villa was ready for occupancy. William himself died of a heart attack the first night he spent in the home.

Clarence Wyckoff, the youngest son, acquired the Villa after his father died, but the family lost much of their fortune during the Great Depression and the home was sold to General Electric who planned on demolishing it to build a retreat & a new plant… but that never happened.

No one has lived in the house since 1927, and it is estimated that it could take anywhere from $10 – $20 Million to return the home to its former glory.

Today, even without its windows and doors, Wyckoff Villa’s fading facade remains majestic behind a tall fence and barbed wire. Although its once stately walls have fallen victim to vandals despite the ‘Keep Out’ signs posted around the property, and the large corner tower was pulled down due to safety concerns, Wyckoff Villa remains a piece of slowly crumbling history.

Crumbling Elda Castle in Ossining, New York

Abandoned Elda Castle in Ossining, New York

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Created by architect Lucy Abbott Cate and built by her husband, Abercrombie & Fitch founder David T. Abercrombie, Elda Castle was erected on nearly 50 acres in 1927. Elda Castle, named after their four children, boasted the over four thousand square-foot home had 25 rooms, including servants’ quarters.

In its heyday, this now-abandoned estate was an impressive statement of wealth and luxury.

However, following Abercrombie’s death in 1931, the estate sat empty for several years before being sold in the early 1940s.  Despite several attempts to utilize the space, Elda Castle as sat empty on and off for much of the more than 8 decades since the Abercrombies lived there. Over time, it has fallen prey to vandals, scavengers, and fires.

Wyndclyffe Castle, Rhinebeck, New York

Wyndclyffe Abandoned Castle, Rhinebeck, New York

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Have you ever heard the saying “Keeping up with the Joneses”?  Of course, you have. Everyone has. Well, here is the house that reportedly inspired that saying.

This 24-room mansion was commissioned as the country home of Manhattan socialite Elizabeth Schermerhorn Jones, a member of a wealthy family and aunt of American novelist Edith Wharton. Before being abandoned in the 1950s, it had a substantial influence on the surrounding estates, hence the creation of the saying.

Although it was once a nine-bedroom prime property with a Tiffany skylight, the home is now in ruins. Entire parts of it have fallen in, leaving a gaping hole in one side.


  1. Paris Morgan says:

    I am fascinated and obsessed with abandoned homes. It’s uncanny because I’m very practical otherwise. I like to imagine the people that lived in the homes.

    1. Nancy says:

      Looking at them …my imagination goes crazy ..all are beautiful

  2. Debbie Ross says:

    Knowing who built them, who loved them and who left them is every mystery buffs idea. Sometimes fantasizing about a mystery is a good thing too. I love, love, love big old homes of all kinds.

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