Time capsules

Many forgotten old storage sheds are hidden on the prairies. The farm has been abandoned, in many cases the house has been salvaged, burned down, or moved to another site. Visits to the old farm become less and less and finally no one even visits the place because only old rusted junk remains. The trees and bushes take over and soon the buildings disappear.


How many times have you driven by one of these old sheds and been curious as to what lies inside?  Here is a peak into the past.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

For starters, the roof is in the last stage of destruction and collapse. Caution is primarily as the wrong touch or bump can launch and landslide of debris on your head. This shed hold very old auto and truck parts from the early 1900’s.


Obviously the body of an old car with fenders, hoods and miscellaneous parts scattered about.


This view shows the rear tires and frame of a vehicle, accompanied by more fenders and the springs from the car seats. Many other parts I am unable to identify.


I was surprised by the great condition of the tire tread, but the wheel itself is in poor shape. The owner must have put the vehicle in storage because of mechanical problems, soon after putting a new tire on.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

A couple of 1951 license plates suggests there has not been much activity on this site for about sixty years.


Now your curiosity has been partly satisfied, take a good look as the next storm or falling tree could reduce this time capsule to a junk pile.

The Stone House

KODAK Digital Still Camera

I remember the first time I saw this stone house in Richardville township, Kittson County, Minnesota.  I was fascinated by the intensive labor that would be required to build it. Now, some twenty five years later I returned, with permission, and photographed it in detail.  I have done a little research and believe it was built some time in 1885 to 1890 by a Alfred E. Ramsey, who came from Prince Edward Island, Canada.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

This close-up shot of the horizontal lines indicate that wooden forms were used to frame the wall and many, many stones were used with the concrete.  The wall on either side of the windows has lost the smooth surface shown on the other sections and suggest to me that the concrete mix had less cement in it and weathered badly. The two window frame must have been set in place prior to the pouring of the cement & rocks mixture.  Other sections of the walls showed this happened in other places. It also may be an indication that the cement was poured on a very hot day and the cement up against the wooden forms  caused it to dry out before it could set properly. Regardless of what caused it, these sections were strong enough to last over 125 years.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

This is the south side of the house and shows the major crack in the s/w corner.  In fact all four corners of the house failed in this manner and it is amazing it has not fallen down. When I first saw the house the cracks were hardly noticeable and I believe the harsh winter freezing temperatures were responsible.

It is obvious the lower section of the roof failed and it allowed water to enter the building and caused considerable damage to the floors. Most abandoned buildings suffer from roof failure, followed rapidly by the failure of the walls and the collapse of the building. That did not occur with this stone walled structure.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

This view of the back wall of the house shows it is reasonably intact other than the fact that all the windows have rotted away and fallen inside. Note the failure of the cement under the window frame on the right side. The bottom corner is very bad but shows that thin rebar was used, at least in the corner.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

This view of the rear or west wall is in very good shape considering its age. If the sides of the house had not cracked it would probable remained standing for many more years.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

The shot was taken looking east through the window opening in the right rear lower section.  It is a confusing mess.  The house was divided in the middle by a north/south wall. The door opening is on the second floor.  The entire dividing wall, both upstairs and down has fallen down into the basement. In this view, what little remains of the second floor is in the middle of the photo.  Only the portion in the left middle of the photo still remains.  The first floor has already fallen into the basement. The door on the main floor had a rounded top which can be seen in the lower right of the photo.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

In this view the door opening was on the first floor and has fallen about four feet into the basement.  Looking through the door opening you can see what remains of the first floor. The floor joists and planks on the lower left are a portion of the attic floor that fell into the basement. The round holes in the wall are for stove pipes. The hole in the south roof allowed water to soak the main and attic floors so that they failed where they were attached on the south side of the house.  The stone walls are still secure and in time all the interior walls and floors will rot away and leave a hollow building.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

This is the north wall of the house which only contained a door and window opening. The door opening has been sealed up with stone and cement. From the cracks it appears the wall above the door was failing and it was sealed up to stop it from getting worse.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

This is the north east corner of the house. From the age of the trees all around the house it appears that there was nothing but open prairie when the house was built.  To the best of my knowledge no members of this Ramsay Family remain in the county.

Tattered curtains.


This old house sits out in the country west of Lancaster, abandoned and forlorn. The paint faded away many long years ago and almost every pane of glass, along with the window frames, have fallen out. After the home was deserted trees started growing right up against the walls and some of those are now almost thirty years old.

Some time ago I noticed curtains hanging out the living room window and blowing in the breeze. Those curtains are now long gone.  However when I went to the rear of the house I found curtains hanging out the rear dining room window.


This photo was taken from the rear of the house and is somewhat sheltered by trees and brush. Look closely and you will see that two halfs of the curtains remain. The right one hangs down the middle of the window, almost entirely outside, while the left one has only the lower half hanging out.


Both curtains have been snagged by the burrs growing outside the window and they have become entangled to each other. Now that they are exposed to all the rain and winter weather they will soon be reduced to tatters.

I cannot help but think that the woman that made these curtains with loving care would be surprised that they have survived her for many dozens of years.