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Abandoned Houses and Buildings .. the Megathread

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Bloomburg State Bank was organized in 1908 and moved into its newly-constructed three-story building in 1918.  It was and remains the tallest building in Cass County, and at one time the bank served counties in Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas.  At one time the building also housed the telephone office and a masonic lodge.

After the owner of the building gave it to the City in 1968, the City later considered it a liability and planned to demolish it. Concerned citizens purchased the building for $1.00 to prevent its demolition. Vacant since the early 1980s, the building continues to deteriorate.

Historic bank buildings are architecturally and culturally significant landmarks because they are often located in the center of town and represent the economic promise of a prosperous community long ago. In the mid-20th century, suburbanization and the demand for drive-through banking led many banks to abandon their historic buildings.  Stripped of their purpose and their prideful place in the community, vacated historic banks like this one in Bloomberg often become the victims of neglect.

This building remains endangered as of January 2023.

BBSB Building.jpg

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Fantastic photo and great story, @B.E. Prince.  It's a question that is sort of writ large all over Texas, isn't it, from buildings as big as the Astrodome or the Hawn Hotel in Temple to the Bloomburg State Bank.  The question: what to do with building that have outlived their usefulness or their original purpose? In most instances the economic justification for which the building was constructed no longer applies and those who built it are no longer alive.  I've spent a lot of time in the Permian Basin and you see the same thing out there on a smaller scale: pump jacks, storage tanks etc.. rusting slowly away, no longer needed. Those who put them there made their money then walked away, leaving them for somebody else --- or nobody else ---- to deal with.  Fortunately, in cases like the Hawn Hotel, somebody sees a path forward for them and decides to spend the money.  For the Hawn that's a great thing because I was in it about 13 years ago and the roof was no longer keeping the water out.  Had to slog through about a foot of rainwater down in the lobby.  And I kept thinking "what happens when this huge old building collapses into the street?"   Part of the problem is the cost of landfill space.  I can't remember the amount of money the City of Temple folks told me the local landfill said would be required for them to accept the Hawn but it was enormous.  

So, yeah ... when a building is past the point of usability and those who built it are long gone, who pays to clean it up?


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A recent picture of a decaying old house on Traces of Texas made me recall my great grandmother's place, and how it fell to ruin in a fairly short span of time.
One of my sets of great grandparents were Oscar and Dottie (Gregg) Hesser, and they were subsistence farmers near Tatum, just in Panola County near the border with Rusk County. Oscar was born in Scottsville, Texas in 1882, son of a German immigrant. Dottie, born in 1890 in Harrison County,  was descended from early Texas settler Charles M Gregg. In the late 1960s, my mother would take us to visit the old home site where my great grandmother lived in the old house alone. Her daughter and husband, my maternal grandparents, had a small house next door, and they worked the land there with only a horse and a mule up to 1970.
I have fond memories of the old house, with its tall ceilings, iron beds with thin mattresses, and no bathroom - the outhouse was out back. There was still a well with a winch and bucket, but a modern pump had been installed by one of my uncles in the early 1960s to make life just a little easier, with a water line running to a newfangled kitchen sink. We still took baths in a double washtub under the big old pecan trees you see in the picture. A pot of hot water from the stove was added to take the chill off. My cousins and I just loved it when we were allowed to stay the night.
I got busy with my life in the 1970s, and it wasn't until 1979 that I made an effort to go see the old place. The land had been leased for lignite mining, and a fence had been put up. A house not lived in and maintained decays rapidly, and this one was no exception. Seeing the place like this made me more emotional than I anticipated, perhaps because I knew I could never go back.


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  • 4 weeks later...

I'd like to post all photos of abandoned houses and buildings in this one huge thread. That way,  folks don't have to keep clicking in and out of different threads.  I'll go first!

I took this shot of an abandoned house in Runnels County a few years ago. Afterward I walked up to the windows and looked in, imagining all of the love, laughter and sorrow that the house once held. I could feel the old ghosts and shivered. Interestingly enough, this house must fascinate many other people as I'll bet I've received photos of it from at least 10 of y'all over the years. it just has that kind of impact on folks, I reckon.


Abandoned Church in Cee Vee, Texas. Man I wanted to go inside but it was locked and boarded up!


The abandoned school in Terlingua. I took this in 2009


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