On one of our little excursions into the unknown we decided to take a right turn instead of a left [HINT: always try new ways you will be surprised what lies in your path] and came across, like most things in life, by accident, the run down, dilapidated, overgrown homes of a once thriving community along the banks Little Miami River near Maineville, Ohio.
Once upon time, not too long ago, during the heady boom days of the 1990’s and the early 2000’s , a small kingdom of old isolated homes was invaded by the “nouveau riche” and their screaming hordes of children and grandchildren. Running amok and laying claim to lands that had once been sections of second growth forest which had for generations served as natural barriers between the homes and farms of the old residents.
In and among the small farms of long forgotten days these invaders carved out small fiefdoms on which they built their grand manor houses, close to the banks of the smooth flowing river. Some erected docks and decks that lead right down to the rivers stately brown waters. Here they boarded their moored pleasure craft and guided by a lust of all things entertaining, plied back and forth along the river’s banks, admiring there new property and congratulating themselves on their new found prosperity.
Three generations lived together on the land and for the most part they lived in harmony with each other, their neighbors, and their community but like any string of nervous city states they did come into conflict from time to time. Eventually, due to the stresses that these “incidents” brought to bare on their leisurely lives, any disputes would be resolved quickly, whether by mutual agreement or sudden and swift violence, the means always justified the ends.
As time went on, living in their ignorant bliss, their bellies full and their eyes always drooping as if they were always just minutes from sleep, they fell into the trap of many armies before them, the occupiers find that the spoils will often spoil you. They became lax and developed an “entitlement” mentally. Anything they wanted or desired was supposed to be theirs to possess, it was owed to them, a cosmic debt to be paid with interest. And then………………………………………….
……………………the precarious BUBBLE burst and so with it the reign of these pretenders. Nature as it always will began it’s reclamation of the land.
Me and Marsha found this little bit of forgotten Ohio by just going out trekking on a summer’s day and found the ruins of what was once a thriving river community in a stage of decay. [HINT: take the time to scout areas or just go trekking you will find so many wonders it will be addicting]
After the bottom fell out of the market in late 2007/2008 and the homeowners here found that their cherished property was worth considerably less than their mortgage payoff (this after paying every month for over 10 years)…up-side-down. The solution of 2 out of 3 families was just to walk away and never look back, this being a much better prospect than scratching and scraping for a year, perhaps two, only to have the bank foreclose, losing two years of your life, your sweat, your pain, you family, your self-respect and then the shirt on your back ( a Kenny Rogers song comes to mind).
So they fled sometimes with their families, sometimes by themselves, leaving untended houses with untended yards and in a lot of cases their untended furniture, paintings, toys, antiques, pictures, cloths, collectibles and memorabilia. Lives abandoned and lost in a world of gone upside down. The safe and certain life on Kings Mills Drive upon the Little Miami River was gone. Nature again takes over and the conquerors turned into the exiled become but a distant memory to the old residents who looked on the days of excess and servitude with a surprising fondness.
What Marsha and I found was a little frightening. The vibe of the place was sad and forlorn but I also found it slightly hostile, like the land was mad that it had been abandoned after being loved for so long. The houses full of rot and peoples lives (we found divorce papers and unopened mail in a small pole barn next one house that had been unoccupied for some time but was still full of the family possessions). It is not a pleasant place if it really ever was? I had the feeling this little slice of heaven has always been bad medicine.
At the end of the drag, the dead end, the last house on the left, the house on haunted hill, the house at the end of the street, the house of wax, the house of bones, the house of a 1,000 corpses [HINT: never think about your surroundings in horror movie titles or terms] stands a testament and guardian of the old ways. A covered bridge that does not BRIDGE anything except to maybe span a temporal or dimensional rift (portal). Why is it there? Don’t drive down the lane any farther it’s Private Property….[HINT: enter at the risk of getting busted, if you can’t accept that fact you should not be there because it WILL happen sooner or later]