Thursday Doors – Tattered and Tagged

Tagged
Tagged

There are a lot of barns in Connecticut, particularly tobacco barns. Some are still in use in by the growers of shade and broadleaf tobacco, and many are used as out-buildings or for other types of agricultural storage. Some have fallen into various states of disrepair, as have many other buildings that are no longer being actively used. While this is sad, it’s also understandable. Maintaining a building of any size requires time and money. Tearing down a large building also takes a lot of time and money. Sometimes, these buildings are simply allowed to die a slow death.

Helping the buildings along the path of destruction are some of the smallest creatures on the planet. Fungus and other microorganisms along with ants, termites and even certain types of bees are all happy to find a large wooden structure fending for itself in New England. All of these things eat (digest) wood fibers and contribute to the condition called Dry Rot. These organisms and insects require moisture to be present in the wood in relatively large quantities, so the name ‘dry rot’ is somewhat ironic.

The other characteristic of large abandoned structures is the degree to which they present themselves as a canvas for graffiti artists. You might object to my using the word ‘artist’ in conjunction with vandals, but the fact that you can buy books of graffiti art and visit exhibits of graffiti art are indications that, while it still might be despised, graffiti has long since gone mainstream. In fact, my friend David pointed out that people building model railroads can buy graffiti decals for train cars and trackside buildings and creative types, such as David, can buy stencils to paint their own graffiti.

I decided that there is a certain appeal to “tagged” buildings and there are even interesting patterns and elements to buildings that are falling apart. Some of the buildings in the gallery have seen their last days. Some have been repaired and some are about to be saved. They all have, or had doors, so I think they all qualify. Most of the tagged buildings are ones I would put in the vandalized category rather than the ‘artistically enhanced’ one.

The photos are part of the wonderfully addictive, why else would I be out taking pictures in the rain of vandalized barns, Thursday Doors series presented by Norm Frampton. If you want to see the other doors, or get in on the fun, get a door and visit Norm’s page and click the linky thing.

64 thoughts on “Thursday Doors – Tattered and Tagged

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    1. Thanks. It is sad, but knowing what it would take to repair even some of the smaller buildings makes it clear why they keep moving to collapse. The little barn by the side of the road, probably couldn’t be rebuilt in place (and it looks like it might be too far gone to be repaired).

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  1. I couldn’t bring myself to hit the ‘like’ button here, Dan. I am one of those folks that slows down and feels sad when I see a barn falling down. I do appreciate street or wall art but find it different than tagging. We have an old barn and have done some basic work to keep the foundation dry, but we need a new roof. With every storm, I hope it holds. I love barns – there’s another series I think. :-)

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    1. I understand Judy. I do hate to see these buildings get to the point of no return. It happens too often and once we lose them, they’re gone for good. I love barns too, but so many are in sad states around here, even the ones on working farms. I don’t like to see the graffiti on them either. I think it;s a bad sign, like the owners don’t care or can’t afford to care.

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  2. Like Judy, there’s something about seeing a barn in such a state of disrepair that seems so sad to me.
    Great collection though Dan, now don’t catch a cold while out taking pictures my friend ;-)

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  3. Nice response to the challenge, Dan. I find graffiti to be very interesting, especially if it has an artistic flair. It’s simply too bad that some of these “artists” can’t be exposed to the public in a legal and non-vandalizing way…on canvas or in print, rather than on buildings and train cars.

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    1. Thanks Mary. I have seen a few places where towns “commission” these artists to paint a wall of a school or something like that, but you’re right, too often it’s a train car or a barn or (worst in my book) a bridge.

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  4. Unfortunately I’m not one of those folks that appreciate graffiti, even of the artistic kind, but to each his own! I do love a well painted mural on a building, though. Guess I’m more of a traditionalist (shocker!) Interestingly I grew up with a tobacco barn on our property. We used it for storage (such as for the riding mower) since we didn’t have a garage. My brother and I played in the barn loft when we were kids until my Mom figured out how dirty it was in there (rusty nails, bat droppings and all!) My father put a new roof on the barn at great expense one year so I would like to think he has extended the life of that old tobacco barn by many years.

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    1. Kudos to your dad for replacing the roof on that barn. I can only guess it was expensive, to say the least. I’m not a fan of graffiti on these barns, and as I mentioned in some of the descriptions, I don’t know how they do it since some of these are hundreds of feet off the road.

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  5. My father-in-law has tore-down, buried and burned countless barns. I, for one, would not like to have his Karma Score (it must be well under 500). A few years ago, he learned how much barn wood goes for. You should have heard him wail.

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  6. Tobacco barns in Connecticut? Interesting. Like most people, I associate tobacco growing with states that fall south of the Mason-Dixon line. But I can see why you wanted to use them for one of your Thursday posts (even if this seems more like something for Thursday Roofs than Thursday Doors). There is a certain distressed beauty to dilapidated buildings, Dan, and you’ve captured it here nicely. Seeing them in rain and snow only adds to the effect. Good post!

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    1. Shade tobacco is still a thing here in CT Paul. It used to be a huge industry. The leaves are used as the wrappers of fine cigars. These guys are all sad in one way or another, except for the ones that have been repaired recently. That was only sad for the guy that had to shell out the money.

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  7. I love to see new life breathed into old buildings, so this post has me a bit down in the mouth. I do like graffiti, but I’m picky. Like anything other art, it should ENHANCE the aesthetic. Such vile barn tagging makes me cluck my tongue.
    I’m also experiencing a lot more of “Well, there used to be a ______ there…” moments, myself. I think a lot of things disappeared from the city while I was gone. Just yesterday I was wondering why they took down the smoke tree round the way. The house I understand, the tree, well, shame on them.

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    1. Yeah, this isn’t a happy door post. It’s sad in so many ways, but it happens and I don’t see any way to stop it. Buildings might get the attention of towns and cities, but barns on private property? Nobody cares but the owners. Cutting down a tree should be avoided at all costs.

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    1. The train station has come close to being torn down several times. A couple of private efforts, including one by a merciless person who appeared to be in it for personal gain, have failed miserably. This time, the town is involved and the State and AMTRAK are on board (no pun intended) so I think it has a much better chance of success. Hopefully a future post will feature that building. Thanks for dropping by.

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  8. I love the train station! I’m so glad it’s being restored. :) Do you have Mail Pouch Tobacco ads on your barns up there? Down here, it seemed like every barn had a Mail Pouch Tobacco ad on its side or roof: “Chew Mail Pouch Tobacco — Treat Yourself To The Best”

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  9. I love visiting ruins … Sad but true! It’s the creepy feeling, and the mystery. I’m always left wondering what happened to all those people who built or worker or lived in them … So many untold and mostly forgotten stories. And your photos reminded me of an old farm house I drive past every time I go south, each year it crumbles a little more as the insects, helped along by the weather, do their job.

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  10. Quite a gallery, Dan. I, too, find collapsing buildings sad and always wonder about the stories behind them. I have mixed feelings about tagging. On buildings that are falling down, I guess it doesn’t matter. But if someone tagged my house or property, I wouldn’t be looking at the artistic ability of the artist. :-)

    janet

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    1. I would agree Janet about the barns on people’s property. Those barns seem so hard to get to, I don’t understand how they get away with it. One of the seriously tagged ones is about 1/4 mile from a middle-grade school.

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  11. Old barns like this are a very common sight up here too, Dan, and you’re so right — there is a certain charm about them. Unfortunately, it’s also pretty common to see them in their “pile of rubble” state. But I will say that the majority of old barns in the North are just that: OLD. So it amazes me to see so many of them still standing, albeit with a sagging roof or a dangerous lean to one side. I can remember seeing certain old barns when I was young and thinking, “You couldn’t pay me to go in there,” as they looked as if a simple sneeze would bring them down. But I can drive by them today, and they’re still holding on.

    The graffiti surprised me though. I have NEVER seen a tagged barn before. Not that there’s much graffiti, period, where I live. You see it on train cars, of course, but tbh, up here, even the sight of a train these days is rare. I can appreciate the style of graffiti art (and will certainly tip my hat to the talent of some of those artists), but the practice of vandalizing someone else’s property is not something I will ever condone. Go and buy a canvas, just like the rest of us! Or tag your own house. Yeah, none of them are too quick to spray paint their own property, are they?

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    1. Some of these barns are very close to a middle school, but I don’t understand the mentality that says it’s OK to vandalize someone’s property. As I said, I’d put most of this in the vandalized category – I don’t see anything here that I’d call artwork. Some of the barns and buildings that look like they are ready to fall over, have looked that way as long as I’ve been driving by them. Sooner or later though, nature will win.

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  12. I grew up in Glastonbury when it was all tobacco fields, barns, and those white canopies. The tobacco disappeared first, then the barns when developments went in. It’s kind of sad to see what’s left of the barns tumbling down. I also find it interesting how quickly nature reclaims things when they are unattended!

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    1. There’s still a few active tobacco fields in Windsor, but I don’t think there are any in Glastonbury. I work there and I haven’t seen any barns. These barns are in Enfield and East Windsor. Once the water starts getting in, nature is on it’s way. It’s sad to see the graffiti but at least those walls are straight. Thanks for stopping by :)

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  13. Wow these have personality, Dan, even the ones that have collapsed. My favorite one is the side shot of a tobacco building that has orange light at the windows. Nice shot and what a perspective!!! Love it!!! I think these buildings should just be left alone to help Nature out. We take so much from Nature that it would be nice for mankind to say, “Why don’t we just leave these buildings so that the critters and insects who would benefit from them, can?” Great post, Dan!! You packed a lot in this one!!! <3

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  14. Hello to you, my CT friend! Living in a rural area, I drive by plenty of abandoned barns and buildings myself. There’s a really old, abandoned chicken coop(?) a little ways down the road from me across from a large dairy farm. I assume it probably was part of that same farm once but has fallen into extreme disrepair, with part of the roof completely collapsed through 2 stories right to the ground. I can’t help but stare when I drive by, trying to imagine what it looked like when it was first in use by some proud farmer long ago. Old structures and our miles and miles of New England stone walls always capture my imagination!

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    1. Hi Jen. It is hard not to try to imagine what these buildings looked like in their prime. My daughter and I ran into one of those stone walls in the middle of a forest in a State Park. That really makes me want to know the history behind that wall.

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  15. I am excited to see a deluxe edition of raggedy, “tagged” and dilapidated barns here. I have one coming up, that is if it “knows how to stay in its rightful place, Dan! Ha ha! I will show a barn with a clever name on it, along with another date ahead, I hope, will have a couple of “tagged” trains. Nicely moody, with the rain that did NOT dampen your photographic quality.

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  16. Great images Dan. It’s always sad to see old buildings in sad states of neglect. An old house we once bought came with an even older stone cottage with a collapsed thatched roof. Because it was too close to the road it would have been impossible to get any planning to put modern facilities into it and renovate so we just left it, but had planned on fixing up the roof whenever we could afford to. Sadly we had to move and the next owners sold off the old cottage and now the space on the roadside looks so empty.

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  17. Different interpretation of Thursday Doors, I’m having a hard time seeing the doors in some of these photos though, I guess that’s what art is all about however, interpretation never ends, and rightly so.

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    1. It’s true, and I love it too. I think some of these require some imagination. I’m usually a little more obvious but these have been bugging me. Thanks for giving them a look.

      Like

      1. I agree. I often wish I could know some stories about collapsed buildings when I see them. Like what happened there? Who were the people who owned it? If you could just go up to the walls and touch them and then see these stories…. Of course, there are probably some stories that are better not known. And, would that be a superpower?

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