Wednesday, May 15, 2013

64 Years, 3000 Miles and Back Again

Vintage Photograph Abandoned Property Skagit County The Ball House

As some of you lovely longtime readers may recall, this isn't the first time that the photo above has been featured here on the blog.
The original post was back in October of last year and was titled Beautiful Abandon. This was The Ball House of Skagit County, Washington and it had quite the history. 

The Victorian style construction of the home in 1903, the terrible tragedy that provoked The Ball family to abandon the home in the 1930s, the decades of neglect and decay that followed...and the eventual collapse in 1996. Thanks to some internet research and  Bill Osbourne, the photographer who snapped and inscribed this shot back in 1949, I learned almost everything that I could about the infamous Ball House.

But a few weeks ago, I came to know something else. I learned that aside from some sketches and old photographs on the county website, no tangible photos existed of what was once an impressive stretch of property. I was contacted by Charlene, a resident of Buckley, Washington and longtime admirer of The Ball Estate.

For years, Char took her family camping in the Bayview area, where they would pass by The Ball House and see the slow and steady decline of the property. And then one year, nothing of the home remained at all.

After a few email exchanges, I decided that Char's personal connection and close location to the legacy of The Ball House certainly warranted selling her a prized piece of my vintage photo collection. 

If you're reading this, Char, I hope you and your family get to relive some of your past travels in owning this photograph. I would have loved to see what remained of the property in person while it was still standing.

I couldn't be happier that someone local to that area rediscovered the only tangible relic of a legend that no longer exists through Let's Go Thrifting! This little exchange only validates my own personally held credentials as a thrifter and hunter of cultural artifacts and further explores the mysterious cycle of secondhand shopping.

How did a photograph of a Skagit County, Washington home from 1949 end up in a Montgomeryville, PA thrift store in 2011? How many people in how many towns had their hands upon this photograph in those 62 years before it ended up in mine? And the cycle continues, as the only tangible reminder of what once remained of The Ball Estate now belongs to Char and her family two years after I rescued it from the Impact Thrift Store. 

Haunted House Skagit County Washington The Ball Estate Abandoned

Enjoy the memories, Charlene! And do let me know if you find a photograph of any legendary Philadelphia properties at your local thrift store.

The Ball House   
Skagit County, Washington
Photographed in 1949 by Bill Osbourne.
Thrifted in 2011 by Jackie Jardine.
Sold to Charlene of Buckley, Washington in 2013.

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Unknown said...

That is seriously a thrift score! Very cool, it was meant to find you...

Jackie Jardine said...

So true, Liz. It was meant to find me...and then by proxy, meant to find Charlene back in Washington. What a strange journey. Now it would really be nuts, if Charlene came to find some wacky photo of a fallen Philadelphia property.

<3 Jackie

Heather said...

So; just wondering... what happened that the family had to abandon the house? It is such a shame when such a beautiful house gets like that when someone abandons it. The house next to my mom in Cape May happened the same way- It is still standing but over the years... damn it's seen some better days.

Anonymous said...

Aww, love it! I hope one of these days I'll find a thrift with such an awesome story behind it.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jackie, It's Char, that was a very nice follow up story. I just love the picture. I haven't showed my boys the picture yet but told them about it. I'll keep my eyes open in thrift stores for pictures. O.k. Char

Jackie Jardine said...

It's an interesting, story...or rather an interesting and unfortunate series of events, Heather. I went into a few details in the previous post about The Ball House. But here's the link from the county website that provides the most info:

Following a flood that killed two of the family pets, The Great Depression and decades of finally fell to the ground. It's a shame, really.

<3 Jackie

Jackie Jardine said...

I hope you find something valuable one day too, Amanda. Monetary value is great...but it's a rich history and personal significance that I think really makes these sort of thrift finds valuable.

<3 Jackie

Jackie Jardine said...

Thanks for reading, Char! I'm so glad we were able to connect here on the blog. I hope you and your family enjoy the memories of The Ball House for many years to come.

And if you find any unique Philadelphia finds at the thrift, I'll really be amazed by our luck, ha ha.

<3 Jackie

Witchcrafted Life said...

What a thoroughly fascinating tale. I so love stories like this where people are brought together through their mutual interest in some element of the past. How awesome that you were able share this image with Char. It certainly was an incredible house - wouldn't you jump for joy at the chance to live in a similar one?

♥ Jessica

Jackie Jardine said...

Me too, Jessica. I'm glad that Char and I were able to connect through this photo. I would love to live, or even just to vacation in a home like this one.

Hopefully someday I will!

<3 Jackie

Vanessa said...

I love making thrifted connections like this. Thanks for sharing this story. I've rediscovered thrifts and locations I thought were long-gone through blogging, too.

Jackie Jardine said...

That's something I've learned to love even more than the things I bring home...the connections and the stories that these items hold.

<3 Jackie

Blondie said...

I have never thought of thrifting for photographs.... I'm reconsidering. Great story!