At the end of a dead end road and the end of a long and winding overgrown driveway I find myself at the abandoned Mile of Memories Mansion, in the company of my new friends FeralFox and Kida. On a vast expansive lakefront property complete with mansion and boathouse I can't help but draw comparisons to the much more opulent Edgemere Estate.
The Mile of Memories Mansion has 7 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms, 4 kitchens, an organ, a vault and an elevator. Aside from the vandalism, the house is in great condition and it is unfathomable how this gorgeous home and property is abandoned.
Yet here I am.
I soak it in. The birds chirping, the mosquitoes swarming, the tall wet grass soaking through my shoes. I'm taking mental notes. The overcast sky, the stonework, the broken windows. It's almost surreal. The hardwood floors, the bison head, the antique furniture. The stone archways on the second storey mezzanine, the propped open elevator door, the emptiness within the majority of bedrooms. I'm taking pictures, but I'm imprinting memories in my mind. The organ, the piano, the record players. The books and records, clocks and typewriters. The spiral staircase. The sealed vault in the dark basement and the attic door that opens up to reveal rooftop access. I'm absorbing it. The home's contents strewn about and smashed, presumably by local youth. Amongst the debris I find some photographs dated circa 1940s and photograph them. I'm lost in someone else's past.
I'd love to share with you the fascinating history of the former occupants of this home but cannot do so without revealing it's location; a risk I'm not willing to take. If the home deteriorates beyond repair I may update the post in the future.
For now, I'm lost in each moment as it passes and following my 5 senses...
I can almost taste the affluence. Breathing it in. It smells like money, or at least it used to. Now it smells old and dated with a faint odour of initial decay. Watching value and worth disappear before my eyes. Hearing the broken glass fragments crack under my softly stepping feet as barn swallows sing outside. Touching the old mouldy photographs and connecting with those depicted within...
...I feel it.
As I wander, I ponder the lives that were lived here. I imagine a woman playing the organ atop the spiral staircase and the music comes alive in my mind. I envision a happy couple dancing in the music room draped in the finest of fashions. I watch the wealthy couple sleep in the master bedroom. I hear the echoing ring of the drill press in the basement contrasted by the laughter of children playing on the elevator. I can smell the delicious five course meals cooked up by the help.
...I feel it all, the past, the present, and the future.
I see it falling apart. I see the vandals returning and continuing to loot and destroy the home and it's contents. With the windows broken, I watch the mould grow on the walls and ceilings. I watch the roof eventually give way to Mother Nature's wrath. Unfortunately, I see the inevitable.
The lesson of the story is that you can't take it with you.
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