Abandoned Prosperity

America, for all its supposed wealth and prosperity, has many abandoned places. From natural disasters, to foreclosures, to budget cuts, to rebuilding; I've seen quite a few in my short life-time. All across this vast country people are homeless, when there are many buildings and places that could be "repurposed" to house them. This blog is all about the places I've lived and explored, over the past 47 years. It also involves other things of interest to me, which will become apparent as I continue along. Most places and events I can only remember and right now, I'm active in exploring the current state I live in, Tennessee. Follow along in my foot-steps as I clambour over and sometimes into the abandoned debris of our society...from junkyards to cellars to my own mind.

Friday, August 14, 2015

4948 Island Home


My search for a new home has led me to some pretty bad places. The house at 4948 Island Home Rd. in Louisville, TN. was probably one of the worst but not the worst. I already told my agent what I thought about another house we saw. Puke city, that one. At any rate, potential buyers beware of this house! It has a major mold problem!My first impression of this house was caution. You can smell the musty, moldy odor before you even open the front door. The bulging siding isn't a good omen, either. Once inside it wasn't hard to tell that a smoker or two had previously lived here...



...the rear windows are covered in nicotine as are the walls, themselves. There is also the beginnings of mold starting to form on the walls. The carpets are junk as is everything in the kitchen...


...the main bathroom looked to be about the only thing in decent shape as opposed to the other bathroom...


...and when my agent opened the rear door (which is off of one of the bedrooms), I advised her not to venture out onto it. The deck is completed dry-rotted and totally unsafe. It would have to be completely removed...


...but all these above problems pale in comparison the the full, walk-out basement. And here's where the caution comes into play: ENTER THE BASEMENT AT YOUR OWN RISK! DO NOT TOUCH ANY SURFACE! THERE IS MOLD EVERYWHERE!


I took a snap from the top of the stairs, this after we both had gone down with the aid of flash-lights (the is no power on in the house as far as we could tell). I didn't want to contaminate my camera. Bad enough I had to immediately change my clothes when I got back home. Apparently, there is a water leak in the basement which looks to have been leaking for quite some time. We found a full pot under a sink that was way past doing its job. A disclosure sheet indicated that the house had been vacant since April, 2015.  It also stated no evidence of mold. Methinks that report should updated. So, the leak went unchecked long enough for the water to flood the basement and for mold to grow...EVERYWHERE! It was on the walls, cabinets, toilets, rugs, books even the handrail, walls and carpet going to the upper level. We "squish-squashed" around on the soaking, moldy carpets too long, I think.  And I still feel sick to my stomach.

I don't even want to think what it would cost to remediate all that mold! The basement is a complete gut-job. And could someone tell the listing agent to get the damn water shut off? Please? If you do chance to have a look at the lower level, I'd recommend some water-proof boots (galoshes would do nicely) as well as a face mask...or even better...a respirator. Or a hazmat suit. I'm not kidding.


*SIGH!* On to the next house...

4321 McKamey Rd.


FOR SALE! 4 bed, 2 bath rancher! That's it, above. At least from the outside. I'll spare you the inside pics. I'm currently looking for a new home in the Knox area. Something a bit closer to work. I'd like to cut my commute time in half. I'd also like something that's a bit more "move in ready". The house at 4321 McKamey Rd. is far from that. And as I'm trying to get a loan through the VA, the house wouldn't qualify anyway but, was still worth a look. The house does have some major problems. Like uneven front concrete stairs (that are currently crumbling), not to mention that they're no handrails...


...there are also broken windows that need replacing as well as an illegal outside electrical outlet, not to mention the work needed to repair the rear decking...




...one good thing is that the a/c until appears to be a newer model...


...the roof appears newer but whoever did the work forgot to repair the soffets...


...and though there was no disclosure list in hand, someone decided to write one on the kitchen wall. I was there with a trio of other potential buyers. When we read the line about mold in the attic, they couldn't clear out of the house fast enough, heh, heh...


...and also according to the disclosure, the house needs all-new plumbing and wiring. The roof is a couple years old and the windows are four years old. Oh yeah...and KUB (Knoxville Utility Board) apparently has a lien on the 3 year-old a/c unit. Hokay! So, obviously, I won't be putting in an offer on this house.

Other things to note about this property...it does have over 4 acres of land but...it's all uphill behind the house. Also, the driveway will cause any car to bottom out both entering and exiting (yes, I did check my car for damage and no worries, there.) The driveway is also on a blind corner. I know older homes can have issues and this one certainly does. I also don't mind doing a bit of fixing-up but this house would take me too long to re-do by myself. Oh well. On to the next property...

Bags Of Ignorance


I've been in Knoxville, TN. for nearly a year. Busy little city. Like most cities, Knoxville (or simply, Knox as some the locals refer to it as), has quite a few green spaces. Knox also has its share of other city problems; crime, abandoned buildings, vehicle accidents, vandalism and, oh yes, litter. But the city at least tries to keep up with it all, as far as I can tell. But don't go by my POV. Observe for yourself.

 I migrated from the Northeast in September of 2014. And though I'm not native to that area, I sound like I am. I guess I lived there too long but, given enough time, I'll probably sound like a native to Tennessee in a couple of years. I have the ability to do that even without thinking about it. But I digress.

 My first encounter with the public water supply in Knox did not go well. WTF? I thought Boston & Worcester water was bad! Even a filter system on the fridge can't keep the taste away 100%. And I've read the water quality reports. I don't care what the reports say; the water still tastes terrible! And the smell! GAG!

So, I set out to find a source of good, clean, odor-free water. Like the natural spring I used to go to up North. I talked to a few locals and one pointed me to this place here. As don't use a GPS (heck, I don't even have one in my car), it took me a while to find it (okay, I cheated and used a Google maps search.) My first trip there was a pleasant surprise. Nice park and the spring is covered from the elements, for the most part. And the water tasted gooooooood. Not as cold as the spring water up North but then, just as clean. I filled up a few gallon jugs and went on my way, vowing to return on a regular basis. One other thing about this spring water: it does make for awesome sun tea :)


Unfortunately (and I expected this at some point), the place was deluged with litter! I tell ya, some folks just don't give a damn about their surroundings. And it really pisses me off to find a place of solitude, only to have some dumb-ass toss their trash out the window. hey genius! there're a trio of refuse containers right there in the park. Oh wait...you probably don't care. That or you're just too damn lazy to walk the short distance to them. I mean, jeez! They're right over here...





So, like any good citizen who actually gives a care, I commenced to a "field day" and "policed" the area, not once, not twice, but thrice, so far. And I'll do it every time I go out there. Note for you civilians: "field day" and "policing" are terms I used in the Navy and Army. It means "to clean up the area". I can't do anything about the graffiti, as yet. Maybe someday when I get a lot more free time. Below is what this place should look like.


I like this place. Especially early in the morning. Before the city wakes up. nothing but the sounds of nature and the occasional train. There's a huge play area for the kiddos and a covered eating area, complete with grills for BBQ-ing. There are also hiking trails, which I should take more advantage of. Also a place to leave your rubbish (see pic above again...) And my crappy pics don't really do this place justice. *Note to self to get a better camera.*





I've not done any more research but am fairly sure the city of Knoxville maintains the place. Keep up the good work ya'll!