Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Remnants of a Rural Past


There was a house in Mason right off Kings Mills Rd, down the street from the amusement park and nestled off to the side from all the suburban development. It's gone now and long before it so were any occupants.

- Development off of Kings Mills Rd., Kings Island Amusement Park can be seen in the distance.

Mason, Ohio is a far cry from what it once was. What started as a quiet farming community, is now a suburban powerhouse about twenty miles north of Cincinnati. Bolstered by the construction of the nearby Kings Island Amusement Park in 1972 along with other suburban growth trends common throughout the 20th Century, Mason boomed along Interstate 71.


The farmhouse mailboxes have been replaced by ones for fast food chains, hotels and gas stations. Even in the wake of the "Great Recession," new developments continue to spring up in the affluent suburb. One of those current construction projects just recently knocked out one of the few remnants of Mason's rural past.


The ominous sight of a backhoe parked just outside the abandoned residence spelled doom. Any day now that massive machine and symbol of change would tear its metal claw through the brickwork of the abandoned house. Nick, Matt and I parked out front hoping to catch a glimpse of the place before it was gone.


On the outside, weeds had grown up through the cracks in the old walkway leading to the porch. No one had lived here for awhile. While the county auditor's website isn't much help; I knew the place had been abandoned for some time as I regularly passed it while heading to and from work at Kings Island for several years.  Trash was strewn about - a trail of beer cans and cigarillo wrappers lead straight to the busted out plywood of one of the house's windows, evidence of suburban street cred. At the nearby Waffle House where my compatriots and I like to sip endless cups of coffee and tell stories, there was Dan. Dan warned of the place being "infested with snakes" and mentioned that Richard, a homeless Waffle House regular who liked to play the juke box, had squatted there for awhile.

The house looked like a stereotypical "Scooby Doo" episode backdrop: boarded up windows, a rotting roof, creaking structure and circling birds landing on the chimney all lent to the building's ominous appearance.


The place would've been a dead ringer for a haunted house except for all the traffic on the road behind us, the nearby fast food restaurants and the fact that ghosts aren't real.



Around back, a rotting wooden shack joined the busted out windows and children's wagon that had been used as a step stool by those who had entered the house before us. Peering in: rotting floor boards and the aforementioned rumors of a snake infestation kept any curiosity from daring anyone onward.


Like the birds above, the growth of Mason had been circling . Finally, it was closing in and swallowing up a place that obviously had more character and craftsmanship than any Arby's, Pizza Hut or cleverly named housing development ever could.

That's the same old song and Catch 22 of progress though - for better or worse, eyesore or historic landmark, the house was coming down.


We hopped back in the car, waited for traffic to clear and swung over to the nearby shopping center anchored by the infamous Kroger (a story for another time). In the nearby lot amongst the new roads and rising condos you could just make out the house off in the woods.

Coming Soon: a "resort style" development.

- Construction of the nearby development.

Then we went back to Waffle House for more coffee.

- Kings Mills Rd.

They tore down the house the next day.


  1. I loved that old house. It was a beauty in its day. I remember when it was occupied and the farm that went with it. I saw it being torn down on my drive to work one day, it made me sad. Mason has lost way too many gorgeous houses and farms to, what some perceive as, progress.

  2. "Resort-style development" aka more fucking mundane condos or apartments.

  3. There was a house like that in West Chester. They ended up tearing it down when we were in high school to put in a new subdivision, but I remember it looked like that farm house and I always wondered what it looked like in the past.

  4. So they did tear it down? I thought someone got it historical status?

  5. Reminds me of the old sheep farm in Fairfield. It managed to last 30 years nestled between subdivisions, then blammo, the old house was gone and now its all poorly built debt makers.

  6. Was this a historical old house or just one of the last old farmhouse in Mason?

  7. ghosts are real

  8. This house had zero historical value. ZERO. What a stupid statement that somebody got it designated as a historic structure. Uhhhhhhh....NOPE!