Sunday, December 24, 2023

Night Sky Over Cascade Ridge, Adirondacks | 12.23.2023

 Night Sky Over Cascade Ridge, Adirondacks | 12.23.2023

© 2024 John Bulmer Photography + Nor'easter Films
All Rights Reserved   

Sunday, December 17, 2023

The Ruins of Grafton | The Windmill

The Ruins of Grafton: The Windmill
By John Bulmer, John Bulmer Photography

Today, I added a seventh site to my ongoing ruins mapping project within Grafton Lakes State Park. Snow persists in the shadows, offering sufficient contrast to discern manmade shapes in the forest. It may be my last exploration until spring, depending on the snowpack.

Today's discovery reveals much that has faded with time, leaving behind a substantial cornerstone of what must have been a grand house constructed with Bleau bricks manufactured in Troy, New York, during the early 1900s. Within its foundation, an intact Clorox bottle from the 1940s adds a tangible link to the past. Notably, this site is at a higher elevation than the preceding six, and nearby lies the remnants of a windmill, its blades partially submerged in the forest floor. Its vane is nowhere to be found. Standing under a canopy of 40 to 50-foot trees, it's difficult to imagine a landscape open enough to support wind power.

To date, my mapping project has documented sites from seven abandoned homesteads, each contributing a unique chapter to the narrative. Seven fieldstone fireplaces dot the landscape, some defying association with known home sites. The scenery unfolds with extensive stone walls, numerous footings, and traces of household items, remnants of the past that once transformed these now-forgotten homesites into someone's home or summer camp.

My project has led me through parts of the park I have never seen, revealing trees of remarkable size undisturbed by human presence. True old growth remains in the more obscure parts of the park. But even in the secluded corners, the artifacts of a forgotten community linger, a poignant reminder of the lives that once thrived in this now-quiet wilderness.

© 2023 John Bulmer Media, John Bulmer Photography. 

Sunday, December 3, 2023

The Ruins of Grafton | Site Six

The Ruins of Grafton: Site Six
By John Bulmer, John Bulmer Photography

Today marked the addition of a sixth site to my ruins mapping project within Grafton Lakes State Park. The rain and bare forest reveal the shape of the land, making it easier to see further and imagine what this forgotten community must have been like before it was abandoned.

The landscape is scattered with subtle hints of its past – impressions of driveways and remnants of single-lane roads, now obscured by decades of nature. Though overgrown, these features remain unmistakable.
Time has treated each of these sites differently. Site Six is marked by two foundations and two sets of stairs, each constructed of a layered combination of brick, cement, and white-colored fieldstones. Adjacent to the camp, I found the poignant sight of a shovel's blade and a bottle, entwined within the grasp of two trees, as if frozen in time – a reminder of the passage of time.

Like the other locations in my ruins mapping project, there were abandoned power poles scattered throughout the park, some pointing the way to the next homestead. Some of these sites have underground pipes and Romex cables. The infrastructure of this forgotten community seems harder to erase than the foundations and fieldstone fireplaces that sink under the seasons of leaves a little more each year. Seasons of freezing and thawing are not kind to concrete.

The land in parts of Grafton Lakes State Park, once a cluster of homes and camps, now bears the remnants of a bygone era.

To date, my mapping project has recorded details on six abandoned homesteads, each with its unique story. Among them are seven fieldstone fireplaces, some of which defy association with any known home sites. The landscape also features extensive stone walls, numerous footings, and the lingering traces of household items that once helped to make these long-forgotten homesites a home.

© 2023 John Bulmer Media, John Bulmer Photography.