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.