Abandoned Danbury: The House on Deer Hill

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I have a fascination with all things abandoned (in fact, recently I have been tearing through both seasons of the old History Channel series Life After People…the visuals in that are an urban explorer’s wet dream). I rarely go “urban exploring,” so if I happen to stumble across something, I photograph it.

Recently, I was out shooting some photos and video for a book trailer I’m working on for Stacey Longo’s collection Secret Things. The footage I needed for my concept involved architectural details on Victorian, Edwardian, and other unique-style houses. My friend Michele, who grew up in downtown Danbury, gave me a tour of streets I’ve never visited, including Pleasant Street, on which sits a house Wes Craven used in his 2010 feature My Soul to Take (on a side note, I think the scenes on the bridge were filmed in my home town of New Milford, CT, at the infamous Lover’s Leap Bridge).

We cruised down several streets, among them Deer Hill Avenue, noted for its stately homes and mansions. One house, however, stood out—an abandoned, rotting Dutch Colonial. I was immediately intrigued by how such a beautiful home in one of the wealthiest areas in town could just be left to pot, especially since it obviously includes the adjoining lot (very rare for this street). I spent about fifteen minutes taking photos, and then we were on our way again. Michele noted it had been abandoned for several years, and that at one point she had entertained fantasies of buying and restoring it.

It turns out, however, that this home isn’t abandoned. Well, not really.

As I was preparing the photos for this post, I learned from a co-worker that the home had been bought about five years ago, and the owner had even begun to do some gutting on the inside. As you can also see from one of the photos below, there are brand-new wood beams under the front overhang, suggesting that this was one of the owner’s priorities in the hopes of preventing the overhang from further collapse. According to my co-worker, the project was put on hold due to expense and other issues.

Hopefully the owner will be able to return to the project and the house will be restored to its former glory before it’s so far-gone that the only thing left to do is raze it. Until then, here’s what it looks like.

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About kristipetersenschoonover

A ghost story writer who still sleeps with the lights on, Kristi Petersen Schoonover’s fiction has appeared in countless magazines and anthologies. She has received three Norman Mailer Writers Colony Residencies, is a co-editor for Read Short Fiction, and co-hosts the Dark Discussions Podcast. Her work Skeletons in the Swimmin’ Hole is a collection of ghost stories set in Disney Parks; her horror novel, Bad Apple, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She’s also a member of the New England Horror Writers Association. More info: www.kristipetersenschoonover.com

Posted on November 6, 2013, in Deep Thoughts & Fun Stuff and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I think I know this street you are referring to. Some incredible houses there, I was amazed anything like that existed in Danbury when I stumbled upon them. I always wonder how houses end up in this state or worse. Sometimes I have to accept the fact that most relics will not last forever.

    • Yes, that area of Danbury is so awesome it’s almost shocking…I was up there with my friend Michele, shooting footage for a writer’s book trailer. I think that’s why I found that property so sad…a hole in the middle of all that beauty. There is something amazing in deterioration. It is almost a sad art in itself.

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