Monday, February 27, 2012

A Eulogy for Old Amber

Where once you stood lies naught but sticks and stones,
yet some recall that you were once a magnificent home,
nestled in the quiet woods of Northern New Jersey.

In Autumn some four year ago, I made your acquaintance.
Timidly stepping through your broken door,
I set foot on creaky floors and beheld your magnificent ruin.

The second of your kind that I visited with serious intention,
camera in hand and prepared for anything I came to you,
and you taught me things that cold day.

You told me that Nature is an unyielding mistress,
she will take back that which man tore from her.
You showed me how fickle both shadows and man can be,
that beauty can be found even amongst decay and rubble.

To you Old Amber, Old Friend I raise a glass!
In thanks for the lessons of lens and curiosity you taught,
and to fare thee well as we may never meet again.

Taken to the dirt, soon to be lost to time.
Thank you for the lessons and experiences,
I will miss you, dear friend.

Old Amber was one of the first abandoned places I photographed while living in New Jersey, a love I have been unable to pursue here in South Carolina due to a lack of places to visit (that aren't old trailers or highly policed.) It was a once beautiful mansion nestled in the woods of Walpack and it taught me a lot about composition and lighting as I tried to figure out digital vs film photography. A friend informed me today that it was recently torn down and my hear aches a bit, though I knew it was inevitable given its increasingly dangerous state of decay. Maybe one day, when I go home again, I'll visit the site one last time.


  1. This certainly resonates with me. Lovely photos of a quiet old beauty... very nice.

  2. So sad to hear this old beauty has been torn down. I sometimes hike in that area and it might have been nice to check out.

  3. Wonderful photos! And a beautiful eulogy! There is such a quiet beauty about abandoned places....

  4. You have got such a photographic eye. I love the photos. I can understand having attachment to buildings. When we sold our first home, I walked through each room saying goodbye. By the time I got to the back of the house and walked into my son's nursery I began heaving with sobs. Even though we only lived in that house for 5 years, it was my home, my heart. We left that house for our house in VA. Well, when we left VA to come back to Jersey, the only things I said goodbye to were the ashes of my dogs in the backyard, the trees and my gardens. That house, that was just a house. Not a home.

  5. Fantastic poem and ode, Danni! I love ruins too, there's something so magickal and beautifully poignant.

  6. lovely words and pics ty for sharing such a shame for old amber wonder what shall rise from the old?

    1. It was built in the forest, which I believe has since become part of a state park and is protected from new construction. My belief is that in not so long a time, Mother Nature will reclaim the remnants for herself.

  7. There's a house (much smaller than Old Amber) that Britt & I visited once. We didn't own a camera at the time, so all we have are memories. The house was almost engulfed by a tree & the surrounding shrubs, bushes, grass, etc. One of the out-buildings had a tree growing through it, as did the kitchen in the main house. People had obviously been squatting there, but is was empty when we ventured in. The kitchen was the coolest part, as the fridge was from the '50s. It was fun & scary, as we weren't sure the floor upstairs would hold us. We didn't go into any rooms upstairs because of this, but we got to peer inside them.
    There's an old, abandoned asylum about an hour from here that I want to visit before we move... its grounds are patrolled, but if we get in, I'll take pics & post them. ^-^


  8. Oooh these pictures are so intriguing. I want to go explore such a house too!

  9. I don't know a lot about Greenville, but when I lived in Conway, there were tons of old houses out in the country just standing empty. One was near our house, actually, and my friends and I loved to dare each other to go inside.

    Look for some dirt roads and you'll find your abandoned houses out there.


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