The Farmer’s Duplex Lifestyle
After commuting the back roads of Alto to and from Grand Rapids for so long. I have passed by this home countless times over my childhood. Seemingly curious, the thought behind these structures scattered throughout the country side had always sparked my interest, this lonely home is what stood out in particular.
Located in the farm lands of West Michigan lies an abandoned farmhouse that tells a story of a hard working farmer’s lifestyle from the mid to late 1900s, and even in the 21st century. Unfortunately this home has been gutted over the years as a result of scrappers, and possibly some attempted renovations.
With my recent travels to Michigan I grew a need to visit this house that has always seemed to be in sight by farmers working the fields. This home is just one of the ideal examples of history embedded in the local area. A well known farming community that brings years of experience through generations of supporting families and local businesses in a nearby town called Freeport, MI.
Once I made my way to the back of the house, I noticed in the distance were scraps of a tin roof and a desolate concrete foundation. I soon learned this is where a barn once stood. This was intriguing to me because I always review the areas I visit on Google maps, and I distinctly remember seeing scraps of wood scattered throughout the backyard of the home.
This is all due as of last year a tornado touched down in the backyard which leveled the barn and a nearby forest.
The living area was a once lively place to relax, artsy wood decals and tall ceilings made for a comforting place to fall asleep on the couch after a long day on the farm. The windows on both sides of the home let in a gracious amount of light which filled every possible crevice, and provided the perfect coverage to look over their fields.
As I roamed inside, I made my way through the kitchen and the living room where it seemed the carpet and walls have been peeled back to revel any hiding valuable material.
Once I made my way upstairs, the air was filled with the scent of death, which was most likely a decomposing rodent. The rooms were small, but each room had a seemingly never ending opening to new rooms. Room after room it slowly appeared these were designed as walk-in closets.
I started to notice a somewhat symmetrical pattern through out the house. There were two separate stair cases that led to divided sections of the 2nd floor. Designed to house two families but also gave a sense of privacy. Divided 2nd floor rooms, and bathrooms made this home into a so called farmers duplex.
Reference: Michigan.org – https://www.michigan.org/city/alto#?c=44.4299:-85.1166:6&tid=637&page=0&pagesize=20&pagetitle=Alto
Reference: Addorio – http://www.addorio.com/bownehistorical/Diaries&Writings.html