poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘old buildings

abandoned buildings

with 2 comments

We are living in a time when many of our older buildings are reaching the end of their useful lives. Old churches, old covered bridges, old schools and old houses are everywhere, facing the indignity of old age. So many succumb, end up in landfills or as rotting derelicts. Yet these are buildings where history whispers. Buildings with stories to tell, our stories.



abandoned church


highbush cranberry

first, fruit hard and green

then, red, ready for wine

then shriveled raisins

hang on a leafless vine


the wick of a candle stub

competes with cobwebs

for thickness, thin sunlight

oozes, amber glass, a saber

along the empty aisle

threatens motes

in stale air undisturbed

where stray wind never

finds its way


deconsecrated and so

not desecrated when mice

squeeze under the threshold

gnaw at the pulpit, or when

vines whisper

vague obscenities

at the lintel, tap on glass


stripped of cross and steeple

people, prayers

stained glass and benches

removed and sold at auction

mice pause at their industry

to assess ambiguous whispers


the young girl who sat on the stair

sang a song to her mother

the warden who argued to fix

the seep in the roof

the Minister

who stuttered




Copyright Jane Tims 2018

Written by jane tims

March 5, 2018 at 7:00 am

early schooling – the fate of older buildings

with 10 comments

Since our first drive to the Grand Lake area to find old schools in the landscape, we have kept an eye out for others. I am realising these buildings have met one of three fates:

  • demolition – lost forever to the landscape
  • deterioration – left to decay and eventual collapse
  • re-purposing – restoration and maintenance for use as camps, sheds or community use


For example, the Bunker Hill School in Rusagonis, New Brunswick has been well maintained and is used as a meeting place in the community. The old school has been recently painted and has a wheel-chair ramp.


Bunker Hill School Rusagonis Station

Bunker Hill School, Rusagonis Station, Sunbury County, New Brunswick


The conservation of older buildings in the landscape is problematic. They have historical value, create community character, and serve as a reminder of the past. On the other hand, for derelict buildings without purpose, liability soon exceeds value. We are at a time in our history when the buildings associated with growth in the late 19th and early 20th centuries are succumbing to the vagaries of time. Older designs, although often sturdy, are not energy-efficient and don’t always fit our modern ideas of efficiency and convenience, or our 21st century need for parking areas, central heating, and convenient washrooms. As a result many older buildings, including churches, schools, halls and stores are lost from the landscape.


Mill Road School, Gagetown 2

old school at Mill Road, near Gagetown, Queens County, New Brunswick (Verified as Lawfield School, Gagetown #1)


Do you have older school buildings in your community and what has been/will be their fate?


Copyright 2016 Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

May 6, 2016 at 7:00 am

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