Friday Fun: Mansion Rescue

Mansions in decay, abandoned for years, taken over by vegetation… are they not calling out to you, to be rescued?

Deserted wooden mansion in the American Midwest, from Red Dead Wiki
Deserted wooden mansion in the American Midwest, from Red Dead Wiki
Another American Beauty: the Bannerman Mansion in New York, from Kuriositas.
Another American Beauty: the Bannerman Mansion in New York, from Kuriositas. Explosives and a fire put an end to this building.
Back in Europe, Kasteel van Mesen in Belgium is reported to harbour ghosts. From Ghosthunter.nl
Back in Europe, Kasteel van Mesen in Belgium is reported to harbour ghosts. From Ghosthunter.nl
Small but oho! Villa de Veche on Lake Como, from Ghostsmedia.
Small but oho! Villa de Veche on Lake Como, from Ghostsmedia.
Pidhirtsi Castle in Ukraine, from Strange Abandoned Places.
Pidhirtsi Castle in Ukraine, from Strange Abandoned Places. Although the castle was looted and damaged by the Russians during WW1, it wasn’t until the 1950s that it burnt down. Restoration work is progressing very slowly, owing to lack of funds.
The Sobanski Palace in Poland, from Pinterest.
The Sobanski Palace in Poland, from Pinterest.
The staircase of Prince Said Halim's Palace in Cairo, from Urban Ghosts Media
The staircase of Prince Said Halim’s Palace in Cairo, from Urban Ghosts Media
The FCC Mansion in Cambodia is being reopened for art and culture events. From fcccambodia.com
The FCC Mansion in Cambodia is being reopened for art and culture events. From fcccambodia.com
Beautifully integrated in the landscape: the Talisay Mansion in the Philippines, from Matador Network,
Beautifully integrated in the landscape: the Talisay Mansion in the Philippines, from Matador Network.

One of the saddest stories of decaying buildings is The Grande Hotel Beira in Mozambique – although its fate is the very opposite of abandonment. Once the most opulent and largest hotel on the African continent, it operated for less than a decade and closed down, citing a lack of visitors. Civil war led to a steady stream of refugees squatting in the building – and they have stayed there even after the peace settlement. It’s estimated that between 1200-2000 people live there in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions. I didn’t have the heart to show any pictures, but a documentary was made about it in 2007, entitled Night Lodgers.

 

 

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26 thoughts on “Friday Fun: Mansion Rescue”

    1. There are so many crumbling away in Romania at the moment, which makes me very angry. These are properties which were nationalised by the Communists, then the families had the right to reclaim them after 1990, but tracing the descendants or fighting among them has meant the court cases have dragged on for decades. Meanwhile…

    1. Where, where? I’m over to look. Sometimes, late at night, I find myself drooling over pictures of chateau and crumbling manor houses. That’s when I know it’s time to go to bed!

  1. The Villa de Veche and the Talisay Mansion look so beautiful in their romantic settings. Of course the reality will be different. I was saddened by what you describe in Mozambique. My father worked there during the civil war and I visited several times but only ever to Maputu; it was too dangerous to leave the city. I’ve found some clips of the hotel now on youtube. I expected to be downcast by what I watched but the indomitable spirit of the people shines through 🙂 Perhaps I have managed to find only the uplifting clips!

    1. There is also that remarkable tower block in Venezuela, I believe, where squatters have moved in and created a vertical shantytown. But what is impressive with this (and with the Brazilian favelas) is that some form of organisation soon emerges, and people live their lives with a modicum of respect and order. Alas, there is always a clash with the authorities, and of course the survival of the strongest (and weapons), but I find the indomitable human spirit can be inspiring.

  2. Have you read Bechdel’s Fun Home? Her father did restaurate a period mansion. The whole experience was not, shall we say, unproblematic, but it’s definitely very interesting.

    1. No, thanks for the suggestion. I do know of several people who did embark upon a restoration project (usually British expats to Italy, France or Spain), but the results were mixed. We often only hear about the great successes.

  3. If I could, I’d rescue them all! I love scouting out abandoned houses and buildings close to home, and imagining their pasts.
    I especially like the first and fourth.

  4. A lot of these would make such excellent settings for a story, Marina Sofia! Wow! I think if I were going to rebuild, I’d pick the Villa de Veche. But they’re all so atmospheric!

  5. Love these pics but so haunted. Not by ghosts but by memories. I love shots of abandoned places. Intriguing are abandoned places in Japan. Many incredible things are left behind and strangely untouched.

  6. Villa de Veche is lovely, though I might take Talisay. Pidhirtsi Castle looks like a horror movie set (in a good way, like The Woman in Black moved to the Ukraine).

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