By Mark McConville
PEEK INSIDE the abandoned remains of a historic landmark house that was once home to a US state senator and a publisher of the Washington Post.
The eerie images show the exterior of the coral rock house as well as the dilapidated interior with a bathroom falling in around itself and peeling walls in other rooms.
Other striking shots show what’s left of a games room with a dusty pool table surrounded by rubble, old mattresses and furniture cluttering another room and a kitchen with wood piled as high as the cupboards.
The stunning pictures show the Graham House in Miami, Florida, USA and were taken by a photographer known as Bullet.
“Many people on Facebook were talking about this house but were only showing exterior photos of the home,” he said.
“While that’s interesting and all, I needed to see what the inside looked like as well. Most of the photos are the interior of the Graham family home, a coral rock house built in 1924. At some point in time, it looked as though some work was attempted on the home but it obviously didn’t get very far.
“While the home is designated a historic landmark here in Dade County, it just means it would be difficult to demolish the home. The house has deteriorated and sadly, will continue to do so until it collapses or until it’s just a shell made of coral rock.
“Some people are appalled that such a landmark could have fallen into such disrepair. Others are heartbroken thinking how it’s like to see someone’s childhood home in such state.”
Ernest R. ‘Cap’ Graham was born in 1886 in Croswell, Michigan. He worked as a mining engineer in South Dakota where he would meet his first wife, Florence Morris. They would have three children together: Philip Graham, former publisher of the Washington Post; William ‘Bill’ Graham, president of the Graham Company and principal developer of Miami Lakes; and Mary Graham Crow.
In 1921, him and his family moved down to the company town of Pennsuco, Florida to manage operations for the Pennsylvania Sugar Company. In 1924, he would build this coral rock home for his family.
By 1929, Pennsylvania Sugar had discontinued operations in Florida, and Graham was involved as operator of the Pennsuco Farming Company, either leasing land from or in partnership with the sugar company. He would acquire 7,000 acres to start a business called Graham Dairy. His wife, Florence, died of cancer in 1934 and in 1936, he remarried to Hilda Simmons, a schoolteacher. They had one child together, future Florida Governor and United States Senator Bob Graham.
In 1936, Graham was elected to the Florida State Senate, where he served two terms from 1937 to 1944. As a state senator, he sought to increase taxes on horse racing in order to increase funding for the aged. This led to an investigation into horse racing in the state resulting in the publicizing of alleged corruption and mob connections within the Florida racing industry. In 1942, he lobbied for Dade County and Miami, seeking more government contracts and other benefits for the area. He promoted the use of a barge canal across Florida through Lake Okeechobee to avoid the risk of war-time shipping through the Florida Straits.
In 1948, Graham unsuccessfully sought election to the Dade County Commission. The town of Pennsuco, with a population of 133 at the time, was incorporated in 1949. Ernest Graham returned to farming and would live here until his death in 1964.
The dairy moved to Moore Haven in the early-1950s due to residential development, taking with it many residents of the town. By the 1970s, the Graham family sold much of the town’s land to Rinker Materials Co., a concrete manufacturing company. The dwellings, including the coral rock home of the Grahams, remained on the Graham Company land. The population of Pennsuco dwindled to 74. Homes were knocked down and Okeechobee Road was widened from two-lanes into six-lane U.S. 27.
By 1985, Pennsuco’s population was 15. The following year, having no police or fire services, no sewers, and no city water, the remaining residents voted to abolish the city charter and were annexed into Dade County. The family home was designated a historic landmark of Miami-Dade County in 1982. Despite that, the house has fallen into ruin with no plans for it in the future.
For more information see www.abandonedfl.com