By Alex Jones
INCREDIBLE photos of a long-abandoned farmhouse show exactly what life was like living in the 19th Century.
Fascinating shots of the homestead, which was built in 1860 and home to a highly respected local schoolteacher, include a cluttered old writing desk; a vintage bottle of medicine designed to prevent bedwetting; and an antique dress mannequin shrouded in decades of dust.
The striking pictures were taken by urban explorer Bryan Sansivero, 34, who became the first person to set foot in the bewitching property for 40 years as the building’s future is determined.
“I was asked by the school district, who own the property, to document the house as it was found once they were awarded the property after a recent legal battle ,” explained the New York native.
“Parts of the house were collapsing, and it was very dusty and mouldy. It was also very cold on some of the days. But I loved the mystery of the place, and how the right photograph can make you ask questions.
“I think the most interesting find were the photographs of the family. Seeing all that history slowly being lost to time. It’s thought provoking.
“The pictures have a lot to say.”
The Marion Carll Farmhouse on Long Island, New York dates back to before the American Civil War and takes its name from long-time resident Marion Carll, who was born in 1885. As these remarkable photos show, the house gives a first-hand experience of what life was like at the turn of the 19th Century. Some of the outbuildings surrounding the farmhouse date back as far as 1701.
Carll, whose family name is synonymous with the local area, dedicated her life to education and public service. A lifelong resident of the farm, she was trained as an educator and served as a school teacher in New York City and Commack. During her long tenure as the Commack District’s Treasurer and Census Taker from 1929 until 1954, she helped organize the school district’s first PTA and was an active member of the Commack Methodist Church and local community groups.
Upon her death in 1968, Marion Carll gifted the farm property to the Commack School District under terms that it would be used for historical educational purposes. Although such a programme was set up, it collapsed several decades ago and the building has been vacant and deteriorating ever since.
Claiming the school board has neglected their duty of care, the Carll family launched an ultimately unsuccessful bid to reclaim the house and their ancestor’s intriguing curios in 2012. Recently, the courts found in favour of the school board who remain the farmhouse’s legal owners. There are now proposals in place to transform the nine-acre site into a working organic farm, an education centre or a restored historic site.
For now, the door’s to Marion Carll’s home remained firmly locked.