(Great?) grandpa and grandma stopped driving oh, gosh, who knows how long ago! These cars look to have not moved in quite awhile; that’s substantially more than just moss growing round the tires. The imperial might be a ’67; I didn’t get out to check for side marker lights, but I think that emblem in the middle of the full-width taillight is the ’68 style.
There’s a light on in the house. I bet it’s a bare bulb on a timer—the old motorised type, from a long-defunct company like Lafayette.
What’s he building in there?…
The narrator is far creepier than the guy in the house
There are a number of these “ghost ship” houses around our neighborhood, although not with any interesting iron in the drive. You can tell someone lives, using the term loosely, there, but you never actually see them, unless it is the shadows on the curtain. You can almost pinpoint the date of last major maintenance of the dwelling based on observable traits, usually clustered somewhere in the late to mid eighties.
One house in particular has a 15 year old Nissan under the carport, caked in dust, and unmoved in years. The rest of the place looks rather pervasively decrepit in a bicentennial way. Yet we sometimes see lights on while walking by in the dusk, slow moving figures dimly visible through the mullioned windows. Who will eventually find the desiccated remains perched on the velour sofa in front of the flickering glow of the console TV?
Is that Imperial a convertible under that cover? If it’s a ’68 it’s one of less than 500, which would make it a pretty impressive find. No wonder he/she’s hanging onto it.
And sometimes the ghost ships aren’t inhabited by anyone other than ghosts. A couple years ago, I realized that the house directly behind mine, across the alley separating our properties, had lights on upstairs and downstairs 24/7, but I couldn’t recall when I last saw anyone in there; no trash was being left out for pickup; house plants visible in one window died and turned brown. After a LONG time (over a year), I learned it changed hands when a contractor came with a dumpster to clean the place out. Then another dumpster, and a third. This for about a 1400 square foot house, mind you. They were working from the top down and I excitedly awaited the day when they got to the ground-level garage, hoping something interesting would be in there that I could offer to revive. Alas, just more junk.
Daniel, great find!
That house is a classic “Vancouver special” as British Columbians say, with the “basement” (garage/storage/water heater/furnace) at grade level and the living area elevated.
I can imagine the elderly folks within referring to the Imperial as “the new car”.
Coincidentally enough, there are two 1958 Edsel Pacers in our neighbourhood. It looks like one is being used as a parts car for the other. I eagerly await seeing the good one’s progress.
This is one of the last things you see while you still have both your kidneys.
Daniel, now that you’ve taken a picture…
The ghosts will go home with you
Well, you can’t just leave us hanging like this!
And yes, I think that Imperial is a convertible.
My 5 second Google search showed 474 made for ’68 and 577 in ’67, so in either case it’s a pretty rare bird. (I think that rear end treatment is actually ’67. The 68’s appear to have the emblem on a dark background.)
A 1960 Edsel would have been a close style match with the Imperial. I thought that was because Elwood Engel was the lead stylist on both cars, but I can’t find any confirmation online as to who designed the ’60 Edsel (or similar 60 full size Fords).
I’ve seen similar situation for 50+ years. If the cars are interesting to me [like these 2 are], I typically leave notes in places where the occupants or visitors will find them. I have business cards with my information, designed for this specific type of situation. I leave the cards under the wiper if it’s clear the driver will return in the very near future, If the car is unlocked, I will leave a card stuck in the steering wheel or horn button area, and I’ve been known to stick one in the glove box, with notations like “I will buy this car!”.
Going further, I will leave a card stuck in the house’s front door edge crack, near the lock or knob, or if the door has a mail slot, I’ll put it in there. Never put it in the mail box, that’s against postal regulations.
A few times I was so interested in a car, that I went to the local county property records office and found out who owned the property. I then wrote and mailed a letter asking if the car was for sale, and I also mentioned that if it was not for sale, I would love to talk about the car anyway, or I might be able to help in obtaining parts to put it back on the road.
I have been contacted as soon as a few hours of leaving a card or 2. No one has given me a hard time about the cards, most tell me the cars are NFS. But . . .
I’ve also inherited several cars, years after I left my cards in the cars. Inherited cars include a 1948 Packard Custom Eight fastback, 1953 Packard convertible, and 1955 Cadillac Fleetwood with A/C.
Now what I want to know is, what’s in the garage in front of the Imperial.
Speaking of going ghost…
I once heard (from a man who I’d expect to have known such things) an incredible story of how the pictued Edsel’s reverse lamp tooling went undead.
As the Edsel lamp zombie it morphed to live on a bunch of lives on various Ford products, with its lkw as a pickup cargo lamp. lol
Boo Radley has(n’t) come out!
In the last decade, two tenants in the apartment house next door have been found dead after several days, perhaps due to odor.
This kind of thing always seems strange to me. I remember back in the late 70’s , there was a house just up the road from a friend of mine that clearly had been abandoned. The overgrowth was far worse than in the featured picture, and lights were never on. Under a bunch of dead branches and vines in the driveway sat a green 1958 Chevrolet Yeoman Station Wagon. It seemed so odd to me that the houses on either side were so immaculately kept and that this one was so run down. I guess neighbors there didn’t complain…unlike one of mine did. Once a neighbor complained because we had “too many cars in our driveway “ at the time, Dad had two cars, my sister had one and I had two. Mom didn’t drive or I’m sure there’d have been a sixth one in the driveway. I do remember my Dad’s response to the neighbor, “Until the day comes that you pay my mortgage and all of my bills, you have no say in what I do with my own property. If I want to park a (expletive) car on the roof I damn well will!” The neighbor proceeded to call the town officials who came to investigate. As all the vehicles were registered, insured and drivable there was nothing that could be done. Fortunately that neighbor moved within a year of the incident, much to everyone on the block’s delight.
That neighbor was a prime candidate for a HOA regs enforcement job!
“(measures grass with a ruler) Your grass is 1/4″ too tall, it must be mowed by sundown”
“But it’s 112 degrees!”
“I don’t make the rules here.”
At my previous home, they were super strict about not parking on your own driveway with the car blocking the sidewalk, which was about 8 feet from the edge of the road. They would ticket you if you did. If I needed to park a car that wouldn’t fit on the main part of the driveway, it was allowable to park it sideways on the section of the driveway between the sidewalk and road.
Cars that are unlicensed (or possibly unregistered, don’t know the law on that) can not be parked on the road here, but they can be parked on private property (not sure about on grass due to fire hazard). It’s not uncommon to see unlicensed cars being worked on or being parted out.
This looks to me like someone who’s father had interesting taste in hobby cars in the 70s, and maybe drove the Imperial regularly. Then the reclusive offspring who was never quite right inherited them when Dad died. Or maybe after Mom died (after she could not bear to part with them). At some point they went from loved, parked-indoor, functional cars to lichen beds. So sad, especially for a pair like these.
Years ago, until certain laws were passed, this sort of inactivity would have indicated a “grow” house. Thing to check on is the electric meter…
LED lighting revolutionized the grow house. Not only are LEDs inherently directional and very efficient with electricity, but the part that lights up doesn’t get hot (or even warm) so you can put it right up to the leaves, increasing their effective brightness. No longer can you detect a grow house by massive electricity usage.
The one real grow house I knew about was well kept and in a nice, modern, semi-rural exurb neighborhood, not at all what people expect a grow house to look like or be situated, which of course is why it was chosen for that use.
Was talking old school; should have said “Thing to check on WAS the electric meter…”
For years, this creepy house loomed over the parking lot of the very clean and modern A&P supermarket in Boonton, NJ. There was a rumor that some goon would stand at a window and watch the women walk back and forth with their shopping carts.
I took this photo in 2005, just before the end came. The site is now a sparkly new Speedway gas station, and no one who came to town after c. 2005 would ever know this house even existed.
“What’s he building in there? We have a right to know!” Uh, no we don’t.
“Norman! Stop watching those sinful women!”
Wouldn’t want to go there on Halloween.
Two wonderful mid-century American space-ships, keeping each other company. A really evocative and colorful photo . . .
Glad to learn of the “Vancouver special.” This is the format that Frank L Wright deployed again and again, from early in his career. The elevation of the favored spaces of the house provides for the unconscious comfort of “refuge,” while the overlook gives the “prospect” of superior view. And the designer gets to play with the underside of the roof as an interior element.
Worth the climb ? Probably. Even better when one can enter the house on that upper level—as in hill country . . .?
The house in the pic isn’t quite a Vancouver Special—the pic was taken in Seattle.
That’s how we live in our renovated barn in the Denver suburbs. A past owner redid it was upstairs and downstairs apartments, with kitchens on each floor. We live upside down, hauling our groceries upstairs in order to dine on the upper deck with a panoramic view of the Rocky Mountain Front Range.
Where do houses and living (or un-living) situations like these come from? I’m posing this question after hearing some commenters mention coming upon these sorts of homes in somewhat regular fashion.
The place I grew up in had a lot of homes that were only occupied seasonally or as vacation homes, and it wasn’t often that one slipped into this curious state of limbo… and if one did, it was always fairly brief; neighbors always seemed to have a decent grasp on there wheres and whys. The area I’m in now seems to have no limbo state. I mostly moved here in the economic downturn of 2008, and there were quite a few empty and dead properties. The lights just went out, and nobody returned. Anything left behind wasn’t worth picking up.
This picture leaves so much to imagination. The fact that there’s power on. Cars that haven’t been commonly seen as regular driveway fodder for 30-40 years. So these have to be a fairly deliberate choice of transportation… or are they really the same cars that Clem and Agnes were still driving to the store in 1983? And somebody gotta be there to change that light bulb once in awhile, no? I can almost hear the sounds of a recalcitrant FE tearing into the silence as it coughs and soots itself while fighting against a sticky choke and gargling down stale gas as it warms up early in the morning… off to the hardware store for another double pack of those hot ‘n’ dim 20,000 hour light bulbs.
Minus the chrome bumpers and back window, zomehow that Edsel’s rear end could pass as the design language of a lot of new cars today, like a Kia something-such.
Those cars are really Petri dishes for the character from ‘Ghostbusters’ Dr. Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis), whose vocation was “collecting mold, spores and fungus.”
Wow, Lafayette, forgot about them (not sure how I could, since I spent a week at that college in Easton PA back in 1975).
My Datsun 710 had an AM/FM Lafayette radio…car came without a radio, so I added it. Single speaker, mono radio, but having FM alone was pretty neat…..my Father had AM/FM stereo in his cars since our ’73 Ranch Wagon, but lots of cars still only came with AM only (or no radio at all, like my Datsun, hence the Lafayette radio.
I was a commuter student all 4 undergraduate years, probably enjoyed that Lafayette radio more than any car radio I’ve owned since.
Funny story…my stock 2000 VW radio has a bug where you can’t turn down the bass…it is permanently maxed out. The treble works just fine, as does the balance, but can’t change anything to reduce the bass. For a now 63 year old I find that humorous, that I have to listen to booming bass while in my car…highly inappropriate!