Step inside this abandoned old house untouched for 40 years

Posted: April 27, 2019 in General
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1. A home frozen in time
An enchanting time capsule, the Marion Carll Farmhouse on Long Island has lain empty for years due to a lack of funding and a legal battle over ownership rights that has only just been resolved. Photographer Bryan Sansivero was granted exclusive access by the local school board and district to capture the beguiling Victorian property before its many antiques and curios were removed. Take a peek around the house that time forgot and transport yourself to a bygone era.

2. A faded beauty
Located in the hamlet of Commack in Suffolk County, New York, the nine-acre farmstead dates way back to 1701, while the clapboard farmhouse was built on the eve of the Civil War in 1860. The property takes its name from long-time resident Marion Carll, who was born in 1885.

3. A pillar of the community
Marion Carll was a renowned teacher who taught in the local district and went on to found the area’s first PTA and had a grammar school named after her in 1957. When she died in 1968, she bequeathed the house to the Commack School Board and District with the proviso that it should only be used for educational and historical purposes.

4. A fight for ownership
Occasional classes were offered by the Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) but abandoned in the 1990s due to a lack of funding. Since then, the house and surrounding farm have been left vacant. In 2012, Ms Carll’s descendants launched a legal battle with the school board and district which they accused of failing to adhere to the conditions set out in their ancestor’s last will and testament.

5. Period details
A New York State Supreme Court judge recently ruled that the school board and district has a right to retain ownership of the property, ending the protracted legal battle. You can see why they fought over this house. Though crumbling, it still boasts oodles of period charm. Ms Carll was clearly keen to preserve its 19th-century allure and did little if nothing during her lifetime to modernize the farmhouse, which is resplendent with fine antiques and interesting curios.

6. The parlor
Talk about a time warp home! The parlor contains some wonderfully evocative pieces including this ornate piano by New York City company Calenberg & Vaupel. The firm first started making musical instruments in 1864, four years after the farmhouse was constructed

7. Antique medicines
Empty bottles that once contained all sorts of curious concoctions abound in the farmhouse. Note the bottle of paint-stripping potion Pyranzine and the container labeled ‘Laudanum’, a super-potent and extremely addictive tincture of opium that was used to treat pain.

8. Untouched rooms
Although covered in thick dust, the house looks as if she has just left the room. Here, her old sewing machine sits ready for use in what would be a bright spot by the window, if the blinds were open.

9. Locked-up riches
Ms Carll secured her valuables in a safe manufactured by the famous Hall’s Safe Company. The firm, which was established during the mid 19th century in Cincinnati, makes some of the finest safes and locks in the world and is still going strong today.

10. Original features
Beautiful marble fireplaces adorn the rooms in the farmhouse, and though the wallpaper is peeling off, the property’s original features, including the door frames and skirting boards, are in remarkably good condition.

11. Decorative flourishes
Charming touches pervade the property. They range from delicately embroidered cushions and blankets to exquisite china pieces and this enamel chamber pot filled with fabric flowers.

12. A family home
Photographs of the Carll family are captured here scattered on a table in the farmhouse. As you can see from the classy clothing they are sporting, the family members appear to be comfortably well-off and exceedingly genteel.

13. The ravages of time
While some areas of the house look to be in a reasonable state, others are obviously dilapidated and in dire need of restoration work.

14. A snapshot of the past
Education was Marion Carll’s vocation and passion, so it comes as no surprise that the much-loved teacher owned a writing bureau, in front of which she no doubt sat for hours composing letter after letter and marking her students’ work.

15. The dining room
The dining room is just as well-appointed and elegant as the other rooms in the farmhouse. A solid wooden table takes pride of place in the center, while an imposing cabinet off to the side showcases the family’s fancy china and glassware.

16. Some mod cons
The odd relatively modern touch can be found in the house including this attractive Art Deco fan, which contrasts with the Victorian and early 20th-century objects that are dotted around the property.

17. Retro remedies
Another curious bottle in this shot: Humphrey’s ā€œ30ā€, a homeopathic remedy to help prevent incontinence and bed-wetting. Intriguingly, the classic concoction is still available these days and can even be snapped up from Amazon.

18. The farmhouse dresser
This dresser in what appears to be the farmhouse kitchen contains the family’s day-to-day crockery. The chinoiserie Blue Willow pattern was hugely popular in America during the late 19th century and throughout much of the 20th century.

19. Prints from the past
The walls of this room are decorated with several historical prints including a copy of John Trumbull’s iconic Declaration of Independence, which was painted in 1818 and features on the two-dollar bill.

20. Antique furnishings
This photo shows what looks like the bathroom or washroom of the farmhouse. Note the white clapboard walls so typical of nearby New England, as well as the fancy gilded mirror and old-style water pump.

21. Old lace
The master bedroom contains a box of sewing threads and a dressmaking dummy covered with an exquisite lace piece that was presumably hand-tailored by Ms Carll herself.

22. A picture of neglect
This wider shot of the master bedroom shows exactly what years of vacancy and neglect can do to a property that was once meticulously maintained. Paint is peeling off the walls, while the floor and furniture are littered with debris.

23. A 1930s timepiece
Another Art Deco piece, this wind-up Ingraham Meteor alarm clock was manufactured in 1936. It sits next to a dusty empty bottle of C. C. Parsons’ Household Ammonia, an essential cleaning product from way back when.

24. Faded fashions
More dressmaking paraphernalia in this room. Against those starkly cracked walls, this space has a rather dramatic and eerie feel. The dummy is dressed in a corseted bodice and cage crinoline which was used to support the elaborate skirts and bustles of 19th-century dresses.

25. A simpler way of life
This evocative shot shows a chest of drawers that was used as a wash table. Age-old toiletry products feature on the tabletop alongside a jug, bowl and antique towels for daily ablutions.

26. Dancing days gone by
A pair of black ballet-style shoes, which may have been hand-embroidered by Marion Carll or another member of the family, lie on one of the linen-covered beds in the property, placed next to two fabric roses.

27. A glimpse into history
Peering into the long hallway on the upper floor of the farmhouse, you can’t help but notice how rundown parts of the property have become. This wing of the house was used to accommodate slaves before the abolition of slavery in 1865, thereafter it served as the servants’ quarters.

28. A vintage tableau
In contrast to the long hallway, this bedroom is in fairly good shape and doesn’t look like it would need much more than repapering to restore it to its former glory. Silk dresses, straw hats and ballet shoes pack the closet, along with a pretty parasol.

29. The attic
The attic room looks like it was once used for storage or perhaps sleeping quarters for domestic staff. Damp stains the ceiling and a number of rusty old cage crinolines hang from wooden hooks on the wall.

30. A grand inheritance
The beauty of this time capsule home, but for now at least the gates remain closed on the property while the Commack School Board consult the community on its fate. Options include turning it into a public park, a working organic farm and creating an education center, all in the spirit of Marion Carll’s wishes.

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