About 2 miles from my house stands the Peacock House. It's empty, and falling apart. It's been empty for about 5 years. This is what scares me, because it's so run-down that whoever was living in it those couple years ago was living in a leaky, drafty, and cold house — I have heard stories that the old lady who legally lived there only lived in two rooms of the house though, and I'd bet those are the rooms with the blue plastic tarp on the roof above them (the kitchen and what was probably a dining room). The main reason that the house is in such poor condition is that it sits under some very big trees, and the trees drop their leaves onto the roof of the house, and the roof starts to rot, letting water leak in. The entire roof of the house is a living organism. There are ferns growing on it which are visible from the ground.
My mom works with a guy who's wife's family built the house. Her maiden name was Peacock. Her father was born in the house. The house was built in 1895, and stands about 800 feet from the river, and back then, there was no embankment of the highway to stop the rising water. However, the house sits on somewhat of a hill, so I doubt it ever flooded. Around the outside of the house are the crumbling remains of short concrete partitions that probably had gardens in them. There is also an old 2 door car that was left sitting in the bushes to die, circa 1920s-1930s model. The engine rusted right through and is sitting on the ground. :) There is also an old swing set. Just north of the house is a grown-over filbert orchard. Northeast of the house is an old rotting camper trailer. When investigating the house for the first time, the blackberry brambles that had surrounded the area around the house had been cut away, exposing the long since empty camper. I went inside. The floor was sagging down, and there was some mildew on the chairs. It was surprisingly clean. The camper had probably been unlived in for 20 - 25 years. There were copies of Reader's Digest in a big box, and on the table were lots and lots of matchbooks, including one with John F. Kennedy on it (!). I took it and now it's hanging on my bedroom wall. ^_^ There are still matches in it too. The weird thing about the camper was there were some notepads sitting around, and whoever had been writing on them had been adding and subtracting large sums of money (IE $40,000, $50,000, and so on) and had made little notes here and there on them like "buy house in Lebanon." o.o I shit you not.
The basement of the house was actually fairly empty. Since all the windows of the basement had been broken out, it was semi-flooded with light. There was a shelf in one room, and on the shelf was an old binder with some documents in it from 1946. They looked like technical things having to do with the house. Alot of the ink they had been written in had faded away. All the rooms of the house were completely empty except the kitchen, which had some misc food items in the cupboards (IE salt and pepper, mustard powder, stuff that comes in cans, ect). There was also an upstairs room that had a shelf in it. On the shelf were newpapers laid out, and sitting on those were wine bottles and were labled with a pen and some adhesive lables. The bottles said "Cherry Wine" and "Apple Wine" on them. The wine was still in them too. The lables also had the dates on them that they were bottled. They ranged between 1971 and 1976. The small room that had this in it was the room on second story, on the front of the house over the boarded up front door. There was a door leading out of this room into open space. All around the outside of the house were broken and intact liquor bottles, all emptied long ago by hobos and the local brain dead red neck teenagers. The front of the house faces south, toward the river.
June 8th, 2000
Now that I know the house is most likely going to be developed, I am waiting for crews to get started. It's still boarded up, but apparently it's still getting broken into. It has an alarm system on the inside now. I saw two cop cars stopped at the opening of the driveway the other day, and two cops were walking back to the house. I tried to call the police department and ask what was going on, but they couldn't tell me anything. They said the break in apparently went unreported. Trees are starting to be removed from the area. The house is alot more visible now when you head west, towards it, on Hickory. That can be a bad thing.. people who had never really noticed the house before will be seeing it, which equals more break-ins and destruction.. :( I need to get in touch with the newspaper again. They seem to know the most about the house.
Northeast Corner This is the northeast corner of the house. The entire north side of the house had a deck on it, and the deck had a roof that extended off the house. It was ripped out when the blackberry bushes were ripped out recently. The door to the basement is to the left of the ramp going up to the back door into the kitchen.
South side This is the south side of the house, the side facing the river, and the side with the door on it that used to go onto a small belcony (until it fell off). Inside that top door is the room with the home made wine in it.
West side I wasn't kidding about the ferns on the roof. :) The large rectangular window on the left above the ladder is the kitchen. The buildings in the distant background are a storage facility that was built a year ago. Beyond that is some trees, and beyond that, the river.
Northwest corner The northwest corner of the house. The two windows to the right of the ramp are kitchen windows.
The Peacock House, 1908 An old photo I managed to find of the Peacock House, taken around 1908. The circular concrete-walled garden at the foot of the front steps is still there, though it's crumbling. Some of the original plants are still growing in it, too.
A map of the area The Peacock house is marked with a big red square. You'll note that there's a Peacock Lane near it, which was named after the family that lived in the house of the same name. The orange rectangle is the storage facility. The yellow square is where the North Albany Thriftway sits (empty at the moment). I put orange dots across the river that mark where some giant iron supports sit that used to hold up Albany's first non-railroad bridge. It was built it 1892 and then dynamited in 1926 when the Ellsworth Street Bridge was built, the one that still stands today and is used by people on their daily commute, and so on. Before 1892, ferries were used to take people across the river. Albany has also had alot of steamboat activity in it's past. The big iron supports of the bridge now have power lines going across them. I did some asking around and found that the average citizen of Albany had no idea those iron supports used to hold up a bridge! :) I recently talked with a 90-year-old man who is a friend of my dad's, and he's lived in Albany all his life. He said he remembered the bridge, and that it was narrow, and scary to walk across. "You had to walk across it a few times before you got used to it. It was mainly used by farmer's wagons," he told me. The green area where on the south side of the bridge is now a river front park where a band stand sits. A series of summer music concerts are given there every year in what's called 'River Rhythms'. The concerts often attract crouds of over 3000 people.