Video: The Ballad of Holland Island House

Bay-dwellers know the joys of exploring tidal pools and salt marshes, uncovering century-old pottery fragments, glass Rumford Baking Powder bottles, and arrowheads. We inhale the potent, sulfur smell of the marsh with a sense of pride and nostalgia. We crave the oozing of cool, gritty, detritus-packed mud between our toes. We find pause in aimless wanderings along eroding shorelines and beaches.

When I lived on the Chesapeake Bay (a place that we at Orvis love), proggin’ at low tide was my definition of a perfect Sunday afternoon. And Holland Island made the perfect setting.

The unforgiving landscape was rich in natural history and packed with ecological treasures. There, I would discover leftover pieces of a once thriving fishing community, and witness climate change at work. There, I would rediscover my purest sense of curiosity.

For years, this island featured one surviving, man-made structure—a Victorian home that stood alone as its owner worked tirelessly to save it. Birds lined the rooftop, and a distinct sadness haunted the abandoned landscape around it.

The home’s presence arrested and captivated all who saw it, including artist Lynn Tomlinson. She used an innovative clay-painting technique, photography, and stop-motion animation to tell the beautiful and haunting story of the house, which finally collapsed into the bay in 2010. Enjoy.

Click here for the full history of the house on Holland Island.

Holland Island House in October 2009, one year before it fell into the bay.
Photo by Flickr User baldeaglebluff

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