R E S S E L   H O U S E

The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible --Oscar Wilde

Ressel House

*this location has since been demolished

The Ressel House (aka House of 13 Rooms), Jackson, New Jersey

explored & photographed by: Shady

 

Like an enchanted fairy-tale cottage, Ressel House seemed to weave a certain... spell. I drove right by it a million times- it was right on the street I lived on!- and yet I almost never even knew it was there (as you can see from the first pic, below left, it was well-hidden behind a thick tangle of foliage- only the narrow driveway hints at it's existence). Yet, once uncovered, an amazing array of mysterious discoveries unraveled before our eyes, and left us wondering how this magical place could have stood so long forgotten and frozen in time....? We had heard rumor of an abandoned "house with 13 rooms" somewhere in the area, but never suspected it was right under our noses the whole time! When we finally found out the exact location, we were shocked, and set out to see it that very same day.

Ressel House

Ressel House

Ressel House

Ressel House

Ressel House

Walking up the tree-shrouded driveway was like entering a cool tunnel of green leafiness; even as we drew close to the house, it was still masked by the jumbled jungle of greenery. As soon as I caught a glimpse of the aged, intricately-detailed structure through the leaves, I was smitten. I wanted to move in right then and there, haha. What an incredibly beautiful place this was! And the lush landscape surrounding it was like a wild garden paradise, with an array of vines and blooms tumbling over each other and embracing the empty house. And we'd soon find out just how much an integral part of this place the overwhelming flora really was.

Lost Destinations: Ressel House

Lost Destinations: Ressel House

Lost Destinations: Ressel House

Lost Destinations: Ressel House

Lost Destinations: Ressel House

As we roamed around the grounds, we began to come across scattered clues that gave a sense of just who used to call this place home: a filigree sign above a back door read "The Ressels"... an old stone birdbath adorned a shady side lawn... a graceful ballerina sculpture lay splayed forlornly in the grass... a weathered old board embossed with the word "La Reine Hotel" leaned in the shade of a fragrant violet wisteria, against one of the several garden sheds strewn around the grounds...

Lost Destinations: Ressel House

Lost Destinations: Ressel House

Lost Destinations: Ressel House

Lost Destinations: Ressel House

Lost Destinations: Ressel House

And then we found the greenhouses. Like magic, a glint of sunlight flashing off of a bit of glass revealed them, materializing right before our eyes from their hiding places beneath the mounds of leafy vines which blanketed them. Those of you who know me, know that I have a thing for greenhouses, heh heh. I love them. So, my knees were knocking for sure as we motored over to check them out. They were magnificent, enormous, industrial! I can't believe how big they were- two of them in total and a pit where a third had once stood. The first connected to the house (you can just see where in the first pic, above left).

Lost Destinations: Ressel House

Lost Destinations: Ressel House

Lost Destinations: Ressel House

Lost Destinations: Ressel House

Lost Destinations: Ressel House

Most of their glassed walls had been shattered into jagged sheets, which littered the lowered interior of the greenhouses. Still, they must have been amazing when they were functional, and we wondered about their purpose; they didn't seem to be the kind of greenhouses a regular old home gardener would need, even for a yard this size... whew! Near the greenhouses, we stumbled across yet another building; this one housed a large boat. This place was a treasure trove, rich with fascinating history and legacy... who were these people who had so lovingly tended these plants, who had kept a cheerful little boat of their own out behind their charming cottage with their name proudly displayed above the door? What had happened to them, why did they leave this place, where did they go? I couldn't help but wonder, and I couldn't wait any longer to go inside.

Lost Destinations: Ressel House

Lost Destinations: Ressel House

Lost Destinations: Ressel House

Lost Destinations: Ressel House

The mossy stone steps leading to the slightly open red door were just too inviting. As we crept in, we saw that the entire place was still filled with an interesting array of vintage furniture and other belongings; an antique wooden and velvet high chair sat veiled by a dusty sheer drape right in the foyer. The old floorboards were pretty squeaky beneath our feet and the light was murky and filtered by the moldering curtains. I loved it! It had a decaying charm that I just could not resist.

Lost Destinations: Ressel House

Lost Destinations: Ressel House

Lost Destinations: Ressel House

Lost Destinations: Ressel House

Lost Destinations: Ressel House

The inside was pretty much a mess, though. The stillness was eerie. Every inch of the place was coated with dust, as if nothing had been touched in years. Not a speck of graffiti marred any surface. All the damage was due to age and neglect, but it still gave the strange impression that the occupants had just left... dusty cookware still sat on the stove in the kitchen, knick-knacks and paintings still decorated decrepit surfaces. Curiosity lured me in, further, into the shadowy living room and closer to exploring the second floor above, keeping count of the rooms along the way...

VENTURE FURTHER INTO THE RESSEL HOUSE

 

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