Urban Exploration photographer, Thomas Wilson Pratt Slatin re-turned to ‘The Eagles Nest’ in Stamford, New York to obtain some of the last remaining photographs of the property. The property was home to a Stamford, New York native, namely Ned Buntline. It was once an inn belonging to the group of well-known inns that once provided a reason that the Catskills were a well-visited travel destination in its heyday. It was February of 2018 that Thomas W.P. Slatin revisited the property to obtain both exterior photographs of the home utilizing film, and photographs of the interior of the property utilizing digital. It was his passion to be certain to document the property before it decayed further, largely due to his fascination with the property which began in his childhood.
Growing up in Stamford, NY, Slatin recalls his early childhood fascination with the property, which he remembers as if it were yesterday.
“When I was a child, the large house matched the same architectural style and time period as the illustrations in the classic books that I was reading in school,” states Slatin. “And as such, Slatin continued, I thought that there was something absolutely magical and irresistible about the house, as if it somehow materialized out of one of my childhood school books. As an adult, I still haven’t lost my sense of wonder and adventure, in the general sense and specifically for this, once extraordinary house.”
Going back to Thomas W.P. Slatin’s childhood when the house was in a much better state than the condition of its dilapidated condition today, ‘The Eagles Nest’ home in Stamford had “a sense of obscurity and the home gave my friends and I a feeling that perhaps it had been abandoned, even back then, despite the rumors that an elderly couple still lived there. My friends would often suggest that we should ride our bicycles to the house and one of us should knock on the door. The one who knocked on the door was me,” states Slatin.
No one ever answered, “One day I knocked on the door and it wasn’t closed all of the way, and it accidentally pushed open, though still there didn’t appear to be anyone home. We left and got on our bikes to venture home, still not sure what to make of the house, of course it was beautiful yet somewhat mystical and enigmatic. As kids we perceived it to have been left behind, which just added to our intrigue, as to why would it be? It was an interesting and visually stunning house, a family could have easily lived there at that time, comfortably,” concludes Slatin, but it seems that no one did. This was in the 80’s.”
‘The Eagles Nest’ is actually a large mansion, which sat and still sits on a huge lot on the border of town in Stamford, New York. The house was constructed by Ned Buntline in the 1800’s. It was one of his residences over the years. As described by the AdirondackAlmanac.com, Ned Buntline was “the stocky and red-bearded, unruly dime novelist, and Buffalo Bill’s promoter, who was born Edward Zane Carroll Judson in 1823.” Continuing, as summarized by the ‘Adirondack Almanac,’ “Ned brought a certain class of visitors to the Adirondacks – professional people who worked in the big cities.”
Thomas W.P. Slatin, both a talented writer and photographer, chose to photograph ‘The Eagles Nest’ in Stamford, NY utilizing his Canon 5D Mark IV for the interior, when photographing the property in early 2018. Slatin states, “I took at least 100 photographs in total, and narrowed the number down to 16 images, which I feel best represent the architectural style and most interesting facets of the mansion which are best suited to tell the story of ‘The Eagle’s Nest,’ concerning its history and its current state of decay, despite rumors that some wanted to restore the property, it has not been restored,” states Slatin.
Slatin photographed the exterior of the property utilizing a vintage 4 x 5 camera with a sheet of Kodak Ektar ISO 100 film.
Slatin concluded the interview, by summarizing his style and approach, “I document properties, some with the hope of being restored, and some in a state of significant disrepair.” “I want to present reality, in its truest and purest form. All too often we are presented with photography that speaks to an unachievable idealism for which we are somehow convinced is what we base ourselves upon. For example, flawless perfection is a common theme in modern photography, especially in advertising. My vision is to document and present the realities of modern parlance as closely as possible, such as the case with photographing this historic property as it currently stands in Stamford, New York.”
Slatin’s photography work from his February 2018 documentation of ‘The Eagles Nest,’ utilizing both digital for the interior and film for the exterior, is included with this article. He has amassed a following of over 190 thousand followers/fans via his Instagram page @tomslatin.
Subscribe to his award winning blog at www.tomslatin.com.