Family Reunited With Old Photos Found in Abandoned Syracuse House
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so imagine the essay of emotions Darlene Priest felt when she was reunited with some old family photos that had been lost and forgotten about in a Syracuse home for years.
David Haas established Syracuse History back in 2013, and has used social platforms like Instagram and TikTok to share footage from old houses, buildings and cemeteries across the city. Haas has shared some pretty amazing finds over the years, but one of his latest discoveries will certainly go in the books as one of his most special. While Haas was recently exploring an abandoned house on Wood Avenue that was set to be demolished, he stumbled across a disposable camera that was hidden among loose Jenga blocks and an old Bruce Springsteen cassette tape.
"When I tour properties, I don't take anything from them during my visits, it's not mine to take," Haas said. "I simply document the building and share its history. On the trip to the specific house with the disposable camera, I was aware the house was being demolished and anything inside would most likely end up being thrown away. I had a sense of wonder of what the camera might hold, possibly memories of someone's time in that very house. I grabbed the camera and developed the photos over the summer."
When Haas eventually got the pictures back, he saw a series of pictures of a family with young kids at a Memorial Day parade in Fabius, New York. He sat with the pictures for a few months before sharing them on TikTok in February.
"I had no intention of finding the past owner because I had no information and I didn't think it would be possible," Haas said.
But it didn't take long. Within hours of uploading the photos to a video on TikTok, word had reached the family in the pictures. Darlene Priest got in contact with Haas, telling him that she lived in the house on Wood Avenue with friends until about four years ago, and that the photos were of her son and daughter back in 2004 or 2005.
Priest shared the heartwarming story of finding her lost pictures in a YouTube video on March 1, where she said was shocked and surprised to hear that someone had found her pictures.
"I was very shocked. All he wanted to do was get these pictures back to the rightful owner," Priest said in the video. "I wanted to say a big thank you to [David Haas] for getting the pictures back to me. I believe there's still good people out there, and he is a real good person."
Haas packaged up the photos and the camera, and sent them to where Priest now lives in Massachusetts, where she takes being reunited with these precious memories as a sign from her late mother.
"Some of you might know that I've lost my mom last September, and I feel because [of] the way I believe in this, that my mom's still watching over me and she wanted to make sure I was going to get my pictures back," Priest said. "It's just the way I feel. God works in his own ways, and I'm very, very, very appreciative of what David has done."
Priest shared some photos of herself with her treasured memories.