In November of 2003, the Washington Post ran an article about the status of Cheshire more than a year after the buyout. (Read it here.) Just three months earlier I made a return visit to the town after visiting the annual Mothman Festival in Point Pleasant, West Virginia.
At this point Cheshire was about three-fourths empty. The businesses were entirely shuttered; below you can see the pizza parlor, dominated as it always had been by the power plant's cooling tower; the restaurant had farewell greetings soaped all over the windows by the departing staff.
But most of all there were the deserted houses--houses in relatively good condition, not just empty but boarded up and abandoned, left behind without any hope of a new tenant. Many have demolition instructions spraypainted on the plywood covering the doors and windows.
The people who still live in Cheshire have very few neighbors these days. The village government has already been mostly disbanded, and soon public works will be shut down as it becomes private property. For a while they thought some people would turn the offer down and stay behind, but from the look of the place, this doesn't seem likely anymore.
Although it's not a true ghost town yet, the streets of Cheshire had a very deserted feel in 2003. Considering the reasons for everyone's departure, this is not necessarily a bad thing. Though I missed out on 2004 and 2005, I plan to revisit sometime in the next year and see how the dismantling has progressed by then.
Click below to see the town as it appeared one year prior.