Archive for February, 2015

What We Left Behind

The Mysteriously Abandoned Green House

 Written by: Sean L.

Photographs by: Amanda H.

The older we get, the more things we have to leave behind. That’s life. Friendships. Habits. Memories. Times change, and some things do not change with you. These are the things that we leave behind. But some things don’t go as easily. Some things that should not have been forgotten, still wait in their darkest hour. This is true of the abandoned Green House. Before reading any further, understand that this article will be unlike any other previously seen on this site. There will be no history, identifiable landmarks, or anything that can help you find this place. It’s nothing personal; it’s just that this place is a mystery, even to us. And we wish to keep it that way. This place is so dark, depressing, and dangerous that it is best that it stay lost and forgotten. It is better for this lost home to stay in shadow.

There is no history here for us to report. We found no information at all from anyone on this strange site. Though it sits beside a very busy and highly trafficked road, this mysteriously abandoned house sits completely empty and utterly silent. Just to be clear, the Green House is our label for this place. We don’t know who once lived here, or why they left. And, based on the signs posted on the front door of this strange house, neither does the bank that now owns this derelict property. We simply call it the Green House because of its distinct green color. What separates this house from many of the other abandoned sites we have explored, this place was seemingly left overnight. There is still food in the fridge. A calendar still hangs on the wall. Children’s toys still wait for their return. But it will never come.

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I have driven past the abandoned Green House many times over the last few months. It caught my eye because I never saw anyone coming or going from it, and the lights never came on. It always sat in darkness and in silence. Large amounts of trash bags and liter surrounded the outside of the house as well. Unfortunately, the Green House sits alongside a very busy road. It has a high traffic rate and a large police presence. Since we were not able to find any information on this place, caution had to be taken. Luckily, a series of hiking trails stood a short walk away from the abandoned house. This is where we chose to park to avoid any suspicion. We chose to visit this site on a gloomy winter day. The leaves had all fallen from the trees. The skies were grey. And a thin layer of ice coated the ground.

The Green House is located in a small former farming town in New England. Following parking our car at the local walking trails, we began our short walk along this busy stretch of road. Until at last we came upon the Green House. Right off the bat, there is a very unsettling feeling about this place. It is clear that all feeling of comfort and joy were ripped away from the Green House many years ago. It is now devoid all of things bright, standing  in complete despair. Windows are smashed. Doors are open. Paint peels from the siding. Bags of trash and former possessions lie strewn about the property. Nothing lives here anymore, other than the sad ghosts of what once was. There is a small driveway out front, though it would be unwise to park there. Not only would you be in plain sight of all passerby’s, but the pavement is also in very poor shape.

The building itself is in very poor shape. It is just one floor, with some sort of small attic above that. A beat up garage stands beside it. In the backyard, an old swing set has been crushed by a falling tree. As previously mentioned, a sign is taped to the front door. It states that the house has been winterized for up until the year 2017. Curiously, it also requests that if you know or are the owners of this property to please contact them. It made us wonder just who once lived here, and what happened to them. The house was obviously abandoned in a hurry, a very abrupt one at that. Whoever once lived here left behind literally all of their possessions. They are now sadly scattered all over the property. Everything from clothing, trash, old basketballs, and stuffed animals cover the front yard. It was literally an apocalypse movie come to life.

The inside of the buildings are complete chaos. The smell was unimaginable. We’ve had some bad smelling places, but this one took the cake. All kinds of stuff was all over the floor. Believe it or not an old Bow Flex workout machine was still standing in the garage, though covered in trash. A lot of trashed old 90’s things were amongst the liter. VHS tapes, CD’s, and Nintendo controllers could all be spotted in and out of the house. The inside of the house was the edge of Hell. The side door was just sitting open, beckoning anyone and everyone to witness the horrors inside. There are holes in the floor. The roof is collapsed in spots. The stairway to the attic is still open, though only darkness emanates from it. The bedrooms of children and adults alike lay in complete ruin, with the things they once treasured cast about all over the place like mere trash.

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Trust us when we say, this place is not for the faint of heart. For it is indeed heartbreaking. Only a few times has an abandoned place been as unsettling and as depressing as the Green House. There is a reason that this article is the first we have ever released to not include any information. The place that a family once called home has been reduced to near rubble, still waiting for them to return. Not even the bank knows what happened to them. But this place was more than just their home. It was the place where family bonds were grown. It was the place where childhoods were experienced. It was the place that people once found comfort above all others. It is now the place that they left behind.

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The Changing of the Guard — Hiking Manchester’s Former Nike Base

Posted: February 17, 2015 by Abandoned Wonders and Hidden Wonders Photography in #postaday, Abandoned, Abandoned Attractions, Abandoned Baseball Field, Abandoned Business, Abandoned Connecticut, Abandoned Forts, abandoned military bases, abandoned new england, Abandoned USA, Abandoned Wonders, Birds, Bolton, Broken, Children, Closed, commercial, Connecticut, darkness, Death, Destruction, empty, Exploration, exploring the abandoned, fire, for sale, Forgotten, forgotten beauty, Fortress, Forts, Ghosts, Graveyard, Haunting, Hiking, History, Homeless, House, Information, left behind, lost, Manchester, Manchester CT, Military, Military Forts, Movies, Mystery, nature, new england, nightmares, Nike Missile Base, overgrown, photography, Public Parks, research, Ruins, Safety First, Searching, State Parks, Stories, The Walking Dead, Uncategorized, Urban Decay, Urban Exploration, Urban Exploring, Urbex, writing
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The Changing of the Guard

Hiking Manchester’s Former Nike Base

Written by: Sean L.

Photographs by: Amanda H.

We have visited quite a few former military installations across New England over the last few years. Most people find it hard to believe that there are so many sites out there left abandoned by the military, but they are out there. You just have to look a little harder for them. Some are simply hiding right under the public’s noses. We have covered abandoned coastal fortresses in Rhode Island, deserted Air Force bases in Massachusetts, and of course the decaying Nike Missile bases in Connecticut. Here in our home in the Nutmeg state, the Nike Missile bases are some of the more iconic and well known abandoned places. We have explored most of the Nike Missile bases that are still standing across the state. Most have become lost and forgotten sites, falling victims to nature’s fury and mankind’s neglect. But a few of these sites have found salvation through resurrection.

During the most vicious years of the Cold War, there were at one time hundreds of Nike Missile sites all over the country. Some of these bases were even established in Europe. There were at least twelve known in the state of Connecticut. Most of these sites were coastal or along the Connecticut River. Others were in place as a defense for the city of Hartford. First established in 1945 as a project for the US Army, the Nike Missile sites were created as a new form of defense against aerial attacks on the United States homeland. By the mid-1950’s, there were sites in almost every state in the union. But also around this time, technology began to develop. The Army was moving forward with more advanced forms of missile defense, and Nike slowly became obsolete. It wasn’t long until the project came to end.

With most sites being a part of active military bases, their shutdown was not a big deal. Some shutdown sites were demolished. Others were donated. But a few were simply left to rot. See our write-up on Portland’s Nike Missile base here (https://abandonedwonders.wordpress.com/2014/11/11/sound-the-bugle/). On an early spring weekend, we decided to visit another former Nike Missile base in Manchester, Connecticut. The base was in operation between the years of 1956-1961. When the site was decommissioned by the United States military in the early 1960’s, the site was returned to the town of Manchester. Over the next few years, the town began to make use of the property by turning it into a recreational area. All of the missile launch pads have been removed, and most of the old buildings are still standing. The site is known today as the Nike Site Recreation Area.

Finding the site is no problem. Just google it. It is in close proximity to a few nicer residential neighborhoods in Manchester, not too far from the Glastonbury town line. A large and well maintained sign will welcome you to the area, as opposed to the armed guards that once protected this place. When entering the park, the main road will take you right into the heart of the former base. All of the buildings still stand, and there is ample parking. Though most of the buildings appear to be abandoned, they are not. One of the older buildings has been converted into ballet studio. Another one is now a preschool/daycare, with a brightly colored playground outside. All of the other buildings appear to be used just for storage. One is rumored to be a shooting range, but we found no such evidence to confirm this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even though they are still in use, the buildings all look abandoned. A lot of the windows are boarded up and they are not in the best of shape. One building even has white hand prints scattered all along its outer wall, though we would guess this is from the preschool from across the lot. Standing right behind the old buildings is a baseball diamond. Though it was not in use while we there, it is clearly maintained. There were actually a good number of people here when we visited, but they were all congregated in the main area of the base. In order to get a real glimpse of the former site, you have to do some walking. There are a clear line of trails throughout the park. While following the main trail further into the base the old overgrown chain link fences can be seen, still protecting the grounds.

Following the trails into the base, the old access roads into the missile site can still be seen. We followed them through the fences and further into the woods, leading to a large clearing with large power lines overhead. This is where the missile launch pads were once located, remnants of them can still be seen. Continuing down the trail, we found the three former missile platforms. Each of these is a large cement foundation with a rusty metal blast plate attached, used to protect the concrete from the rocket’s heat. Alongside of these, there are several collapsed ruins that were once small buildings. Scattered amongst the site were random items such as old tires, cement markers, and old telephone lines. Closer to the main grounds of the base, there is the old water pump station. A large blue tank stands beside an old cement building. Both have become very rusted and covered in graffiti. 

Though the site is designated as a recreational area, it clearly has its share of secrets. We found one small underground bunker that we were able to get into, though it was merely a small electrical duct. Mixed amongst the trees, the old wire system can still be seen. We even curiously found a large area of the grounds that was literally coated in broken glass sitting beside a dying fire pit. Either the Terminator has recently returned from the future, or this place has a vandal problem. Unfortunately, it will not be long before all of these ruins disappear. Though the remnants of this place’s past are slowly fading away, there are still reminders everywhere of what it once was. The Manchester Nike Missile Base may have swapped its garrison of soldiers for children and tiny ballerinas, but the ghosts of the Cold War still haunt these wooded grounds.

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Sunset on Sunrise

Remembering Sunrise Resort – Part III

“Once more into the fray. Into the last great fight I shall ever know.

Live and die on this day. Live and die on this day.”

The Grey (2011)

This will be our final installment on the now fabled Sunrise Resort. We have covered our discovery of the resort in the first issue, followed by our investigation of the resort in our second. This final issue will cover our final visit to the grounds, after they had been demolished by the State of Connecticut. We hope that you have learned a thing or two about this place, and why it is important to us. It may be long gone, but it will live forever in the photos that we have taken and the stories that we tell about it. Sunrise Resort was loved by the people of Connecticut for many years. Following her demise, she was left abandoned for over half a decade. Finally, she was demolished by her owners leaving nothing but the memories and the tattered remains of what once was.

Spanning over 140 acres, Sunrise Resort was sold to the State of Connecticut for 2 million dollars after going out of business in 2008. When the state failed to act on reusing/redeveloping the resort, the grounds’ 82 buildings slowly fell into disrepair and became derelict. Though they sat empty and decaying for many years, one state lawmaker was determined to do something about it. Connecticut State Representative Melissa Ziobron, a former employee of Sunrise Resort, was the driving force behind the demolition. For many months, her proposition toiled in the state’s offices. Finally, in the summer of 2013, the demolition was approved. Over the next few months, every last deteriorating building was destroyed. The site has since been rechristened as Sunrise State Park. It was not until over a year afterwards that we decided to return to the site, to see what was left to see.

Since we had first discovered the resort in 2012, we watched it closely. We followed Representative Ziobron’s campaign to have the resort demolished. We had even written a script for an apocalyptic short film to be filmed there in the spring of 2013. Plans for this however fell through following the devastation of several nasty snow storms during the winter, which made the grounds completely impassable. Shortly after that, the grounds were designated off limits to visitors as the state prepared for the demolition of the resort, which would last throughout the summer of 2013. It was later reopened during the fall of that year. In the summer of 2014, we finally decided to make our return to the grounds. Almost exactly two years after we first discovered this abandoned wasteland on a hot summer day, we returned to see what had become of Sunrise Resort.

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At the time we visited the grounds, there was still no visible sign designating the space as Sunrise State Park. We parked our car in the same place that we had parked the last time we had visited the resort, though there is no longer a guard shack to stop cars from pulling up closer. The few buildings at the front of the resort are actually still standing. These buildings are still used by the State of Connecticut for storage. They are heavily padlocked and protected against any intruders, and they still remained as remarkably untouched as we had last seen them two years prior. A few of the buildings have their windows boarded up, some with plywood and others with just cardboard. Though they are looking quite old, they are clearly not abandoned and are the only structures still standing on the grounds.

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We continued down the road further into the resort, though there was no dog following us this time. The large parking lot where school buses used to load and unload visitors is still there, though now it is all dirt and chipped asphalt. From the parking lot, you can see the spot where the old office building and pool used to be. The pool has been completely filled in, and a deep layer of wood chips has been placed on top of it. The office building has been demolished, leaving only a checkered cement foundation that looks like a human chessboard. Farther down the path, we came to where the rows of cabins once stood. Much like the pool, there are just layers of wood chips covering the spots where the structures once stood. Though it had been a long time since we had been here, you can always tell where an old building once stood by the wood chips.

There really wasn’t much to see. Down by the river, everything had been cleared out. Even the old pine tree that stood in front of the dining hall had been removed. The only thing left to distinguish what once was, was the old chimney, still partially standing at the back of the lot. The only other real thing of note here were the sports fields. A few chain link fences had been left up around the baseball diamond, though it is long since overgrown. The tennis courts are still here too, just in very poor shape. We even found the old bocce ball and basketball courts, lost in the weeds where the old children’s center once stood. If you had never seen this place the way it used to be, it would be hard to imagine that is was once a fun filled resort. But with our daylight dying, we decided it was time to call it a day. We bid farewell to Sunrise State Park, as the sun began to set.

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We all have different feelings when we see the sunset. Some of us see the end of the day. Others see the dawning of a new tomorrow. But in a strange way, we can all agree on one thing about them: they can be indescribably beautiful. Not just to the eye, but to the heart. Because a sunset always gives way to sunrise, the dawning of a new day and the chance for a new beginning. That is what we hope that this place has. The sun may have set on Sunrise Resort, but there is glimmer of hope here. Though the resort is long gone, the grounds are still enjoyed. Hikers, fishermen, and dog walkers now heavily frequent the area. The large abandoned buildings have given way to recreational space. The painful sorrow of seeing this doomed summer dream world has passed. And in a place where darkness once ruled, there is finally sunlight for Sunrise.

The Thrill of the Hunt

Thoughts on Urban Exploring

By: Sean L.

We all do this for different reasons. For some of us, it is just a hobby. To others, it is an adrenaline fix. But to some, it can even be a career. Me personally? I love the thrill of the hunt. Too many people in this community expect everything to be handed to them. They see a post on a website and simply ask questions. Where is this place? How do you get in? Then these people just sit there and wait for an answer, only getting upset when none comes. These questions go unanswered because research is part of the experience. A true explorer does not want to be fed answers, they seek them out. They hunt for answers, both online and onsite of abandoned places. It is called urban EXPLORATION. Not urban TOURISM. Aside from the few places that we have just stumbled upon, we research all of the places that we explore very in depth. As made clear in our articles, we love history. We cannot truly appreciate an abandoned place without knowing what it was once like before the dark times.

It is one of our 5 rules to know your route. Safety and smarts are the best tools that you can ever bring with you while urban exploring. Before an investigation, we find out everything we can about a place. It is imperative to get as much information as you can and be as prepared as humanly possible before exploring an abandoned place. Especially if it is illegal to be there. Once you have all of your information, the next phase of the hunt is to find the place you are going to explore. Sometimes it’s really easy. Sometimes it’s really difficult. But just like the research, this is part of the experience. Some locations we have visited you just drive up to. But some others, like Fort Mansfield in Rhode Island or Cedar Hill Rail Yard in Connecticut, require a lot of real exploring.

But once you find these places, the real experience begins. A lot of us like to take pictures. Some of us enjoy making videos. I personally like to write these articles. There is just something really great about researching a place, finding it, then successfully documenting it. It is the thrill of the hunt that makes these places fun for us. It is all a part of the experience of being an urban explorer. Not to destroy or deface these forgotten beauties. But to enjoy something that few people will ever see, and even fewer are even aware of. Now it’s your turn. Why do you do what you do? What’s your favorite part of urban exploring? Don’t be shy.

Abandon All Hope

Remembering Sunrise Resort – Part: II

Written by: Sean L.

Photographs by: Amanda H.

“Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.” Much like the city of Pripyiat, the home to the workers and families of the Chernobyl tragedy, Sunrise Resort was literally abandoned overnight. However, it was not because of a nuclear disaster. Sunrise Resort, which had stood for decades, had become a thing of the past. Over the years, attendance to the once popular vacation destination steadily declined. When it finally went under, the owners were able to sell the land to the state of Connecticut, who hoped to use the grounds as a camp for the disabled. Unfortunately, this never happened. Over the years, Sunrise Resort stood empty and alone, nothing more than a sad afterthought. Because the land had been purchased by the state, it was designated a state park. This created a massive legal loophole, making this large abandoned resort completely legal to visit.

Our return to Sunrise Resort came just two days after our initial discovery. We arrived early in the morning, intent of covering every inch of the property. Luckily, the sun was out and the weather was fair. We drove directly up to the resort this time, rather than walking in. The gates from the guard shack at the front were still closed, so we parked there. At the very front of the property, two large older buildings stand. They have large padlocks on them, and are used by the state for storage. They are the only buildings on the property to still be in use and that have been untouched by vandals. Beside them stand the old dining hall. Windows have been smashed, furniture has been removed, and the old fireplace is now full of trash. A road connects the entire camp together. A large stray dog accompanied us as we began our descent into the wasteland.

Our first stop was the main office. I first walked down these steps was I was in the sixth grade. I was on a class wide picnic, and this place was full of people having fun. I did not return until I was twenty one years old. There weren’t any more people, and the fun times were long gone. The glass doors to the office were smashed, littering the ground with large chunks of broken glass. Inside the office, papers and all kinds of debris coat the floor. We found several first aid kits that had been torn apart, though curiously only the syringes were missing. There were also gaping holes in the walls, with all of the buildings copper wirings torn out by scavengers. This was a common trait throughout the resort, as we found almost every building suffered this fate. On the wall, in red crayon, was written: “No God. No Joy.”

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Beside the main office stood the old pool. The last time I saw this pool, it was full of water and happy children enjoying the vacation. Now, it lies empty. The water and swimmers are long gone, with the pool now only holding nothing but graffiti and debris. This ranged from tree branches, garbage bags, and even a roller chair. The pool had a window on the deep end, where people could watch swimmers from. We moved on into the pool house to reach this window. Lockers had been ripped open. Walls had been trashed. Even a few bathing suits had been left behind. We then reached the room with the window looking into the pool. A large colorful octopus was painted on the wall.

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Moving past the pool, we found the cabins. Sunrise Resort offered all kinds of camping, and cabin camping was very popular. Most of these cabins still stood untouched. The clean sheets were still waiting for the next guests, neatly folded atop the beds. The bathrooms were all still fully stocked. Notes indicating checkout time were still there. Past the cabins, we explored “The Frog.” This was the restaurant of the resort. The tables were all neatly stacked up in one corner. A bible lay abandoned on the ground. An old tabletop Christmas tree had been knocked over. The run down television set had been smashed. Several vending machines still stood against the back wall, though there was nothing left inside of them. Packets of mustard and ketchup were still sitting in their dispensaries, though they had long since gone bad. We continued down the road, leading us to the banks of the Moodus River.

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Along the river stood a series of cabins. They were each three stories high, and completely ransacked. In one of these cabins, the room at the top floor had been converted into a makeshift sex den with a heavily used mattress and condom wrappers galore. Beside these cabins was the now empty boat house and the dining hall that we had originally seen the other day. After a short lunch in the old gazeebo, we explored this large building. Carpet was ripped up, windows were smashed, and walls were demolished. Against the very back wall stood a fireplace with a sturdy chimney. A few fire logs were still inside. The kitchen was completely dark, but most of the equipment had been gutted. Several empty pavilions stood outside. Rather than taking the rickety staircase we had seen last time, we continued up a different path back into the heart of the resort.

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We passed several more sets of cabins until we came up the children’s area of the resort. It was complete with a small building, where kid’s artwork still hung from the walls. An old overgrown wooden playground stood beside it. A small in-ground pool was at the front of the area, though its water was now stagnant green. An old push car had been unceremoniously dumped into it. A miniature golf course was there as well, though now completely overgrown. At the farthest side of the resort stood the apartments. Two large buildings full of apartments were there: one high-rise and one low-rise. They were totally ransacked by vandals, though a small family of raccoons guarded the basement. Finally, there was the spa. Workout equipment and machines were still there, abandoned overnight just like everything else here.

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With our daylight dying, we decided it was time to head home. We began to head back to the car, bidding farewell to the abandoned Sunrise Resort. Though we didn’t know it at the time, this would be our last goodbye. Stay tuned for Part III next week.

Stay tuned for Remembering Sunrise Resort Part III coming next week!!