Archive for May, 2015

Turn the Corner — The Ruins of Manchester Drive-In

Posted: May 27, 2015 by Hidden Wonders Photography in #postaday, Abandoned, Abandoned Attractions, Abandoned Business, Abandoned Cinema, Abandoned Connecticut, Abandoned Drive-In, abandoned new england, Abandoned Theaters, Abandoned USA, Abandoned Wonders, Automobiles, Bolton, Broken, Cinema, Closed, commercial, Connecticut, darkness, Destruction, empty, Exploration, exploring the abandoned, for sale, Forgotten, forgotten beauty, Haunting, Hiking, History, Homeless, Information, left behind, lost, Manchester, Manchester CT, Movies, Mystery, nature, new england, nightmares, overgrown, photography, Public Parks, research, Ruins, Safety First, Searching, Showcase Cinema, State Parks, Stories, Theater, time, Uncategorized, Urban Decay, Urban Exploration, Urban Exploring, Urbex, writing, WWII
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Turn the Corner

The Ruins of Manchester Drive-In

Written by: Sean L.

Photography by: Amanda H.

Movies. Popcorn. Soda Pop. Greased back hair. Your best gal in the backseat of your Chevy. Just another Saturday night. There was a time. Most of us here are a little too young to remember these days. But back in the late nineteen fifties and early sixties, the drive-in movie theater became a bit of a phenomenon here in the US. There were at one time over four thousand drive-in movie theaters all across the country, mostly located in the rural sections. They were the place to be come Saturday night, not just for movies but for a chance to show off your ride. But for the old Manchester Drive-In, all of that is gone. Opened in the early 1950’s, the Manchester Drive-In was one of many drive-in theaters to pop up in Connecticut during this time period. As opposed to the drive-in theaters of today, Manchester had only one screen. It could hold over five hundred cars per showing. But over the years, the excitement and the wonder of drive-in movie theaters began to wane. Most of the theaters across the state began to steadily close their doors, including the Manchester Drive-In.

Unfortunately, the theater went out of business in the early 1980’s where it sat empty and abandoned for almost twenty years. It was finally purchased locally in 2006 to become a park along the Hop River in Bolton, Connecticut. Today, the former drive-in theater that once held over five hundred eager movie goers is now nothing more than a ruin. The pavement of the entrance way is cracked and crumbling. The old sign has become completely engulfed by wines and weeds. The lot itself has become completely impassable due to massive amounts of brush and vegetation. A few old speakers still stand along the outskirts. There is a pile of burned wreckage in the back that was once the theater’s concession stand. But most haunting of all, the one screen itself still stands. Though it is now a skeleton, it is hard to believe that this decrepit structure once played some of the most classic and timeless blockbusters of our time. It casts a shadow over its former glory. But if you look closely just enough, you can still see what this place was once like way back in the summer of 1962.

“Someone wants me. Someone roaming the streets, wants ME… Will you turn the corner?”

American Graffiti

 For more photographs please visit and like our Facebook page! Click HERE!

Photo Credit: Hidden Wonders Photography

–Taken March 2015–

Like us on Facebook!!

A Peaceful Feeling

Abandoned in the Center of Town

Written by: Sean L.

Photographs by: Amanda H.

In a small town in Connecticut, an empty house is slowly devoured by the forests that surround it. Windows and doors have been busted open. An old barn slowly decays in the front yard. The once firm driveway is now nothing more than a gravel path. Wild vines and briars steadily grow like gnarling teeth across the outer walls. All of this stands in plain sight of the town of Hebron, Connecticut. A house slowly dies in plain sight here. The rest of the town just goes on about their business. They pay no attention to it. Cars go by. People get their groceries. Businesses rise and fall. But not a second glance is given to this place that someone, not too long ago, called home. We’ve explored many abandoned houses in the past, but none of them have been literally smack dab in the center of town. They’ve often been in some desolate country road or lost in the woods. But this place stands alone, crying out for help. But nobody answers.

 The town of Hebron, Connecticut, was founded in the year 1704. It is one of the older towns in the area. It was officially incorporated into Hartford County in 1708. About a century later, parts of Hebron officially became a part of the newly established township of Marlborough, my home town. Throughout its history, Hebron was well known for being a strong farming community. Much of its rolling countryside was home to countless family farms and homesteads. Though the town has changed significantly over the years, many farms can still be found in the town. Along Route 66, several large chicken and dairy farms can be seen alongside the busy road just over the Columbia border. Unfortunately, just a few miles down the road, one former home lies empty and abandoned. Much like the other abandoned homes we have visited over the years, we were not able to find much of any information about this old house. From what we have gathered, it has been abandoned for at no more than eight years.

Though this abandoned house lays smack dab in the center of town, someone clearly doesn’t want anyone visiting it. NO TRESPASSING and KEEP OUT signs are posted along the property. Oddly enough, the closest neighbor to the old abandoned house is actually the resident CVS Pharmacy. Dozens of patrons visit the pharmacy every day, with little knowledge of what lies amongst the underbrush. The house is rather hard to get to. Nasty briars and thick vegetation surround the house, making it very difficult to reach or even see for that matter. With no one left to stand in her way, Mother Nature is slowly reclaiming this former home. The upper attic of the house is now home to plenty of birds and probably some bats too. We could see plenty of nests from the outside. The exteriors of the house are in very poor shape. A television antenna has fallen off the roof, but never made it to the ground as it has become entangled in the vines growing along the gutters.

The front door of the house was wide open. Inside, it was quiet as a tomb. The front door entered right into the kitchen, which had been completely gutted. A few items of liter lay strew about. The old stove was curiously still there and in good shape. We actually found very little evidence of vandalism in the house. There was a couple graffiti designs tagged in one of the rooms, but that was about it. The rest of the house was empty. There were several large dark rooms, but pretty much everything had been cleared out. We were unable to find any entrance to the upstairs, and the house did not appear to have a basement. We did find a haunting clue as to who might have been the final occupant of the house: an old cane still stood in what appeared to be the family room. A yellowing copy of the Lord’s Prayer was still tacked to the wall. And judging from the modifications to the house’s bathroom, an elderly person once dwelled here. Perhaps their spirit still haunted these dark hallways.

They say that there is a peaceful feeling in letting go. It is that moment, when you just can’t hold on anymore, that you find a relative peace. Perhaps it is the fact that the pain is gone. Perhaps it is in the realization that you don’t have to fight anymore. Personally, I believe it is the moment when you are finally ready to move on. And sadly enough, the town of Hebron, much like the family of whoever once lived here, seems to have moved on. This old house has been lost, leaving it to be slowly engulfed by the surrounding forest. But there is a peaceful feeling amongst all of this. While the old house slowly disappears, the town continues grow and flourish. What was once a home to man, now have become the home to nature. And we can only hope that over time this old house, much like its former residents, can finally rest in peace.

For more photos please visit Abandoned Wonders on Facebook! We would love if you liked our page and liked, shared, and commented on your favorite photos! Enjoy!

Field of Broken Dreams — The Abandoned New England Sportsplex

Posted: May 6, 2015 by Hidden Wonders Photography in #postaday, Abandoned, Abandoned Attractions, Abandoned Baseball Field, Abandoned Business, Abandoned Connecticut, abandoned new england, Abandoned USA, Abandoned Wonders, Broken, Closed, commercial, Connecticut, darkness, Destruction, empty, Exploration, exploring the abandoned, for sale, Forgotten, forgotten beauty, Haunting, Hiking, History, Homeless, Information, left behind, lost, Manchester, Manchester CT, Movies, Mystery, nature, new england, overgrown, photography, Public Parks, research, Ruins, Safety First, Searching, State Parks, Stories, Three Strikes Out, time, Uncategorized, Urban Decay, Urban Exploration, Urban Exploring, Urbex, Vernon, writing
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Field of Broken Dreams

The Abandoned New England Sportsplex

Written by: Sean L.

Photographs by: Amanda H.

Take me out to the ballgame. Take me out to the crowd. Buy me some peanuts and crackerjacks. I don’t care if I ever get back. So let’s root root root for the home team, if they don’t win it’s a shame. For it’s One. Two. Three Strikes. You’re out, at the old ballgame. The lyrics sound very different when you simply read them, not sing them. I could almost faintly hear that classic tune floating through the air as we walked across the now silent New England Sportsplex. It was a sunny afternoon in early May, the perfect time for a baseball game. But there’s nothing here anymore. What was once a beloved classic song of fun and enjoyment became a haunting tune for this old abandoned ballpark. The laughter of children and the cheers of the crowds long since passed still echoed across the overgrown wasteland. I couldn’t help but wonder to myself, how had it come to this?

It began back in 1994. There was a strong interest in the local community of Vernon, Connecticut, to build a new recreational center. Local softball leagues, both for adults and children, were looking for a place to play in their area. So, with a purchase of two million dollars, construction began on the New England Sportsplex. It was at the time to be the largest softball park in all of New England. It was comprised of four fenced in and lit diamonds, a snack bar, and an on sight bathroom facility. The complex would be able to house an estimated five thousand fans at a time. Since the land was in a non-residential area, the town of Vernon had high hopes for it. The future was bright. But as we all know, nothing ever goes quite according to plan. Due to a steady decline in interest and complications with the nearby wetlands, the park was eventually closed and left abandoned.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We visited the abandoned New England Sportsplex on a Sunday in early May 2015. We had seen it from the neighboring I-84 multiple times in the past, but had never been able to actually stop and investigate. The old complex is right off the highway, and very visible if you are headed eastbound towards the Mass Pike. Though the fields have become overgrown and lost to the vegetation, the old score boards still peek out from the brush. The forgotten bathroom facility and snack bar are now boarded up and covered with graffiti. A large FOR SALE sign is pointed towards the passing highway, though it is much less noticeable than the abandoned complex standing behind it. There is a patrolled commuter lot and a local park on the same street as the old complex. Chain link fences surround the entire perimeter of the complex, though we did not find a single NO TRESPASSING or KEEP OUT sign posted along the property.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Walking through the abandoned New England Sportsplex was like something out of a bad dream. Two chained gates stand guard at the entrance of the park. What looks like it used to be the old parking lot is still sitting out front. The main road through the complex is also still intact, though it is slowly crumbling due to its lack of care. Each scoreboard from all four diamonds is still standing, and they each appear to be in relatively good shape. The diamonds themselves, however, are completely overgrown with brush and weeds. We had hoped to find a few bases, maybe even a pitching mound, lost in the undergrowth. But we had no such luck. Curiously enough, all of the cement dugouts from each field are also still intact. We found various items inside them, including a turned over picnic table. The bathroom facility and snack bar are both heavily boarded up. There was no way inside without breaking in.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Tom Hanks famously said in A League of Their Own, “There’s no crying in baseball.” But I believe there must’ve been at least a few teary eyes in the house when this place closed. In the immortal Kevin Costner classic Field of Dreams they say, “If you build it, he will come.” But nothing came off this failed establishment. Over the years, corporations and town committees have fought over the land. Since it is in plain view of the highway and right next to the on/off ramp, the land has always been a desirable location to build a large super store. It was almost a done deal with Home Depot a few years ago, but nothing has ever come of it. The land still sits empty and abandoned. There are no more good times. There are no more home runs. There are no more peanuts and crackerjacks. Because in life, just like baseball, its one. Two. Three strikes. You’re out.