Archive for the ‘Abandoned Park’ Category

Illumination

The Abandoned Columbia University Instrument House

Written by: Wilk

Photographs by: Wilk

“In Lumine Tuo Videbimis Lumen.” This is the official motto of New York’s Columbia University, one of the most prestigious educational institutes in all of the United States. And in true educational institute fashion, this phrase is Latin. The translation is “In thy light shall we see light.” Believe it or not, this comes from straight from the Bible. What this official university motto is supposed to inspire has often been debated. Most scholars agree that this is a calling to find God’s light and move forward in faith. Others have said that this pertains more to always seek knowledge and truth in whatever you pursue. As a non-religious person, I agree with the latter. Knowledge truly is power. Especially in 2022. In a world full of clickbait and misinformation, it is so important to always be smart and learn what you can when you can. There is so much out there to know and to learn. And sadly, most people just aren’t interested in it. They are content just believing what they are told to believe, think what they are told to think, and buy what they are told to buy. That’s probably why our world has become as tribal as it is. Think for yourself and always seek knowledge. I am no student of Columbia University. In fact, I attended a much lower tier Connecticut state university for my degree. But that is how I interpret the motto of this prestigious institute. Oh, and by the way, did you know that Columbia University once had a satellite campus here in Connecticut? Talk about a segue.

That’s right. A long time ago, in a town most people have never heard of, Columbia University once had a presence here in the Nutmeg State. Our story begins in the late 1800’s, in the town of Morris, Connecticut. Located in the beautiful hills of Litchfield, the town attracted the attention of Columbia University’s Engineering School. Slowly but surely, the school began to migrate it’s summer classes over to the small and affluent community. And in 1903, they finally purchased a plot of farmland with the intention of establishing a rural summer campus. Thus it was christened as Camp Columbia. Over the years, the small campus grew in size and shape. Every summer engineering and surveying students studied their chosen crafts amongst the quiet community. During the First World War, students intent on joining the Officer’s Corp got first hand military training. The now famous observation tower was constructed several years later as a gift from the Class of 1906. According to local legends, Dwight D. Eisenhower once used the campus as a hunting ground and the New York Giants held several practice sessions on the campus sporting fields. But prominence during the 1950’s eventually led to a massive decline during the next two decades. With a changing culture, interest in the campus’s structure and program decreased drastically. And in 1983, Columbia University was finally forced to close up shop and sell the land. What remains now resides in Camp Columbia State Park.

We weren’t entirely sure we were going to have an article ready for this quarter. I have been more busy with movies in the last few months than I ever have been in my entire life. And Lassie has been equally busy working as the best damn educator in the state. While we greatly enjoy our success, it hasn’t left much time for exploring. Plus, our host site (WordPress) keeps becoming increasingly uncooperative and difficult to use. It may be time to migrate to Squarespace…but that’s neither here nor there. Speaking of movies, I had a series of night shoots out in Fairfield County recently. Night shoots are just as much fun as they are grueling. But the funny thing about night shoots is the call times are always very late in the day. So I had some time to kill. That’s right. This was another solo piece, where I went exploring without my partner. I don’t like it any more than you may, but sometimes it’s good to go on an adventure by yourself. That’s how you learn who you really are. And guess what? The old Camp Columbia just happened to be right around the corner from where I was working. With good weather and high spirits, I decided to go take a look. I arrived at Camp Columbia State Park as one of only two other visitors. It is a very quiet and quaint park, that is maintained just enough to keep it walkable. And honestly, these are my favorite kinds of parks. It’s the kind of place that nobody knows about, except for the people that are really going to enjoy it.

When the state of Connecticut bought the former Camp Columbia, they demolished most of the campus buildings. But not all. The main attraction is known as The Instrument House. This beautiful stone building once housed all of the campus’s surveying instruments and equipment. And while she was clearly left standing for a reason, the years have not been kind to her. The stone exterior is very elegant, but the interior of the house is completely devoid. The wooden roof is slowly collapsing in on itself. Spray painted graffiti is everywhere. Old pieces of lab equipment and such have been scattered across the dusty floor. With that said, it’s still an absolutely captivating structure with a strong foundation. It provides a very nice look back on the bygone era of the former campus, casting a strong sense of prestige and academia. Just like the nearby observation tower. Though not abandoned, the Camp Columbia tower stands very close by to the Instrument House. I was expecting something more along the lines of Scott Tower, but was pleasantly surprised to find the tower in moderately good condition. It definitely has a vandal problem, much like the nearby Instrument House, but it is a nice site to see and provides a wonderful view of Litchfield County. Other relics of the past are scattered amongst the underbrush. An old basketball hoop rusts into oblivion. A team of derelict picnic tables rot into the fertile forest floor. Trails of lead piping pop up across the fallen leaves.

On my travels, I encountered a very nice elderly woman taking her chocolate lab named Libby for a walk. She was kind enough to warn me that there was a hunter in the area, at the corner of the red and orange trail. He was perched in a tree stand, like a coward, and had all of the permits to be there. She checked, and she’s a total badass for doing that. I greatly thanked my fellow hiker for her warning, especially since neither of us were wearing orange, and continued on my walk. I was sure to whistle old classic rock songs very loudly to clearly identify myself as a human being. No deer is going to do that…at least I hope. With the light fading and my time just about up, it was finally time to head back to the car and off to movieland. I honestly wasn’t sure what I was going to find at the abandoned Camp Columbia. But I’m very glad that I got to see it. There’s just a wonderful mix of history and intrigue here. There isn’t much to see in regards to real deal urban exploration, but it’s absolutely worth a look if you’re a history nut like myself. The Instrument House is a haunting relic and climbing the observation tower is a really fun experience. It just goes to show that you never know what’s out there until you go looking for yourself. Sometimes the best journey you can go on is with yourself. And sometimes the most interesting things to learn are in places that you never thought to look. Never stop seeking knowledge. Never stop seeking the truth. Never stop seeking the light.

The Last Hummingbird – The Abandoned Highover Estate

Posted: September 19, 2022 by kingleser in #postaday, Abandoned, Abandoned Attractions, Abandoned Castle, Abandoned Connecticut, Abandoned Farm, abandoned home, Abandoned House, Abandoned Massachusetts, abandoned new england, Abandoned New Hampshire, Abandoned New York, Abandoned Park, Abandoned Pennsylvania, Abandoned Places, Abandoned Resort, Abandoned Rhode Island, Abandoned Statues, Abandoned USA, Abandoned Vermont, Abandoned Wonders, Art, Birds, Boston, Closed, darkness, Death, Destruction, Exploration, fire, Forgotten, forgotten beauty, forgotten home, Haunting, Hiking, History, House, Information, left behind, lost, Massachusetts, Movies, Mystery, nature, new england, photography, Preserved Ruin, Public Parks, research, Ruins, Safety First, time, Uncategorized, Urban Decay, Urban Exploration, Urban Exploring, Urbex, writing
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Last Hummingbird

The Abandoned Highover Estate

Written by: Wilk

Photographs by: Lassie

Summer has come and passed. The innocence can never last. Wake me up when September ends. Well, that’s just about now. So wake up, everyone. We’re back. But the summer season has taken its final bow. And we are currently on the fast track toward the end of the year. It all just goes by so fast, doesn’t it? Time keeps on slipping into the future. I close my eyes only for a moment and the moment’s gone. Every year is getting shorter, never seem to find the time. Alright. No more classic rock lyrics. Wait a minute. Is Green Day considered classic rock now? Damn I got old. Seriously, though. I always measure the days of summer by the hummingbirds. We have two feeders sitting outside on our back porch and we love to watch them. The little birds first start sparingly appearing in early June. By July, there are dozens of them waging nasty territorial battles for control of the skies. But by August, things begin to quiet down. The birds fly off one by one into the great unknown. The days fall off the calendar. The sunshine fades away. And the glorious season of summer fun disappears into our collective memories. Gone. But not forgotten. And as I currently write the words of this article, only one hummingbird sits outside.

As I mentioned to you earlier, we’re experimenting with quarterly articles this year as opposed to monthly ones. A: we were just getting too busy with school, work, movies, etc. And B: frankly, we’re just running out of abandoned places to cover that are nearby. For years now, it has become increasingly hard to find quality abandoned places that have a story to tell. But there is one that has been on my list for a couple years now. And interestingly enough, nobody that we follow has covered it yet. So allow me to introduce the subject of Quarter #3 of 2022’s article: The abandoned Highover Estate. Located in what is now Beverly, Massachusetts, this area was once well known as Moraine Farm. It was famously owned by the high-society elite family of Boston: The Phillips Family. For years they lived on and managed the farm, and in 1913 the family built their lavish estate known as “Highover.” But in 1968, tragedy struck and the family mansion was destroyed by a raging fire. The remains were subsequently abandoned and the land sat empty for several long years. It was saved, however, when the grounds officially changed hands to the town of Beverly in the early 1990’s, and the JC Phillips Nature Preserve was established.

We made our trek to the abandoned Highover Estate during the final days of summer 2022. It was a bit of a drive for us. So we decided to make an overnight trip of it. Most people don’t seem to realize it, but there’s actually quite a bit to do north of Boston. Gloucester. Salem. Danvers. All great towns. But maybe it’s better that they stay more low-key destinations. That’s the way we like it. Except for Salem in October. If you dig big crowds, long lines, tourist traps, costumed characters, overpriced beer, and religious zealots yelling at you from street corners, you’ll love it. If you’re an awkward introvert like myself, it will NOT be your cup of tea. Anyhow, this place had been on my list for a very long time. And we were finally on our way to see it. The sun was shining, there was a bit of traffic, and we arrived at the JC Phillips Nature Preserve ready for some adventure. It was a quiet place. A few dog walkers perused the area. But for the most part, we were alone. Just the way I like it. The abandoned Highover Estate is not marked on any map, so we did have to go in more or less blind. But lucky for us, the abandoned estate is rather easy to find. As we meandered down the main trail, we soon found exactly what we were looking for.

The main blue trail of the nature preserve passes straight through the abandoned estate. The old iron gate still stands, though now fully overtaken by wild vine and vegetation. A trail bulletin board with historical facts on it is now rotting into oblivion. But the main attraction of this place lies a short walk up the neighboring hill. The estate’s former fountain still resides amongst the fertile forest floor and watching over it is the final surviving piece of the Highover Mansion. It is quite odd looking, honestly. Almost like a white room standing all alone amongst the underbrush. Three walls and a floor, or what’s left of them. Though now coated with graffiti and full of trash, it still casts a strong sense of character. We honestly took a ton of pictures as its just a very photogenic piece. See for yourself above and below. A short walk down the trail lie a few more broken down foundations and structures. It honestly feels like at this point you’ve seen everything there is to see. But if you continue long enough, you will find a small copper statue perched upon a stone pedestal in the middle of the trail. This was honestly my favorite part of the abandoned grounds, as it still has so much character to it. Even being such a small piece.

To be perfectly honest, there isn’t too much to see here. If you’re a hardcore urban explorer, this place will disappoint you. But if you’re a hiker or a photographer, you will enjoy this one. The photos we got just have their own weird sense of charm and derelict dignity. Looking back though, the abandoned Highover Estate still truly puzzles me. For years, she has sat alone in the forest. Many have come and gone past its ruins. But most never seem to take notice. And those that do notice have not been very nice to it. Time and time again we have seen places like this get cleaned up, renovated, and reborn into places of public interest. But the abandoned estate has had no such luck so far. She just continues her steady decline into oblivion. I encourage anyone who is looking for a good hike and a bit of legal mischief to check this place out. It’s honestly perfect for people wanting to get into urban exploring, but don’t know how. There isn’t too much to see, but what is there is very cool and very photogenic. Because whether by the hands of a local cleanup crew or the slow decay of time, I don’t see this place lasting much longer. Not in the state that it’s in. So plan your trips now. For just like the days of summer, nothing last forever.

Concrete Jungle Cats – The Abandoned Roosevelt Island Smallpox Hospital

Posted: June 29, 2022 by kingleser in #postaday, Abandoned, Abandoned Attractions, Abandoned Castle, Abandoned Connecticut, Abandoned Forts, Abandoned Hospital, Abandoned Island, Abandoned Massachusetts, abandoned new england, Abandoned New Hampshire, Abandoned New York, Abandoned Park, Abandoned Pennsylvania, Abandoned Places, Abandoned Prison, Abandoned Rhode Island, Abandoned Tower, Abandoned USA, Abandoned Vermont, Abandoned Wonders, Art, Beaches, Bird Watching, Birds, Children's Hospital, Closed, darkness, Death, Destruction, empty, Exploration, fire, Forgotten, Forts, Ghosts, Haunting, Hiking, History, Information, lost, Movies, Mystery, nature, New York, Ocean View, photography, Preserved Ruin, Public Parks, research, Ruins, Stories, time, Uncategorized, Urban Decay, Urban Exploration, Urban Exploring, Urbex, writing
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Concrete Jungle Cats

The Abandoned Roosevelt Island Smallpox Hospital

Written by: Wilk

Photographs by: Lassie

Hello, New York City. It’s been a long time. Too long, in fact. And while we personally haven’t seen you since the start of the pandemic, this is your first appearance on our site. We’ve covered abandoned places in Hartford, Boston, and Philadelphia. But we’ve never done something in the City that Never Sleeps. I guess it was just a matter of time, I suppose. We just happened to be in town for the Tribeca Film Festival supporting a movie I was in. I figured, what the Hell? Let’s find something derelict to cover for the website. But the funny thing is abandoned places are actually pretty hard to come by in New York City. Especially around Manhattan. Given the property values and the high demand for space in the ever growing metropolis, abandoned places never stay that way for long. A business may go under, or a service may lose its funding, but their grounds are usually repurposed and redeveloped very quickly. Some even become tourist attractions. There were definitely a few more interesting places we could’ve covered in the city. But since we were far from home and there to promote a movie, we kind of played things a little safe this time. And besides, this is the place that spoke to us the most.

And so allow me to introduce you to this quarter’s subject: the abandoned Roosevelt Island Smallpox Hospital. Also known as the Renwick Smallpox Hospital, after its architect James Renwick Jr. It is located on Roosevelt Island, formerly known as Blackwell’s Island and Welfare Island, which is a long and narrow piece of land in the middle of New York City’s East River. The hospital was first opened in 1856. Its main purpose was to fight large outbreaks of smallpox by quarantining patients, mostly poor immigrants, in this more secluded area of the city. But this was not to last. Due to patient overcrowding, it was eventually converted into the Maternity and Charity Hospital Training School, in partnership with the nearby City Hospital. Also located on Roosevelt Island. For a few decades more, this old gothic beauty served her new purpose. But with the changing times and the island’s isolation, the facility eventually fell into disrepair and was forced to close its doors for good almost one hundred years after its opening. For years, the grounds slow succumbed to their abandonment as the buildings collapsed and wild ivy took over. The ruins reside in what is now known as Southpoint Park on Roosevelt Island.

See, if this place were anywhere else, it would just be an interesting looking ruin. Nothing more. But there are two things that set the abandoned smallpox hospital out from all other places nearby. One: it is the only still standing ruin within the city limits to be listed with the National Register of Historic Places. And two: the Wildlife Freedom Foundation. For reasons yet to be explained, Roosevelt Island has become a haven for New York’s feral cat population. Some are believed to be strays who have found their way across the river. Others are said to have been dumped there by their cruel owners who no longer want them. But whatever the reasons, there is now a small population of cats residing here. And their base of operations just happens to be the abandoned Smallpox Hospital. In 2005, a group of volunteers came together to start the Wildlife Freedom Foundation. They worked to spay, neuter, and take care of the feral cat population as best as they could. A small sanctuary has been created right outside the hospital grounds where the cats are able to come and go as they please, with valiant volunteers providing them with food and shelter. They even adopt out cats that have been successfully rehabilitated.

Since Roosevelt Island is, in fact, an island, there are only a few ways to get to it. There is a bridge for vehicles coming in from Queens. There is a single Subway stop. There is the NYC Ferry System. And there is the historic Roosevelt Island Tram, which carries visitors across the East River in big red gondolas. We, of course, chose the tram. Unfortunately, one of us is afraid of heights. I’ll give you a hint: it’s not me. Luckily Lassie was a real trooper going across the whole five minute ride. The abandoned smallpox hospital resides on the southern side of the island. Though the island provides a free shuttle service, we decided to make the trek to the abandoned hospital on foot. After a short walk, we eventually came upon the ruins. The ornate stone structure still retains its strong gothic feel, even whilst covered head to toe in ivy. It is also almost completely sealed in with chain link fencing. Almost, that is. Inside, the floors are all gone. Certain doorways and windows have been boarded up with archaic plywood. The bright summer sun pours in through the roof like a joyful flood. There’s not too much to see here. But what is there to see is really quite interesting. Especially with the bright Manhattan skyline as a backdrop.

It didn’t take long for us to see the first wild cat. Though they are very difficult to photograph, they are easy to spot. They dart in and amongst the underbrush near and within the grounds of the abandoned hospital. After finishing up with our investigation, we stopped over at the nearby Roosevelt Island Cat Sanctuary. Though the volunteers were quite busy, they did graciously let us in to meet the cats and tell us a little more about their program. They currently have over twenty cats under their care, though we were told the cats spend most of their time within the abandoned hospital “doing their investigations.” And it turns out, the cats aren’t the only guests of the Wildlife Freedom Foundation currently residing on the island. A large congregation of Canadian Geese, many of whom had injuries, were nesting in and around the grounds. The shelter volunteers also proudly told us that they will soon be taking in two baby opossums for rehabilitation. It warms my heart to see a place like this nestles amongst one of the biggest cities in the world. It just goes to show that you may be able to take the cat out of the jungle. But you can never take the jungle out of the cat. Even if that jungle is made of concrete.

If you are interested in volunteering for, donating to, or adopting from the Wildlife Freedom Foundation, please do check out their official website here – https://www.wildlifefreedomfoundation.org/

The Top 5 Abandoned Places of 2021

Posted: December 22, 2021 by kingleser in #postaday, Abandoned, Abandoned Airport, Abandoned Attractions, Abandoned Boston, Abandoned Business, Abandoned Cars, Abandoned Connecticut, Abandoned Drive-In, Abandoned Farm, Abandoned Forts, Abandoned Golf Course, Abandoned House, Abandoned Massachusetts, abandoned military bases, abandoned new england, Abandoned New Hampshire, Abandoned New York, Abandoned Park, Abandoned Pennsylvania, Abandoned Places, Abandoned Railway, Abandoned Rhode Island, Abandoned Road, Abandoned Statues, Abandoned Theaters, Abandoned Tower, Abandoned USA, Abandoned Vermont, Abandoned Wonders, Broken, Cedar Hill, Christmas, Cinema, Closed, commercial, Connecticut, darkness, Death, Destruction, Disney, Exploration, fantasy, Forgotten, Forts, Ghosts, Graveyard, Haunting, Hiking, History, Information, Massachusetts, Military, Military Forts, Movies, Mystery, nature, Navy, new england, New Hampshire, New Haven, New York, Pennsylvania, photography, Public Parks, Rhode Island, Ruins, Searching, Stories, Trains, Uncategorized, Urban Decay, Urban Exploration, Urban Exploring, Urbex, writing
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Top 5 Abandoned Places of 2021

By: Lassie and Wilk

It’s been another rough year for all of us. But it has also been a time for healing. We have all been through so much, and we’re not out of the storm yet. To everyone following Abandoned Wonders, thank you for being a part of our adventures and staying strong. We’ve covered a lot of cool abandoned places this year. But only five can make it onto our annual list. So please enjoy our new video covering the Top 5 Abandoned Places of 2021.

Happy Holidays to all, Happy New Year, and we’ll see you in Spring 2022.

Parts Unknown – The Abandoned Tidal Marsh Polar Bear

Posted: November 17, 2021 by kingleser in #postaday, Abandoned, Abandoned Attractions, Abandoned Boston, Abandoned Cape Cod, Abandoned Connecticut, abandoned home, Abandoned Massachusetts, abandoned new england, Abandoned New Hampshire, Abandoned New York, Abandoned Park, Abandoned Pennsylvania, Abandoned Places, Abandoned Railway, Abandoned Rhode Island, Abandoned Road, Abandoned Statues, Abandoned Tower, Abandoned train station, Abandoned USA, Abandoned Vermont, Abandoned Wonders, Broken, Cedar Hill, Closed, commercial, Connecticut, darkness, Death, Destruction, Exploration, exploring the abandoned, Forgotten, forgotten beauty, Haunting, Hiking, History, Homeless, Information, left behind, lost, Movies, Mystery, nature, new england, nightmares, overgrown, photography, Public Parks, research, Ruins, Safety First, Searching, State Parks, Stories, time, Trains, Uncategorized, Urban Decay, Urban Exploration, Urban Exploring, Urbex, writing
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Parts Unknown

The Abandoned Tidal Marsh Polar Bear

Written by: Wilk

Photographs by: Lassie

We have a lot of secrets here at Abandoned Wonders. I think that just comes with the territory of what we do. We used to be very open with our identities and personalities on here. But as our page grew and the places we explored became increasingly dangerous, we decided to go underground. We use codenames. We never show our faces. We never let anything slip about our personal lives. But there’s something I’ve been alluding to for years. I’ve left lots of references here and there, hoping someone might pick up on them. Things like dilapidated boats, the Devil’s playground, and Cowboy Shit. But nobody ever has gotten any of my references. So I guess I might as well come out and say it: I am a huge pro wrestling fan. Yep. Not the WWE. Never the WWE. But Impact Wrestling and All Elite Wrestling are my two can’t miss shows every week. I’ve been a wrestling fan since the second grade, when a classmate traded me a TOPPS trading card of wrestler Kane for a Micro-machines X-Wing. Kane quickly became my favorite wrestler. He was big. He was scary. And he was always billed from a place called “Parts Unknown.” I soon came to realize that all of the mysterious characters in the world of pro wrestling came from this place. Kane. The Ultimate Warrior. Abyss. Papa Shango. All came from Parts Unknown. As a kid, I always envisioned it as this mystical jungle. Where the skies were grey. The trees grew wild and dangerous. And monsters were around every corner.

For our final expedition of 2021, we chose a place very familiar to us. We first covered the abandoned Cedar Hill Railyard way back in the fall of 2014. It’s hard to believe just how long ago that was. Long story short, Cedar Hill was once part of the Northern Atlantic railroad. This system ferried goods up and down the Eastern seaboard, keeping the economy booming and hundreds in employment. But with a changing tide, it was eventually forced to close down. The Amtrack system still runs very close by, but this area was then left become the feral monster that we visited way back when. Everything was unkempt. There was a serious homeless problem. And the abandoned skeletal remains of the railyard were everywhere. But in recent times, the area has become redeveloped into a hiking trail. We always love to see places like this get brought back to life. That said, several abandoned structures from the railyard’s past are still standing. And at the furthest corner of the trail, a local artist has created something very special. Their codename is “refractualism.” And you can check out more of their work here –https://instagram.com/refractualism/ In an old warehouse, using fallen roofing and debris, this creative mind has constructed a 14 foot tall polar bear sculpture. This wasn’t for money, fame, or fortune. Just for expression. Though few are ever able to find it, this fascinating structure has become the talk of the town and the prime destination for the trail.

Naturally, we had to go check this out. I figured it would be the perfect end to our season. Especially because we have stayed out of Connecticut for the entire year. We have almost exclusively been exploring things in Massachusetts. It was time to hit something a little closer to home. After having not seen the abandoned railyard since its redevelopment, it was quite a shock to see how much has changed. Though there is now a nice trail going along the marsh, most of the area we once explored has become completely overgrown. That said, the amount of liter and other creepy stuff has been greatly reduced since our last visit. Using our old knowledge of the railyard and some geographical intel, we were able to place the polar bear’s location no problem. Getting there was the challenge. The Tidal Marsh Trail is great, until it gets deep into the woods. Then all sense of direction falls by the wayside and you basically have to guide yourself around. We had to do a lot of crouching and climbing through the underbrush for this one. But if you follow the bear tracks, you will find what you are looking for. We passed by two archaic brick lookout towers. But they were both filled with garbage and graffiti. The homeless clearly haven’t been totally removed either, as each tower had a makeshift campsite set up at the farthest perch. Eventually, we came upon the massive decaying warehouse. And inside waiting for us, we found the Tidal Marsh Polar Bear.

As I mentioned before, the bear stands 14 feet tall. It is made entirely of roofing debris that has fallen from the decaying warehouse. It is held together by an amalgamation of nails, both old and new. The whole thing was then painted a ghostly shade of grayish white. The face was then carefully crafted at the front with two corned ears and a gaping mouth full of fangs. As if the beast were caught in a perpetual roar. Black doll-like eyes have been painted on as well. They are just as welcoming as they are frightening. I spent a good while just looking the beast deep into those black eyes. Yet I saw nothing in them. There is an odd sense of wonder about this peculiar structure. The polar bear has been standing for over a year now. And the slow decay of time is clearly starting to show amongst her outer hull. Several key pieces have fallen off and there is a bit of rust growing along the left side. But other than that, the polar bear has been left remarkably untouched. The only graffiti was the artist themselves tagging their name across their unique creation. The warehouse itself, on the other hand, looks as if a strong wind might blow the whole thing over. The polar bear is pretty big, yet looks quite small inside the greater building. Plenty of old machinery and relics have been left behind. Everything is rusted to Hell. The wood is wet with rot. The frame shakes with uneasiness. And the floor is coated with broken glass, jagged metal, and dirty brown water.

Eventually, it was time to go. We had gotten all the pictures we could and finally bid farewell to the great wooden beast. The walk back was a bit of a challenge. Much like the walk in, the underbrush of the old railyard is a God Damn labyrinth. On our way back, we came across a few slack-jawed graffiti taggers marveling over what looked like a fallen tree. But as we approached, we realized that it was actually an old rail tower that had finally come down. The forces of nature can be quick and cruel. And they are clearly starting to finally overtake what was once the Cedar Hill Railyard. But I am glad to see that the polar bear is still standing. I do not know if she will survive another winter. I recommend anyone wishing to see her go as soon as you can. For this very place reminded me very much of what Parts Unknown must be like in the mythical world of pro wrestling. If it were to actually come to life. Ever after all these years of redevelopment, you never quite know what you’re going to find out here. The old railyard is no longer the scary and off-putting wasteland that it once was. But some things about it remained all the same. Now, it is a mystical place where our world and the natural one have found a unique balance. For the time being, that is. Because at the end of the day, the wild always wins. The vegetation grows untamed. Great steel towers fall from the sky. Mystery lies around every corner. The former world passes away, and another one rises to take its place. Here there be monsters.

Dark Fairy Tales – The Abandoned Highland Statues

Posted: October 20, 2021 by kingleser in #postaday, Abandoned, Abandoned Amusement Park, Abandoned Attractions, Abandoned Boston, Abandoned Business, Abandoned Connecticut, Abandoned Golf Course, Abandoned Massachusetts, abandoned new england, Abandoned New Hampshire, Abandoned New York, Abandoned Park, Abandoned Pennsylvania, Abandoned Places, Abandoned Rhode Island, Abandoned Statues, Abandoned USA, Abandoned Vermont, Abandoned Wonders, Broken, Closed, commercial, darkness, Death, Destruction, Disney, dreams, empty, Exploration, fantasy, Forgotten, forgotten beauty, Ghosts, Graveyard, Haunting, Hiking, History, Information, left behind, lost, Love, Magic, Massachusetts, Movies, Mystery, nature, new england, overgrown, photography, Public Parks, Ruins, Safety First, Uncategorized, Urban Decay, Urban Exploration, Urban Exploring, Urbex, writing
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Dark Fairy Tales

The Abandoned Highland Statues

Written by: Wilk

Photographs by: Lassie

We all know a fairy tale or two. Especially us kids who grew up in the “Golden Age” of Disney movies. The Emperor’s New Groove was my favorite. What was yours? They were always stories of far off places, with brave heroes and beautiful princesses. They would face evil, conquer darkness, and always live happily ever after. Why did we love to hear them so much? Was it comforting to think that if Prince Charming could rise to the occasion and conquer the day, then so could we? Did we see ourselves in these characters and their struggles? Or perhaps they just provided a brief distraction from the mundane comings and goings of everyday life. We all wished we could be those heroes. Honest, brave, and true. And that if we just kept believing and kept going, everything would always be alright. We liked that. Some of us even loved it. But the older we got, the more we came to realize that it wasn’t real. Prince Charming doesn’t always save the day. Our heroes don’t live happily ever after. And even if you never stop believing in yourself, you can still lose everything. You slowly begin to realize that these stories are exactly that. Just stories. Make believe. Lies. Innocence is lost. Evil prevails. Life is not a fantasy for most us. And even though we wish we could live in a fairy tale, our world can actually be a much colder and scarier place than you’d find in any storybook.

So please allow me to introduce our subject for October: the abandoned Highland Statues. Quite fitting for this month, aren’t they? These spooky relics reside in what is now known as Highland Park in Attleboro, Massachusetts. But this isn’t the way things used to be. This area was once known as Highland Country Club. First opening in 1901, this was a traditional club for private members. The club came to be when a member of the local community donated his farm for its creation. It was one of the largest and most successful venues in the area. Features included a nine-hole course, a driving range, a pro-shop, clubhouse, and practice area. Members enjoyed the golf course. Lavish events were held at the clubhouse. And the wealthy elite did whatever it is that the wealthy elite do at country clubs. I imagine drinking brandy, smoking cigars, and congratulating each other on being Masters of the Universe. Hopefully somebody got that reference. Anyway…the club unfortunately was forced to close its doors for good in 2018, ending a historic 117 years in business. Due to undisclosed financial troubles, the club’s owners filed for bankruptcy. The land sat empty and forgotten for a couple of years. Waiting for something, or anything to happen. But then, the town of Attleboro purchased the former country club and turned it into the park that we see today.

The history of the statues themselves has been a little murky. I have scoured the internet looking for any sort of information on them. But all searches have come up empty. If anyone reading this has any information, memories, or even stories about these statues please do share them. We’d love to hear from you. If I were to guess, I would bet they were once apart of some sort of family friendly mini-golf course within the country club. They certainly look like something of that sort. The park is quiet and placid. We arrived on a chilly Sunday afternoon, and we were pretty much the only people there. Though the park is vast, it still very much feels like a golf course. There are random sand traps lost amongst the vegetation. A couple of unkempt ponds stand at the corners. There is a paved cart path that meanders along throughout the weeds. Lonely benches peak out through the tall grass. But it is at the farthest point that the park’s most unique feature resides. Off the beaten path and through the wild weeds, we came upon the group of forlorn statues. They are all made of wood. Each one once representing some character from children’s cartoons and fairy tales. Some stand together. Others stand alone. Their appearances range from hauntingly beautiful to absolute unholy nightmare fuel. Most of them are Disney. Some are even downright unidentifiable.

The Beauty and the Beast gang is up first. The Beast has completely broken apart. As if the final pedal of his rose had finally fallen. Chip lies beside him. A large crack splits down the face of Mrs. Pots. Belle’s skin is now a mute grey. Next comes the main cast of Sesame Street. They are all waving and friendly. But the color and warmth has all but faded from their rotting carcasses. Miss Piggy stands alone. Popeye is here. Olive Oil by his side. And the Small World crew. Barney the Purple Dinosaur lies in a splintered ruin. Next comes the Wizard of Oz brigade. The Wicked Witch of the West stands tall, though several pieces of her have broken off. The others have collapsed. Someone has placed Toto on top of the fallen statue of Dorothy. As if he were innocently trying to revive her. Poor sweet Paddington is down for the count. The Flintstones characters have been all but lost to the ever growing brush. The rotting corpses of Smee and Peter Pan lie with them. Last but certainly not least was my personal favorite, Captain Hook. Though he now looks much more like a decaying figurehead adorning the bow of The Jolly Roger. A large dead rabbit lies alongside the statues. Not a victim of some sort of predatory kill. But just an innocent animal frozen in death. It is eerily silent here, and the gang of decaying statues are all quite creepy in their own unique way.

There are several other statues that are being maintained at a neighboring house. These include Pinocchio, Bambi, and Pocahontas. Though we are still having trouble figuring out exactly what that building is. It is fenced off all around and made of stern brick. There are security cameras, NO TRESPASSING signs, and the property is clearly being taken care of. Curious, indeed. Again, if anyone has some info they’d like to share, we’d love to hear from you. It was interesting to see the statues on one side of the fence so vibrant with life and on the other side being completely devoid of it. As we drove home, we passed by a woven doll lying face down on the side of the highway. She must’ve been lost by some poor young child. Or perhaps she was cast aside by someone who once loved and cherished her. For whatever reason that may be. It reminded me very much of the Highland Statues. This once beautiful and beloved artifact left behind to the mercy of the cold world. Seeing such innocence lost can just make everything feel so hopeless. We can believe our fairy tales and our stories. We can believe in our heroes and far off lands. But some things are simply darker than we would ever wish for. This lost doll, the dead rabbit, and our rotting statues are all examples of this. But then again, maybe believing in something is better than believing in nothing.

Feeding the Birds

The Abandoned Batterson Park

Written by: Wilk

Photographs by: Lassie

Last September, we finally moved out of the city. It was something I had been looking forward to for a long time. Not just because of Covid, or the ever increasing crime rate. I just really missed the woods. I missed looking out my front door and seeing trees. I missed waking up to the sounds of birds singing. I missed looking up at the stars on dark nights. You get none of that in the city. One thing we started doing again was feeding the birds. In the city, you basically get the same batch of shrewd little birds day in and day out. But we thought, now that we’re out in the country, we might finally get some interesting avian visitors. But we were wrong. For the first few weeks, that is. We bought our bird seed. We set up our feeder. And we waited. But nobody came. The feeder stayed quiet for days on end. No birds would even come near it. Until one day a large redheaded woodpecker, whom I have come to call The Harbinger, showed up. He came from the woods in our backyard, as if driven by some otherworldly force. He ate from the feeder until he nearly burst. When he was finished, he perched himself up on the railing of our deck, and began to sing. His calls pierced through the trees and echoed through the forest. And before long, birds of all shapes and sizes began flocking to the feeder. All at once. They had heard the call, and they had come to feed.

Allow me to introduce the subject of our June article: the abandoned Batterson Park. This is another one that I have had my eye on for a long time and one that no other major explorers have covered. I have always been a sucker for abandoned parks. There’s just something really special about them and the stories of how they got this way. It’s just fascinating how a place like this eventually fades away from thought and time. Even after being enjoyed by so many for so long. First established in the early twentieth century, Batterson Park was created from land once designated as a reservoir. It is unique in that it covers three different towns. Though the park is officially under the Hartford system, it actually exists outside of the city limits. The landmass of the park stretches across parts of Farmington and New Britain. It is all centered around the large and aptly named Batterson Park Pond. But this uniqueness would eventually lead to the park’s downfall. For many years, the towns that Batterson Park belonged to were never able to reach a deal on who would be paying to maintain the park and its amenities. In the fall of 2015, the park was forced to close its doors for good due to budget cuts. It has remained shuttered and forgotten ever since. Many deals and sales have been proposed over the years, but nothing has yet to come to fruition.

As I mentioned to you earlier, this place had been on my radar for awhile. We just never quite had the time to check it out. But, since it’s just about summertime, we were in the market for some new shoes. And let me tell you, there is no better place for explorer shoes than REI in West Hartford. No, we aren’t getting paid to say that. They’re just that good. Check them out if your outdoorsy. Since it was a nice day, after shoe shopping, we decided to take a stop at the nearby abandoned Batterson Park. It is a quiet section of town. And arriving at the deserted park is a little perplexing. The gate is down. But there are several heavily trafficked paths around it. There are signs up saying that the park has been closed. But then there are other signs welcoming you to the park and listing its hours. Mixed messages. No matter. Sitting right alongside the beautiful Batterson Pond, the park is easily accessible. We weren’t too sure about being there at first, but after running into a few other young adults with their dogs, our worries were laid to rest. The abandoned park may be on the small side, but there is also quite a lot to see. Walking through the old gates, you are immediately greeted by a rotting sign. It lists the admission prices to the park from days long since past. My how times have changed. And as we continued down the road, things just got more interesting.

Things are quiet. Very quiet. There has clearly been some fire damage here, as one building near the entrance has been completely burned out. Most of the other buildings have been boarded up, but a few can still be accessed. Inside you will find nothing but old equipment and lots of chairs. The beach’s dock is still floating in the waters of the pond. Several old lifeguard chairs rot off to the side. A maintenance shed sits wide open, and it is full of old disused equipment. A basketball court and pavilion are slowly being overgrown. Forgotten grills and fire pits still stand amongst the brush. The main boathouse curiously still has a few boats under its roof, but they appear to be in good condition. Let’s keep it that way. Perhaps they are just being stored there. But the main star attraction, and the whole reason I am writing this article, is the sea of picnic tables. A little way’s down the main path, there are dozens of derelict picnic tables standing in formation. Their green paint is slowly peeling. Bushes and vegetation is engulfing them. And combined with the dead silence of the old park, they provide a very eerie spectacle to behold. They truly encapsulated the sad story of the abandoned park. A place that was once designed for recreation and fun, now lies empty and cold. The memories stacked up and locked away like these ghostly old picnic tables.

The abandoned Batterson Park was certainly a unique visit. Though there was not too much to see here, the silent army of forgotten picnic tables really provided a haunting window into this place’s long lost past. Plus the park appears to be relatively untouched by the outside world. For now, that is. Who knows what the future holds. It reminded me very much of our bird feeder when we first moved in. You see, we urban explorers are like the wild birds. When one of us finds something good, they usually let out a song of their own to beckon others to come get a taste. And though I do not consider myself The Harbinger, I know that by posting this article, many other explorers will soon be coming to take a look at Batterson Park. And one of the most interesting things I have noticed from feeding the birds is that there are two types of visitors. First, there is the Chickadee. They are beautiful yet simple birds. They come to the feeder, eat their share of food, and then sing a small song before flying off. But then, there is the Grackle. They are obnoxious and disruptive. They scare away the other birds, eat more than their share, and usually knock over our whole feeder. Ruining things for everyone. Most of you reading this, I know, will be quiet and respectful. Like the Chickadees. Some, however, will be loud and destructive. Like the Grackles. Which will you be?

Beautiful Freak – The Abandoned Kristoff Pig Farm

Posted: May 19, 2021 by kingleser in #postaday, Abandoned, Abandoned Attractions, Abandoned Business, Abandoned Cars, Abandoned Connecticut, Abandoned Farm, abandoned home, Abandoned House, Abandoned Massachusetts, abandoned new england, Abandoned New Hampshire, Abandoned New York, Abandoned Park, Abandoned Places, Abandoned Rhode Island, Abandoned Road, Abandoned USA, Abandoned Vermont, Abandoned Wonders, Automobiles, Broken, Closed, commercial, darkness, Death, Destruction, dreams, empty, Exploration, exploring the abandoned, Forgotten, forgotten beauty, forgotten home, Ghosts, Graveyard, Haunting, Hiking, History, Information, left behind, lost, Massachusetts, Movies, Mystery, nature, new england, nightmares, overgrown, photography, Public Parks, research, Ruins, Safety First, State Parks, Stories, time, Uncategorized, Urban Decay, Urban Exploration, Urban Exploring, Urbex, writing, WWII
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Beautiful Freak

The Abandoned Kristoff Pig Farm

Written by: Wilk

Photographs by: Lassie

Ladies, and gentlemen. Boys and girls. Children of all ages. Step right up. Come and see the show. May is here. Yay, I guess. We’re well into Spring, heading towards Summer. But for some reason it’s still bloody windy everyday. Like, serious gusts of wind. Why? New England, that’s why. The funny thing about May is that it’s unofficially become our “weird” month. The more unusual places just happen to get covered during this time of year. Maybe it’s because of the nice weather. Or perhaps it’s just fate. Last year we covered the infamous abandoned UConn Kennels. The year before that was Philadelphia’s Goliath abandoned prison/museum Eastern State Penitentiary. Well, we continue the trend this month. I’ve been filming a movie up in Massachusetts for the last few weeks. It’s involved a lot of pre-production, wardrobe fittings, and, of course, Covid tests. In other words, lots of driving back and forth from home to Boston. Just another day in the life of an actor. On one of my many journeys, I decided it might be nice to go for a walk after dealing with film stuff. I like my walks to have some sort of uniqueness to them. Whether it be history, or something to see, or a story of any kind really. And driving back home from an early morning meeting, I just happened to find the right place to check out. And oh, yes, it fit right in with our “weird” month trend.

I honestly thought about opening this piece with Brick Top’s monologue about pig farms from Guy Ritchie’s Snatch. If you’ve seen the film, then you know what I’m talking about. But that definitely would’ve gotten us put on some FBI watch-list. If we’re not on there already… This is another one of those rare places that I just happened to come across while cruising Reddit on one of my days off. It certainly sounded unique, so I decided it might be worth a visit. Even though a couple of it’s original structures have since been demolished. This is the abandoned Kristoff Pig Farm. First established by the Kristoff family in the early twentieth century, this was once one of the most successful farms in all of Massachusetts. Two brothers brought together seven different farms to create one massive property. Their goods were bought and sold all up and down the Eastern seaboard. The family-run business was loved and respected by their community. And they are said to have taken great care of their animals. But like many beloved businesses of this time-frame, time can be a cruel beast. Towards the end of the century, a highway bypass cut straight through their property. And with the passing of their original owner, the farm was forced to close. The animals were sold off. The farmhands moved on to other work. And the land was left to rot.

The abandoned pig farm is huge and right in the middle of wild country. It lies on a desolate road. There is no real parking lot. The gate is blocked. You just kind of have to find a place to put your car that’s out of the way. There are no maps or anything of the sort. You have to find everything on your own, and it’s all very spread out. Many paths lead you to nowhere. A lot of sections are completely overgrown. And you really have to do a lot of digging to find anything worth seeing. I ended up spending several hours here just to make sure I saw everything that there was to see. And while my pictures are not as good as Lassie’s, I think they do a decent job. The first stop on the path is the old processing plant. This is a massive metal structure built into the hillside. At the top it has two large metal tubes, which then lead down to the bottom. God knows what used to be thrown down them. Around here are also a few old wooden pens and what appears to be some sort of feeding station. But you will have to do some climbing to get to them. There are also a few old wooden outhouses off in the distance. But here is where the trail forks. It is the crossroads of the abandoned farm. Both trails will eventually dead-end on you. But both have some pretty cool abandoned stuff, and they unfortunately do not connect with each other. At least, not anymore.

If you go right, you will eventually find what I have come to call “The Graveyard.” This is definitely one of the main attractions of the abandoned pig farm. Here is where all of the old machinery and such has been dumped. An old car rots into oblivion. Dumpsters have been turned over. Some even still bare the name of “Kristoff” on their sides. Tractors decay into the dirt. There is even a massive abandoned trailer full of all kinds of junk. The scariest piece of which is a mask from the 2001 Jim Carrey film The Grinch. Freaky stuff. You peak in through the main hatch and it’s just staring back at you. Everything is also full of bullet holes. So clearly someone is enjoying these old grounds. If you choose to go left on the main trail, you will eventually find the main hog house. This is a large abandoned pen that once housed the largest pigs on the farm. It is a small wooden building with no doors to hold back the outside world. There are several pens connected by a main walk-way, each with it’s own trough. The wooden frame is clearly starting to fall apart. Inside is also all kinds of junk. Things like window frames, a TV, and even an old toilet are cast aside on the ground. Here is also where I found the first real signs of graffiti, as most of the ground had been relatively untouched. Alongside it are a large rusted up tractor and another beat-up trailer full of junk.

In a curious turn of events, when I arrived at my destination, the parking area was full of cars. There were nine or ten of them at the pull-off. But when I got back, every one of them was gone. I had only encountered two other people out there, and they were together. It was a friendly couple who were looking for directions. But unfortunately, I was as lost as there were. I ended up being able to work this website into the discussion. So, guys, if you’re reading this, hello there! The abandoned farm is also absolutely teeming with wildlife. Though the people were few and far between, the animals were another story. Chipmunks scurry amongst the brush. The calls of the chickadees echo through the forest. A portly groundhog shuffles his way around the rusted ruins. A large black and yellow snake suns himself in the middle of the trail. And for some reason, I kept bumping into this one lonely turkey. He was just wandering around, all by himself, clearly looking for something. On several occasions, we’d make each other jump by not realizing the other was there. Oh, and I pulled at least six ticks off myself during/after my walk. I also kept finding them in my car for the next couple of days. Lovely stuff. So be warned. But if you’re up for something a little weird, and a little out there, this place is totally for you. So step right up. Don’t be shy.

Melting Snowmen – The Abandoned Bells Mansion

Posted: March 24, 2021 by kingleser in Abandoned, Abandoned Attractions, Abandoned Boston, Abandoned Castle, Abandoned Connecticut, Abandoned Forts, abandoned home, Abandoned Hotel, Abandoned House, Abandoned Massachusetts, abandoned new england, Abandoned New Hampshire, Abandoned New York, Abandoned Park, Abandoned Pennsylvania, Abandoned Places, Abandoned Resort, Abandoned Rhode Island, Abandoned Tower, Abandoned USA, Abandoned Vermont, Abandoned Wonders, Beaches, Broken, Closed, commercial, darkness, Death, Destruction, Exploration, exploring the abandoned, Forgotten, forgotten beauty, forgotten home, Fort Wetherill, Ghosts, Haunting, Hiking, History, Information, left behind, lost, Love, Movies, Mystery, nature, new england, Ocean, Ocean View, overgrown, photography, Public Parks, research, Rhode Island, Ruins, State Parks, Stories, Uncategorized, Urban Decay, Urban Exploration, Urban Exploring, Urbex, writing
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Melting Snowmen

The Abandoned Bells Mansion

Written by: Wilk

Photographs by: Lassie

The neighbors across the street built a snowman. They had their grandchildren over a few weeks ago, after one of our many snowstorms, and built a big snowman. It took them a few hours. But, oh, the fun they had. He was like any of those classic Hallmark songs about winter time. Three large balls stacked on top of each other. Little rocks were used for the eyes, nose, and mouth. He had a great big grin on his face, happy to entertain. Bottle caps were used for the buttons on his chest. The grandfather even broke out one of his old hats and scarves to make him feel a little bit more personable. When they were finished, he was perfect. But once he was finished, everyone went back inside. The sun set behind the evergreen treeline. The children eventually went home. The grandparents returned to their television shows and their cigarettes. The snowman, who once brought so much mometary joy, was left alone. Whenever I was able to take my dog for a walk, his personality shown a little less bright. The hat and scarf eventually blew away in the cold winter wind. The great balls of snow began to droop with age. And slowly but surely, the poor snowman’s very frame itself began to melt. No one came to tend to him. No one came to keep him alive. Days eventually turned into weeks. Snow eventually turned into rain. And by the time March had rolled around, all that was once left of this once happy snowman was nothing more than a pile of whiteness. The time of winter was now over. Spring had finally come.

So, hello again. Winter is over. And we are officially back in business. You may have noticed some things have changed around here. We’ve recently added a treasure map of our locations to our site. It allows our visitors to look at a list of all our locations by the state in which they reside. If you haven’t already, check it out sometime at the top of the page. While making this new feature, I realized that we are a little heavy on the Connecticut locations. Given that it’s our home, this is acceptable. But the other surrounding states looked a little bit left out. So for this year, we are going to be visiting Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and the rest of New England as much as possible. Maybe a return to New York is even in order once things finally settle down. If there’s any specific locations you’d like to see us cover, please do drop us a line. On our first stop of the year, we decided to check out a place that many before us have covered. It’s one that’s alluded us over the years. Not on any moral grounds or anything. We just never quite found the time to check this place out. This is the abandoned Bells Mansion, or what’s left of it anyway. First built in the late 1800’s, this place once stood grandly amongst the other mansions of Newport, Rhode Island. A series of unfortunate events and a constant change in ownership led the property to a state of disrepair. There was even a fire and a bit of demolition. And now belonging to the state, all that remains of this former palace is the broken down carriage house. Never the less, her spirit still remains.

We made the trek up to Rhode Island on a grey March Sunday. I know Newport well. I once worked on Woody Allen’s movie for a whole summer up there back in 2014. I never ended up seeing the movie, though. But frankly, nobody should be watching his work anymore. Summer in Newport is no picnic. Late winter, however, is great. You can really appreciate the town before it is flooded with festivals and tourists. The drive up and through Rhode Island was rather pleasant. Covid-19 may be wounded and nearing defeat, but it’s still quite dangerous. So we didn’t end up getting to check out many of our old haunts around town. But that’s okay. Also, the Newport Bridge now has automated tolls on one side. But not the other side. Peculiar. I know that they are much more unsafe, but I always kind of enjoyed interacting with the tollbooth operators. It was usually early in the morning driving to set, and it was more often than not an older lady. But they always greeted you with a smile. Some days, that really helps. So let’s all try to be a little nicer to each other. The remains of the Bells Mansion are located in what is now Brenton Point State Park on the far side of town. And though it was grey and chilly, the ocean-side park was still very much alive and active with people. I thought this would be an issue for our exploration, but it wasn’t. Most people were too busy gazing at the ocean, searching for the bathroom, or playing with their dogs to notice the old ruins of the carriage house. It is mostly quiet around this side of the park.

As you arrive at the park, you can straight-up see the abandoned mansion from the visitors lot. The ruins of the mansion very much look like 2020 incarnate. The building looks tired, battered, and broken. Dueling graffiti of “Black Lives Matter” and “Make America Great Again” coat the walls. There is a strong sense of loneliness and hopelessness. Like our snowman left out in the cold as his hat blows away. Everything appears to be grey or brown. Wild vegetation and thick vines protect the ruins from the outside world. Yet there are quite a few curious tunnels and pathways through the underbrush. Some will lead you inside of the abandoned building. Some will lead you nowhere. A failing chain-link fence stands in some places. But like a toothless guard dog, it doesn’t do much good. Inside the cement floors are cracking and crumbling. There is so much water buildup from the upstairs that the ceilings literally feel like they are raining on the inside. It is like something out of a bad dream. There is an observation tower nearby that provides an excellent view of the entire estate. But it, too, has become a victim of graffiti and vandalism. Jagged pieces of metal from the old framework are the only things keeping the structure alive. One of the most interesting things I found was that a tree outside has grown so much that people are now clearly using it to climb inside the abandoned mansion. Creative. I thought of trying it myself, as I used to love climbing trees, but I was advised against it by my more grounded partner.

After getting all the pictures we could, we bid farewell to The Bells and spent some time around the ocean. We gathered some shells. Found some sea glass. And generally just enjoyed the majesty of the Atlantic Ocean. Though the abandoned Bells Mansion may not have been much to look at, one of my favorite things about it are the sounds. Inside sounds like a pouring monsoon as water pours from the ceiling. Outside, you cannot escape the sounds of the waves crashing into the rocks a mere stones through away. It wasn’t quite as exciting as I had hoped it would be, but there is quite a bit of history here. A lot of our fellow explorers have covered this one, and we had to see it for ourselves. If you go, just be wary of people. There is a lot of them snooping around the park. And though winter may have come to end, make sure you get good weather. Just being around the roaring ocean makes this one worth the trip. We’ve had a little bit of snow here and there over the last week. But it’s never more than just a dusting. Three inches maximum. It’s usually all melted by the time midday rolls around. The icy fingers of winter have been broken. Its time is now over. Just as the time of the grand bygone era of the Bells Mansion have passed. They are now nothing more than memories. For much like our neighbor’s snowman, now matter how much joy and love went into building a place like this, we all have a debt to pay. Time stands still for nothing. And all things that come from the Earth must eventually be returned to it.

Oubliette – The Abandoned Transient Camp Nepaug

Posted: November 18, 2020 by kingleser in #postaday, Abandoned, Abandoned Attractions, Abandoned Business, Abandoned Cabin, Abandoned Castle, Abandoned Connecticut, Abandoned Forts, Abandoned House, Abandoned Massachusetts, abandoned new england, Abandoned New Hampshire, Abandoned New York, Abandoned Park, Abandoned Places, Abandoned Prison, Abandoned Rhode Island, Abandoned Road, Abandoned Summer Camp, Abandoned Tunnel, Abandoned USA, Abandoned Vermont, Abandoned Wonders, Broken, Cabin, Closed, commercial, Connecticut, darkness, Death, Destruction, empty, Exploration, exploring the abandoned, Forgotten, forgotten beauty, Forts, Ghosts, Haunting, Hiking, History, Homeless, Information, left behind, lost, Movies, Mystery, nature, new england, overgrown, photography, Public Parks, research, Ruins, Safety First, Searching, Stories, Uncategorized, Urban Decay, Urban Exploration, Urban Exploring, Urbex, writing, WWII
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Oubliette

The Abandoned Transient Camp Nepaug

Written by: Wilk

Photographs by: Lassie

It’s a place that you put people to forget about them. If you get that reference, then we can definitely be friends. It’s been said a thousand times before, and a thousand times again, but this has been a rough year for all of us. You hear it on social media. You hear it on the radio. You’ve heard it on our site. In these divisive times, it’s the one thing that we can all truly agree on. Thousands have lost loved ones. Millions have lost their jobs. We personally have lost two dear friends to cancer. Pardon my french, but fuck cancer. And frankly, fuck 2020. I don’t usually curse on this site, but I think it’s necessary this time. The world has changed forever, and sadly things will probably never go back to the way they used to be. This is a year that we’d all just like to forget. And as our urban exploring season winds down, we here at Abandoned Wonders are very much looking forward to taking some time off. But on our last stop of the year, we visited a place that appears to have been forgotten a long time ago.

This is a place that has come to go by many names. To some, it is known as “Tory’s Prison.” There is an urban legend that abounds that this place was once a prison for British sympathizers during the Colonial Era. To others, it is simply known as “Old Stone Jailhouse.” This hallowed ground’s true name is in fact Camp Nepaug. First built during the Great Depression, this area was a refugee for the weary travelers of the darkest times in American history. Transients and vagabonds could live/work here for a time before eventually continuing on with their quest to find solace. But if these men ever needed a grown-up version of a time out, there was a stone jailhouse on the grounds just for that purpose. The federal government created many camps such as this one across the country, in hopes of quelling the mass migration of drifters looking for work. Eventually, this area of refuge outlived her purpose. Though she has since been added as a Historical Landmark, that doesn’t do much to stop the hands of time.

And so, in the final days of Fall 2020, we made our journey out to the abandoned remains of Camp Nepaug. You see, I am a hunter. I love to hike and search for my abandoned places. It makes finding them that much more fun. I don’t like it when they’re literally just sitting right off the side of the road. And that’s how this place is. The road eventually turns to dirt as you get deeper into the forest, and then low and behold, there is Old Stone Jailhouse. There is even a small parking turn around right next to it. Coming up to the abandoned jailhouse is quite cool. The bars are still on the windows. The doors are gone. Glass and batteries, for some reason, liter themselves across the ground. There is a strong odor of fresh spray paint in the air, which is certainly concerning. Inside the jailhouse are some old fire logs and a few stacks of bygone newspapers. The roof is still there. Mostly. Holes in the old rotting ceiling allow you a peak at the clear blue sky. And you wonder what this place must’ve looked like way back when.

The abandoned jailhouse is really cool. But it’s also really small. So when we were finished with our investigation, we continued down the paths. Just to see what we could find. The old camp used to have several amenities for its guests. Unfortunately, few of these are still standing. Right across the road are the foundations and old fireplace of what was once the camp’s great hall. Farther down by the running waters of the river is the old well house. It is very similar to the jailhouse in its stone appearance, yet its considerably smaller. The only other thing of note here is the bunker. Take note, I don’t think this was its original purpose. A little ways passed the fireplace is a large pipe in the ground. Someone appears to have cut a doorway into this pipe and formed a sort of makeshift bunker down here. It is very dark inside, and the floor is coated in garbage. But it does actually go back a ways. Good thing we always bring our flashlights. You never know what you’re going to find. A surprise, to be sure. But a welcome one.

The last place we visit for the year is almost always a good one. And the abandoned Camp Nepaug was no exception. This was our final stop for the 2020 season. As always, we take a nice long hiatus through the winter. It’s usually because of the holiday season chaos and snow. But this year, we honestly just need a break from everything. We’re hoping, with a regime change, the global pandemic will eventually be gotten under control. And we will finally be able to venture outside of Connecticut. So hopefully, we can all someday begin to put this ugly year behind us. But you see, forgetting can be a hard thing to do. Just ask the abandoned Camp Nepaug. It’s past has been lost to many, yet the history remains. We all wish we had places like an oubliette to put our bad memories. But it doesn’t really work like that. Drinking is not the answer. Trust me on that. Therapy helps, to a certain extent. But honestly, when it comes to hardship, there is no forgetting about it. You just have to learn from it.