Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

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
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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
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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/

This is The Place – The Abandoned Aerosol Techniques Factory

Posted: March 25, 2022 by kingleser in #postaday, Abandoned, Abandoned Attractions, Abandoned Boston, Abandoned Business, Abandoned Connecticut, abandoned factory, Abandoned House, Abandoned Massachusetts, abandoned mill, abandoned new england, Abandoned New Hampshire, Abandoned New York, abandoned paper mill, Abandoned Pennsylvania, Abandoned Places, Abandoned Rhode Island, Abandoned Tower, Abandoned Tunnel, Abandoned USA, Abandoned Vermont, Abandoned Wonders, Art, Broken, Closed, commercial, Connecticut, darkness, Death, Destruction, empty, Exploration, exploring the abandoned, for sale, Forgotten, forgotten beauty, Fortress, Ghosts, Graveyard, Haunting, Hiking, History, Homeless, Information, left behind, lost, Love, Magic, Massachusetts, Movies, Mystery, nature, new england, New Hampshire, New Haven, nightmares, overgrown, photography, Preserved Ruin, Public Parks, research, Rhode Island, Ruins, Safety First, Searching, Stories, time, Uncategorized, Urban Decay, Urban Exploration, Urban Exploring, Urbex, writing
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This is The Place

The Abandoned Aerosol Techniques Factory

Written by: Wilk

Photographs by: Lassie

Glory to Ukraine. Glory to the heroes. It’s been a long and busy winter, but we’ve returned from our annual slumber. And to be perfectly honest, we considered taking this whole year off from exploring. We’re getting older. Things keep getting crazier. And the world continues to grow smaller every day. We’re also really running out of places to explore. Plus, you know, gas prices. So we decided to just enjoy our break, and see how we felt when the seasons changed. It was nice to take a breather, but the call of adventure and the need to create was eventually too much. This site has, is, and always will be our creative outlet. We love writing. We love taking photographs. And we love interacting with all of you. Art is funny that way. It’s interesting. When you look at people all over the world who don’t have to be worry about going to work everyday, art is the thing that most end up pursuing. No matter the kind. Creative expression is something that just calls out to all of us. And it can come in so many different shapes, sizes, and forms. And there is no better example of that than places like our first subject of the year.

And so, my friends, allow me to introduce the abandoned Aerosol Techniques Factory. A few months ago, Atlas Obscura, one of my favorite websites, did a story on the abandoned Union Pond Mill in Manchester, CT. We covered this place many years ago, and they linked our article on their page. Thus, we started getting a lot of traffic to our site from this story. And from that traffic, we got a lot of emails and comments. One of these highly suggested we go check out a similar place that was nearby: The Aerosol Techniques Factory. The facility was constructed during the 1960’s and wore many different hats throughout her era. The main purpose was the production of Aerosol products and eventually, just like Union Pond Mill, recycled plastic bottles. The factory was unfortunately forced to close its doors during the 1990’s and has been abandoned ever since. It’s ownership remains murky, and all attempts to redevelop the property have sadly fallen through. But again, just like Union Pond Mill, the derelict facility has found new life as a makeshift skate park and a vast canvas for local graffiti artists.

We made our trek out to the abandoned factory on a pale spring day, still slightly clinging to winter’s chill. It was a long drive for us, but it felt good to be back out on the road again. We chatted about old adventures. We sang songs from the radio. We navigated the usual New Haven traffic. And eventually, we reached our destination. See, the legality of this property remains elusive to me. Many sources say that there is no current owner. Yet others say that there is NO TRESPASSING allowed. So we weren’t quite sure what we were walking into. And to top things off, Aerosol Techniques factory is sitting right out in the open. Most abandoned factories we’ve explored over the years are lost in the woods, cut off from the rest of the world. The same cannot be said for this old workhorse. Instead of cutting it off, the world instead just grew around the abandoned factory. It’s just sitting there totally exposed, sharing a parking lot with a hotel and a home improvement store. Yikes. I hate abandoned places that are totally exposed like this. You never know who might be watching. But we came all this way. We decided to check it out.

As we hesitantly walked into the abandoned factory, another young couple was casually walking out of it. Contrary to us, they didn’t seem to have a care in the world. They even gave us a friendly greeting as we passed by. Curious, but we cautiously moved forward. The abandoned factory is huge. It is made up of three different structure, loosely connected by narrows causeways. Almost every inch of this place is coated with various forms of graffiti and everything wreaks of spray paint. It’s ironic that the thing this place used to produce is now the weapon of artistry used against it. The insides are all terribly gutted. Some machinery has been left behind to rust into oblivion. The first two structures are all open air, so we were able to get some great photos. The causeway connecting the middle section to the main hub is the true highlight of this place. But speaking of the main hub, this is where flashlights are required. In order to get a good feel of this section, you must descend down a rickety staircase into the darkness below. It is all quite creepy, yet eerily exhilarating. But when the light peaks through, there is just more graffiti.

We didn’t stay too long. No bad vibes here. It’s just too out in the open. Once we had covered every inch of the grounds and gotten all the pictures we desired, it was time to head out. As we were exiting, we crossed paths with yet another young couple. These two, however, were clearly here for a different purpose. By the time we got to our car, we could hear the shaking of an aerosol bottle and the fierce spray of paint. More graffiti artists. But just like the last couple, these two clearly didn’t care who saw them or knew they were there. It always fascinates me when abandoned places get like this. To the rest of the world, they become just an eye soar. Something to be shunned and avoided. But to a select few, they can become something fun and beautiful. Though still barely standing, this old industrial titan has found a new life. And some of the art adorning its ancient halls is actually quite good. Like us, folks from all walks of life visit this place for one reason or another. Some come to the abandoned Aerosol Techniques Factory to see the art. Some come to create it. But whichever you seek, this is the place.