Archive for the ‘Automobiles’ Category

Days Gone By

The Abandoned Car Graveyard

Written by: Sean L.

Photographs by: Amanda H.

We’ve been covering a lot of outdoor stuff recently. But hell, with the weather having been so nice lately, and after a really shitty winter, why not? This place has always been one of my favorites to visit. And before you ask, no we will not be revealing the location of it. People have inquired to us in the past about finding it so in an attempt to scavenge metal and parts from the wrecks. So in an effort to preserve them, we will regrettably not be saying how to find this graveyard. Apologies. But what I can tell you is that it rests alongside the banks of a quiet river on the far reaches of the state. It is quiet as a tomb, and almost entirely untouched by the hands of man.

To the untrained eye, this is merely a quiet wooded area. The only sounds are the faint chirping of the birds and the ambiance of the running river. Unfortunately these woods were also full of ticks. We pulled twelve of those little suckers off us combined. But past the old broken bridge and up the wooded pass lies the most unique graveyard I have ever seen. In place of a line of tombstones, the wrecks of a half dozen classic cars and trucks lie deteriorating into the forest floor. Snakes roam about their interiors. Frightened families of mice roost in their rusted roofs. And these once priceless beauties are now nothing more than piles of junk.

 I have tried to find information about the history or story of this graveyard, but have yet to uncover anything. If anyone has any information, we’d be happy to hear it. How did these old cars get here? The road and any nearby homes are in fact a good distance away. Who did they belong to? Surely someone a long time ago must have once cared for these old wrecks. What strange chain of events led them to their current state? It’s not everyday you see a graveyard of old cars. In good condition, some of these may have been worth a fortune today. In the days gone by, they were once beloved and reliable machines. But now they rot in pieces in a forgotten section of the wild woods.

“One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.” -Ecclesiastes 1:4-11  

Welcome to the Tombs

The Abandoned Car Graveyard

Written by: Sean L.

Photos by: Amanda H.

We love to explore. It’s kind of what we do. We do our research, we go out on investigation, and then we document our adventures on this site. But every once in awhile, we simply stumble across things in our travels. I mean, that’s how we got started in the crazy world so many years ago. While hiking, we randomly found ourselves in the middle of the abandoned Sunrise Resort. We weren’t planning on it. It just sort of happened. Every once in awhile, we just find things. Like in the early Fall of 2015. We were out for a hike in a forgotten little state park along a lonely little river. The sun was slowly fading, and the leaves we gradually beginning to fall. But while strolling along the riverbank, we stumbled upon a long lost graveyard. Not for people, or even pets. This graveyard was for long lost automobiles.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Motorized transports can be traced back all the way to the sixteen hundreds in ancient China. But automobiles as we now know them first began to take shape in the late nineteenth century. Both German and American engineers began to make headway in what is now a billion dollar industry by pioneering the field of gasoline powered engines. By the early nineteen hundreds, factories were beginning to produce engines all around the United States. But the concept truly became a phenomenon when Henry Ford began to mass produce and perfect the automobile design. By the time the Roaring Twenties came about, Ford’s design could be seen on both sides of the country and across Europe.Today, cars are everywhere.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Sadly, this includes being lost and left to rot beside an old river deep in the woods. We discovered a half dozen rusting corpses of all cars scattered amongst the underbrush. They were all within a quarter mile of each other, some grouped closer together than others. Old parts and other scraps were strewn about all over the place. Most of these old cars were too far gone to really discern what make or model they were (if you are a car expert, please feel free to comment). To me, they just all look like the cars from The Untouchables. Though the interiors had long since rotted away, the local wildlife now occupies most of these old relics. Wild snakes dwell on the ground, sunning themselves on what is left of the once luxurious seats. And in the ceilings, families of mice cluster together in fear whenever anyone walks by. It was a true graveyard, one that has been lost for what appears to be many years.

Welcome to Garden of Lost Cars.

Welcome to the Graveyard of Empires.

Welcome to the Tombs.

Rest in Peace.

Turn the Corner — The Ruins of Manchester Drive-In

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

Turn the Corner

The Ruins of Manchester Drive-In

Written by: Sean L.

Photography by: Amanda H.

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

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

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

American Graffiti

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

Everything Must Go

Visiting Manchester’s Abandoned Car Dealership

Written by: Sean L

Photographs by: Amanda H

IMG_3195

   Good credit? Bad credit? No credit? We finance everyone! Zero money down, zero percent financing, zero hassle! Get approved today! Everything must go! Come on down! Yeah, car dealerships are seemingly everywhere today. These lines are recognized by just about everyone, because they are something that we are all familiar with. It’s impossible to avoid. We hear about them constantly on the radio. Their advertisements invade our favorite television shows. Their giant billboards decorate our highways. Most car dealerships today are family run, seemingly age old dynasties. They are empires, ruling over the world of used cars with an iron fist. But what happens when these empires inevitably crumble? What happens when there aren’t any more customers, or cars to sell? What happens to the giant inflatable gorilla and all the tacky promotional stuff that these dealerships use? It all fades away. Like a dying tree, these places fold up, and their ashes are cast to the four winds, leaving nothing but empty lots and broken dreams.

IMG_3193

We visited one of these fallen empires during the early days of 2015. Formally known as “Family Auto of Manchester,” this former dealership was open for about twenty years. Located along Main Street, Manchester, the dealership was in a pretty decent location. There are, however, much larger dealerships in the area that caused competition. It went out of business about a year ago. From what we could find in our research, the place was not very well liked by its customers. We found one scathing review on Google Plus condemning the dealership for its unprofessionalism, poor service, and disrespect for its female customers. Perhaps things like this had something to do with its downfall. I can tell you that ironically, I shopped for a car here once when I was sixteen. It was an Acura Integra. Though I saw no real issues with the place, I didn’t end up buying the car because I was just too tall for it. Seven years later, I returned to this place, though it is now abandoned.

IMG_3197

“Family Auto of Manchester” is located right on Main Street, Manchester. Though it is not nearly as trafficked of a road as others in Manchester, it is still a pretty busy area. It is right next to a heavily used gas station and a few small businesses. It is also right down the street from a Walgreens and the lovable local watering hole The Main Pub. Funny enough, there are also several auto repair shops located very closely to the abandoned dealership. From what we had gathered, lots of people parked their cars at the empty lot when they could not find street parking. Whether this is legal or not remains to be seen. So for our investigation, we simply drove up and parked alongside the abandoned dealership. Luckily, this was all before we had piles of snow on the ground. The lot itself was in really bad shape. There are pot holes everywhere, and cracks ripple through the pavement like a spider web. Thick yellow grass protrudes from the cracks here and there. We also found piles of leaves and a few tires scattered around the lot.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The building itself is in moderately good shape. Though the paint is now fading and aging, the building was clearly never a very good color. It’s rather bland tan paintjob is now accented with a decaying brown. Only one or two of the windows have been broken, and there appears to be no structural damage. The walls, however, are absolutely coated in graffiti and gang signs. It’s everywhere; on the walls, on the windows, on the pavement. The place is definitely a hot spot for teenagers and delinquents who have nothing better to do with their time. Along the outer windows, there are still brightly colored and worded signs offering hassle free financing and credit approval. Old wiring and air conditioning units still cling the walls, though they have been devoid of power for some time now. Attached to the building is the garage. Clearly some sort of animal is living in here, as we found evidence of it and because there is a perfectly sized hole that has been made in the garage door. This was also the way inside of the dealership.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It is rather dark and foreboding inside the garage, but inside the dealership is very bright. The outer wall of the building is solid glass, so you can see inside no problem. The inside of the dealership is very eerie. Most of the furniture has been left behind for some reason. Inside the main office, a desk still sits with a once comfy looking chair accompanying it. Out on the sales floor, a large round table and four chairs still sit, waiting for the next deal to be made. Several desks are pushed into the corner, with stacks of old paper and other liter strewn across them. A bunch of old computer parts and car manuals lie in ruin on one of the old tables. There are even a few carpets left behind on the floor. A pair of old school vending machines, the kind where you put in a quarter and get a handful of candy, are back along the wall, though they are now empty and covered in dust. Sadly enough, a forgotten plant still waits for water as it gathers sunshine in the main window.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Having been here and test driving a car here all those years ago, it was very interesting to return now that the place is abandoned. The lot once full of beat up used cars now lies empty and broken. I stood in the exact spot where I turned down an offer to buy a car here. And today, I am very glad that I did turn down that offer. Not just because of the height issue, but because this place has completely fallen into darkness. To answer my question from earlier, this is what becomes of these once illustrious car dealerships when their empires finally crumble. There are no more radio ads, no more tacky gimmicks, and no more used cars. They simply lie in ruin, waiting for a day that will probably never come. Though it has long since gone under, “Family Auto of Manchester” still haunts the main street of this busy little town. And even though its signs still beckon eager car shoppers to enter its gates with the temptation of financing, you won’t find any obnoxious salesmen or tacky decorations here. Everything is gone.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


 

Far from Home

Exploring the Abandoned Skinner House

By Sean and Amanda

There’s a knock at the door, but nobody answers. The sounds echo through the house’s empty rooms. There’s a hole in the roof that will never be fixed. Birds and wildlife come and go through it as they please. The old shed collapsed years ago. It lies in ruin beside the decaying barn. An old car sits in the driveway. The tires have been flattened over time. Wild vines have started to take it over. Blocked in behind it sits an old truck. Its original color and model name have become unrecognizable. If these old walls could talk, I don’t think they would talk at all. I think they would scream. They would scream because they have seen too much, and they’ve had to go through it all alone. They would cry out in pain and anguish, because whoever once called this place home clearly left a long time ago. This is the Skinner House.

Down a back country road in a forgotten part of a little town lies an old house. Who lived there? How long has it been abandoned? Why was this house left to rot? We don’t know. And in fact, nobody around here seems to. The neighbors of this place were either no help or could not be reached for comment. What we can tell you about the Skinner House is that it has clearly been empty for many years. To be perfectly clear, we can neither confirm nor deny that it is in fact called the Skinner House. It has earned this nickname due to the fact that it sits right on the corner of Shoddy Mill Road and the windy Skinner Road in Bolton, Connecticut. It is barely a mile from the border of rural Andover, Connecticut and a stone’s throw from the heavily trafficked Route 6A.

I drive past the Skinner House almost every day on my way to and from work. It took me awhile to even notice that it was in fact abandoned. No offense to the people that live in these rural towns, but most seem to have at least one house that is not very taken care of. But after weeks of driving past this old house in the early mornings and late afternoons, I began to notice things. I never saw a single person come or go from it. There was never a light on inside of it. The two broken down cars in the driveway never moved. Every single day passing by it, the house seemed to be sitting there frozen in time. Nothing ever seemed to change. Using our standard methods of preparing for an investigation, (see The 5 Rules), I found absolutely no information on the house. It had simply been forgotten.

So during a chilly winter day in December, we decided to go have a look around. The Skinner House isn’t too difficult to find. It is nestled at the crossroads of a nice little neighborhood and a backcountry road. As stated earlier, it is almost right on top of the border between the towns of Bolton and Andover. It stands right next to a small bridge covering an even smaller stream. Just in case there actually was someone living there, we didn’t just pull up the driveway. There is a little spot beside the bridge that we could easily pull up to. The Skinner House is actually a good sized building, with at least two floors. There is also a large barn standing beside the street. The remnants of what looked like a shed or even a smaller barn lay next to that. Behind the house is just wild trees and wilderness.

Not only did we find not a single sign of life, but we also didn’t find a single NO TRESPASSING sign. There was nothing here. In the woods behind the house, there were plenty of signs warning off any potential hunters or fishermen. But no such signs were posted on the property itself. After a quick look around and a knock on the old door, it became perfectly clear to us that this wasteland was indeed abandoned. Inside of the house, there was nothing but trash left behind. And in fact, the caved in roof and the old floor boards are so unstable that we did not even go inside. To do so would be incredibly dangerous. We also found evidence of some sort of large animal, or animals, taking up residence inside the old house. Even though there are no KEEP OUT signs, it is best to do so.

What we found most interesting about the abandoned Skinner House were the cars that had been left behind. They sit alone in the driveway, with brush and foliage all over them. In the front is an old red Mercury sedan. Its tires are flat, but it could still be in salvageable shape. Blocked in behind it is an old truck. This thing was so old and beat up, we couldn’t even tell what Make or Model it was. It is now just a rusty hunk of metal. Remarkably, we didn’t find much of any vandalism on the property. None of the windows on the house have been smashed, there was no liter on the grounds, and we didn’t find any graffiti. Inside the house may be a different story though. The barn is in just as poor shape as the house. Paint is slowly chipping and the wood frame is rapidly decaying. On a lighter note, we did find a family of rabbits now occupies the old barn.

The Skinner House is by far one of our more unique investigations. Not only did we not find any information at all about this place, but it seems like it has been relatively left alone in its state of decay. Not a single FOR SALE, NO TRESPASSING, or KEEP OUT sign can be found on the property. With the cars still in the driveway, it seems like people just got up and left one day. Nature now rules this place. The wild now lives where humans once did. Though the house still stands, it is far from a home. We are still left to wonder why the Skinner House was abandoned. And what happened to the people that lived there.

** Please Share, Follow, Comment on, and Like if you enjoyed this article! Thank you!! **

Out of Business

The Abandoned Buildings of Route 85

 By: Sean and Amanda

Growing up in the Hebron area, I had driven down and along Route 85 for as long as I can remember. It is a stretch of road that we would always take to get from Hebron to Colchester or vice versa. It could be busy, at times. But other times it felt like any other road, running between a few sleepy little Connecticut towns a lot of people have never heard of. But this road is more than meets the eye. Much like most towns in the world, the communities along Route 85 have not gone unscathed from economic downturn. Over the years, we have seen several well-known and beloved businesses fall under hard times. Owners of these establishments closed up shop, and the buildings themselves were left at the mercy of the elements. On a cold November day, we decided to pay a visit to a few of these forgotten places.

Commonly used as a route for commuters and travelers between the cities of Hartford and New London, Route 85 is a state highway. Though we have often traveled it on our adventures to get to and from Hebron or Colchester, it actually runs from the northern town of Bolton all the way south to the city of New London. Originally established during the nineteenth century, Route 85 has been a commonly used highway in the state of Connecticut. It has had an assortment of different names over the last hundred or so years, but was officially christened Route 85 during 1932. Though it is kind of a small town road, Route 85 has junctions to major highways including I-95, I-384, and US-44. We were on our way to visit three abandoned buildings located along the more rural part of the route between Hebron and Colchester.

On our trip to Route 85, we parked at the local lot for the Airline Trail State Park. Arguably the biggest and most popular walking site in Connecticut, the trail runs all over the state. We have used it several times during our investigations. Ironically, it was a formerly abandoned railway track that was acquired by the state and turned into hiking trails. The three buildings that we were investigating that day were all within a short walk from each other. They included a former mechanic’s garage, an abandoned antique warehouse, and the beloved Route 85 Lumber yard. Believe it or not, the fabled and familiar site of Camp Connecticut was merely a few miles from us. See our write up on the legendary site here. Since it was a weekend, there was heavy traffic both on the trail and Route 85 itself.

The first place that we visited was the abandoned garage. Directly across from the Airline Trail State Park parking lot, this building was the oldest of the three and in the greatest state of disrepair. The roof had completely caved in over half of the building, and the entire back wall had been demolished on the other half. Most of the windows had been smashed and there was quite a bit of liter. It was only one floor. There was a section that appeared to be the office and then three garage bays. Though there was no recognizable sign left to distinguish the name of this former business, we did find a few old racing team signs on the ground. Lots of old tires, broken glass, and even an old sink were strewn about outside of the garage. Inside, we found quite a bit of evidence that some sort of large animal, more than likely a pack of stray dogs, has been living inside.

The second place that we visited was a quick walk down the road. It was formerly used as a warehouse antique business. A place that my parents used to shop at, it had only been abandoned for the last fifteen years or so. Since the building was made of brick, it was in relatively good shape aside from the forest of vines and vegetation growing around its sides. Though the one of the side doors was completely missing, most of the windows were still intact. Inside, the warehouse was in remarkably good shape. It was four floors and a basement, each floor has a solid metal staircase leading up to the next. A fire escape was also on the fourth floor. We also found what appeared to be evidence of people still living inside. Even though Hebron is not known for its homeless population, we found a few makeshift beds and a still functioning sink. This was not surprising due to the good condition of the inside, but it was only the second time we have ever found people to still be living in an abandoned place. For this reason, we did not stay very long

Our third and final stop for our investigation was Route 85 Lumber. One of the longest running and most memorable small businesses in the town of Hebron, Route 85 Lumber were known to employ a lot of students from the nearby high school and donate materials for local Eagle Scout projects. It sadly went out of business in 2009. Though it is heavily protected, it now sits empty along Route 85. The office is guarded by security cameras and the doors are all heavily locked up. The lumber yard itself is surrounded by a very tall chain link fence with barbed wire around the top, keeping out any unwanted visitors. Though there was not much to see here, we did see a “For Sale” sign out front with a “Sold” sign placed below it. This was potentially good news for this former small business, as it may become the first abandoned place we have visited to come back.

It is good to see that there is hope for one of these sites. We would like to see it make a comeback. The other two, however, may simply be too far gone. They now serve a different purpose; homes to strays and squatters. Though they were once flourishing businesses, many see them now as nothing more than big eyesores. These three sites now sit alone, silently watching the busy traffic of Route 85 pass them by.