Archive for the ‘Children’ Category

One Day Too Late

The Abandoned Ladd School

Written by: Sean L.

Photographs by: Amanda H.

Let me start this off by saying that this was a spontaneous visit. We didn’t really plan on searching for this lost legend, it just happened to be on our way. Rhode Island is one of my favorite places to visit in all of New England. I make several trips a year up there to work on movies, but its rare we go up there together to explore abandoned places. We had just finished our exploration of the Enchanted Forest, and were on our way to an audition of mine. I had heard many stories about the Ladd School. Some said that it had been demolished years ago. Others said that pieces of it still stood. A quick stop at Google Maps and around the web proved to be inconclusive. Some said it had been destroyed. Others said that certain buildings could still be seen and explored. With its location a mere stone’s throw away from us, we decided to check it out. It appears now that we were too late.

Much like most mental institutions in the area, the Ladd School has seen many different names and purposes over the years. Before earning its current name, the facility was formerly known as “The Exeter School” and “The Rhode Island School for the Feeble Minded.” Opening in the early 1900’s, the institution began as an experimental program to train the intellectually disabled on basic life and farm skills. But over the years the Ladd School evolved into something else entirely. Unfortunately, much like most similar institutions, she suffered from overcrowding, public disapproval, and scandals. She limped on up until 1993, when her doors were finally closed for good. For years, she was left empty and desolate. She became a hotspot for local ghost hunters and independent film makers. The order for her demolition finally came a few years later. Certain buildings were razed, others found life by being re-purposed.

When we arrived on the grounds on that chilly early March day, it was hard to believe that this was once one of the most well known schools in the area. The grounds are unrecognizable today. We drive around for a long time without finding anything that even resembling the stories we had read. There was a large soccer field there. A few multi-purpose buildings stood around. Large groups of people were jogging and/or walking around the grounds. We almost thought we were in the wrong place. Until we came upon a quiet pocket of the area. Standing far off from any visitors was a memorial for the old grounds. Protected by a stone wall, it almost looked like a graveyard. But in the center of it all sits a plaque detailing the history of the Ladd School. It appears that this may be all that is left of the now famous school. There may be more evidence out there, but we weren’t able to find it. It seems that the old Ladd School is gone. All that remains is this quiet memorial, and memories long since passed.

Lock the Gates – The Abandoned Seaside Sanatorium

Posted: November 29, 2016 by Abandoned Wonders and Hidden Wonders Photography in #postaday, Abandoned Business, Abandoned Connecticut, abandoned home, Abandoned Hospital, Abandoned House, abandoned new england, Abandoned Sanatorium, Abandoned USA, Abandoned Wonders, Beaches, Bird Watching, Birds, Broken, Children, Children's Hospital, Closed, commercial, Connecticut, darkness, Death, Destruction, empty, Exploration, exploring the abandoned, Forgotten, forgotten beauty, forgotten home, Ghosts, Graveyard, Haunting, Hiking, History, Information, left behind, lost, Mystery, nature, new england, nightmares, Ocean, Ocean View, overgrown, photography, Public Parks, research, Ruins, Safety First, Searching, seaside, Seaside Sanatorium, State Parks, Stories, Uncategorized, Urban Decay, Urban Exploration, Urban Exploring, Urbex, Waterford, writing
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Lock the Gates

The Abandoned Seaside Sanatorium

Written by: Sean L.

Photographs by: Amanda H.

Lock the gates. Bar the doors. Bolt the latch. Close up shop. You don’t have to go home. But you can’t stay here. Much that once was is now gone. We have certain traditions here at Abandoned Wonders. We like to look up places on Google Maps before visiting them, so we can figure out precisely where to go. We like to eat at Ruby Tuesday’s after exploring a cool place, just for the salad bar and Mr. Pibb. And we visit certain places once a year because they are just so damn cool. Seaside Sanatorium is one of those places. Sitting smack dab on the beautiful shores of Long Island Sound, Seaside Sanatorium really is one of the most picturesque abandoned places in all of New England. But this year, things have taken a turn for the worse. We are sad to say that this once abandoned wonder will never be the same.

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The main buildings on the grounds were designed by the world renowned architect Cass Gilbert in the early twentieth century. He was the same man responsible for masterminding the famous US Supreme Court building in Washington DC and New Haven’s Union Station. The facility was opened during the early 1930’s, seeing a long and colorful history that lasted until 1996. Over the years it has served as a children’s hospital, a treatment center for the elderly, and a facility for the intellectually disabled. Its beautiful setting along the shores of the Atlantic Ocean were said to provide a very peaceful atmosphere for its residents. Sadly though, the facility was allegedly home to several incidents of violent treatment of patients in the early 1990’s which would ultimately cause the demise of Seaside. It now sits abandoned, though it can be legally walked as a recreation area.

Like I said before, this was our fourth visit to the grounds in the last four years. Earlier this year, we published a video about Seaside using footage that we acquired last summer. Several of our readers were quick to point out that there are now chain link fences surrounding all of the main hospital buildings. Naturally, we had to go investigate. In the waning days of the summer 2016, we returned to visit our old friend. I can honestly say that things have changed. A lot. Indeed there are fences everywhere. The beast of the abandoned hospital has been caged, as has the old nurse’s building. Most heartbreaking of all, the old playground has been removed. Seeing this amazing and hauntingly beautiful old building now locked up was a sad sight indeed. It is not the thought of not being able to get inside anymore that makes it tragic. Its more that the fences mark what more than likely is the beginning of the end for Seaside Sanatorium.

Much like our previous visit, there were plenty of beach goers frequenting the grounds. And just like last year, none of them even seem to notice the giant abandoned hospital sitting right in front of them. Plenty of these people gave us weird looks as they watched us take pictures. One other young photographer was there though, which was a nice site to see. Even though she kept getting into our shots. One family even seemed to be camping out on the beach. Something that is interesting though is that state security guards have returned to the grounds. On our previous two visits, we couldn’t take one step without being followed by a security guard, though they were all very courteous and more than happy to talk about the abandoned hospital. Last year we were there for a whole day, and didn’t see a single one. But today, a very nice guard kept watch over the grounds and all of the beach people. And the work on the hospital is clearly far from over. Plenty of construction equipment and tools lie in the fenced off sections of the grounds.

The grounds have been officially commissioned as a State Park, and the old hospital buildings have also been named to the National Register of Historic Places. It is both rewarding and depressing to see the grounds in their current state. While the protective fences keep bad people out, it is also sad to see this former hospital trapped behind bars. State workers have been working to make the grounds safer to visitors, and allegedly considering several different options of what to do with the grounds. It is an ongoing process, but fortunately is one that seems to make progress. But until its final judgement day, the grounds of Seaside Sanatorium now sit under lock and key. Even the fabled ospreay seemed to have moved off. Over the last two years we’ve seen a flourishing family of them taking up residence in the chimney of the nurse’s building. But today, there was only one. She cawed in loneliness to the great blue ocean before her. Maybe the rest of her family is still out there. Or maybe those days are long gone.

Destroy or Decay – The Abandoned Mansfield Training School

Posted: October 13, 2016 by Abandoned Wonders and Hidden Wonders Photography in #postaday, Abandoned, Abandoned Attractions, Abandoned Business, Abandoned Connecticut, abandoned home, Abandoned Hospital, Abandoned House, abandoned new england, Abandoned Sanatorium, Abandoned USA, Abandoned Wonders, Birds, Broken, Children, Children's Hospital, Closed, commercial, Connecticut, darkness, Death, Destruction, empty, Exploration, exploring the abandoned, fire, Forgotten, forgotten beauty, forgotten home, Ghosts, Graveyard, Haunting, Hiking, History, House, Information, left behind, lost, Mansfield, Mansfield Training School, Mystery, nature, new england, nightmares, overgrown, photography, Public Parks, research, Ruins, Safety First, Searching, Seaside Sanatorium, Stories, Storrs, Sunrise Resort, UCONN, Uncategorized, Undercliff Sanatorium, Urban Decay, Urban Exploration, Urban Exploring, Urbex, writing, WWII
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Destroy or Decay

The Abandoned Mansfield Training School

Written by: Sean L.

Photographs by: Amanda H.

Decay, it’s a bit of a fickle word. Just the mention of it conjures up unsettling images of rot and decomposition. Destroy, do I really have to define this one? It’s a word we all know and maybe even use too much. But which is worse, to destroy or to decay? It is a question that many of our great abandoned wonders have faced over the years. Many local legends such as Sunrise Resort and Undercliff Sanatorium have been demolished. But others, such as the abandoned Mansfield Training School, have faced decay. Rather than being demolished it has merely been left to rot. Sure, certain precautions have been taken to shore up the property. But let’s be honest, we’re simply delaying the inevitable. Though many tall fences have gone up since our last visit, Mansfield Training School is continuing its slow decent into destruction.

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The facility was created following the merger of the institutions in both Lakeville and Mansfield, Connecticut during 1917. It was christened the Mansfield Training School and Hospital, a facility for the care of the intellectually disabled. They started off with a relatively small number of patients. Major events in history such as the Great Depression and World War II caused the population of patients to grow and become overcrowded. But during the sixties and seventies, regulations began to change, resulting in more staff and caregivers being provided. Some years later, patients began to be moved from the hospital to on-site cottages and group homes. Regrettably, while there were many stories of good and fair treatment of the patients, there were also several tragic ones. Under a pile of lawsuits, the facility was forced to close its doors in 1993. The property was then split amongst the University of Connecticut and the neighboring Bergin Correctional Institute.

In the waning days of Summer 2016 began to slowly fall off the calendar, like leaves from a tree, we made our return to the abandoned Mansfield Training School. Some places are just worth a second or even a third visit. And this is certainly one of them. Sitting on the far side of the Depot Campus of the University of Connecticut, the abandoned Mansfield Training School was as quiet as I remembered it. Just a short stroll from the hustle and bustle of the main campus, it is shocking how desolate this corner of the school feels. We did not come across a single soul on our walk through the former hospital quad. Just like our previous visit. The whole place felt like something out of a nightmare. Even though it lies in such close proximity to one of the largest and well known schools in the country, this place was as quiet as a tomb. The only signs of life were the scurrying families of squirrels darting for cover as we strolled through this abandoned wasteland.

While the atmosphere of the abandoned Mansfield Training School may not have changed at all since our last visit, the grounds themselves have taken a rather serious toll. Chain link fences have been installed around the infamous Knight Hospital and a few of the farther south buildings. The tunnels systems have all been dug up or filled in. But even worse, vandalism has taken a massive rise in the past year. Doors have been kicked open. Windows have been smashed. Access to these dark and dangerous places is as easy as it has ever been. And inside these former hospital buildings is like the edge of Hell. Around each corner lies more chaos and destruction. Though it is as quiet as death in here, the pain and the anguish that this place feels cannot be ignored. We’ve seen a few spooky things happen here, such as the fabled “Angel of the Asylum,” but today this place felt more haunted than ever. The Saint Mary Statue had been moved. Shadows crept in the corners of every room. And there was a strong presence to be felt.

And so I ask again, is it better to destroy or to decay? Over the years, there allegedly have been many different proposals to demolish these infamous grounds. But none have come to fruition. With the recent additions of the chain link fences, clearly someone wants to preserve this place. It is, in fact, listed as a Historical Landmark. But one would not likely be able to guess that after one look at the state of the Mansfield Training School. It has fallen quite a long way in just twenty odd years since its closure, mostly at the hands of vandals. To destroy it would cost the state millions of dollars, and be the end of a once beloved landmark. But to leave it to decay would be the same result, except for the number of years it would take to get there. Neither of them seem like good options, and seems that some have chosen to forget about the abandoned Mansfield Training School. But its still there. Everyday. Wondering. Waiting. Destroy or Decay? Destroy or Decay? Destroy or Decay?

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Places to Visit this Summer – Seaside Sanatorium

Posted: July 21, 2016 by Abandoned Wonders and Hidden Wonders Photography in #postaday, Abandoned, Abandoned Attractions, Abandoned Business, Abandoned Connecticut, abandoned home, Abandoned Hospital, Abandoned House, abandoned new england, Abandoned USA, Abandoned Wonders, Beaches, Bird Watching, Birds, Broken, Cabin, Cape Cod, Children, Children's Hospital, Closed, commercial, Connecticut, darkness, Death, Destruction, empty, Exploration, exploring the abandoned, for sale, Forgotten, forgotten beauty, Ghosts, Graveyard, Haunting, Hiking, History, Homeless, House, Information, left behind, Mystery, nature, new england, Ocean, Ocean View, photography, Public Parks, research, Ruins, Safety First, Searching, seaside, Seaside Sanatorium, State Parks, Stories, Urban Exploration
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Please check out our new video on the abandoned Seaside Sanatorium! If you are going to visit one abandoned place this summer, put Seaside Sanatorium on your list.

Remember the Magic

Journey into the Enchanted Forest

Written by: Wilk
Photographs by: Lassie

Do you feel that? The wind through the trees? The current through the mountain streams? The rays of sunshine peeping through the dark clouds? It’s something that we don’t appreciate enough anymore. They are, dare I say, magic. Our ancestors lived and died with these elemental beings. But magic is something that disappears a little more each day. We’ve forgotten about it. It can be argued that we don’t need it anymore, that it has outlived its purpose. People walk around lost in the screens of their cell phones as opposed to appreciating the natural beauty of our own world. Even as it slowly shrinks from the corners of our universe. But what happens when there’s no more magic? What happens when all that makes the world wondrous and green is gone? What would the world be like without magic? We found out: in the Enchanted Forest.

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It is one of the darker and more ominous places we have ever visited. The Enchanted Forest was a fantasy styled amusement park that opened in 1971. Based out of Hopkinton, Rhode Island, The Enchanted Forest was always more oriented towards children and families with its fairy tale style theme. The main attractions of the park included a live petting zoo, go-cart tracks, a mini-golf course, and a few rides geared more towards its younger audience. For years the park was a mainstay attraction of the local area, with people coming far and wide to visit this fairy tale place. But as time wore on, the magic began to fade. In her final years, attendance and interest in the park began to wane. Finally, in the year 2005, The Enchanted Forest closed forever under financial strain. Though technically still for sale, the park has been left abandoned ever since.

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We made the long journey to The Enchanted Forest on a sunny day during the tail end of winter 2016. She’s not too difficult to find, the only problem is that what’s left of the park sits along a heavily trafficked road. There old parking lot has also been blocked off by large bricks of cement. And to top it all off, the neighbors of this old park do not take kindly to strangers and have no hesitation when it comes to reporting trespassers to the local police. We had heard many stories in our travels of explorers being caught and arrested for trying to sneak into this place. Getting inside is not the difficult part. Slipping inside the park without being noticed and where to park your car are the difficult parts. But, through some strange form of luck, we managed to get inside this former wonderland.

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Regrettably, there isn’t too much to see here. The old rides that once were the star attractions of The Enchanted Forest were sold off to neighboring theme parks long ago. But the large sign still sits out front, bearing a few scars from the elements and the local vandals. Buried in the brush behind the parking lot are the remains of the old petting zoo and mini golf course. Even deeper into the woods is all that is left of the old go-cart track. A couple of old buildings are still standing, though they are clearly very heavily used by the local teenagers. Mountains of trash and liter coat the ground, and the walls have all been defaced by cruel and unusual graffiti. There may have been more left behind here, but it has long since been lost to the think brush and unflinching grasp of the woods.

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If you ever plan on visiting The Enchanted Forest, do not take this journey lightly. It is a dangerous and risky mission, unless of course you know someone in the area. It is a remarkable sight, indeed. Besides the fact it is a local legend, there is just something about this place. Dare I say, enchanting? Or perhaps the better word is magical. You see, whether we acknowledge it or not, there is still magic in this world. And it can be felt strongly here in The Enchanted Forest. You can almost still hear the laughter of the children and families who once frolicked down these old paths. You can almost still see the colorful rides and attractions swirling through the trees. You can almost still feel all of the love and joy that this place must have felt all of those years ago. Though all of that is gone, the magic is still here. You just have to look for it.

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Costs Mount As State Decides The Future Of Seaside Park In Waterford

(Published October 11, 2015 in the Hartford Courant)

Rest of Story Here…

–We take no credit for the story or the picture posted above. All credit goes to The Hartford Courant–

Knightfall
The Haunting Legend of the Mansfield Training School

Written by: Sean L.

Photos by: Amanda H.

UConn, home of the Huskies. Their athletic program has won 21 NCAA championships, most notably for basketball. They have the largest public research collection in the state, housed in one of the largest libraries in New England. There are over twenty five thousand students enrolled in its programs, and close to ten thousand employees alongside them. It is UConn, home of Connecticut pride. But is the University of Connecticut haunted? A place such as this cannot become one of the oldest universities in the country without having a few secrets. In a forgotten corner of the darkest side of campus, there lies a quiet pocket where the shadows run wild. In its heyday, it was known as the Mansfield Training School and Hospital. Though it is officially listed in the National Register of Historic Place, this former institution is now nothing but a tomb. Concealed deep within its walls lurks the pain and suffering of its dark past. MTS1

The facility was created following the merger of the institutions in both Lakeville and Mansfield, Connecticut during 1917. It was christened the Mansfield Training School and Hospital, a facility for the care of the intellectually disabled. They started off with a relatively small number of patients. Major events in history such as the Great Depression and World War II caused the population of patients to grow and become overcrowded. But during the sixties and seventies, regulations began to change, resulting in more staff and caregivers being provided. Some years later, patients began to be moved from the hospital to on-site cottages and group homes. Regrettably, while there were many stories of good and fair treatment of the patients, there were also several tragic ones. Under a pile of lawsuits, the facility was forced to close its doors in 1993. The property was then split amongst the University of Connecticut and the neighboring Bergin Correctional Institute.

What remains of the Mansfield Training School and Hospital can be found on UConn’s lesser known Depot Campus, at the crossroads of CT Route 32 and US Route 44 in Storrs, Connecticut. Compared to the main campus, it is strangely quiet on this side of town. The neighboring Bergin Correctional Institute has lain dormant since its closing several years ago. There are multiple buildings still standing on the old grounds. A few were demolished after the sale, but most still stand. There is an old tunnel system that runs between the buildings that were used to shuttle patients around during inclement weather. However most of these tunnels have been filled in or blocked off. Almost all of the buildings have had their doors and windows welded shut. Others even have their roofs completely caved in. And from the looks of things, this place has had a pretty serious vandal problem for some time.

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Standing as the face of Mansfield Training School is the Knight Hospital. With its classical Greek and Victorian architecture, it is undoubtedly the most picturesque building on site. But it is sadly a shadow of its former self. While it served as the main building when the grounds were in operation, it is now in deplorable shape. The engraved name above the doorway and the tall stone pillars supporting it have all but succumbed to the wild vegetation growing around them. Windows on all floors have been smashed. Trash and graffiti lie strewn about the floor. And even a family of squirrels appears to have made their home inside this abandoned facility. However, it is absolutely remarkable how much stuff seemed to have been left behind when the facility closed twenty years ago. Old patient files, hospital equipment, and other office supplies can still be found littered across the halls. We even found a ghostly old statue staring back at us in the basement of one of the buildings.

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There were allegedly several deaths at the facility while it was in operation; however we have been unable to find any evidence to support or disprove this claim. Stories such as this have given Mansfield Training School a reputation of being haunted. The show Paranormal Witness did an investigation on the grounds back in 2011, bringing about mixed results. It has since become a major hotspot for amateur ghost hunters and thrill seekers. Haunted or not, the facility is most definitely haunting. The echoes of the past still linger amongst the now abandoned halls. There is definitely a presence to be felt here. Though its patients are long gone, something still lurks within these walls. Something just doesn’t feel right when walking along the old grounds. It is near deathly silent, which is hard to believe on a campus of thousands. So, is the University of Connecticut haunted? We don’t know. I guess the better question you should be asking yourself is…do you believe in ghosts?

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