Archive for the ‘New York’ Category

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/

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
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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.

Time Flies – The Abandoned Leicester Airport

Posted: August 25, 2021 by kingleser in #postaday, Abandoned, Abandoned Airport, Abandoned Attractions, Abandoned Business, Abandoned Connecticut, Abandoned Highway, Abandoned House, Abandoned Massachusetts, abandoned new england, Abandoned New Hampshire, Abandoned New York, Abandoned Pennsylvania, Abandoned Places, Abandoned Restaurant, Abandoned Rhode Island, Abandoned Road, Abandoned USA, Abandoned Vermont, Abandoned Wonders, Broken, Closed, commercial, Connecticut, darkness, Death, Destruction, Exploration, exploring the abandoned, Forgotten, Haunting, Hiking, History, Information, left behind, lost, Massachusetts, Movies, Mystery, nature, new england, New Hampshire, New York, overgrown, Pennsylvania, photography, research, Rhode Island, Ruins, Safety First, Searching, Stories, Uncategorized, Urban Decay, Urban Exploration, Urban Exploring, Urbex, writing
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Time Flies

The Abandoned Leicester Airport

Written by: Wilk

Photographs by: Lassie

Is it August already? Shit. Last time I checked summer had just started. And now it’s about to end. How did we get here? How did things end up like this? Where are we heading? Who knows anymore. As they say, time flies. When I was a boy, that was the title of my favorite book: Time Flies. It was only a few pages long and there were no words. It was quite large for a book, probably meant for teachers showing it to their wide-eyed students during circle time. The story followed a small bird that flies into a museum late at night through an open window. The bird soars through the large auditoriums past many different skeletons of dinosaurs long since passed. But as the bird flies by, these dinosaurs all slowly come back to life. One by one. It is as if the bird is flying back in time. Some try to eat the bird. Others just marvel at the miracle of being alive. But as the bird flies on, the dinosaurs each begin to return to their skeletal forms. And before you know it, the sun has risen and the museum has returned to normal. Almost like none of it ever happened. That’s how I feel sometimes when we go exploring. For a brief moment in time, it feels like these skeletal abandoned places come back to life. We get a glimpse as to what things were once like for them. But then it all passes like a fleeting shadow. And all things return to their bitter state.

Our subject for the final month of summer 2021 is the abandoned Leicester Airport. A reader tipped us off about this place a few months ago, suggesting that we check it out soon as the buildings were slowly collapsing. Located in Leicester, Massachusetts, this was a privately owned airport that was in operation between 1940 and 1970. There were three airfields in operation around the area at this time, including Oxford and Worcester. It was used both as a commercial and personal airfield. Features included a unique dual runway system, a single hangar bay, and a private office building for airport staff. I have yet to find a reason as to why the airport was shuttered. I know we have quite a few fans that live in the area, so if anyone reading this would like to share some info/stories we’d love to hear them. But my guess is that being in such close proximity to two other airfields, only one of which is still in operation today, contributed to it’s downfall. From what I’ve been able to find out online, the grounds almost came back to life a few times after its closure. The facility was re-opened and rebranded as a bar at least once over the years. And while all stories I’ve heard about it have been positive, it was not meant to be. And sooner or later, these establishments closed up shop as well. Again, if anyone has any stories, please do share.

We have been on a quest this year. Ever since I created our “Locations by State” page, which you should definitely check out, I noticed how lopsided our reporting was. We had plenty of locations in Connecticut, but not so much in our neighboring states. And so, we’ve been trying to get out and about as much as possible. This month, we once again found ourselves in Massachusetts. I’ve spent a lot of time up here this year working on film stuff. And I can honestly say at this point that we’ve covered damn near every inch of the southern part of the state. We made our trip up to Leicester on a grey Tuesday. We both had the day off, and it’s always best to go exploring during the week if you can. There’s much less people around, you see? It was a quiet ride up. We’ve been hitting a lot of places in Worcester County recently. And it can be a really underrated area during this time of year. Pulling up to the abandoned airport was a little challenging. The old runway/parking lot is no longer accessible by car. So you just kind of have to squeeze your ride onto a small bumpy pull-off. Luckily the neighborhood is nice and chill. Nobody was around or seemed to be bothered by us. And the road was not very heavily trafficked. We took a quick look around, made sure the coast was clear, and then made our way inside of the abandoned airport.

Remember how one of our readers tipped us off about this place? Saying how it was collapsing? Well, friends, they were absolutely right. There is not too much of the abandoned Leicester Airport left to see. We walked as much of the old runway as we could. But the pavement is quite cracked and uneven. It runs long and deep into the woods, before dead-ending at some local farmland. Parking spaces, which must’ve been from the airfield’s days as bar, have also been painted all over the place towards the front. An old wooden sign still stands by the street, but we couldn’t quite make out the name on it. The main hangar has almost completely caved in on its self. A bit of it still stands, but I wouldn’t recommend going inside. The doors and windows are full of dust and cobwebs. The floor is rickety and shoddy. Ancient shelving rusts into oblivion. Pieces of roofing and debris now create a total gridlock amongst the abandoned grounds. It is near impassible. All kinds of junk and old machinery can be found amongst the rubble. The office building has been almost completely swallowed up by vines and vegetation. Yet it still holds a few relics within its walls. Everything reminded me very much of Centralia, Pennsylvania. You know, the real life Silent Hill. And though the abandoned airport was as quiet as a tomb, it looks like it had just been blown to Hell.

Like I said earlier, it’s hard to believe it’s August already. Why is it that summer always goes by so fast? It felt like just yesterday school was out and the good times were in. But in the blink of an eye, everything changes. Pretty soon we’ll be beginning our slow decent into the Fall. And before you know it, 2021 will be over and another year will be gone. I honestly would not recommend the abandoned Leicester Airport for a visit. I’m glad we got to see it, but the property just changes too fast. It’s too vulnerable. Things just keep collapsing and falling apart. For all I know, the whole place could be gone by now. Walking through it’s long forgotten grounds was like a brisk walk through this place’s past. Relics from each of it’s many different eras still stand as grim reminders. The old runway still stands, though it eventually gives way to a parking lot. A crumbling hangar stands now as nothing more than a twisted jigsaw puzzle of rubble. A wooden bar signs still hangs as a greeting, though it has been swallowed up by the rage of the forest. I am once again reminded of the small bird from the children’s book. There are still glimpses of what this place once was. But they are merely passing shadows. The past is gone. Reality is lost. The sands of the hourglass cannot be stopped. For as they say, time sure does fly. And if you are not careful, it just might take off without you.

I’m Not Okay

The Garden of Sweet Remembrance

Written by: Wilk

Photographs by: Lassie

I want to talk about something important today. Yeah, I know. This is supposed to be a blog about abandoned places and urban exploring. That’s what you all come here to read about. But this is also a personal blog. I try to share my experiences and life lessons with anyone who cares to listen. If reading my words was enough to help just one person, that’s all I’ve ever wanted. We’ve had a lot of readers reach out over the last year telling us how much our work means to them. And there is no greater compliment to us than that. Especially considering how rough last year was. And so today’s piece is going to be a little different. I get one of these a year, so please bare with me. If this isn’t for you, I won’t be offended if you stop reading or unsubscribe. You have that right. I want to talk today about mental health. It’s something that I personally have struggled with for a long time. And I know that a lot of us here feel the same way. I advocate for mental health awareness whenever I can. We’ve all either had our issues with mental health or know someone who does. It’s never easy to talk about. Sometimes it can be down right terrifying. No matter how hard we try, there will always be this stigma around mental health. We’ve made a lot of progress in the last few years, but some still have a hard time accepting that it’s okay to not be okay.

And so allow me to introduce our July investigation: The Garden of Sweet Remembrance. Located in the town of Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, this place was once the lavish home of one of the area’s most prominent businessmen. Matthew J. Whittall was the owner of the property, and christened it Juniper Hall. There was a vast estate to behold, but the garden was the true jewel in the crown. Mr. Whittall and his wife were so very proud of their garden that they invited all manners of the public to tour it whenever they pleased. But like the blooming flowers, nothing lasts forever. The proprietor and founder passed away in 1929. The garden’s pergola was dedicated to him by his widow and christened the name “The Garden of Sweet Remembrance.” Following Mr. Whittall’s passing, the mansion changed hands several times before finally being demolished after years of abandonment. All that remains of this once lavish wonderland are the old pergola and the once flourishing garden. The property remained this way for many years. The weeds and vines grew wild, overtaking this once sacred place. But it was never truly forgotten. A small movement grew and grew to eventually restore the property and garden to their former glory. Now, what remains of the property has been revived and resides in Shrewsbury’s Prospect Park.

This, once again, was my birthday investigation. I always try to explore something on my birthday. It’s just a great way to spend the day away from the world with my partner Lassie. Doing what we love. I wasn’t quite sure what we were going to find at The Garden of Sweet Remembrance. I had received a tip about it a few months ago, but found conflicting information on the web. The land had been lost for a long time. And though the movement dedicated to it’s upkeep has grown over the years, vandalism has still continued to scar the face of the iconic pergola. So we decided to go take a look. It was a sunny Saturday afternoon. We usually NEVER go exploring on Saturdays (too many people out and about) but, it was my birthday after all. So, what the Hell, right? We arrived at Prospect Park as the only visitors. There is still a grand stone archway at the entrance with a brand new sign. There are trail maps and well marked paths throughout the grounds. The garden itself is a relatively short walk down one of these paths. All throughout the woods, there are old relics marking what this park once was. Old fire hydrants rust into oblivion. Ghostly power poles blend in amongst the fading trees. And there is a certain mystique in the air here. But once you arrive at the garden, this slightly mystical place truly comes back to life.

I haven’t used the word “abandoned” in the title or tags of this article for a reason. Because it’s clearly not. The garden itself is truly alive and well. Flowers and all kinds of plant life burst through the fertile soil. It has also become a collection point for painted rocks from people all across New England. The pergola, on the other hand, stands at the far back of the garden. It’s presence looms like a great shadow of both remembrance and sorrow. The wooden roof has collapsed all together. The blue sky floods in like a ship taking on water. The foundation crumbles slightly, yet never wavers. Graffiti adorns the outer shell, but the words “GARDEN OF SWEET REMEMBRANCE” still stand strong. But what makes this place so special are the names. On certain pillars of the pergola, and some of the painted rocks, the names of people have been painted. Out of respect for the families, I will not name these names here. But what I can tell you is that each of these names are victims of suicide. Most were just teenagers. We even found a bundle of old roses left beside one of the names. This garden has clearly once again found it’s home as a place of remembrance. It brought about a mix of both sadness and spirituality seeing them. It shows that no matter what, it is the job of those of us left behind to carry on the memory of those we’ve lost.

Like I said in my introduction, this place is not going to be for everyone. It isn’t one that we usually cover and was not what we were expecting at all. But honestly, I am happy to be proven wrong. And while this post goes against most of what we post here, I would highly recommend the Garden of Sweet Remembrance to all of our readers. Not for adventure or thrill-seeking. But for reflection. It really is a beautiful place. Seeing the names on the walls of the pergola and on the painted rocks was a very moving experience. I lost one close friend to suicide five years ago this summer. His name was Troy. He was an actor like me. And I think about him everyday. It’s always hard to process losing someone like that. Much like these beautiful flowers, we are all slowly fading away. That’s why we always have to remember to keep ourselves well and to keep those we’ve lost in our memories. The Garden of Sweet Remembrance’s history reminded me a lot of the struggles we all go through everyday. There were good times. There were bad times. There were times where all hope seemed to be lost. But with a little bit of help, this place came back to life. And always remember, it’s okay to not be okay. Never be afraid to ask for a little help.

If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with mental health issues, please check out the list below. Psychology Today in particular is incredibly helpful for finding someone to talk to. You can narrow your search based on provider locations, areas of expertise, and accepted insurance plans.

Find a Therapist, Psychologist, Counselorhttp://www.psychologytoday.com/therapists

Suicide Prevention Hotlinehttps://suicidepreventionlifeline.org

Mental Health Americahttp://www.mhanational.org

Or, if you’re like me, here are a few songs to listen to if you’re feeling a bit lost. Stay strong, everyone.

Mike Shinoda – Crossing a Line: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2sRc3j7IU0

All Time Low – Missing You: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4OG7O8B0C8

Story of the Year – Can Anybody Hear Me: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjBpM31a51c

Roadkill – The Abandoned Sutton Drive-In

Posted: April 21, 2021 by kingleser in #postaday, Abandoned, Abandoned Attractions, Abandoned Business, Abandoned Cinema, Abandoned Connecticut, Abandoned Drive-In, Abandoned House, Abandoned Massachusetts, abandoned new england, Abandoned New Hampshire, Abandoned New York, Abandoned Places, Abandoned Restaurant, Abandoned Rhode Island, Abandoned Road, Abandoned Stores, Abandoned Theaters, Abandoned USA, Abandoned Vermont, Abandoned Wonders, Automobiles, Broken, Cinema, Closed, commercial, darkness, Death, Destruction, empty, Exploration, exploring the abandoned, for sale, Forgotten, forgotten beauty, Ghosts, Haunting, Hiking, History, Homeless, Information, left behind, lost, Massachusetts, Movies, Mystery, nature, new england, New Hampshire, New York, photography, research, Rhode Island, Ruins, Searching, Showcase Cinema, time, Uncategorized, Urban Decay, Urban Exploration, Urban Exploring, Urbex, Vermont, writing
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Roadkill

The Abandoned Sutton Drive-In

Written by: Wilk

Photographs by: Lassie

This is an ugly place. So this will be an ugly piece. You have been warned. I’ve run over three squirrels in my life. A lot of people don’t believe me. But it’s true. It’s something I’ll never forget. I remember each one. I ran over a turtle once, but he was fine. I was seventeen years old. It was in my first car, an old Dodge Neon I bought for four thousand dollars in cash I made washing dishes and refereeing paintball. I got out my shitty old car thinking I had hurt the poor little bugger, but he was just hunkered down in his shell. Staring back at me. Probably quite cross with the whole situation. So I just picked him up and moved him out of the road. I’m kind of foolish in that way, I will do whatever I can to avoid hitting an animal. I’d like to think that most of us do. But sometimes, it’s simply unavoidable. Things happen. Innocence is lost. Life is extinguished. A once wild and fleeting flame is snuffed out by the unyielding juggernaut of man’s world. I hate driving by them. Cold. Lifeless. Hurt. Their faces usually frozen in a sharp sense of shock and sorrow. Whenever I pass something like this, I can’t help but look away. Life is a cruel road. Some get lucky like that brave little turtle. Others, not so much.

And so, allow me to introduce this month’s subject: the abandoned Sutton Drive-In. Originally named the Sutton Motor Inn, most in our community have just come to call it the latter. This is in fact not our first abandoned drive-in movie theater. And I’m sure that it won’t be our last. You see, these places were a big fad in a passed life. And Sutton Drive-In was no exception. It was first opened in 1947, earlier than most drive-in movie theaters in the area. But still, this was right at the peak of their rise to dominance. Plus, this place was located in the ideal location of the Providence-Worcester Turnpike. This busy highway was and still is the main route between Worcester, Massachusetts, and Providence, Rhode Island. Many businesses have come and gone from this hot-spot over the years. The drive-in theater remained on top for quite awhile. But with only one screen, this old heavy hitter simply could not keep up with the times. After playing many blockbusters on her screen, the Sutton Drive-In was eventually forced to close its doors for good in 1996. Though ownership has been up for grabs ever since, the old theater has been left rotting and abandoned ever since.

As I said in our last piece, we are going to try exploring as many places outside of Connecticut as possible this year. Now that the vaccine is finally making a difference, we plan on taking full advantage of venturing to as many other states as possible. Slowly, and safely, of course. So we decided that now was the perfect time to pay a visit to the abandoned Sutton Drive-In. After some rather bizarre weather this past week, including some snow, we finally found some decent weather on a late April Sunday. It was quiet. The sun was shining brightly. And there was a slight breeze in the air. The one thing holding me back from exploring this place before was it’s location. There is no other way to get into it without going through the main gate. Being on such a busy road, there are no side trails or anything to help with exploration. The abandoned theater is just sitting there alongside the busy interstate turnpike. Many other rural and big businesses are neighbors, making this place really stick out. It felt rather weird, but we just pulled up to the main gate. Beneath the old marquee. You really feel like you’re doing something wrong, but nobody else seems to care. There weren’t any NO TRESPASSING signs or anything of the sort at the front.

The main gate is made of ornate stone and rotting wood. Even in its current state of decay, it it quite grand. The marquee itself still beckons all visitors to it, even with it’s fading light. Wires and other junk hang from its ceiling. The sole movie screen looms out of the distance like a colossal monolith. An old sign still stands by the gate, but the only word left standing is “APPROXIMATELY.” I wonder what it once said. Walking down the main road takes you to the ticket booth. It is an A-frame type structure covered in colorful paint. But beware. It is full of bees. They are easily startled. They weren’t as bad as the spider crickets of the Clausland Mountain Tunnels. But still, not fun. A few steps away stands the great grey screen. Panels are missing. Graffiti is rampant. On the side of the screen is the old access door. The frame of the screen appears to be slowly collapsing. There is an even an old ladder leading to the top, though I dare not climb it. Outside, the old road is cracked into a jagged jigsaw puzzle of earth and pavement. Ghostly critters scurry amongst the underbrush. A short walk down the vacant lot is the projection house/snack bar. It is absolutely gutted on the inside. Each room is coated in graffiti and rampant with liter. Everything just felt old, broken, and lost. And though there wasn’t too much to see, this place certainly leaves an impression.

I honestly wouldn’t recommend a visit to the abandoned Sutton Drive-In. It’s just not worth it. It’s one we’ve had on our list for awhile, and it certainly is unique. But in a very dark sort of way. Though there was not a single NO TRESPASSING/KEEP OUT sign at the main gate, this place just felt rather off. I really didn’t like how to close to the main road it was. I prefer doing my exploring deep in the woods or the darkness of the underworld. Anywhere away from prying eyes. The air here is putrid with the stench of car exhaust, old cigarettes, and rotting wood. The ground is coarse with cracked pavement and glittering gravel. And while most abandoned places are eerily quiet, this one is filled with a frenzied chorus of noise. The neighboring highway runs wild and busy. Cars from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and wherever else cruise back and forth. Day in and day out. Chasing that American Dream. While the abandoned Drive-In sits rotting along the side of the road. Like an animal that’s been hit by a car. Forever frozen in a state of terror and sadness. It’s future just as grim as it’s fading screen. Dozens pass by it everyday. Perhaps some notice. Perhaps some still wish there had been something they could’ve done to help. Most just look away.

Spider Weeds – The Abandoned Helen Lohman House

Posted: October 21, 2020 by kingleser in #postaday, Abandoned, Abandoned Attractions, Abandoned Cabin, 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 Road, Abandoned USA, Abandoned Vermont, Abandoned Wonders, Automobiles, Birds, Broken, Closed, commercial, Connecticut, darkness, Death, Destruction, dreams, empty, Exploration, exploring the abandoned, fantasy, Forgotten, forgotten beauty, forgotten home, Ghosts, Haunting, Hiking, History, House, Information, left behind, lost, Love, Magic, Movies, Mystery, nature, new england, New York, photography, Preserved Ruin, Public Parks, research, Ruins, State Parks, Stories, Uncategorized, Urban Decay, Urban Exploration, Urban Exploring, Urbex, writing
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Spider Weeds

The Abandoned Helen Lohman House

Written by: Wilk

Photographs by: Lassie

Show of hands here, please. Anyone reading this a gardener? I usually don’t like to reveal too much about our personal lives, given the nature of what we do here. But we at Abandoned Wonders absolutely love to garden. It’s a really special thing. Every year from Spring through Fall, we grow all of our own vegetables. Tomatoes. Lettuce. Peppers. Green beans. Some things we can’t get to grow, but we try anyway. Just for the fun of it. Every year here in New England is a little bit different from the last. And each one teaches you a different lesson on how to be a good gardener. Being able to grow something yourself and then enjoy your harvest is quite rewarding. But every year, eventually the season ends. The frost and the cold slowly kill off the plants. And one by one, you have to say goodbye to the little lifeforms that you yourself created. You water them. You feed them. You make sure they get enough sun. They depend on you for just about everything. But when the season changes, there is no stopping the suns from setting. There is always a time when we have to say goodbye to what we created.

Might I introduce October 2020’s subject: The Abandoned Helen Lohman House. The owner and proprietor of this house, Ms. Lohman, was a New Yorker who spent her summers here in the seclusion of the Connecticut woodlands. She was a successful artist, simply seeking an escape from the hustle and bustle of the great city from time to time. Though the house was first built in the 1700’s, she was the last official owner. Her property served as both her summer vacation home and farmstead. It was a simple property, with a small country house, running water, and a cozy fireplace to curl up next to on those cold nights. But in the late 1960’s, she decided to move on from the property. The house was forgotten about, and Ms. Lohman donated the land to the town of Middletown with the idea of making it a wildlife preserve. She named the preserve after the way she found her garden after every winter. The spider weeds would take over the garden, and leave it in a ghastly state of decay. Over the years, the house fell into complete disrepair. She now sits all alone and abandoned.

All of the credit for this one goes to my partner Lassie. A few weeks ago, we were looking into doing our first virtual 5K. For charity, of course. While looking into good three-mile walks in our area, we just happened to come upon a little place that we had never heard of: Spiderweed Preserve. While reading about this place, we soon discovered the rich history of the Helen Lohman House. Nobody around here had ever covered it before. So naturally, we had to go take a look. We didn’t end up doing our 5K here, simply because that would’ve been timed. And so, on a clear Fall day, we made the trek into Middletown. Looking for Spiderweed Preserve. The weather had called for grey skies and clouds. Which is what I thought would’ve been the perfect backdrop for this hallowed ground. But, naturally, we got blue skies and sunshine. No matter. It was a beautiful ride through the Haddam area. But eventually the road turned East, and deep into the woods. There is no parking lot. Just a long, dead end, dirt road that was once a driveway. It was here that we hiked to the abandoned property.

It is a short uphill hike to the old house. It looms up on the hill as you approach, making it unmistakable. But sadly, it is mostly gutted. The roof is no more, and one side of wall has totally collapsed. But in its heyday, the house was clearly one story. It has a surprisingly rustic design, as if it was just crudely put together by any large stones they could find in the area. That is one of the most unique parts about this place: the rocks. Shining mica and rose quartz can be found all over the walls and floor. You can still walk up the front steps. The fireplace still stands. And seated on its hearth is the star of the show around here: the old tea kettle. Though it is slowly being rusted to death, this old dispenser still stubbornly sits here. Waiting for her master to return. It is quite a haunting site. Watch your step, as there is broken glass bloody everywhere. One window still holds onto its frame. Another still has its distinct green shudders to protect it. But sadly, this place is more of a skeleton of what it was once was. Like an autumn leaf, haven fallen from her tree and slowly eroding into nothingness.

Fall was, in fact, the perfect time to visit the abandoned Helen Lohman House. I don’t know if I’d recommend visiting it during any other season. The chilly air, colorful leaves, and fading sunlight just make this old structure feel a bit more special. There is just a certain amount of mystique to it that makes you wonder what these old ruins once looked like way back when. And even though the house is slowly collapsing, this place can still hold a feel secrets. It absolutely boggles my mind that the old tea kettle is still there and nobody has taken it. Let’s keep it that way. And if you by chance come upon the secret Orange rock, congratulations. Now please put it back so someone else can have the joy of finding it. If you are interested, please do go check this place out before it’s too late. Just as the time of 2020 is drawing to a close, as does the time of this rustic homestead. But then again, let’s always remember why Helen Lohman named this place after those pesky spider weeds that took over her garden every year. Because no matter how tough winter can get, some plants always grow back.

Once Upon a Time

The Abandoned Madame Sherri’s Castle

Written by: Wilk

Photographs by: Lassie

Once Upon a Time, there were two explorers named Wilk and Lassie. They lived in a small house with their dog, guinea pig, and hedgehog. Oh, how Wilk and Lassie loved to explore. They had been North. They had been South. They had been East. And they had been West. They had seen just about everything there was to see. They watched with glee as their little blog grew from a few followers to over a thousand. Exploring was their favorite thing to do. And they were good at it. Until the dark times. Until the world as we all knew it came to an abrupt end. And poor Lassie and Wilk were stuck inside. Their pets enjoyed their company very much, but they longed to explore the great outdoors. So they found time here and there, when they couldn’t bear it anymore, to get outside and have some fun. But it was never quite the same. Still, they carried on. And explored whatever places they could during these times of great sorrow. Following the rules of this new world they found themselves in, they stayed close to home. Most of the time. Until one fateful day, they found a place they just couldn’t resist.

Our story begins a long time ago in a mythical place called New York City. An eccentric woman and her husband become famous in the City of Lights through show business. Oh yes. Antoinette Bramare and Andre Riela became quite the talk of the town wherever they went after striking it rich. One was an affluent costume designer. The other was a glamorous actress. And to embrace their new found fame, they change their last name to Sherri. But when Mister Sherri passed away, Madame Sherri took her fortune and fame to the wooded realm of New Hampshire. Here, she built a lavish castle to host parties and enjoy the Roaring Twenties in the middle of the woods. Everyone in the local community had heard of her and her socialite lifestyle. But eventually, her money ran out. The parties all drew to a close. The limelight faded. The curtain was called. And poor Madame Sherri died poor and alone shortly afterward. Her castle fell into disrepair, and eventually a fire caused by local miscreants in 1962 consumed the lavish palace. Now, all that remains are the ghosts of so very long ago and the legend of Madame Sherri.

And so, on a quiet summer day, Lassie and Wilk made their long trek up to the magical land of New Hampshire. They were sure to be prepared for this long journey. They passed many unique things along the way. The dark times had really changed the world around them. They listened to no music on the way up. They just talked and enjoyed each other’s company. Eventually, they came upon a long, narrow, dirt road. This was the way the directions told them to go, but it looked rather treacherous. They followed this road all by themselves for several miles, wondering if they were still going in the right direction. The houses along the road began to disappear, they soon found themselves deep in the forest. But it was here that the road came to an end at the head of the Wantastiquet Trail. This was the final stop that would lead them to their next path: the hike to the enchanted castle. Fortunately, this trek was not far at all. As the ruins of the castle were a mere short walk from the trail lot. A few minutes later, Lassie and Wilk found themselves gazing on a very unique site: the abandoned ruins of Madame Sherri’s Castle.

Though most of the castle now lies in ruin, what struck Lassie and Wilk the most was the so called “Stairway to Heaven.” This winding stone staircase is the only truly defining feature left of this former relic. When people think of Madame Sherri’s Castle, they think of this old abandoned wonder. It truly looks otherworldly, almost from a bygone era. Wilk loves to climb, and he wanted to climb the staircase really badly. But, Lassie advised him against it. Though the staircase is hauntingly beautiful, it is also very structurally unsafe. A crude sign even sits nearby reading, “Please do not climb the staircase.” Wilk found this unfortunate, but acceptable. He was in luck, though. Beneath the ruins of the castle is the old stone basement. It can be accessed through the air duct or from the outside. There is not much to see down here besides rubble, but it did provide our heroes with a welcome break from the heat. Up above, the old fireplace slowly crumbles into despair, while the stone pillars all stand firm and proud against the march of time. It was truly a mix of ruins and wonder. Some parts of the castle remain strong. Others are eroding away.

Wilk and Lassie don’t really like people. They prefer solitude on their adventures. And while Madame Sherri’s Castle is a true wonder to see, you will rarely be alone in these mighty woods. But, our explorers were able to get all the great photographs they needed and got a nice walk in. Satisfied with their prospects, they bid farewell to the fabled abandoned castle. Though parts of it are weathering away, the great soul and wonder of this place stands strong. Wilk and Lassie headed back to the car with smiles on their faces and excitement in their hearts. It was another long car ride home, though this one was filled with songs and tales of adventures long since passed. When they arrived home, their animals were quite happy to see them. And the feeling was mutual. As nightfall commenced, they each cracked open a beer and sat on their couch. Lassie began to look through her wonderful pictures. Wilk began writing his crazy article. And they both reminisced about how much they loved going on adventures together.

The End.

As Within, So Without

The Abandoned Clausland Mountain Tunnels

PART II

Written by: Wilk

Photographs by: Lassie

“As Above, so below. As within, so without.” These are the words that haunted my mind as I walked alone through the darkness. My head was crouched down. Not because I was too tall for the tunnels, but to avoid another confrontation with the spider crickets. Lassie had stayed back for this one, but I was on the hunt. For what? I have no idea. It’s just you never know what you are going to find in the deepest/darkest places of the world. I had come into this investigation fully prepared. A large flashlight was in one hand. My bandana was pulled over my face. And a cold steel knife was strapped to my belt. Obviously, I am a big fan of the movie As Above, So Below. The titles of this issue have been an homage to it. If you haven’t seen the film, I would highly recommend it. But these words have a much deeper meaning. They come from an ancient proverb. “As Above, so below. As within, so without.” It has been theorized this was the philosophy for when God created the Earth. As things are in Heaven, so they shall be on Earth. As things are above ground, so they shall be beneath it. Well, friends, I can tell you now that these may be beautiful words. But that is not always the case. Welcome to Part Two of our investigation on the abandoned Clausland Mountain Tunnels.

Our final investigation for 2019 took us once again to the great state of New York. We’ve covered a few things here, mostly in the Hudson River Valley, and they never disappoint. And today’s subject is no exception. What we have here today are known as the abandoned Clausland Mountain Tunnels in Nyack, New York. First built in 1910, this area was once known as Camp Bluefield. Here, National Guard troops trained and were stationed year round. The tunnels were apart of their training rifle range, used for traveling up and down the range without danger. They caused untold stress and disruptions with the locals, and were forced to close down only a few years later. Since then, the area served many different purposes. But none of them ever really stuck. Eventually, the former military base was completely abandoned. And, as we all know, this is when the vandals and vagrants began to encroach. Fortunately, the grounds of the old camp were eventually added onto one of the more secluded state parks in the community. It is here that the old tunnels have remained dormant ever since. And so, on our ninth anniversary trip, we decided to go hunting for this long lost military fortress.

One of the star attractions of the old base is what we’ve come to call “Tree Tunnel.” It’s one of the few things that really attracted me to this place. We’ve seen nature take places back in a big way before, but this was my favorite example. Towards the northern side of the old base, a tree has grown into the tunnel system. You literally have to climb into the tunnels through the tree, and it’s really cool. If you’re really tall, like myself, it is a bit of a chore to get inside. But it’s well worth it. I honestly refused to leave the area without finding “Tree Tunnel.” Another interesting feature of the abandoned base is the car wreck. At the southern most point, an old car has rusted into oblivion a few yards from the tunnel system. Jokingly, the words “FOR SALE” have been spray painted onto it. It is unclear whether or not this old machine had a part to play here at some point, or if some local had just dumped it here many years ago. There are also several small buildings situated in a orderly fashion alongside the tunnels. Structurally, each one is exactly the same as the last. They are all completely empty, save for the usual trash and graffiti. But they were once also apart of the base’s rifle range.

On our way back towards the car, we happened to cross paths with two older graffiti artists painting the outer walls of the tunnels. They weren’t taggers, these two were legit artists. And they weren’t kids either, both of these gentlemen appeared to be in their late forties. They were very friendly, and their work was actually quite good. We usually avoid strangers when exploring abandoned places, and it was actually a little startling to come across these two. But they honestly seemed as shocked to run into us as we were to run into them. Another peculiar instance on our walk back were the vultures. Scores of them had been circling the area since we had begun our investigation. And on our way back, we discovered why. As we got closer to the wealthy neighborhood, the air began to smell quite foul. And as we approached our path back, we were blocked by a small army of these scavengers. A large carcass, of what I have no idea, was now laying in the trail. It wasn’t there on our walk in, and the vultures had begun feasting on it. It was a little horrifying, to say the least. So, we decided to take the road back to the car. It was a bit longer, but I had no intention of breaking up the feeding frenzy.

I usually don’t do pieces that are composed of multiple issues. In fact, the last ones I wrote for this site was my three-part issue on the abandoned Sunrise Resort and the trilogy of Top 10 Abandoned Places in Movies lists. But there is just so damn much to see and do here. It has honestly become one of my absolute favorite abandoned places that we have ever explored. And it’s all completely legal to visit. There is an entire world out there in the woods, just waiting to be seen. The abandoned tunnels were some of the coolest places we’ve ever explored. Just between us, we ended spending our entire afternoon out there in the woods. I wanted to be absolutely sure that we covered every last inch of the old base. It was bloody exhausting, but I strongly recommend it to any of our loyal readers. Even if you have to make a bit of a drive, this place is totally worth it. Especially to all of those that have inquired to us in the past about abandoned tunnels. And so, friends, I ask one final time: why do we seek the dark? I still don’t have an answer, because I think everyone’s answer is different. There is so much light up here in the world, sometimes it’s good to get a look at the flip side. It is only after we have seen total darkness that we can truly appreciate the light.

The Top 5 Abandoned Places of 2019

Close out the year by checking out our new video on the Top 5 Abandoned Places of 2019! We’ve been all over the East Coast this year, and thank you to all that have been along for the ride.

As Above, So Below

The Abandoned Clausland Mountain Tunnels

Part I

Written by: Wilk

Photographs by: Lassie

Why do we seek the dark? Is it the mystery? Is it the unknown? Some find comfort in the darkness. Others find only fear. Myself, personally, the exhilaration makes me feel more alive than anything else. Not knowing what’s around the corner, or the thinking what would happen if your flashlight dies, makes exploring the underground some of our coolest work. Believe it or not, most of the inquiries and search terms we get on this site are seeking abandoned tunnels. So again, I ask, why do we seek the dark? Why is it the abandoned tunnels that people find most tempting and fascinating? It can be quite frightening, and yet also very enlightening. We have explored the underground on a number of occasions, and each time has been a little different from the last. We’ve covered the tunnels of abandoned mental hospitals, to the underground bunkers of old military bases. What would surprise people isn’t the quiet beneath the Earth, it is the noise. Every little movement, shudder, or disturbance ripples through the blackness like the shattering of a window. But then, all returns to silence. Sometimes sharply. Sometimes slowly. As if nothing had every happened. It’s an eerie feeling, almost as if you’re expecting something to happen. But nothing ever does.

Our final investigation for 2019 took us once again to the great state of New York. We’ve covered a few things here, mostly in the Hudson River Valley, and they never disappoint. And today’s subject is no exception. What we have here today are known as the abandoned Clausland Mountain Tunnels in Nyack, New York. First built in 1910, this area was once known as Camp Bluefield. Here, National Guard troops trained and were stationed year round. The tunnels were apart of their training rifle range, used for traveling up and down the range without danger. They caused untold stress and disruptions with the locals, and were forced to close down only a few years later. Since then, the area served many different purposes. But none of them ever really stuck. Eventually, the former military base was completely abandoned. And, as we all know, this is when the vandals and vagrants began to encroach. Fortunately, the grounds of the old camp were eventually added onto one of the more secluded state parks in the community. It is here that the old tunnels have remained dormant ever since. And so, on our ninth anniversary trip, we decided to go hunting for this long lost military fortress.

It was a long hike in, and the tunnels blend in quite well with their surroundings. But we found them. My advice to any potential visitors: follow The Long Path. You will have to cross between two state parks and through a very wealthy neighborhood to get there. It can get really winding and difficult, and there were several massive fallen trees blocking our path on the way in. We lost the trail a couple of times due to some missing markers, but if you stay on it you will find the tunnels. I honestly missed them on our walk in. It was Lassie who had to call me back, because I had literally walked right passed them without noticing. It sounds silly, but you will understand if you ever visit this place. The tunnels run for miles, and they blend in with the surrounding forest quite well. They all run in a straight line. There are no twists or turns, since they were used to travel up and down the shooting range. There is actually a ton of graffiti coating the outer walls. And yet, there are certain sections that remain mysteriously untouched by the local painters. This artwork ranges from the offensive, the comical, and the outright beautiful. One of my personal favorite pieces we discovered has been included below, for obvious reasons…

Obviously, the main thing we were after on our visit here was getting inside the abandoned tunnel system. And I encourage all visitors to at least peak their heads in. Be very cautious, though. The tunnels are absolutely infested. Not with bats. Not with mice. Not with vagrants. But with crickets. Yes, you read that right. Crickets. They are called spider crickets. They look like crickets, but they jump like spiders. They congregate on the ceiling and upper walls of the tunnels in large hives. Walking by won’t disturb them. But if you just happen to shine your light on them, the entire colony will spring into action to defend itself. We were about half-way through our first tunnel when it all of a sudden started raining crickets on us. It was bloody shocking. We honestly had to run back a few steps just to assess the situation. But, if you keep your lights low they will mostly leave you alone. Stress the word “mostly.” After exiting the tunnels on our first trek in, a massive raven flew right over our heads. He cawed in a very slow and methodical way, as if laughing at us for getting spooked by the bug swarm. It was one of the few sounds we heard while visiting this place that were not caused by us.

One of the most interesting characteristics of this place is just how inventive some of it’s visitors can be. We found several ladders propped up inside some of the tunnels, so that they can be accessed easier from the outside. Getting to the top of the cement structures can be challenging, since they are rather tall and all of the inner staircases have been removed. So large tree branches have been braced along the sides with screws drilled into the wood two by two. These screws are in a carefully measured pattern, so they can be used as footholds whilst scaling the fallen tree limb. It’s actually quite ingenious, if you think about it.  We also found all sorts of painting equipment stored in little caches all across the base. It goes to show that whomever is frequenting the abandoned tunnels is more organized than most that we’ve seen…I honestly had to break this piece up into two parts. That’s how much there is to see here. With the chaos of the holiday’s and the unforgiving New England weather upon us, the second half of this piece will be coming in January 2020. But until then, Happy Hunting.