Archive for the ‘Safety First’ Category

Parts Unknown – The Abandoned Tidal Marsh Polar Bear

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

The Abandoned Tidal Marsh Polar Bear

Written by: Wilk

Photographs by: Lassie

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

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

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

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

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

Dark Fairy Tales – The Abandoned Highland Statues

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

The Abandoned Highland Statues

Written by: Wilk

Photographs by: Lassie

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Beautiful Freak – The Abandoned Kristoff Pig Farm

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

The Abandoned Kristoff Pig Farm

Written by: Wilk

Photographs by: Lassie

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

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

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

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

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

A Quarter-Mile At A Time

The Abandoned Blue Hot Rod

Written by: Wilk

Photographs by: Lassie

“I live my life a quarter-mile at a time. Nothing else matters; not the mortgage, not the store, not my team and all their bullshit. For those ten seconds or less…I’m free.” – Dominic Toretto

Personally, I prefer Need for Speed. But that first Fast and Furious movie was a classic. I remember seeing it for the first time with my brother one Friday night when we were kids. We loved it. We got all the Matchbox cars. We built all the characters out of Lego. We even got our hands on the soundtrack. We had no idea what Ja Rule was saying in his songs, but damn did we find them catchy. My brother loved this movie so much that he has gone on to be a very successful auto mechanic. He truly loves cars, and attributes that love to seeing this movie for the first time. It just goes to show you that any of us can find our inspiration in some of the most unexpected ways. Cars have always been something that have captivated the imaginations of people everywhere. As Jesse in The Fast and the Furious says, “just something about engines that calms me down.” It’s a beautiful thing. So full disclosure here, the snow really got to us this month. We were hoping to make our return to exploring, but we’ve had several inches of snow and ice coating the ground all through February. That said, our hearts go out to all of our friends in Texas right now. So once again, this piece will be from our archives. You know, those adventures that are really fun, but never quite make it onto our blog. Until times like these. This was an abandoned relic we just happened to stumble across last summer, and it’s one that has stuck with me ever since. This is the abandoned Blue Hot Rod.

For those of you who don’t remember, or have chosen to forget, the summer of 2020 sucked. It was hot. It was divisive. It was boring. It made people like me realize that summer really isn’t that fun when you’re not a kid. You’re stuck inside with nowhere to go and nothing to do. And if you were like us and didn’t have air conditioning at the time, then you were really in trouble. So it was our policy during this time to get outside and go for a walk whenever we got a chance. Whenever there was a break in the heat, we were out there. One weekend in late July, we got one of those days. So we went out. The plan was to go for a quick walk, grab some essential supplies, pick up some take-away, then head home. A nice/simple summer day. We picked a small park nearby to us. It was close to the city, yet far enough away to be quiet. We had walked this park before once, but it was mostly flooded at the time. The dog unfortunately had to sit this one out. Our walk was nice. The birds were chirping. The sun was shining. And the heat was manageable. Plus there wasn’t too many people around. The trail we took was a mile long loop. But around the half-way point, we came across something hiding in the bushes. Off the beaten path, it looked like just another abandoned car. Not too exciting. So we decided to snap a few photographs for our Instagram. But the closer we got to it, the more we began to realize that this car was a little bit different from all of the others.

I have tried to do as much research as possible on this car, but have yet to come up with a solid make and model. At first, we honestly thought it was an ambulance. The frame is quite big and there is a fading blue paint job on the exterior. But the closer you look, the more this starts to look like an old school luxury car from a bygone era. Judging from the fins on the back, I believe it is from the late 1950’s or early 1960’s. With it’s unique push-button transmission and wired steering wheel, this might be a Chrysler. Possibly a Dodge. But like I said earlier, I’m not much of a car guy. If anyone has any thoughts, please feel free to share. Any insight would be greatly appreciated. Most of the abandoned cars we’ve covered in the past have just been rusting hulks of metal that have been cast aside. They’ve all been at abandoned houses, old work sites, or forgotten junkyards. This one, however, seemed like it was a real treasure at one point. The striking blue upholstery and sturdy leather seats really make me question why this old hot rod was left out here to rot. It definitely looks like this car was rather expensive in it’s heyday. But why was it left behind? What led this amazing machine to this grim fate? I could see this old beauty cruising along the back roads way back when. Now it lies sinking into the dirt, surrounded by ferns and mosquitoes. We were the only ones out in the park that day, but the old classic car is very much hidden off the main trail. Let’s hope it stays that way.

As a matter of professionalism, we never share the locations of our abandoned cars. It’s nothing personal against our readers. It’s just we’ve had a lot of people contact us in the past looking for abandoned cars to scrap for money. That just doesn’t sit well with me. Relics like this old blue hot rod deserve to be preserved and remembered, not scrapped. I know it seems rather silly to spend an entire article on a single car. But I think our pictures speak for themselves. All that remains of this old marvel are very striking. Some of the tech has somehow survived all of these years. The blue upholstery gives it a very magical yet tragic feel. You can still feel the era that this workhorse came from. Someone, somewhere, must’ve really loved and enjoyed this car at some point. I felt like this one needed to be shared and talked about, as it honestly stands apart from all other abandoned cars we’ve seen before. I know winter sucks right now and things can feel hopeless sometimes. But we have to carry on and hope that tomorrow will be a better day. I miss exploring. I miss being out there hunting down the places that the world has forgotten about. But that is just going to have to wait. Waiting sucks. But it’s almost always worth it. You cannot just skip over times like these. You have to learn to appreciate the little things. That’s how you grow as a person. Spring is coming. Dawn approaches. Better days will be here soon. We’ll get there someday. Even if it is just a quarter mile at a time.

Oubliette – The Abandoned Transient Camp Nepaug

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

The Abandoned Transient Camp Nepaug

Written by: Wilk

Photographs by: Lassie

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

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

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

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

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

Before the Fall – The Abandoned Willimantic Thread Mill

Posted: September 30, 2020 by kingleser in #postaday, Abandoned, Abandoned Attractions, Abandoned Business, Abandoned Connecticut, Abandoned Massachusetts, abandoned mill, abandoned new england, Abandoned New Hampshire, Abandoned New York, Abandoned Pennsylvania, Abandoned Places, Abandoned Railway, Abandoned Rhode Island, Abandoned train station, Abandoned USA, Abandoned Vermont, Abandoned Wonders, Broken, Closed, commercial, Connecticut, darkness, Death, Destruction, empty, Exploration, exploring the abandoned, fire, Forgotten, forgotten beauty, Ghosts, Haunting, Hiking, History, Homeless, Information, left behind, lost, Movies, Mystery, nature, new england, nightmares, overgrown, paper mill, photography, research, Ruins, Safety First, Searching, Stories, Trains, Uncategorized, Urban Decay, Urban Exploration, Urban Exploring, Urbex, Williamtic, writing
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Before the Fall

The Abandoned Willimantic Thread Mill

Written by: Wilk

Photographs by: Lassie

It has begun. The leaves are starting to turn orange and yellow. The skies grow grey. The days are turning darker. The hour is growing very late, indeed. Summer has come and passed. Fall is here. Scary movies are popping up on television. Pumpkins are appearing on everyone’s front porch. The morning dew is now a ghostly frost. It is the changing of the seasons. This article is a little later than we usually post. And for that I apologize. This has been one of the busiest months we’ve had in a very long time. But that is a story for another time. And due to a recent job change for Lassie, we won’t be leaving our home state for the rest of the season. So upstage, Connecticut. It is your time shine once again. We’ve been playing it safe for the last few months due to global pandemic. We’ve mostly covered old relics of the past that have been lost in the woods. But with the turning of the tide, we decided that now was the time to do some real urban exploring. This was no ordinary hike. This was us putting ourselves right back into the thick of it. Into some real danger. And little did we know, but we were in for a bit of an adventure.

This is another one of those places that I have yet to find an actual name for. I’ve done a lot of research, but it has been inconclusive. If anyone reading this has any information, please do share it with us. So, for now, we shall be calling this place the Willimantic Thread Mill. You see, the town of Willimantic used to be known as “Thread City.” It was one of the mill capitals of New England. There were over half a dozen prosperous mills operating in the town at the turn of the century, all working on textiles. They provided jobs and sustenance for the entire local community. But this time of great success was not meant to last. It never is. As time marched on, the American economy began to shift from a manufacturing one to a service one. One by one, the great mills of Thread City shuttered their doors. Many rose again as apartment buildings or municipal offices. One was tragically lost to a great fire long ago. But another was lost to the woods. Cut off from the rest of the community by trees and train tracks, this old industrial titan has now become a black hole. This is our story of visiting the lost thread mill of Willimantic.

If you are a follower of our blog, you should know that we have covered many places here in Willimantic before. From the railway, to the theater, to the Bridge of Death, we have come to know this town quite well. You see, this place has been on our radar for a while now. It was first described to me by an old friend as a train station for the old railway. Considering its proximity to the train tracks, this always made sense to me. But a little more digging showed this to not be the case. Since we were now confined to finishing off our year here in the Nutmeg State, we decided it was finally the time to search out this old monster. Though we were now in the first official week of Fall, it was still bloody humid out. The sweetness of summer hadn’t quite given up yet. It was a Sunday, after a long typical week here in the Hellscape of 2020. We mapped out our location. We found a place to park. We trekked alone down the train tracks, like wandering vagabonds. Not really knowing what we were going to find out here in the woods. Until we took a heavily used trail, and wound up somewhere we clearly weren’t supposed to be.

It was a tent city for the local homeless population. They are living in the ruins of an old mill that burned to the ground long ago. We should’ve known, seeing there were several old mountain bikes and bags of trash strung up in the trees. Like warning signs. We quickly took what pictures we could and got the Hell out of there. These communities usually don’t like visitors. We continued on none the less. And it was here that things really fell silent. Continuing along the train tracks, we eventually crossed through the old gates and onto the grounds of the old mill. It’s hard to tell how big this place was, given how overgrown the underbrush is. It is held together by an amalgamation of brick, wood, and metal. We slipped inside via the old loading dock. Graffiti is everywhere. Trash coats the ground. Archaic machinery rots into oblivion. There are several large gaping rooms, but they are filled only with debris. The once ornate roof has even caved in in a few spots. But the main attraction of the old mill is the elevator shaft, which really didn’t disappoint. You can look straight up through the old machinery and into the grim grey sky. We then began to hear a dog barking very close by, followed by some footsteps. It was time to leave once again.

We both got really bad vibes from this place. I’m not quite sure why. Maybe it was the tent city. Maybe we were just having an off day. Maybe we were feeling a tad rusty. But the abandoned Willimantic Thread Mill is certainly creepy. Funny enough, it’s always the mills that give us the creeps. Perhaps that’s because it’s always the mills that have squatters. Union Pond. Talcotville. Montgomery. We are no strangers to this sort of thing. We’ve been doing this a long time. But like I said earlier, this was our first taste of real urban exploration in awhile. Most of the places we’ve been covering lacked the old school danger feeling. Don’t get me wrong. I love a good hike and a little history. But few things get your heart pumping as much as slipping into a place like this one. Just in time for Fall, too. It was chilling at first, then it reminded me of how much fun this urban exploring stuff can be. It was pulse-pounding, but also felt good to be back at it. Much like the fall season can feel chilling, yet exhilarating. There may be some scares here and there. Things will start to get colder. But if you keep your wits about you, it’s all in good fun.

The Abstruse

The Abandoned Westledge Ski Slope

Written by: Wilk

Photographs by: Lassie

It’s an unusual word, isn’t it? Abstruse. I had never even heard of it before. I asked Lassie if she had either, but she had the same answer. “Is that even a real word?” Yes. Yes it is. You can look it up. Originally I had titled this article “The Obscure.” With the global pandemic still ravaging our homeland, we’ve had to get a little bit creative with the places that we visit. We don’t like to go too far, since we can’t really stop anywhere to grab a bite to eat or anything. We don’t like to leave the state, as we both still have jobs to do. And we both still believe in following the physical distancing guidelines. Plus we have covered pretty much every major abandoned place here in Connecticut. So…that kind of narrows down where we can and cannot visit right now. So as you can see if you’ve been following our blog for the last few months, our investigations have been kind of unconventional. A lot of them have been in the middle of the woods. They’ve also been ones that nobody in our community really pays attention to.

Allow me to introduce our latest subject: The abandoned Westledge Ski Slope. It all began in summer of 1969. If that song is now stuck in your head, you have my sympathies. Anyhow, the ski slope was built along the edges of Westledge Mountain to service the aptly named Westledge School. You see, skiing was becoming kind of the fad up here in New England during this time period. We have covered several other ski slopes in the past that followed very similar paths and suffered the same fates as Westledge. It was a big hit at first, servicing as a simple single-towing ski system used mostly by the students of the Westledge School. Their system was unique, as it was one of the first electrically operated towing lines. This had it’s advantages and disadvantages, for being efficient/quiet but also very slow. Unfortunately, Westledge School came under new ownership in 1978. The land that the ski slope operated on was divided up between the new school and the local land trust. And thus, the Westledge Ski Slope was no more.

Like I said earlier, we were a bit vexed on what to cover for our July piece. Due to the ever growing heat, we also wanted a place that didn’t involve too much hiking. I had stumbled on Westledge Ski Slope during the early days of the outbreak, and had kept it aside on my list of potential places. Since it was kind of obscure and fit all of our criteria, we decided to pay a visit. In the middle of July, we made our trek out to the area. Not wanting a repeat of our earlier adventure in Rhode Island, we were sure to bring lots of water and map out our route exactly. It had been a long time since I had been out to North Western Connecticut. And I had honestly forgotten how beautiful it was. We arrived at our destination, only to find that the parking area had been mysteriously closed. Luckily, we had mapped out our route better this time. We found a different one a short drive away. It made our hike a bit longer, but the forest out here truly is captivating. It was about a mile in before we came upon the abandoned ski slope.

The first thing to greet you here is the main attraction: the abandoned rope tow shed. It is a small but sturdy building, and honestly is quite funny looking in it’s own way. With a triangular roof and decorated with some bizarre oddities, the building is rather interesting. Inside is plenty of old machinery, but be wary as the floor is quite unstable. There are still several old utility poles standing around the shed, but they blend in quite well with the trees surrounding them. A few of these trees have random articles of clothing tied around them, such as ties, jackets, and shirts. I found that to be kind of strange. The slope itself is steep as bloody Hell. But we had to walk all the way down it. Along the way, the old post used as part of the rope tow system still stand. Unlike all of the other slopes we’ve seen in the past, they aren’t traditional posts per se. The wheel system was actually attached to the trees themselves. Over the years, the old metal wheels are slowly being devoured by the trees growing around them.

Eventually we made it to the bottom of the slope. Here, we found the wrecks of several old cars. But they were so overgrown, we couldn’t get the best pictures of them. Then came the hard part; getting back up the slope. I see now why this hill was used as a ski slope. But using the old wheel systems as breakpoints, we eventually made it to the top and began our hike back to the car. So is the abandoned Westledge Ski Slope worth a visit? Depends on your taste. You see, the word “abstruse” means obscure or mysterious. And that’s what places like this are. And usually for good reason. Aside from the rope tow shed, which is really cool, there isn’t much to see here. But if you’re looking for a good hike and something different, check it out. Places like this one usually don’t get enough attention these days. They end up getting lost to the pages of history. They are, as you would say, obscure. But like the word “abstruse,” just because you’d never heard of it before doesn’t make it any less interesting.

Howling of the Hybrids

The Abandoned UConn Kennels

Written by: Wilk

Photographs by: Lassie

It’s rare for me to do this, but I feel like I must speak my mind. I’m a writer. I’ve been doing this since I was eleven years old. It has been my one true gift as far back as I can remember, whether I wanted it to be or not. And as a writer, you want people to read your words. You want people to listen to your stories and feel your voice. But not this time. This is one of those rare pieces where I ask that you discontinue reading. This article really isn’t for the faint of heart. As a dog lover, this story rocked me to my core. When I had first heard of this place, I didn’t think there would be much to it. But the more digging I did, the more horrors I uncovered. I’m talking animal abuse. Genetic experimentation. Dark science. Murder. Grim subjects, all around. It’s one of those tales so bizarre, you can’t believe that you’ve never heard about it before. Again, I ask that you discontinue here. This story is not going to be pretty.

If you must continue reading, then allow me to set the stage: The University of Connecticut, the late 1970’s. A graduate student conducts the successful breeding of male coyotes with female beagle dogs to produce what we have come to call “coydogs.” Three generations are successfully created. They are housed in a kennel outside of the Biological Science unit in the UConn Forest. Though the experiments are bizarre, the animals are said to have been well taken care of. That is until 1983. One of the pups is kidnapped by two unknown assailants. She was then tortured and beaten to death. The story caught national attention. It severely derailed the genetic experimentation program, but it attempted to continue none the less. And unfortunately, this was not the first and would not be the last tragic animal death during this time on campus. After this unspeakable tragedy and it’s founder’s graduation, the entire experiment is believed to have collapsed. But the kennels where her work was conducted still stand.

It was late spring of 2020 when we finally made our trek into the UConn Forest to find what was left of this phantom facility. May is the perfect time of year for a good hike. Not too hot. Not too cold. Just right. But I warn you now that this place is not an easy find. If you do your research, follow the directions, and crack the code you will find this place no problem. If you don’t, you can and will spend hours combing through the forest looking for it. Full disclosure, that’s what happened to us. We parked in the wrong spot, and almost didn’t end up finding what we were looking for. The UConn Forest truly is just so vast and so full of the weirdest things imaginable. You could honestly spend days out there and never see the same thing twice. On our journey, we came across abandoned lawn equipment, countless fire pits, wild dogs, trails to nowhere, and a group of bros on a fishing trip. But eventually, we solved the riddle and found the old facility. And although there may not be too much left, this place certainly was quite creepy.

First coming upon the abandoned kennel, it very much looks like an old zoo paddock. An eight foot tall wooden fence surrounds the perimeter. There is even a swinging wooden gate to enter the kennel that’s very reminiscent of Jurassic Park. But this place is much more like that movie’s sequel, if you know what I mean. The weeds and plants have grown wild and dangerous. Some old wiring and tech has been left behind, but it’s all been rusted to Hell. At the far east corner, there is an old observation window. Most of the wood has rotted, but it still provides a chilling window into the past. The true sight to see here though are the two enclosures. Both surrounded by old chain link fences, there are two smallĀ  concrete doghouses standing side by side to each other. They have both been defaced with graffiti, and completely barren inside. One even has an old chair positioned on top of it for some reason. The place is also full of birds and chipmunks, who have clearly moved back in to reclaim this forgotten facility as their own.

We were both quiet on our long walk back to the car. I don’t know why. We were hot. We were hungry. But we also just couldn’t seem to shake the feeling of sorrow. It was tough to find this place. But it has also been tough to write about it. Very few have covered it in the past, and I can see why. There is so very little information out there. And what I did find, I wish I hadn’t. Much like Tiger King or Wild Wild Country, I just can’t quite believe that stuff like this actually happened. It’s all just so bizarre and truly beyond belief. But I guess that’s what makes stuff like the abandoned UConn Kennels stand out from the crowd. There may not be too much to see at the actual site. It’s no Undercliff Sanatorium or Mansfield Training School. But walking through the abandoned kennels, I could just tell that bad things had happened here. There was just such grimness and hopelessness nestled amongst the sprouting trees. This is a place that never should’ve existed. It is just one of those stories that I wish I could forget, but never will.

And Then There Was Darkness

The Abandoned Clinton Tunnel

Written by: Wilk

Photographs by: Lassie

I haven’t been sleeping well lately. Not for a long time. It’s a scary thing, sometimes. You’re a prisoner in your own mind, but you’re also the guard of it. You’re the only one who can get yourself to sleep, but just can’t seem to find the path. You just kind of walk around trying your damnedest to function in a perpetual state of fog. Things appear and disappear at will. You hear things that aren’t really there. And you sometimes wonder what is real and was is not. You can lie awake in the dark for hours. If you have an alarm clock, it feels like that alarm could come at any second. Sometimes you find comfort in thinking that it is right around the corner. But then these seconds turn into minutes. Those minutes into hours. And what was supposed to be right around the corner turns into a lifetime. Every once in awhile, you fade in and out of reality. Dreams come and go. You feel like you might actually be getting some rest. But you never really rest. It’s all just an illusion. Or, is it? The thoughts come and go. And then there was darkness.

Since I’ve got your attention, allow me to introduce our subject for today. This is the abandoned Clinton Tunnel. She is truly a marvel to behold, running just shy of a quarter of a mile underground. First constructed in the early 1900’s, the tunnel was once apart of the state’s longest running railroad pipeline. It was built going through a hill and heading toward a bridge going over the nearby Wachusett Reservoir. This area in particular had a lot of construction and organized flooding during this time to meet the growing demands of nearby Boston. From here, these railroads carried goods and passengers all across New England for many years. But that time was not to last. With the end of the industrial revolution, things began to grow quiet. The demand for railroad traffic began to dwindle, and the abundance of this once great industry began to wane. By the 1970’s, the bridge over the Wachusett Reservoir had been demolished. And with that, Clinton Tunnel became totally abandoned.

We made the trek to Clinton Tunnel on a grey Spring Sunday. Things were quiet on the way up. And the tunnel lies right off the side of the road. It’s great stone archways are like the Mines of Moria: a grand gateway into the dark. The first half of the tunnel is paved all the way around, from the sides to the ceilings. It still very much looks like an old train tunnel. The walls are coated with graffiti and the floor is all dirt. But the other half is pure stone and has a very cave-like appearance to it. It reminded me very much of The Decent, especially with the constant echo of dripping water. We had heard many stories of just how bad the water levels could get inside of the tunnel, and we had planned our visit on a day where it hadn’t rained in some time. But it turns out that there is no good time to visit Clinton Tunnel, since there was still tons of water. There’s water falling from the ceiling. There’s water flooding the path. There’s water dripping down the stone siding. It’s just everywhere. All sorts of trash and filth float amongst it.

Though only a quarter mile long, the tunnel can seem never ending. But the North end of the tunnel is where things can get a little weird. Frogs, both dead and alive, decorate the muddier patches of water. The train path continues to an old overpass, which now serves as a bridge for a lonely back country road. The great stone borders glisten with moss and mist. While we were photographing the North end, we noticed two strangers standing at the far side of the tunnel. We caught them in a photograph just standing there, staring at us. Maybe they were contemplating walking through themselves. Maybe they couldn’t quite figure out why someone would trek that far out. Or maybe they were just marveling at the tunnel’s majesty. I don’t know. But then, up on the quiet road, a lone car pulled up. It just sat there. Watching us. For a time, I thought they were just looking at the tunnel. But after awhile, it started to get weird. They took off as soon as I waved at them. It was then that we decided it was time to leave.

A great man once said, “With insomnia, you’re never really awake; but you’re never really asleep.” That’s what walking through the abandoned Clinton Tunnel was like; stuck in the void between two different dimensions. There’s never total darkness, but there’s never much light either. You’re underground, but you don’t really feel like it. No matter how deep you get, the end always feels like it’s right around the corner. We’ve seen countless other tunnels like this one get renovated and become part of walking trails. But not this one. It is truly an adventurer’s gutter. Filled with darkness. Trash. And mystery. If you wish to take the plunge into the abandoned tunnel, heed our warnings. As far as I know, visiting is completely legal. Wear your boots. Bring your flashlights. And don’t forget your hand sanitizer. You have to touch the walls a few times if you want to make it to the other side. And once you start, don’t ever lose sight of the light at the end of the tunnel.