Posts Tagged ‘boarded up’

Cold War Ghost Town – The Abandoned Truro Air Force Station

Posted: August 18, 2016 by Hidden Wonders Photography in #postaday, Abandoned, Abandoned Baseball Field, Abandoned Cabin, Abandoned Cape Cod, Abandoned Forts, abandoned home, Abandoned House, Abandoned Massachusetts, abandoned military bases, abandoned new england, Abandoned USA, Abandoned Wonders, Bates Motel, Beaches, Birds, Broken, Cape Cod, Closed, darkness, Death, Destruction, empty, Exploration, exploring the abandoned, Forgotten, forgotten beauty, forgotten home, Fortress, Forts, Ghosts, Graveyard, Haunting, Hiking, History, House, Information, left behind, Magic, Massachusetts, Military, Military Forts, Mystery, nature, new england, nightmares, Ocean, Ocean View, overgrown, photography, Public Parks, research, Ruins, Safety First, Searching, seaside, State Parks, Stories, Truro, Uncategorized, Urban Decay, Urban Exploration, Urban Exploring, Urbex, writing, WWII
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Cold War Ghost Town

The Abandoned Truro Air Force Station

Written by: Sean L.

Photographs by: Amanda H.

War is a lot like love. It is easy to start, difficult to end, and impossible to forget. No conflict in human history has ever been truer to these words than the Cold War. Decades of mutual hatred between the East and the West brought our entire planet to the brink of destruction. It was an era of fear, anger, and paranoia. And out of those dark emotions came a massive military build-up that spanned across the globe. Today, it is a different world. All of these fears and doubts have faded away, but the ghosts of the Cold War conflict have not. They are hidden, amongst the darkest corners of our forests and our memories. Ruins of old military bases are now nothing more than graveyards. But on the far reaches of Cape Cod, there is one that stands out from all others.

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In the dark days following World War II, the United States military began to prepare to adjust to the changing international atmosphere. Across the country, missile defense bases began to emerge. In 1951, the North Truro Air Force Station was born. Situated on the far end of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, the base had many different jobs during the Cold War conflict. With ever changing and advancing technology, the station was largely used as a radar and air defense base. It housed hundreds of American military personnel over the years, and was complete with on-site housing and recreational facilities. But when the Cold War came to a sudden end in 1991, the future of the station became cloudy. In the turmoil that followed, the North Truro Air Force Station was closed in 1994 and the land was sold off.

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Over the years, we had heard many rumors and stories about the North Truro Air Force Station. Many debated whether or not the place was worth a visit, and even more argued about what was actually left to see. Finally, in the early summer of 2016, we were finally able to stop by the curious facility. The sun was shining. The beaches were busy. And the true magic of Cape Cod was just beginning to wake up. The Air Force Station lies off a quiet road on the far side of North Truro. It is actually only a short drive from the fabled Bates Motel, which is more than worth a visit. The base is technically part of a national park, and is legal to visit. Certain areas are still used for community functions though, and are off limits. It doesn’t look like much, but hidden amongst the heavy underbrush and beach foliage is a ghost town, as old and as spooky as the Cold War itself.

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Upon arrival, the first thing to greet you is what appears to be a large open field. But in actuality, this is the overgrown baseball field from the station’s heyday. The old dugouts and diamond can still be seen if you look hard enough. It is a short walk down the old road, though, where things start to get interesting. Here lies the ghost town. Lining a short stretch of road are what remains of the on-site housing for the military personnel. Each one has simply been left to rot. The doors aren’t even boarded up. Inside, kitchen supplies, mementos, and relics of the past have been simply left behind. The houses at the front of the street were for enlisted men. Down the road were the officer’s houses, which were larger and included garage bays. Many tools and pieces of scrap metal could still be found in a few garages. But beware, asbestos warnings and broken glass are everywhere. Watch your step.

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Hidden farther off in the woods is the old helipad. There is not much to see here, save for a few concrete foundations and filled in tunnels. A slight breeze from the nearby ocean blows through the tall sea-grass. Sea birds and gulls caw overheard, singing a soft eulogy for this forgotten place. We only ran into two other people, an old couple walking their dog who were more than happy to tell us what they knew about the site. If you truly wish to see urban decay at its finest, without running the risk of being arrested, then this place is a must see. It truly is a ghost town, as if everyone just got up and left someday. Never to return. Of all the former military bases we have explored, North Truro Air Force Station was the most intact and most interesting. It is in a class all its own. But to us, this place, much like the Cold War, will be impossible to forget.

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Places to Visit this Summer – Seaside Sanatorium

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

Ghosts in the Dark

The Abandoned Mystic Farmhouse

Written by: Sean L.

Photographs by: Amanda H.

We usually don’t cover abandoned houses. There is just not a whole lot of interest in them anymore. They make for good pictures, sure. But we almost never find a story on them. And frankly, we don’t get many hits on our social media accounts when we cover abandoned houses. I can put whatever fancy title I want on the article, and Amanda’s photos are always fantastic. In these days, the golden age of urban exploration seems to be waning. Gone are the landmarks such as Undercliff Sanatorium and Sunrise Resort. The legendary places have crumbled away, and the newer ones are eaten alive by vandals much faster than they used to be. It is an ever changed market, and we as explorers must do our best to keep up with these changing times. But for some reason, abandoned houses are never really popular for us. Why is that? Maybe it’s because there are so many out there. Maybe it’s because so many people cover them. Or maybe it’s because a good story is what makes it important. Well, friends, I have a story for you. And it all began in the bustling town of Mystic, Connecticut.

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I’ve lived in Connecticut my entire life. But while writing this piece, I found out that Mystic is not an actual town. There is no municipal government, because it is actually a village that is apart of both the towns of Groton and Stonington. The separation lies at the Mystic River. A fun fact, indeed. Mystic has been historically significant throughout the existence of Connecticut. It was at one time one of the largest seaports in the region, first settled in the early days of the colonies. And history is still very much apart of their culture. The Olde Mystic Village and Mystic Seaport are big tourist attractions in these parts. I even had a small role in a movie called “Freedom” filmed at the latter, starring Cuba Gooding Jr. The community is one of the most well known shining stars of our state. But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have it’s dark side. When a place has as rich of a history as Mystic, they always have a few shadows in the corners of their past. Many old buildings and establishments are known for being haunted by the spirits of the past. Are they just legends? Or is there something more here.

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To be perfectly honest, we have found no information on this place. There were a couple of photos of it online, but other than that we found nothing. All we have been able to gather is that this old farmhouse is believed to be very haunted. And frankly, I can see why. It is ramshackle, almost reminiscent of the Shrieking Shack in Hogsmeade village. Clearly she stands from a bygone era. Ancient plywood covers all of her windows and doors. We thought for a moment that this place might actually be relatively untouched by vandals…until we found The Dungeon. In the far back of the house, past the fallen outer wall, is the gateway. Eerily inscribed in spray paint above the threshold states “No Turning Back.” And rightfully so. For inside this basement, which has be coined as The Dungeon, is a black hole. There is an emptiness and sorrow inside this pit of despair that is indescribable. All manner of trash is strewn about, but the presence in the air is as dark and foreboding as a cloudy midnight sky. It is almost as if something is telling you to get out now.

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We didn’t stay long. The floors of the upstairs creaked and shook so much that we didn’t do much walking around. The smell here was also unimaginable. If you’ve ever explored an abandoned place, you know how bad the smells can be. Well we’ve explored more abandoned places than we care to remember, and none have had as foul of a stench as this place. To be honest, I wish we could find more information on it. Because there is certainly a presence to be felt here. It almost felt like walking into another dimension. Outside was a bustling apartment community. But inside, it was silent as the grave. Shadows crept around the corner. And sunlight only managed to peak through a few cracks in the heavily boarded up windows. Whomever once lived here is long gone. But something still lurks inside these darkened halls. And it does not want to be disturbed.

Top 10 Pieces of Graffiti Art in Abandoned Places

Posted: May 25, 2016 by kingleser in #postaday, Abandoned, Abandoned Amusement Park, Abandoned Attractions, Abandoned Baseball Field, Abandoned Business, Abandoned Cabin, Abandoned Cape Cod, Abandoned Cinema, Abandoned Connecticut, Abandoned Drive-In, Abandoned Fairgrounds, Abandoned Forts, Abandoned Hospital, Abandoned Massachusetts, abandoned military bases, abandoned mill, abandoned new england, abandoned paper mill, Abandoned Racetrack, Abandoned Railway, Abandoned Resort, Abandoned Rhode Island, Abandoned Sanatorium, Abandoned Stores, Abandoned Theaters, Abandoned train station, Abandoned USA, Abandoned Wonders, Broken, Closed, commercial, Connecticut, darkness, Death, Destruction, empty, Exploration, exploring the abandoned, Forgotten, forgotten beauty, forgotten home, Fort Wetherill, Ghosts, Graveyard, Haunting, Hiking, History, Homeless, House, Information, left behind, lost, Mansfield Training School, Mystery, nature, new england, nightmares, Nike Missile Base, overgrown, photography, Public Parks, research, Ruins, Safety First, Searching, Seaside Sanatorium, Stories, Sunrise Resort, Talcottville Mill, Terminus, The Enchanted Forest, The Walking Dead, UCONN, Uncategorized, Undercliff Sanatorium, Urban Decay, Urban Exploration, Urban Exploring, Urbex, Walking Dead, writing
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Top 10 Pieces of Graffiti Art in Abandoned Places

Written by – Sean L.

Photographs by – Amanda H.

Anyone who has ever visited an abandoned place knows that you are always guaranteed to find two things – trash and graffiti. While we’ve already done a piece on all the weird stuff we’ve found on our adventures, we thought we’d try a little something new here. By all means, we are not condoning graffiti or vandalism. This is just some of the strangest, coolest, and most unique pieces we’ve ever encountered in our travels across New England.

Here are the Top 10 Pieces of Graffiti Art in Abandoned Places:

#10 – CT FINEST

We don’t know what “CT FINEST” is. But this phrase was spray painted ALL over an abandoned factory. Connecticut’s finest what?

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#9 – LET GO

It’s in all capitals. Which usually means they’re serious. Almost like they’re yelling at us. Interpret as you will.

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#8 – Terminus – Sanctuary for All

This one is for all you “Walking Dead” fans out there. Luckily, we didn’t find any cannibals, zombies, or Governors at this abandoned military fortress.

#7 – Zombie Hand Prints?

I don’t know what this is or what happened here. But frankly, it looks really cool in a weird way. The white hand prints on the blood red wall, straight out of a George Romero movie.

#6 – “No God? No Joy.”

Simple as that. We find religious graffiti every once in awhile, but usually it is against God. Not in favor of him. Plus it’s written in what looks like red crayon.

#5 “Get Out While U Can”

While I don’t care for their spelling, this was certainly a foreboding message to see while we were exploring yet another abandoned factory. Lucky for us, we got out just fine.

#4 – Puff, the Magic Dragon

This is one of the happier pieces of art we’ve ever seen. It isn’t dark, offensive, or nasty. It’s just a nice colorful dragon. He may not have eyes, but he’s very beautifully drawn. Enjoy it.

#3 – “Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.”

This was the only real philosophical piece of artwork we’ve ever seen in an abandoned place. Usually they’re just plastered on road signs or bumper stickers. But it does make sense…

#2 – “We’re on a road to nowhere…”

There’s just something special about this one. It was written on the wall of an abandoned summer camp. Maybe it just strikes a nerve. Maybe it’s just different. Or maybe it’s because someone out there actually remembers how to write in cursive.

#1 – “GO AT NIGHT”

We caught this one as the sun was beginning to set,  and we just finished exploring an abandoned mental hospital. It has always been my favorite. I think the visuals speak for themselves. Go At Night.

Have any that you would like to share? We’d love to see them! Follow us on WordPress, Facebook, and YouTube for more content!

 

 

 

 

Went Not Away

The Abandoned Wonders of Voluntown

Written by: Sean L.

Photographs by: Amanda H.

Past a few dead end roads and down a lost highway is Voluntown, Connecticut. We’ve traveled through this old town many times, mostly passing through on our way to Rhode Island. It has always been a fascinating place to me. I have fond memories of camping here when I was a child. I also had my high school graduation party here, at a friend’s beach house on the nearby lake. It is a sleepy little town, with a very old school New England feel to it. But much like most older communities of Connecticut, Voluntown has had it’s share of tragedy and despair.

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The town of Voluntown was first established in year 1721. It stands at the very eastern edge of Connecticut in New London County, sharing a border with the neighboring state of Rhode Island. Interestingly enough, infamous Revolutionary War traitor Benedict Arnold once owned land here in his early days. It is primarily a farming community today, with dairy and tree farms being a key source of income. According to their town website, over two thirds of the town’s landmass is made up of state forest property. The main road to cut straight through the town en route to Rhode Island is Route 138. It is along this road that we discovered a few abandoned of Voluntown.

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The mystery starts a few miles down the road. At the intersection of Route 201 and 138, an old sign can be seen sticking out the vegetation on the side of the road. Upon further investigation, this beat up old advertises the “Voluntown Package Store – Old Fashioned Service.” A short drive later, we found said package store. And sadly enough, it is in just as poor shape as its old sign. Everything has been folded up and left to rot. Even the antique gas pumps still stand outside the abandoned station. Just a stone’s throw across the street lies some sort of abandoned warehouse with a junk yard out back. We were not able to get too close after coming face to face with a large guard dog, so clearly someone still watches over the property.

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During King Phillip’s War, one of the first major armed conflicts in North America, a group of settlers volunteered to stand and fight. Historically, it is said they “went not away.” These are the men that Voluntown is named after.

And for good reason.

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

(Published October 11, 2015 in the Hartford Courant)

Rest of Story Here…

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

Knightfall
The Haunting Legend of the Mansfield Training School

Written by: Sean L.

Photos by: Amanda H.

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

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

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

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

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

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The Crumbling Kingdom — The Abandoned Seaside Sanatorium

Posted: September 3, 2015 by Hidden Wonders Photography in #postaday, Abandoned, Abandoned Attractions, Abandoned Business, Abandoned Connecticut, Abandoned Hospital, abandoned new england, Abandoned Sanatorium, Abandoned USA, Abandoned Wonders, Beaches, Bird Watching, Birds, Broken, Children, Children's Hospital, Closed, Connecticut, darkness, Death, Destruction, empty, Exploration, exploring the abandoned, Forgotten, forgotten beauty, Ghosts, Graveyard, Haunting, Hiking, History, Homeless, Information, left behind, lost, Mystery, nature, new england, nightmares, Ocean, Ocean View, overgrown, photography, Public Parks, research, Ruins, Safety First, Searching, seaside, Seaside Sanatorium, State Parks, Stories, Urban Decay, Urban Exploration, Urban Exploring, Urbex, Waterford, writing
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The Crumbling Kingdom

The Abandoned Seaside Sanatorium

Written by: Wilk

Photographs by: Lassie

A relic from the old world sits alone on the picturesque shores of New England’s Long Island Sound. The steady waves of the ocean lap up against the sandy shores, but she doesn’t move a muscle. Armies of birds of all shapes and sizes roost amongst her crumbling rafters, but she doesn’t seem to mind. Small crowds of beachgoers flock by to enjoy their holidays, but they pay this beautiful disaster no attention. This is Seaside Sanatorium, and though she doesn’t look it, she was once considered one of the finest hospitals in the state. But that time has passed. We visit this abandoned facility every year, and each year this once shining star seems a little less bright. It is sad to say that the State of Connecticut has apparently ceased its protection of this old facility, leaving it ripe for rampant and senseless destruction from local vandals.

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

While the Main Hospital is the main attraction, its supporting act is the Nurse’s Building. Though it is not as ornate or extravagant as the Main Hospital, the Nurse’s Building is just as hauntingly beautiful. Windows have been boarded up. Wild vines coat the outer walls. The stairs from the old fire escape have been removed. A doorway that had been busted open by vandals has been crudely barricaded with mounds of dirt and tree branches. A small squirrel keeps watch from the upper rafters. But most noticeable of all, a family of Osprey has taken up residence on the buildings chimney. Perennial occupants, these massive birds of prey hold a strong presence over the entire grounds. Small birds hide when they fly by. The fearsome screeches of their feasting young echoes from their nest. And the massive adults keep close watch on anyone who passes by what has become their empire.

 

Of all the abandoned hospitals we have visited in our time, the main hospital of Seaside is the most breathtaking. Two broken lighthouses stand at its corners. A towering spire forms the center of the facility. Five brink floors stand tall before the Atlantic Ocean. The old ruins of the building’s parking lot lie in the back. The pavement still cracked with age. What is left of a playground stands at the front, defiantly facing the sea. An old slide slowly rusts into oblivion. A child’s merry go-round has become overrun with wild vines. Windows have been shattered. Walls have been defiled with graffiti. Inside, the shocking white paint hangs from the walls like sleeping albino bats. A few old pieces of furniture stands guard over any trespassers. And an earie silence fills the halls that were once full of patients and doctors alike. It is both comforting and terrifying.

The grounds still have an echo of their old past. A few dead power lines hang from rotting poles. A ghostly chessboard slowly disappears into the wild grass. A rusted fire hydrant still keeps watch over the facility. On our last visit, a round the clock security force was in place around the abandoned buildings. Today, there was no security to be found. And according to the locals, they’ve been gone for some time. The grounds have noticeably suffered since our last visit. When the cat’s away, the mice will play. And what terrible games they have been up to inside this poor facility. We encountered several destructive vandals on our trip, and had to frighten them out of the building on our own. These are the people that give what we do a bad name, and these are the people that cause the steady destruction of abandoned wonders like Seaside Sanatorium. She was once a proud and dignified medical facility. Now, she is nothing more than a crumbling kingdom.

“I’ll tell you a riddle. You’re waiting for a train, a train that will take you far away. You know where you hope this train will take you, but you don’t know for sure. But it doesn’t matter. How can it not matter to you where the train will take you? Because you’ll be together.” –Inception 

Field of Broken Dreams — The Abandoned New England Sportsplex

Posted: May 6, 2015 by Hidden Wonders Photography in #postaday, Abandoned, Abandoned Attractions, Abandoned Baseball Field, Abandoned Business, Abandoned Connecticut, abandoned new england, Abandoned USA, Abandoned Wonders, Broken, Closed, commercial, Connecticut, darkness, Destruction, empty, Exploration, exploring the abandoned, for sale, Forgotten, forgotten beauty, Haunting, Hiking, History, Homeless, Information, left behind, lost, Manchester, Manchester CT, Movies, Mystery, nature, new england, overgrown, photography, Public Parks, research, Ruins, Safety First, Searching, State Parks, Stories, Three Strikes Out, time, Uncategorized, Urban Decay, Urban Exploration, Urban Exploring, Urbex, Vernon, writing
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Field of Broken Dreams

The Abandoned New England Sportsplex

Written by: Sean L.

Photographs by: Amanda H.

Take me out to the ballgame. Take me out to the crowd. Buy me some peanuts and crackerjacks. I don’t care if I ever get back. So let’s root root root for the home team, if they don’t win it’s a shame. For it’s One. Two. Three Strikes. You’re out, at the old ballgame. The lyrics sound very different when you simply read them, not sing them. I could almost faintly hear that classic tune floating through the air as we walked across the now silent New England Sportsplex. It was a sunny afternoon in early May, the perfect time for a baseball game. But there’s nothing here anymore. What was once a beloved classic song of fun and enjoyment became a haunting tune for this old abandoned ballpark. The laughter of children and the cheers of the crowds long since passed still echoed across the overgrown wasteland. I couldn’t help but wonder to myself, how had it come to this?

It began back in 1994. There was a strong interest in the local community of Vernon, Connecticut, to build a new recreational center. Local softball leagues, both for adults and children, were looking for a place to play in their area. So, with a purchase of two million dollars, construction began on the New England Sportsplex. It was at the time to be the largest softball park in all of New England. It was comprised of four fenced in and lit diamonds, a snack bar, and an on sight bathroom facility. The complex would be able to house an estimated five thousand fans at a time. Since the land was in a non-residential area, the town of Vernon had high hopes for it. The future was bright. But as we all know, nothing ever goes quite according to plan. Due to a steady decline in interest and complications with the nearby wetlands, the park was eventually closed and left abandoned.

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We visited the abandoned New England Sportsplex on a Sunday in early May 2015. We had seen it from the neighboring I-84 multiple times in the past, but had never been able to actually stop and investigate. The old complex is right off the highway, and very visible if you are headed eastbound towards the Mass Pike. Though the fields have become overgrown and lost to the vegetation, the old score boards still peek out from the brush. The forgotten bathroom facility and snack bar are now boarded up and covered with graffiti. A large FOR SALE sign is pointed towards the passing highway, though it is much less noticeable than the abandoned complex standing behind it. There is a patrolled commuter lot and a local park on the same street as the old complex. Chain link fences surround the entire perimeter of the complex, though we did not find a single NO TRESPASSING or KEEP OUT sign posted along the property.

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Walking through the abandoned New England Sportsplex was like something out of a bad dream. Two chained gates stand guard at the entrance of the park. What looks like it used to be the old parking lot is still sitting out front. The main road through the complex is also still intact, though it is slowly crumbling due to its lack of care. Each scoreboard from all four diamonds is still standing, and they each appear to be in relatively good shape. The diamonds themselves, however, are completely overgrown with brush and weeds. We had hoped to find a few bases, maybe even a pitching mound, lost in the undergrowth. But we had no such luck. Curiously enough, all of the cement dugouts from each field are also still intact. We found various items inside them, including a turned over picnic table. The bathroom facility and snack bar are both heavily boarded up. There was no way inside without breaking in.

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Tom Hanks famously said in A League of Their Own, “There’s no crying in baseball.” But I believe there must’ve been at least a few teary eyes in the house when this place closed. In the immortal Kevin Costner classic Field of Dreams they say, “If you build it, he will come.” But nothing came off this failed establishment. Over the years, corporations and town committees have fought over the land. Since it is in plain view of the highway and right next to the on/off ramp, the land has always been a desirable location to build a large super store. It was almost a done deal with Home Depot a few years ago, but nothing has ever come of it. The land still sits empty and abandoned. There are no more good times. There are no more home runs. There are no more peanuts and crackerjacks. Because in life, just like baseball, its one. Two. Three strikes. You’re out.