Posts Tagged ‘Case Mountain’

My Sweet Summer

The Abandoned Case Cabin

Written by: Sean L.

Photographs by: Amanda H.

What is it about summer time that makes it so magical? To me, it always seems like the shortest season. When I was a kid, August was my least favorite month of the year. And it was because the shadow of September and the dread of going back to school made it so hard to enjoy anything. But July, that was always the best. Vacations. Ice cream. The beach. Hiking. All the best summer memories come from July. And yet it always feels like the shortest month of the year. You had no worries about school, or homework. All that mattered was having fun. But I guess that’s just the brevity of human existence. Enjoy what you can while you can, because time stands still for no man. And few places we have ever visited have experienced such an extreme fall from grace as the once adored now abandoned Case Cabin.

In 1862, two brothers of the well-known Case family purchased two acres around the beautiful Case Reservoir in Manchester, Connecticut, and this is where they built their summer home. The Case family were successful industrialists from the area who owned and operated multiple factories and processing plants. The exquisite log cabin was first built in 1917 using sturdy chestnut wood from the neighboring forests. Throughout the early twentieth century, this place was the vacation paradise of the wealthy Case family. But much like the summer beauty, the prestige of this wondrous place eventually waned. The prestige of the family slowly came to end, and the summer home was eventually left behind.

We have visited Case Cabin many times over the years. And with each passing visit, the magic of the grounds disappears ever so slightly. And this was the visit for us where the most changes had been made to the grounds. There was a time where there were no fences, security systems, and renovations. The back and side decks were once accessible, now removed from existence. The entire back house has even been demolished at this point, leaving only a bare foundation of stone walls and broken memories. While a family of chubby bunnies now happily resides within the perimeter, the entire Case Cabin has been sealed off by a chain link fence. A few yards away, the boat house still stands. An old swimming ladder still pokes out of the nearby pond.

Much like the passing days of summer, the time for Case Cabin seems to be sadly drawing to a close. Though she was once enjoyed by the local high society, today she is nothing more than a withering spirit. She is lost to the slow decay of time, at the mercy of the unstoppable sands of the hourglass. But that’s what makes places like this, and summer itself, enjoyable. We know that our time is short, which is what drives us to make the best and most out of each moment. She once had a flourishing history and pedigree. But those days are gone. The sun is slowly setting on this once wondrous and wealthy place. Case Cabin will inevitably be gone someday. But the memories will always be with us.

“The Gods envy us. They envy us because we’re mortal, because any moment might be our last. Everything is more beautiful because we’re doomed. You will never be lovelier than you are now. We will never be here again.” -Troy (2004)

The Cabin in the Woods

Exploring the Abandoned Case Cabin

Written By: Sean L.

Photographs By: Amanda H.

    Off the beaten path, where the land meets the water, there is a place that time has forgotten. It was once the place where families grew and where childhoods were enjoyed. Deep in the heart of Manchester, Connecticut, it is the home of memory and the sanctuary of the lost. This former kingdom of joy sits at its final resting place along the banks of Case pond, nearly lost amongst the thick forests surrounding it. People walk by this place every day like clockwork, but only a few take notice of it and even fewer can really appreciate it. This is Case Cabin, the former summer home of the wealthy and renowned Case family.  Though it has remained abandoned for many years, the cabin still stands, a shell still clinging to the memories of the past. The sounds of life have long since been silenced, but somehow, this place still speaks from beyond the grave. There is a presence here, the lost memories of the past still haunting the long empty halls of this former summer home.

In 1862, two brothers of the well-known Case family purchased two acres around the beautiful Case Reservoir in Manchester, Connecticut, and this is where they built their summer home. The Case family were successful industrialists from the area who owned and operated multiple factories and processing plants. The exquisite log cabin was first built in 1917 using sturdy chestnut wood from the neighboring forests. Throughout the early twentieth century, this place was the vacation paradise of the wealthy Case family. Many parties were celebrated here during the roaring twenties, and the family commonly lived here during the summertime. But much like the summer beauty, the prestige of this wondrous place eventually waned. The prestige of the family slowly came to end, and the summer home was eventually left behind. The Case family remained a powerful and successful family until the 1960’s, when their company was bought out. Over the last few years, their former land has been steadily acquired by the town of Manchester as part of an initiative to create more open and recreational space for town residents.

Case Mountain Recreation Area is a large town park located in Manchester, CT, just over the border of Bolton/Glastonbury. It is commonly used today by locals and visitors from all over the state for walking, hiking, and kayaking. The focal point of this park is Case Pond. It is a small body of water with several little streams flowing into it. Along one side of the pond are a series of large houses. Most of them have little boat houses or docks along the banks of the pond. On the other side, is Case Mountain Recreation Area. This area was made possible due to land donations and conservation from the town of Manchester and from several families in the area. The town of Manchester purchased several acres for the recreation area a few years ago. Included in that purchase, was the former Case family summer home. Most recently, the cabin was the setting of an independent horror film entitled Animal. The film starred Joey Lauren Adams (Mallrats) and Keke Palmer (Akeelah and the Bee).

We visited the park on a beautiful fall day in 2014. A short drive from our home, we parked at the Birch Mountain entrance to the Case Pond Recreation Area. Though it is located right next to the busy Route 384, the park is relatively quiet and peaceful. On either sides of the trail, there are wealthy neighborhoods. The park is also rather heavily frequented. We ran into quite a few fellow hikers and a few mountain bikers. Case Cabin is across a stone bridge on the quieter side of the park, sitting silently along the bountiful banks of the pond. The house has a very rustic feel to it. It is like a very large old log cabin. All of the windows have either been boarded up, or strangely covered with cardboard. All of the doors into the house have been heavily padlocked. What made the house so curious to us is that while the house is slowly decaying, it appears to have been virtually untouched by the outside world. It is the first abandoned place that we have visited to have no litter on the ground or graffiti on the walls.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The windows have been boarded up, but it looks like they have been there for years. The house has been left to rot, but people seem to have left it alone. It was puzzling, to say the least. Though a chain link fence protects the house, there are several weak spots which make it look easy to get around. We do not condone or recommend this though. The deck in the back is incredibly unstable. It is in a very bad state of disrepair, with loose or even missing floorboards. It also has a strong tilt to it. Next to the cabin, lies a strange green house. The windows have all been boarded up quite sturdily. Broken glass is all around it, which means that it has been a victim of vandalism in the past. We are not sure what this house is. It is considerably smaller than the cabin, and looks to be much newer. It is also in a very bad state of disrepair. However, much like the cabin, there are several openings that are used by birds and squirrels to nest inside.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The cabin also appears to be very protected, outfitted with a very up to date and top of the line security system. Motion sensors and anti-burglary alarm systems are positioned all along the outer walls of the cabin. These sensors send signals to their base of operations, most likely the local police station, and then the alarm systems are triggered. Clearly, someone does not want this place to be disturbed. It has been deemed a landmark, and though the town continues to put up measures to protect it, they clearly have no plans to restore this former summer home. Over the years, windows have been boarded up, doors have been locked, and fences have been put up rather than restoring or demolishing the old building. Instead, it simply sits in silence, waiting for its final judgement day to come. Though it was once a place of light and joy, it is now nothing more than a cabin in the woods.