Posts Tagged ‘CT’

Mansions of Memory

The Abandoned Elmcrest Hospital

Written by: Sean L.

Photographs by: Amanda H.

We’ve explored many different abandoned hospitals in our time. Each one has had their own special little details that make them unique. Undercliff Sanatorium, before her demolition, was full of darkness and danger. Seaside Sanatorium is both captivatingly beautiful and hauntingly tragic. Mansfield Training School is its own Twilight Zone dimension in the middle of a bustling campus community. But today’s subject is a little different. Her name is Elmcrest Hospital, and she is bit more peculiar than most. With a much more intimate setting and a much less trouble past, Elmcrest Hospital stands in a class all her own. Though her future is uncertain, her halls are still full of memory.

 Unlike the other facilities that we listed earlier, Elmcrest Hospital was a private psychiatric treatment center. Opening in the early 1940’s, Elmcrest was established by uniting four mansions together in Portland, Connecticut, to form the facility. For decades Elmcrest Hospital went about its business, serving a small number of patients. In 1997, it was then purchased by the larger Saint Francis Hospital. This is where things took a turn for the worse, a patiently tragically died a year later following an accident. Under increased scrutiny, ownership was transferred to Hartford Hospital shortly after before the grounds closed all together in 2006.

Though many redevelopment proposals have come up, the grounds still remain empty. Visiting Elmcrest Hospital was a bit of a challenge. Lying smack dab on a very busy intersection and featuring some nosy neighbors, we weren’t able to stay very long. Unfortunately, there was not much to see here anyway. The buildings are all boarded up, some even coated in a thicket of vegetation. But what we were able to see was far different from all other abandoned hospitals we have visited. There were no feelings of dread or despair here. There was no graffiti or vandalism. This place did not feel haunted at all. It almost felt hopeful, like it wasn’t ready to give up.

Elmcrest Hospital has no dark secrets, that we know of. This is one of the rare, positive pieces you will find on this site. This place was not creepy or haunting. It was tragic. It was a unique facility and staple of the local community. Talks of demolition or redevelopment have come and gone over the years, but Elmcrest still stands. There is a local movement currently working towards the preservation of Elmcrest – https://www.elmcrestportlandct.com/ – and its good to see people still invested in this place. The grounds have their own unique mystique about them, and it would be shame to see these old mansions of memory fall.

Finish Your Popcorn – The Abandoned Willimantic Movieplex

Posted: October 27, 2016 by Abandoned Wonders and Hidden Wonders Photography in #postaday, Abandoned, Abandoned Attractions, Abandoned Business, Abandoned Cinema, Abandoned Connecticut, Abandoned Drive-In, abandoned new england, Abandoned Theaters, Abandoned USA, Abandoned Wonders, Broken, Cinema, Closed, commercial, Connecticut, darkness, Death, Destruction, empty, Exploration, exploring the abandoned, for sale, Forgotten, forgotten beauty, forgotten home, Ghosts, Haunting, Hiking, History, Homeless, Information, left behind, lost, Mansfield, Movies, Mystery, nature, new england, nightmares, overgrown, photography, research, Ruins, Safety First, Searching, Showcase Cinema, Stories, Theater, Uncategorized, Urban Decay, Urban Exploration, Urban Exploring, Urbex, Williamtic, writing
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Finish Your Popcorn

The Abandoned Willimantic Movieplex

Written by: Sean L.

Photographs by: Amanda H.

Cinema should make you forget that you are sitting in a theater.” -Roman Polanski

We have known the bustling town of Willimantic for many years now. When we were both in college, the town was like a second home to us. We did four years of university here; going to classes by day and enjoying the festivities of the town by night. Willimantic has always been a place full of life and light. It features an old school main street, many thriving businesses, and a rich local culture. Notable landmarks such as the Frog Bridge, Eastern Connecticut State University, and the Willimantic Brewing Company make it a surefire place to visit. But there is one place here that sticks out from the vibrant town around it. And that is the now defunct Willimantic Movieplex. Though it was once a staple of the local community, it is now an eyesore and a shadow of its former self. Today, it is simply used as a municipal parking lot for the local businesses. Sitting on a prime piece of real estate, the abandoned Willimantic Movieplex has had quite a history. But regrettably, its past is much more rich than its future.

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The Willimantic Movieplex was first opened during the heyday of the local community. Located right at the cross roads of both the historic Main Street and the nearby Route 66, the theater was in a prime position in downtown Willimantic. With no other movie theaters in the general area, it was very successful during its initial run. But as we all know, times change. And the movie industry is about as predictable as the weather. During the late 90’s/early 2000’s, attendance began to wane. Competition also sprouted up a few miles away with the new Mansfield Movieplex. Over the next few years, the ownership of the theater bounced back and forth like a game of hot potato. It closed and re-opened several times during this period, as multiple different owners tried to save the failing theater. Its final owners made a few minor renovations during 2004 in an attempt to recapture business. But it was never enough. The Willimantic Movieplex closed its doors for good in 2006. It has remained abandoned ever since.

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I honestly wish I could tell you there was more to see here. But sadly, there isn’t. Due to increasingly bad vandal activity and a large local homeless population, the doors to this place were completely sealed off. A large barrier blocks the front, which once featured two doorways and a small ticket window. Around the sides of the theater, all six of the emergency exit doors have been bolted shut. The paint on the walls is pealing off in droves. Vicious and nasty graffiti coats the exteriors. Discarded clothing, shopping carts, and other various pieces of trash are strewn about the ground. The once well groomed weeds and grass now grow wild and restless. But the theater itself sits quietly, waiting for the next entrepreneur to open her doors again and try to bring it back it life. But sadly, as each days passes, that seems to be less and less likely of ever happening. For the Willimantic Movieplex, it seems that the show is over. The tickets were purchased. The crowds filed in. The previews have played. And the movie has now ended. Roll credits. Finish your popcorn.

Cinema is the most beautiful fraud in the world.” – Jean-Luc Godard

The Cages – Abandoned Shade Swamp Shelter

Posted: September 15, 2016 by Abandoned Wonders and Hidden Wonders Photography in #postaday, Abandoned, Abandoned Attractions, Abandoned Business, Abandoned Cabin, Abandoned Connecticut, abandoned home, Abandoned House, abandoned new england, Abandoned USA, Abandoned Wonders, Bird Watching, Birds, Broken, Closed, commercial, Connecticut, darkness, Death, Destruction, empty, Exploration, exploring the abandoned, Forgotten, forgotten beauty, Haunting, Hiking, History, House, Information, left behind, Mystery, nature, new england, nightmares, overgrown, photography, Public Parks, research, Ruins, Safety First, Searching, State Parks, Stories, time, Uncategorized, Urban Decay, Urban Exploration, Urban Exploring, Urbex
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The Cages

Abandoned Shade Swamp Shelter

Written by: Sean L.

Photographs by: Amanda H.

I have always hated seeing animals in cages, for as long as I can remember. Few things in life make me sadder than that. As a kid, I never liked going to the zoo or even the aquarium. Whereas most children found seeing the animals to be quite a fun and exciting experience, I felt only despair. Seeing what was once a wild animal trapped inside a cage always brought about feelings of sadness and anger. I can’t really explain it. I mean, not all cages are bad. Zoos aren’t the only ones to keep animals in cages. Animal shelters and rescue facilities keep their residents in cages, but for better reasons. Healing of injured animals or protecting endangered ones are a noble task indeed. But still, the thought of freedom being taken away is a dark one. And the image of cage can be a frightening one, especially when its been abandoned for many years.

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Our subject of this piece is a peculiar one: the abandoned Shade Swamp Shelter in Farmington, Connecticut. It is a far cry from most of the pieces we have done on here. First established in the early 1930’s, the purpose of the shelter has varied over the years. The rustic log shelter that has since become its signature was originally designed and built by the historic Civilian Conservation Corps. It has ranged from being a roadside attraction to being a wildlife sanctuary. One of its nobler pursuits was being home for wildlife rehabilitation. The sanctuary was based in the Shade Swamp, and featured a variety of enclosures for injured wildlife. It sadly went under during the 1960’s, and has been more or less abandoned ever since. A stroke of luck, however, came in 1986 when the shelter was officially listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

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We made the trek to the abandoned shelter in the waning days of summer 2016. The heat was beginning to die down, and the first glimpses of the fall season were just sprouting up. Sitting alongside the heavily trafficked US 6 North, the Shade Swamp Shelter is not difficult to find. It is almost hard to believe what is hidden back there when you first see it. The area surrounding it is teaming with traffic, busy intersections, and office buildings. But here in the swamp, everything is quiet. Upon arrival, there is a small pull-up spot where a few cars can be parked. Luckily, we were the only visitors there that day. You are then greeted with the old structure of the shelter itself. Though it has clearly been taken care of, there is also sadly evidence of vandalism and a recent fire inside of it. Given its age though, I’d say she looks pretty good. But it is further down the trail that the true hidden gems of this place lie.

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A short walk down the winding and nearly overgrown nature trail, we found the cages. Rusted to all Hell and in varying ranges of decay, there are nearly two dozen large pen cages lining either side of the trail. The ones on the right side are smaller, and feature stone dens at the back. The ones on the left side are much larger and have blue painted exteriors. Off the beaten path there is one bigger enclosure that is far different from the others, and was in the worst shape. The rusty fence is still up in a few places, and a few gagged pieces of metal are still nailed to a few of the trees. Be careful where you step. The trail will lead you further into the swamp, but circles back in one big loop. After the cages, you will find a few old relic from the sanctuary’s heyday, but nothing truly of note. The strange aura and mystique of these large abandoned enclosures are enough of a sight to see. You can even set foot inside a few of them, if you are brave enough.

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What is it about cages that make them so unsettling? Is it the thought of being trapped with nowhere to hide? Or is it something more? Perhaps the very notion of that precious freedom that we all seem to take for granted being taken away is what makes them so unsettling. Anyhow, the abandoned Shade Swamp Shelter is a great visit for anyone looking for a good hike and adventure seekers. There are no abandoned buildings or asylums here: just the remnants of a place long forgotten. It literally sits a few meager yards from a hustling and bustling community. But everything is silenced by the aura of the swamp. Chipmunks and birds roam freely here, making their homes into these old enclosures. Their world is seemingly untouched by ours out here. And though these cages now sit empty, they stand as a grim reminder of what was and what could have been.

Angel of the Asylum – The Mystery of Saint Mary

Posted: September 1, 2016 by Abandoned Wonders and Hidden Wonders Photography in #postaday, Abandoned, Abandoned Attractions, Abandoned Business, Abandoned Connecticut, abandoned home, Abandoned Hospital, Abandoned House, abandoned new england, Abandoned Sanatorium, Abandoned USA, Abandoned Wonders, Broken, Children's Hospital, Closed, commercial, Connecticut, darkness, Death, Destruction, empty, Exploration, exploring the abandoned, Forgotten, forgotten beauty, forgotten home, Ghosts, Graveyard, Haunting, Hiking, History, Information, left behind, lost, Mansfield, Mansfield Training School, Mystery, nature, new england, nightmares, overgrown, photography, research, Ruins, Safety First, Searching, Seaside Sanatorium, Stories, Storrs, time, UCONN, Uncategorized, Urban Decay, Urban Exploration, Urban Exploring, Urbex
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Angel of the Asylum

The Mystery of Saint Mary

Written by: Sean L.

Photographs by: Amanda H.

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary, the Devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” – 1 Peter 5:8

I honestly never thought I would be quoting the Bible on this blog. I am not a religious person, and frankly this is not a religious piece. It is just a story about something weird we encountered in our travels. Over the years, we have seen and experienced many strange things exploring abandoned places. Things like whispers in the dark, unsettling feelings, and random waves of energy have all come to pass. But this was one of the more special cases. It happened on a late summer afternoon. It was your typical lazy Sunday, and a day that we had decided to visit our old friend Mansfield Training School. Since we visit Seaside Sanatorium every summer, we thought it might be nice to document this abandoned hospital annually as well. But what we found that day was a bit strange. It could all just be harmless fun, but it was just a little too weird for my taste.

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Now, we have already done one piece on the abandoned Mansfield Training School. You can find it here on our site if you want to know more. We will also be putting out an entirely separate piece on our return visit in the coming weeks. This piece stands on it’s own. Rather than talking about the history of the abandoned hospital once again, we shall be covering something different; Saint Mary. As the mother of Jesus Christ, Mary is one of the most prominent and well known saints of the entire Christian faith. It is believed that the Virgin Mary bore the son of God, who would go on to die for our sins on the cross. Statues, paintings, and stained glass windows bearing her image can be seen today all over the world. She has also claimed to have been seen and involved in many “miraculous” incidents throughout history, many of which still go unexplained today. And this case is no exception.

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On our first visit to the abandoned Mansfield Training School one year prior, we had discovered a ghostly statue of Saint Mary in the basement of one of the buildings on the far east side of the complex. On this day, we found the exact same statue standing at the gates to a different building on the far west side. She had been moved. Whereas once she stood guard below ground, she was now warding off any intruders from entering this new building. And we did double check old photos and the building we first found her in: it is indeed the same statue. Odds are, some college kids from the neighboring UCONN moved her as a prank. But still, maybe something else was at work here. The grounds are known as paranormal hot spots, and hauntings are said to be a regular occurrence here. Is this just some silly prank? Or is there something more supernatural at work here?

Perhaps it’s all just a coincidence. But then again, perhaps it isn’t.

Places to Visit this Summer – Seaside Sanatorium

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

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.

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