Posts Tagged ‘Graffitti’

Who Goes There?

The Abandoned Union Pond Mill

Written by: Wilk

Photographs by: Lassie

Abandoned places can be very fickle things. Some are cast aside, left to rot on their own. The world quickly forgets about them and wants nothing to do with them. Others lie dormant for years, but eventually find their resurgence. Old mills are converted to apartment buildings. Failed businesses are resurrected with new ideas. Colossal historical landmarks become preserved ruins and tourist attractions. But there is sometimes a darker side to all of this. Some abandoned places become black holes when they are cast out into the cold. Having failed at their calling purpose, they eventually turn into something ugly. And that is what we have here today. It was once a thriving staple of the local community, wearing many different hats over the years. Now, it is nothing more than a dark and twisted reflection of its former self. This, among other things, are what make this place so unique. And while so many people know about it, very few seem to know how it got this way.

I have yet to really find a concrete name for this mysterious place. I’m just calling it Union Pond Mill because of it’s proximity to Union Pond. But everyone in Manchester knows about it. The mill was first built in the early 1900’s, working with both wool and paper. Located alongside the Hockanum River, the mill was at an ideal crossroads in the town of Manchester. It was unfortunately forced to close down around the turn of the century after polluting the nearby Union Pond. After this, the facility was purchased by the Boticelo Corporation, and started a new life as a recycling center. This, sadly, also wasn’t meant to be. After a few short years, the Union Mill was forced to close its doors once again. This time for good. The ground are allegedly now owned by CL&P, and supposed to be still up for sale. I talked to some people who said they once used the abandoned mill as a makeshift skate park. Many others steer clear of this place due to the number of unsavory characters said to stalk the halls at night.

Finding the abandoned Union Pond Mill isn’t too difficult. As I said, it is right smack along the side of a very busy intersection in Manchester. If you know where to look, you will find it very easily. We had talked about investigating this place for a long while now. We had just never found the time to go take a look around. Having lived in Manchester, we had driven past it many times. Sometimes it looked like it was being demolished. Sometimes it didn’t. But one summer afternoon, we decided to go looking for it. After taking a short walk through the woods, we came upon the abandoned mill. There was not a single NO TRESPASSING or KEEP OUT sign on our way in. And once you arrive at the abandoned property, everything seems to just fall silent. There were no birds singing. The summer bugs all seemed to disappear. And even though a busy road was right through the trees, the mill was quiet as a tomb when we arrived. That said, it didn’t take long for us to get the feeling that we were being watched.

There is plenty of old equipment, broken bottles, and discarded trash littering the wasteland. Colorful and kooky graffiti coats the rafters. Many old fire pits have stained sections of the cement floor pitch black. Vines and vegetation grow from any facet of building they can reach. But other than the liter, the warehouses are shockingly devoid. It was a breezy summer day. And each little burst of wind caused the very foundation of this place to tremble. There were times walking around the abandoned mill that I thought it was going to collapse at any second. You can still get upstairs in a few places. Just watch your step, as everything in here feels incredibly precarious. Plus we found evidence of somebody living up there. Some demolition has obviously been done. The main chimney has endured a lot of vandalism, but still stands silently tall at the front. Clearly someone is checking up on this place, as there are many paths through the undergrowth that guide you from section to section of the mill.

As we began to head out from the mill, I saw the shadow of a person from the other side of the main wall. It followed us as we began to move out. They were not chasing us. Just slowly trailing a few steps behind us. No noise was made. The shadow just moved through the outside underbrush after us. This was honestly one of the very few times I’ve felt genuinely nervous while out exploring. I am not ashamed to admit that. Whoever it was stopped pursuing us once we cleared the main gate. From the moment we arrived, I knew someone…or something was watching us. It is a feeling you just can’t shake. This place has quite the reputation for being a haven of the outcasts. And as we learned that day, this reputation is justly deserved. It was probably just a homeless individual keeping watch over their spot. But still. You can never be too careful, especially in a place like this. The sounds of work and jobs are gone from here, now. Only mystery remains.

A Peaceful Feeling

Abandoned in the Center of Town

Written by: Sean L.

Photographs by: Amanda H.

In a small town in Connecticut, an empty house is slowly devoured by the forests that surround it. Windows and doors have been busted open. An old barn slowly decays in the front yard. The once firm driveway is now nothing more than a gravel path. Wild vines and briars steadily grow like gnarling teeth across the outer walls. All of this stands in plain sight of the town of Hebron, Connecticut. A house slowly dies in plain sight here. The rest of the town just goes on about their business. They pay no attention to it. Cars go by. People get their groceries. Businesses rise and fall. But not a second glance is given to this place that someone, not too long ago, called home. We’ve explored many abandoned houses in the past, but none of them have been literally smack dab in the center of town. They’ve often been in some desolate country road or lost in the woods. But this place stands alone, crying out for help. But nobody answers.

 The town of Hebron, Connecticut, was founded in the year 1704. It is one of the older towns in the area. It was officially incorporated into Hartford County in 1708. About a century later, parts of Hebron officially became a part of the newly established township of Marlborough, my home town. Throughout its history, Hebron was well known for being a strong farming community. Much of its rolling countryside was home to countless family farms and homesteads. Though the town has changed significantly over the years, many farms can still be found in the town. Along Route 66, several large chicken and dairy farms can be seen alongside the busy road just over the Columbia border. Unfortunately, just a few miles down the road, one former home lies empty and abandoned. Much like the other abandoned homes we have visited over the years, we were not able to find much of any information about this old house. From what we have gathered, it has been abandoned for at no more than eight years.

Though this abandoned house lays smack dab in the center of town, someone clearly doesn’t want anyone visiting it. NO TRESPASSING and KEEP OUT signs are posted along the property. Oddly enough, the closest neighbor to the old abandoned house is actually the resident CVS Pharmacy. Dozens of patrons visit the pharmacy every day, with little knowledge of what lies amongst the underbrush. The house is rather hard to get to. Nasty briars and thick vegetation surround the house, making it very difficult to reach or even see for that matter. With no one left to stand in her way, Mother Nature is slowly reclaiming this former home. The upper attic of the house is now home to plenty of birds and probably some bats too. We could see plenty of nests from the outside. The exteriors of the house are in very poor shape. A television antenna has fallen off the roof, but never made it to the ground as it has become entangled in the vines growing along the gutters.

The front door of the house was wide open. Inside, it was quiet as a tomb. The front door entered right into the kitchen, which had been completely gutted. A few items of liter lay strew about. The old stove was curiously still there and in good shape. We actually found very little evidence of vandalism in the house. There was a couple graffiti designs tagged in one of the rooms, but that was about it. The rest of the house was empty. There were several large dark rooms, but pretty much everything had been cleared out. We were unable to find any entrance to the upstairs, and the house did not appear to have a basement. We did find a haunting clue as to who might have been the final occupant of the house: an old cane still stood in what appeared to be the family room. A yellowing copy of the Lord’s Prayer was still tacked to the wall. And judging from the modifications to the house’s bathroom, an elderly person once dwelled here. Perhaps their spirit still haunted these dark hallways.

They say that there is a peaceful feeling in letting go. It is that moment, when you just can’t hold on anymore, that you find a relative peace. Perhaps it is the fact that the pain is gone. Perhaps it is in the realization that you don’t have to fight anymore. Personally, I believe it is the moment when you are finally ready to move on. And sadly enough, the town of Hebron, much like the family of whoever once lived here, seems to have moved on. This old house has been lost, leaving it to be slowly engulfed by the surrounding forest. But there is a peaceful feeling amongst all of this. While the old house slowly disappears, the town continues grow and flourish. What was once a home to man, now have become the home to nature. And we can only hope that over time this old house, much like its former residents, can finally rest in peace.

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Everything Must Go

Visiting Manchester’s Abandoned Car Dealership

Written by: Sean L

Photographs by: Amanda H

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   Good credit? Bad credit? No credit? We finance everyone! Zero money down, zero percent financing, zero hassle! Get approved today! Everything must go! Come on down! Yeah, car dealerships are seemingly everywhere today. These lines are recognized by just about everyone, because they are something that we are all familiar with. It’s impossible to avoid. We hear about them constantly on the radio. Their advertisements invade our favorite television shows. Their giant billboards decorate our highways. Most car dealerships today are family run, seemingly age old dynasties. They are empires, ruling over the world of used cars with an iron fist. But what happens when these empires inevitably crumble? What happens when there aren’t any more customers, or cars to sell? What happens to the giant inflatable gorilla and all the tacky promotional stuff that these dealerships use? It all fades away. Like a dying tree, these places fold up, and their ashes are cast to the four winds, leaving nothing but empty lots and broken dreams.

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We visited one of these fallen empires during the early days of 2015. Formally known as “Family Auto of Manchester,” this former dealership was open for about twenty years. Located along Main Street, Manchester, the dealership was in a pretty decent location. There are, however, much larger dealerships in the area that caused competition. It went out of business about a year ago. From what we could find in our research, the place was not very well liked by its customers. We found one scathing review on Google Plus condemning the dealership for its unprofessionalism, poor service, and disrespect for its female customers. Perhaps things like this had something to do with its downfall. I can tell you that ironically, I shopped for a car here once when I was sixteen. It was an Acura Integra. Though I saw no real issues with the place, I didn’t end up buying the car because I was just too tall for it. Seven years later, I returned to this place, though it is now abandoned.

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“Family Auto of Manchester” is located right on Main Street, Manchester. Though it is not nearly as trafficked of a road as others in Manchester, it is still a pretty busy area. It is right next to a heavily used gas station and a few small businesses. It is also right down the street from a Walgreens and the lovable local watering hole The Main Pub. Funny enough, there are also several auto repair shops located very closely to the abandoned dealership. From what we had gathered, lots of people parked their cars at the empty lot when they could not find street parking. Whether this is legal or not remains to be seen. So for our investigation, we simply drove up and parked alongside the abandoned dealership. Luckily, this was all before we had piles of snow on the ground. The lot itself was in really bad shape. There are pot holes everywhere, and cracks ripple through the pavement like a spider web. Thick yellow grass protrudes from the cracks here and there. We also found piles of leaves and a few tires scattered around the lot.

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The building itself is in moderately good shape. Though the paint is now fading and aging, the building was clearly never a very good color. It’s rather bland tan paintjob is now accented with a decaying brown. Only one or two of the windows have been broken, and there appears to be no structural damage. The walls, however, are absolutely coated in graffiti and gang signs. It’s everywhere; on the walls, on the windows, on the pavement. The place is definitely a hot spot for teenagers and delinquents who have nothing better to do with their time. Along the outer windows, there are still brightly colored and worded signs offering hassle free financing and credit approval. Old wiring and air conditioning units still cling the walls, though they have been devoid of power for some time now. Attached to the building is the garage. Clearly some sort of animal is living in here, as we found evidence of it and because there is a perfectly sized hole that has been made in the garage door. This was also the way inside of the dealership.

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It is rather dark and foreboding inside the garage, but inside the dealership is very bright. The outer wall of the building is solid glass, so you can see inside no problem. The inside of the dealership is very eerie. Most of the furniture has been left behind for some reason. Inside the main office, a desk still sits with a once comfy looking chair accompanying it. Out on the sales floor, a large round table and four chairs still sit, waiting for the next deal to be made. Several desks are pushed into the corner, with stacks of old paper and other liter strewn across them. A bunch of old computer parts and car manuals lie in ruin on one of the old tables. There are even a few carpets left behind on the floor. A pair of old school vending machines, the kind where you put in a quarter and get a handful of candy, are back along the wall, though they are now empty and covered in dust. Sadly enough, a forgotten plant still waits for water as it gathers sunshine in the main window.

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Having been here and test driving a car here all those years ago, it was very interesting to return now that the place is abandoned. The lot once full of beat up used cars now lies empty and broken. I stood in the exact spot where I turned down an offer to buy a car here. And today, I am very glad that I did turn down that offer. Not just because of the height issue, but because this place has completely fallen into darkness. To answer my question from earlier, this is what becomes of these once illustrious car dealerships when their empires finally crumble. There are no more radio ads, no more tacky gimmicks, and no more used cars. They simply lie in ruin, waiting for a day that will probably never come. Though it has long since gone under, “Family Auto of Manchester” still haunts the main street of this busy little town. And even though its signs still beckon eager car shoppers to enter its gates with the temptation of financing, you won’t find any obnoxious salesmen or tacky decorations here. Everything is gone.

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