Posts Tagged ‘Marlborough’

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The Abandoned Marlborough Commons

Written by: Wilk

Photographs by: Lassie

Marlborough, Connecticut, is and always will be my home at heart. I grew up here. I spent my entire childhood and young adult life here. I know this town like no other, especially growing up in the time where kids used their bikes to get everywhere. But as much as I love this little town, so many things have changed about it. Many of the smaller local businesses are no more. Construction is underway on a large supermarket. And many of the people I once knew have moved on. It is simply the way of life. We have covered the abandoned Marlborough Commons shopping center in the past. But several years later, it has taken a grim turn for the worse.

 A mere stone’s throw from the now hustling and bustling center of town lies the now abandoned Marlborough Commons. I can’t tell you exactly what year it officially went under, but I do know that this place never quite picked up traction as a local business. Maybe it was their location, sitting pretty right off the entrance/exit ramp from Route 2. From what I remember, it was always a two-floor business complex with the restaurant a bit further down the lot. Many different establishments came and went from here, none sticking around for too long. The complex limped on as long as it could, and has now sat empty and deserted for almost ten long years.

On a beautiful summer day in 2017, we decided to pay the Marlborough Commons a visit. Though it is still listed as FOR SALE, we did not encounter a single NO TRESPASSING, KEEP OUT, or PRIVATE PROPERTY sign anywhere on the property. Since the almost three years since our last visit, the Commons has certainly entered a downward spiral. The once minimal vandalism has run rampant at this former shopping center. Windows have been smashed. Doors have been boarded up. Graffiti stains the old brick walls. Farther down the lot, the old cafe is slowly being engulfed by the wild and hungry vegetation.  Nature, much like the vandals, has struck back in a big way.

They say the older we get, the more things we have to leave behind. That’s life. And as my old hometown grows and grows, places like the Marlborough Commons seemingly get left behind. Most of the old businesses I grew up with are now gone. It is sad to see what was once a cornerstone of our local community now sitting in a state of such disrepair. But like I said, a big FOR SALE sign sits out front. The Marlborough Commons is not beyond salvageable yet. I hope to see her rise again someday, stranger things have happened. And if I’ve learned anything growing up in this lovable little community, it’s that you can never count the town of Marlborough out.

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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Down Memory Lane

Exploring the Abandoned Marlborough Commons

By Sean and Amanda

I grew up in the town of Marlborough, living there for over twenty years. As a child, it felt like there was no better place in the world to grow up. The typical Saturday would start off by getting our coffee and donuts at Cavalieri’s Bakery. Then we would do our grocery shopping at Pat’s Market. A short drive down the road, we would have lunch at Carilli’s Café. We would do some gift shopping and beanie baby hunting at the fabled Marlborough Barn. We would have dinner at the Marlborough Tavern. Then we’d close out the day with some live music at Pine Needle’s. That was life as a kid in Marlborough, Connecticut. Today? All of that is gone. All of the aforementioned establishments have gone out of business over the last fifteen years. The town that I once knew and loved is no more.

Some places, like Cavalieri’s Bakery and the Marlborough Barn, eventually came under new ownership and re-opened under different names. Pine Needle’s became our town’s resident Dunkin Donuts. The Marlborough Tavern and Pat’s Market still sit empty after several failed re-openings, just waiting for the next entrepreneur to take a chance on the property. But one structure of the town has completely gone under: The Marlborough Commons. Sitting right beside the entrance and exit to Route 2, The Marlborough Commons was a two-floor multi business establishment. Included in their parking lot was Carilli’s Café. This place has been closed for almost a decade. The Marlborough Commons never quite picked up traction economically. Over the years, it limped on with multiple businesses coming and going before finally succumbing to defeat. The gates to the Marlborough Commons are now closed, and a large “FOR SALE” sign now sits out front.

I used to drive by the abandoned Marlborough Commons all the time. I have always wanted to conduct an investigation for the website here. I have never had the opportunity to do any urban exploring within my hometown. After doing some research and asking around town, I was not able to turn up much of any information on the site. There is a posting online listing the property as for sale though. It seems like the place is just a bad memory that this town is trying to forget. There have been a lot of talks over the years about a grocery chain possibly purchasing the grounds and building a new store there. Nothing has ever come of these talks, allegedly due to the poor location and the competition from the neighboring “Stop and Shop” just a few miles down the road in East Hampton.

On a cold December day, we decided to pay The Marlborough Commons a visit. Due to its close proximity to the highway Route 2 and sitting right along the busy Route 66, getting into the Marlborough Commons was a little difficult. There are literally dozens of cars driving by every minute. The local police also have been known to use the lot of the Marlborough Commons to catch speeders. So we had to be careful. The site has always been easy to identify due to the large white sign out front, reading “The Marlborough Commons” in black cursive writing. The sign has sadly begun to fade, and wild vines now grow all over it. The gate to the parking lot is closed and locked, so we were not able to drive directly up the buildings. However there is a small space in front of the gate where a car can easily pull up.

During its heyday, the main building of the Marlborough Commons was home to at least two businesses. There was the law office of Erik S. Young, a local attorney. The signs bearing his name can still be seen. Beside that was the “Memory Lane” scrapbooking store, its white sign and pink wallpaper still beckoning people to come in. There may have been more businesses operating here when the Marlborough Commons closed, but they must’ve taken their signs because these were the only two we could identify. The front of the building is in very good shape. Aside from the cracking pavement and slowly encroaching vines, the Marlborough Commons looks like it could still be in operation. There are no broken windows, graffiti, or liter visible anywhere. This could most likely be attributed to the building’s close proximity to a highly trafficked and policed road.IMG_3103

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The back of the building is a totally different story though. Many of the windows have been smashed. The doors are all boarded up. The paint is rapidly peeling. From the road, the Marlborough Commons looks like it’s still alive. But from the back, it looks ghastly and clearly abandoned. Inside, the buildings have been completely cleared out. All furniture and other items were most likely removed when they went out business, leaving the insides just a barren wasteland. Aside from some liter, it is completely empty from room to room. Farther down the lot was Carilli’s Café. The front of this former restaurant is now completely overgrown with plant life. Every single window and door has been crudely boarded up with cheap plywood. It has clearly suffered from vandalism in the past, as this place was sewn up very tightly with no way in without breaking in.

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While it was nice to take a stroll down memory lane by revisiting the Marlborough Commons, seeing this former corner stone of the town of Marlborough in this state of disrepair was sad indeed. This place was once a busy and bustling part of the community, where people could get some legal counseling, stock up on art supplies, or grab lunch with some friends at Carilli’s Café. Now, it is merely a hollow shell. It has become one of the many great local businesses to have fallen under the crushing weight of the world. Who knows what the future holds for this place. Maybe someday businesses will return, but they most likely won’t. The rest of the town is steadily moving on without it. The Marlborough Commons now waits in disrepair, a grim reminder to the people of Marlborough what our town was once like.

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