Posts Tagged ‘Massachusetts’

And Then There Was Darkness

The Abandoned Clinton Tunnel

Written by: Wilk

Photographs by: Lassie

I haven’t been sleeping well lately. Not for a long time. It’s a scary thing, sometimes. You’re a prisoner in your own mind, but you’re also the guard of it. You’re the only one who can get yourself to sleep, but just can’t seem to find the path. You just kind of walk around trying your damnedest to function in a perpetual state of fog. Things appear and disappear at will. You hear things that aren’t really there. And you sometimes wonder what is real and was is not. You can lie awake in the dark for hours. If you have an alarm clock, it feels like that alarm could come at any second. Sometimes you find comfort in thinking that it is right around the corner. But then these seconds turn into minutes. Those minutes into hours. And what was supposed to be right around the corner turns into a lifetime. Every once in awhile, you fade in and out of reality. Dreams come and go. You feel like you might actually be getting some rest. But you never really rest. It’s all just an illusion. Or, is it? The thoughts come and go. And then there was darkness.

Since I’ve got your attention, allow me to introduce our subject for today. This is the abandoned Clinton Tunnel. She is truly a marvel to behold, running just shy of a quarter of a mile underground. First constructed in the early 1900’s, the tunnel was once apart of the state’s longest running railroad pipeline. It was built going through a hill and heading toward a bridge going over the nearby Wachusett Reservoir. This area in particular had a lot of construction and organized flooding during this time to meet the growing demands of nearby Boston. From here, these railroads carried goods and passengers all across New England for many years. But that time was not to last. With the end of the industrial revolution, things began to grow quiet. The demand for railroad traffic began to dwindle, and the abundance of this once great industry began to wane. By the 1970’s, the bridge over the Wachusett Reservoir had been demolished. And with that, Clinton Tunnel became totally abandoned.

We made the trek to Clinton Tunnel on a grey Spring Sunday. Things were quiet on the way up. And the tunnel lies right off the side of the road. It’s great stone archways are like the Mines of Moria: a grand gateway into the dark. The first half of the tunnel is paved all the way around, from the sides to the ceilings. It still very much looks like an old train tunnel. The walls are coated with graffiti and the floor is all dirt. But the other half is pure stone and has a very cave-like appearance to it. It reminded me very much of The Decent, especially with the constant echo of dripping water. We had heard many stories of just how bad the water levels could get inside of the tunnel, and we had planned our visit on a day where it hadn’t rained in some time. But it turns out that there is no good time to visit Clinton Tunnel, since there was still tons of water. There’s water falling from the ceiling. There’s water flooding the path. There’s water dripping down the stone siding. It’s just everywhere. All sorts of trash and filth float amongst it.

Though only a quarter mile long, the tunnel can seem never ending. But the North end of the tunnel is where things can get a little weird. Frogs, both dead and alive, decorate the muddier patches of water. The train path continues to an old overpass, which now serves as a bridge for a lonely back country road. The great stone borders glisten with moss and mist. While we were photographing the North end, we noticed two strangers standing at the far side of the tunnel. We caught them in a photograph just standing there, staring at us. Maybe they were contemplating walking through themselves. Maybe they couldn’t quite figure out why someone would trek that far out. Or maybe they were just marveling at the tunnel’s majesty. I don’t know. But then, up on the quiet road, a lone car pulled up. It just sat there. Watching us. For a time, I thought they were just looking at the tunnel. But after awhile, it started to get weird. They took off as soon as I waved at them. It was then that we decided it was time to leave.

A great man once said, “With insomnia, you’re never really awake; but you’re never really asleep.” That’s what walking through the abandoned Clinton Tunnel was like; stuck in the void between two different dimensions. There’s never total darkness, but there’s never much light either. You’re underground, but you don’t really feel like it. No matter how deep you get, the end always feels like it’s right around the corner. We’ve seen countless other tunnels like this one get renovated and become part of walking trails. But not this one. It is truly an adventurer’s gutter. Filled with darkness. Trash. And mystery. If you wish to take the plunge into the abandoned tunnel, heed our warnings. As far as I know, visiting is completely legal. Wear your boots. Bring your flashlights. And don’t forget your hand sanitizer. You have to touch the walls a few times if you want to make it to the other side. And once you start, don’t ever lose sight of the light at the end of the tunnel.

The Bruin Ruins

The Abandoned Boston Bear Dens

Written by: Wilk

Photographs by: Lassie

I’ve never liked going to the zoo. Ever since I was just a kid. I know that they do a lot of good. I know that many of them help rehabilitate wildlife. I know that they bring so much joy to so many people. It’s just the idea of these amazing animals in captivity where they don’t belong has never sat well with me. I’ve always had a soft spot for animals. Maybe it’s because I grew up with more dogs in my house than siblings. Or maybe it’s because I’ve always felt like I had a stronger connection to animals than other people. I don’t know, and frankly, this line of thought is getting depressing. Moving on. We’ve covered a couple abandoned zoos in the past, most notably the Shade Swamp Shelter in Central Connecticut. They’ve always been kind of creepy. But this place was a bit more unique. For starters, this is only a forgotten piece of one of the largest zoos in New England. Also, it currently stands in the middle of the biggest city in the North Eastern United States – Boston, Massachusetts.

This is Franklin Park. Say hello, everyone. It is more, or less, the equivalent of Boston’s Central Park. As in, it is the largest park within the city limits. First opening in the early nineteen hundreds, one of the key features of the park is the zoo. When it’s doors first opened in 1908, Franklin Park Zoo was free to the public, covered a great distance across the park, and housed many different exotic animals. For many years, the zoo was a big hit. However, it unfortunately was just hitting its stride as the rest of the country began to fall on hard times during the mid 1920’s. She sadly fell into disrepair, until 1958 when the grounds were acquired by the local government. The zoo was brought back to life in a big way, and flourishes even today. But during this time of renovation, certain sectors of the grounds were cut off and left to rot. One such part are the now abandoned Bear Dens of the Long Crouch Woods. The animals, of course, did find other homes in the expanded zoo. But their old enclosures were deemed to expensive to take down.

March is Lassie’s birthday month, and we go on a short mini-vacation every year to celebrate. This year, we had chosen Boston as our destination. Naturally, we looked for at least one abandoned place in the city to check out. Truth be told, I hadn’t been to Boston in four years. I had filmed plenty of movies and commercials up there when I was younger, but hadn’t been around that way in a long time. After a bit of searching, we both became captivated by this place and decided to pay it a visit. Lucky for us, we got some pretty decent weather. Also lucky for us, Franklin Park is only a few blocks walk from the nearest T-station. We made the trip in the early morning, so as to get the most out of our day. The park was mostly quiet, given that it was a school day and all. It is also full of amenities, including the aforementioned zoo, a school, and a playground. Unfortunately, we chose not to bring our camera since we had plans in the city later that afternoon. So all of these photos were taken on our phones.

The abandoned Bear Dens lie in the northern most point of the park, also known as the Long Crouch Woods. And I can honestly say, they are very striking. Against the grey backdrop of the Spring New England skyline, the old bear dens are rundown but still very grand in stature. All of the metal framework is quite rusted, and much of the stone is crumbling. Yet the sheer size and elegance of it all gives this place a very sturdy and unique look to it all. The mix of grey stone and brown metal make for a strong outward appearance. At the very top of the stone frame, the carvings of two bears and can still be seen. If you’re feeling daring, you can still peek into a few of the old sleeping quarters in the back. A very nice Park Ranger did come to check up on us. He unfortunately did not have much information to tell us, but let us take all of the pictures that we wanted. Which was nice. In my experiences, security guards can be a real hit or miss. Some can be really cool, like this gentleman. Others, however, can be real assholes.

We stayed for a decent amount of time. There isn’t too much to see here, but it is a really cool place. As far as I know, the abandoned Bear Dens are completely legal to visit. Just be cool about it, as the Park Rangers obviously keep a close eye on this place. And rightfully so. There was hardly any graffiti or vandalism here, but there were some rather unsavory characters snooping around after we left. Much like the bears that once roamed this unique place, it is has a rough exterior and a certain majesty about it. We of course visited the regular zoo once we were finished exploring, which I highly recommend. As I said earlier, I usually don’t like visiting zoos. But this place is very special. I personally found the hyenas to be my favorite exhibit. The park has so much history to it. The bear dens still stand tough after all these years. The zoo itself is so full of life. And just because you didn’t like something for years, doesn’t mean you can’t change your mind.

 

Arrested Decay

The Abandoned Chester-Hudson Quarry

Written by: Wilk

Photographs by: Lassie

On our last piece written for this site, we got a comment reading:

“Not your best effort :-(“

It really pissed me off. But it pissed me off because it was true. To be fair, it was just another one of our “Top 10 Movies” lists. But still. It made me realize that the quality of our posts has gone down in recent months. Articles were getting shorter and fewer in between. The places we visited weren’t as exciting as they used to be. It’s just that the older we get, the busier we get. That’s just the why life is. Sometimes being an adult sucks. Unfortunately, this means we have less and less time to go exploring. Especially as the blank spaces across the map are steadily being filled in. It’s becoming increasingly harder to find good spots to explore. But you guys deserve better. And so, we’re going to be better. And so this is a place that I personally chose as our comeback piece. It is a landmark that I’ve had my eye on for a long time, and it has truly become one of my favorite places I have ever visited. This, ladies and gents, is the abandoned Chester-Hudson Quarry.

Located in the breath-taking town of Becket, Massachusetts, this location is nestled deep in the Berkshire Mountains community. Those of you who follow this site should know by now how much I love the Berkshires. The Chester-Hudson Quarry was a thriving granite business in the community starting in the mid-1800’s. Stone mined from the rich quarry was shipped off to be used all over the country. But, as is a recurring theme of these places, times always change. The need for such commodities eventually began to wane, especially with rising costs and an ever changing economy. With a steadily declining prosperity, the quarry was eventually shut down in the 1960’s. While the workers went home, they left behind many of their tools and equipment to weep in solitude. I don’t know they did this. Maybe they were hoping to return to work someday. But someday never came. Fear not, though. The grounds were saved from commercial development by the local Becket Land Trust.

Our visit to the abandoned Chester-Hudson Quarry came on a beautiful misty day in early summer 2018. Full honesty: we visited this place on my 27th birthday. I usually hate my birthday, because everything just seems to go wrong. Luckily for me, today was not one of those days. The rain had luckily missed us during our trip, covering the grounds in a ghostly mist. We were the only visitors there that day, which is the way I like it. From the first steps into the preserve, this place looks like any other New England walking trail. But after a short hike in, you begin to see the remains of the old quarry. A few rusty structures still barely stand. Two mysteriously left behind old trucks slowly rot into the earth. The quarry itself is truly one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. You turn the corner from the old wreckage, and boom. There it is.  The water glistens vibrantly in the sun. The deep croaks of the bullfrogs echo across the rocky walls. And for a moment, or two, there is true tranquility to be found. I will truly never forget the first time I saw it.

Atop the hill overlooking the quarry are the remains of the rope system. These were once used to lift large rocks from the quarry for processing. It is a bit of a walk to get to, mostly through the mud and tall grass. But it provides an excellent view of the entire grounds. Much like the town of Bodie, California, the Chester-Hudson Quarry sits in a state of what is called “Arrested Decay,” also known as a “Preserved Ruin.” The structures are not repaired, but they are kept from falling into complete deterioration. It seems to be an ever growing trend across the country. People are looking to preserve what they can while they can. The old lifting machines are quite rusted, but the stiff-arm derrick of the old quarry was, in fact, restored by the local volunteers of the Becket Land Trust. The whole notion gives this place a very unique, almost “abandoned museum” type feel to it. Plaques and info-panels have even been added in some places. Clearly, this place is very loved and well cared for by its owners.

The Chester-Hudson Quarry is completely legal to visit, and I highly suggest this place to all of our readers who are hikers. It may not be pure-blood urban exploration, but it’s still pretty amazing. Personally, it was especially nice to see during the very early days of summer. There is just so much here to see and experience. Sometimes it’s hidden amongst the underbrush. Sometimes it’s right on the trail. A word of caution though to all potential visitors: Salamanders. Salamanders everywhere. We must’ve counted over a hundred small fiery orange salamanders on our walk through these woods. They were just bloody everywhere. So watch your step. They didn’t show up until half way through our visit. But once we started seeing them, they just wound up being everywhere. As summer begins to come into full swing, there really is something magical about this place. It has a hauntingly mystical quality about it, and really is one of the most special places we have ever explored.

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If you would like to learn more about the Becket Land Trust, please visit their official website – https://becketlandtrust.org/

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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Cape Cod’s Psycho 2 – Return to Bates Motel

Posted: July 6, 2016 by Hidden Wonders Photography in #postaday, Abandoned, Abandoned Attractions, Abandoned Business, Abandoned Cabin, Abandoned Cape Cod, abandoned home, Abandoned House, Abandoned Massachusetts, abandoned new england, Abandoned Resort, Abandoned USA, Abandoned Wonders, Bates Motel, Beaches, Birds, Broken, Cabin, Cape Cod, Closed, commercial, darkness, Death, Destruction, empty, Exploration, exploring the abandoned, Forgotten, forgotten beauty, forgotten home, Ghosts, Graveyard, Haunting, Hiking, History, House, Information, left behind, lost, Massachusetts, Movies, Mystery, nature, new england, nightmares, Ocean, Ocean View, overgrown, photography, Ruins, Safety First, Searching, seaside, Stories, time, Truro, Uncategorized, Urban Decay, Urban Exploration, Urban Exploring, Urbex, writing
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Cape Cod’s Psycho 2

Return to Bates Motel

Written by: Sean L.

Photographs by: Amanda H.

Every great Hollywood movie ends up getting a sequel. Especially horror movies. Jaws. Saw. Halloween. Friday the 13th. Scream. Yes, even Psycho. While the sequels are not as wisely known or as fondly remembered as Alfred Hitchcock’s original classic, they set a precedent as far as horror sequels would go. In an effort to outdo their predecessors, most horror sequels end up being much darker, brutal, and more sinister than what came before them. Most of these films fail to meet these expectations. But some go a little bit too far. This is our first “sequel.”

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Over three years ago, we visited an abandoned landmark along the white sandy beaches of Cape Cod – Bates Motel. It has stood silently amongst the bustling vacation community of North Truro, Massachusetts, for over two decades. It’s origins are a mystery. Nobody anywhere seems to know just what this place was or how it came to be in its present state. We wrote a piece on it about a year ago, and it went on to become one of our most popular articles. A few weeks ago, while on vacation in Cape Cod, we decided to stop by to see how our old friend was doing.

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Let’s just say that the years have not been kind to the Bates Motel. Where once rusty old padlocks kept people out of the rooms, not everything is boarded up. The windows. The doors. The office. Everything. The tall seagrass has grown wild and uncontrollable. The pavement of the old parking lot lies in jagged chunks mixed among the scorching hot sand. The gulls still soar overhead, cawing at the misery of this sad place. On either side, happy vacationing families pay no heed to the Bates Motel. They simply ignore it, like a stray dog lying wounded in their summer paradise.

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We don’t break in to places. We never have, and we never will. But someone, or something, had broken into the Bates Motel before our visit. The old plywood covering the maid’s closet had been busted open, so we popped in to take a few pictures. While it was damn near pitch black inside, plenty of stuff has been left inside. Small beams of sunlight peaked through the cracks in the wooden planks. We even found the entrance to the basement, but it was much too dark to get any good photographs. Though we were unable to get inside the office, plenty of furniture is still sitting in there as well. It is almost as if Bates Motel just up and closed one day. Never to re-open.

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Our first visit to the abandoned Bates Motel was much like the first film in a great horror franchise. It was shocking, fascinating, and highly recommendable. Our second visit was much like the sequel. While it was unavoidable, it was much darker than the original. It was much like Psycho II: it left us feeling like we had never come back, that we could just remember the Bates Motel how it was. The slow rate of decay on this place is a bit depressing. The place looked like it was about to just collapse in on itself at any moment. Will there be a Part III for us at the abandoned Bates Motel? Only time will tell.

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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!

 

 

 

 

Bring Me Back to Life
The Abandoned Great Barrington Fairgrounds

Written by: Wilk
Photographs by: Lassie

I first fell in love with the town of Great Barrington, Massachusetts, in the fall of 2013. I was up there filming an action movie for a few weeks, and the town became like a second home to me. Nestled deep in the picturesque wilderness of the Berkshire Mountains, Great Barrington was the true personification of an old school New England town. Locally owned small businesses line the streets. There’s a farmer’s market once a week during the fall. An old mansion keeps watch over the center of town. It is a true community. But there is one place here in town that doesn’t quite fit in. In the shadow of the mountains, an old relic of the past slowly crumbles into the fertile New England ground. And though she may not look it anymore, she was once one of the crown jewels of the local community. This is the Great Barrington Fairgrounds, and she has been left to rot on and off for many years.

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The Great Barrington Fairgrounds opened during the late eighteen-hundreds. It began as a place for the local farmers to trade and showcase their goods with the rest of the community. Horse-racing was added in several years later, and quite literally took off. Over the next hundred years, the Great Barrington Fairgrounds became well known around the region as one of the biggest and best tracks around. They were even hosts to the longest running harvest fair in all of New England. She began to hit major prominence in the 1940’s when the interest in horse racing spiked to an all-time high. But as we all know, no good thing can last forever. Over the next few years, that very same frivolous interest that made the Great Barrington Fairgrounds so popular began to steadily decline. The grounds were finally shut down in 1983. There was an attempt to revive the facility in 1997, but it was short-lived. The grounds closed for good shortly after.

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We visited Great Barrington once again in the fall of 2015. The deserted fairgrounds were there to greet us as soon as we arrived in town. The old racetrack has become completely overgrown. The stands have been defaced with graffiti and vandalism. A rusty chain-link fence still surrounds the complex, though it doesn’t appear to do much good. Though the fairgrounds are in rough shape, there is currently a strong movement amongst the local community to restore the Great Barrington Fairgrounds to their former glory. While exploring the grounds, we encountered a few of their volunteers setting up for a wine tasting being held the next day. Since the property was purchased by the Elsbach family in 2012, they have been making an effort to redevelop the land for the good of the community. They are called GBFB, and their mission is to “preserve and restore the environmental health of the fairground site.” Though these grounds may be abandoned, there just might be hope to bring them back to life.

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If you are interested in donating, volunteering, or learning more about GBFB, please visit their website here – http://gbfg.org/