Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sunday Asylum Adventure!

So today was a good productive day for once....
I woke up at about 9:00 this morning, ate breakfast and was out getting the lawn mowed and done since I got all the raking done and had the yard picked up. So did that and got it all done by 11:00, ate a quick lunch and waited for the days adventure to start. So finally my cousin Tim texts me and said be ready and I was. We ended up taking our mountain bikes out to explore the old forgotten area where the Gardner State Hospital use to be, out by the Gardner prison. Its all now a wildlife preserve and is really beautiful and peaceful out there. We first ended up on the old prison graveyard that basically looks similar to the master of puppets album cover from Metallica, a field with tiny white crosses going up it, and on every cross there is a plate with a number, so you take that number and go to the top and there's a plaque thing that gives the number and name of the prisoner buried there, its kind of creepy and cool. There is a big wooden cross in front of the plaque with jesus on it thats withering away from the elements. After we left there we went to the old ice house on the pond where I guess in the winter they would cut ice blocks out of the pond and store them in the huge barn house. It was pretty cool and creepy as well. Next we kept on riding down the road a ways and came across a stone building that looked to be some sort of old power house, it was cool cuz it was made all of stone and just been overgrown by vines. From there we made our way past a few more buildings and barns to where the Old Gardner State Hospital was. It's an area where at one time was a small self sustainable community and as of 1975 (i'll leave a brief history of the hospital below for anyone interested) was left to decay and let mother nature reclaim. A few years back I got to see the actual buildings of the old hospital before the state demolished them and I must say these buildings were beyond creepy. The image I have still is of the main building very dark and grey, with steep concrete steps and 2 of the oldest creepiest trees I ever did see, trees whose limbs looked like they wanted to reach out and grab you, and the building just falling apart. I wish the buildings were still left there as a historical site or something though. The lush field area now is left for the Barnstomers RC club, who I guess fly remote control planes out there. It really is incredible to believe that that whole area is basically forgotten and just so quiet and peaceful and just still amazingly beautiful. From there it was basically time to haul back since the sun was going down, but that just leaves more exploring I guess for next time because there is still roads, trails and paths everywhere out there that I must know where they lead to. So check back in the future for updates. But for now if your still interested read up on the Old Gardner State Hospital.

"Gardner State Colony was first established in 1902 as a colony for mentally disturbed patients who were able bodied and sufficiently cooperative to engage in construction work for the institution. The hospital served the North Worcester County area, and maintained both agricultural and livestock farm areas which were basically self- supporting. In 1970, a phase-down of in-patient facilities was instituted in the state of Massachusetts, and the Gardner facility was officially closed in 1975.
This is a former DMH facility that is now operated by the Department of Corrections. There is a confirmed list of 132 former DMH clients buried, however there may be as many as 600 unidentified former DMH clients buried there. The cemetery is approximately 3 acres in size. Since being used by DOC, 4 former inmates have also been buried there. "

There it is a brief history on the hospital, if anyone knows anymore info about it, i'd like to hear it. I made the comment area public so you should be able to comment now. Enjoy the photos above. Thanks.

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