These 7 Unbelievable Ruins In Massachusetts Will Transport You To The Past
Massachusetts is one of the oldest states in the nation, so naturally there are plenty of crumbling ruins to be found here. From ancient footprints preserved in stone to places that look like castles hidden in the woods, here are some of the most enigmatic and interesting ruins in the state.
1. Schoolmaster Hill, Franklin Park
Hiking up Schoolmaster Hill in Franklin Park near Boston will take you straight to a scenic ruin that looks almost like an ancient castle. The remains of a multi-use building that once crowned this historic hill are now open to public exploration. It’s a great place to stretch your legs and let your imagination roam as well.
2. Belchertown State School, Belchertown
Belchertown State School for the Feeble-Minded is a grim reminder of a dark period in Massachusetts history. This asylum opened in 1922 and catered to
the mentally ill or developmentally disabled. What at first was meant to be a humane alternative to traditional asylums or homecare became a miserable place of filth and abuse as overcrowding led to terrible living conditions and neglect. The school finally closed in 1992 after the disgusting treatment of patients was revealed in a series of articles. The land is now private property and trespassing is forbidden, but you can see some of the derelict buildings from the road.
3. Eyrie House Ruins, Mt. Tom Reservation
Looking for a good hike with a great payoff? Try the 2-mile journey to the Eyrie House ruins on Mt. Nonotuck in the Mt. Tom Reservation. The Eyrie House was a lavish hotel that prospered from 1861 to 1901, when it was engulfed in flames. Due to a lack of insurance, the owner was unable to rebuild and the ruins are still standing to this day. You can start this hike at the entrance to the park along Christopher Clark Road. (125 Reservation Road, Holyoke)
4. Becket Land Trust Historic Quarry and Forest, Becket
If metal ruins are more your thing, then you’ll love this historic quarry in Becket. This place was once a major marble quarry filled with workers and rumbling machinery. As they years progressed, old vehicles and machines accumulated amongst the trees. When the quarry was finally closed, some of the rusted remains were over 100 years old. Today you can explore the woods and clamber over centuries-old cars and equipment. (456 Quarry Road, Becket)
5. Greycourt State Park, Methuen
A visit to one of Massachusetts’ newest state parks is a great way to combine a picnic with a bit of ruin exploration. Greycourt State Park is centered around the remains of the Charles H. Tenney estate, also known as Tenney Castle. Set amid sweeping green lawns, the ruins have been spruced up a bit and made safe for exploration.
6. Bear Cages, Boston
The bear cages of Franklin Park Zoo featured famously in the Boston cop thriller "Mystic River." In the early 1900s, the public loved to visit these bear cages to watch the animals roam around their ornately carved stone enclosure. When the exhibit closed in 1954, the bear den was left to crumble rather than dismantled. Today, you can find the ruins in Long Crouch Woods above Seaver Street in Roxbury. (Franklin Park Road, Boston)
7. Dinosaur Footprints, Holyoke
These are the oldest "ruins" on the list. The Dinosaur Footprints Reservation in Holyoke is so named for the actual dinosaur footprints embedded in the sandstone of the park. Visitors can walk along the path that these ancient creatures once followed through the wilderness. (US-5, Holyoke)
What other ruins do you know of in Massachusetts? For more off-beat state history, check out this haunted cave that’s not for the faint of heart.
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