Minnesota August 14, 2017
The Sinister Story Behind This Popular Minnesota Park Will Give You Chills
In the past, we’ve given you the rundown on Minnesota’s
creepy ghost towns, abandoned tunnels, and disturbing cemeteries. We’ve discussed haunted hotels and ghost-riddled restaurants that you can visit and experience for yourself. But Minnesota is also home to many other unsettling places, including some that you might not expect. There’s a popular but creepy park in Rochester, Minnesota, and its unusual past may surprise you.
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Quarry Hill Park and Nature Center is in Rochester, Minnesota. You can find it at 701 Silver Creek Road Northeast.
The park is a large, nature-filled spot great for picnic lunches and summertime strolls. It's a popular destination for locals when they want to spend the day outdoors.
The park is home to many rock formations that remind visitors of the park's early use as a quarry.
The first quarry was used through the 1800s to excavate limestone from the area. Today, the quarrying has stopped. But the rock formations still in the area are a popular spot for climbing.
Many people don't know that the park was once home to a state hospital.
Quarry Hill Park is the former grounds of the Rochester State Hospital, first known as the Second Minnesota Hospital for the Insane. It was the state's second treatment center for mentally ill people. The hospital's philosophy was to keep patients occupied with work and other activities, though some patients were often kept in restraints. In 1889, a patient died at the hands of two hospital workers.
As medicine progressed, the treatments at the hospital through the early and mid 1900s included electroshock therapy, drugs, and lobotomies. As you can imagine, many lived out the final moments of their lives at the hospital.
In 1965, the 212 acres of hospital land was purchased by the city of Rochester. But even today, clues to the park's past still remain.
There are more than 2,000 grave sites on park grounds, as well as many other century-old reminders of Quarry Hill's history.
One of the strangest - and most fascinating - parts o the park? Its caves, which were excavated in 1882.
Visitors can take tours of the historic sandstone caves, which offer a glimpse far into Minnesota's past. In one area, you can still see part of a poem that was carved into the cave walls over 100 years ago.
But the state hospital and its cemetery aren't the only things that make this park creepy.
Beyond its unsettling history and crumbling historic structures, the park is rumored to be the site of a haunting.
Some say the bridge over the quarry was the site of a man's suicide.
He is said to have hung himself from the bridge in the 1960s, thereby earning the bridge the nickname "Dead Man's Bridge."
Other happenings have been reported as well.
Before most of the caves were closed up, strange occurrences were reported deep below the earth. Others report an eerie feeling while hiking the unpaved paths through the thick forest.
Despite its long, strange history, this park is a beautiful place to visit.
Every season brings something new to Quarry Hill Park. Spring brings flowers, summer brings sunny strolls, fall brings changing leaves, and winter comes with cross-country skiing and other activities. You shouldn't let the creepy history of this place stop you from enjoying its beauty.
Have you ever visited this creepy park? What do you think of its history? Share your thoughts in the comments down below.