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Archive for October, 2006

Gay City

Posted by Stu On October - 21 - 2006

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Curiously named Gay City was founded just before the 1800’s by families seeking religious freedom and was around for roughly 80 years until the Industrial Revolution and multiple fires killed it. This was the first stop of our ’06 New England trip, and to be honest I was expecting more. Similar to the Pine Barrens ghost towns, all we saw were stone walls, a few cellar holes, and the remains of the final incarnation of the paper mill (it burned down at least twice). There are supposedly a few grave stones too, but we weren’t able to find them.
There are stories of murders and hauntings attached to the ruins, but nothing interesting happened to us while we were there (it never does).

Overall, nothing spectacular, but it’s a very nice park to walk around, especially in the first week of October. I’d like to go back and find the graves sometime.

Popularity: 7% [?]

Abandoned Cemetery in West Warwick

Posted by Stu On October - 21 - 2006

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Yet another find through geocaching. I’ve tried to find the name of this cemetery or even some history behind it, but I’ve come up empty so far. All I know is a factory and/or mill used to be nearby. I found no ruins other than the cemetery and some stone walls nearby. If I find any more info to post, I’ll do so.

The cemetery is very tiny and well hidden along the Pawtuxet River. Most stones are either flat on the ground or simply stumps.

One section of the river is inaccessible.

Popularity: 14% [?]

Lizzie Borden House & Grave

Posted by Stu On October - 21 - 2006

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“Lizzie Borden took an ax…” You know the rest. Or at least you should.
All the way back in 1992, my 6th grade class did a mock trial of Lizzie Borden at the Ocean County Courthouse. I played Dr. Bowen, who examined the bodies at the murder scene. Ever since, I was always interested in the case because it was never officially solved. Most think it’s pretty obvious Lizzie murdered her father & stepmother with an ax, but others think it could have been the maid. Some groups say they could solve the case using forensics, but the town likes the mystery and won’t allow the bodies to be dug up.

I’d wanted to visit the Borden House for a long time, but Fall River was always too out of the way to include in any of our previous trips. I made sure to include it in our ’06 outing to New England. We were lucky and arrived roughly 5 minutes before the final tour of the day. I was surprised to find out the woman giving our tour knew about my trial 14 years earlier.

That ax did a heck of a job.

Andrew and Abby at the scene – and my ghost taking a pic of Andrew.

The house is pretty much the same as it was in the Bordens’ day; it’s been updated a bit since it’s now a bed & breakfast, and none of the furniture is original, but overall it’s the same house. After having read and heard about the case so many times, it was pretty odd being in the same rooms where Abby and Andrew Borden were killed.

For only $250, you can sleep where Abby Borden got nineteen, not actually forty, whacks.

Stairs leading to the attic.

Again, the official Lizzie Borden House website is www.lizzie-borden.com. Tours are a half hour to an hour, depending on group size, and cost $10.

We were delighted to find out the Bordens are all buried together not far from the house. Arrows are painted in the cemetery to bring visitors directly to their graves.

Later in life, Lizzie changed her name to “Lizbeth.”

There’s also an impressive Civil War section in the cemetery:

Popularity: 100% [?]

The Paper House

Posted by Stu On October - 21 - 2006

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I heard about a house made of newspaper being somewhere in Massachusetts. Since it wasn’t too far from Salem, I figured we’d check it out. A paper house? Sounds silly.

It is.

What the walls look like. As you can see, some parts are beginning to tear, due to clumsy visitors.

When we arrived, there were signs saying the house was open but was operating on an honors system – admission was $1.50. I was happy to see nobody else was there. But I don’t suppose a house with paper walls and furniture attract all too many visitors, at least not large groups of them.

Again, the walls, ceiling, furniture, even the top of the fireplace – all made of newpaper.

It’s silly.

I would learn after returning from my trip that the Paper House has an official website.

Popularity: 11% [?]

Salem’s Smallest Cemetery

Posted by Stu On October - 21 - 2006

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I don’t know why I didn’t take pics of this on my first trip. In front of a church not far from Howard Street Cemetery is an unusual sight – a few rows of 20 or so grave markers, all side to side in a roughly 10 x 10 lot. Here’s the kicker – it’s not a cemetery. These stones were moved here to prevent them from being damaged.

Popularity: 5% [?]

New England ’06

Posted by Stu On October - 9 - 2006

Mill wall at Gay City, CT

This trip took a complete 180 the day before we left. I originally planned to do some stuff in Connecticut, then head up to Vermont, and finally end in Salem. In a last minute decision, I figured driving to the top of Vermont would seriously hinder our time and would cost more than I was willing to spend. So we scrapped the things we were going to see in Vermont and looked up places closer to our area of focus.

We were bad and decided to call out of work so we could leave earlier. Other than the typical traffic in NYC and the delays on I-95 in Connecticut, the drive up was alright.

Our first stop of the trip was a ghost town in Connecticut named Gay City. The jokes didn’t stop with this one. I didn’t know much about the town beforehand, and I do have to say I was expecting more. Just your average cellar holes, random stone walls, and mill foundations. One website claimed a graveyard was there, but we couldn’t find it.
We ate at a place called Family Pizza (I’m not sure what town it was in), and they had some oddball stuff there. We got the chicken taco pizza, and it was one of the greatest things I’ve ever had. I’d drive up there again just to eat at that place.
We ended up camping at Lake Williams Campground, and I have to say this is one of our worst camping experiences yet. The site we were given was surrounded on all sides by trailers. Around 1 AM, someone came home (they live in the campground) and was yelling, coughing, etc…then they let their 2 rottweilers out. Then the people on the one side of us came home about 20 minutes later, and they were just as loud…and also had 2 dogs. People a bit up the road were also yelling, speeding through the campground, and peeling their tires out. To make everything even worse, the dead end road we were off had some sort of street light at the end, illuminating our tent all night.
It was awful.
The only good thing I’ll say about this campsite is that there are no fire regulations (no set time to have campfires out).

Anyway, morning came and we hightailed it out of there and headed to Rhode Island. Since Mercy Brown‘s grave was only 10 minutes from our next destination, I decided to swing by there. I was sad to see someone has carved several X’s into her stone since my last visit.

Abandoned cemetery with most of the stones flat on the ground.

The next place, like Gay City, I knew little about. A few websites made it sound like it was a ghost town. All I knew was that it was in or near West Warwick, there was an abandoned cemetery there, and there may or may not be factory ruins. I didn’t even have a name of the place – just coordinates.
We arrived and saw we had to cross a bridge and then hike down a steep hill to get to the graves. Stone walls surrounded the cemetery, and most stones were broken and flat on the ground or just worn down stumps a few inches high. We found no ruins of any kind other than the nearby stone walls. One side of the river was completely blocked off with barbed wire.

A little disappointed, I decided to try and cram the Lizzie Borden House into the day, since it was pretty far from our other stops in Massachusetts. I tried to include the house on previous trips, but we were never close enough to do so. I knew the last tour was at 3 PM, and it was already after 1. We had to make it from the top of Rhode Island to Fall River, MA in about 90 minutes. I also had no idea just where the house was. I had the address, but that does little good in a town I’ve never been to before.
We drove along the water and decided to cross the Narragansett Bay to get to MA. We knew we’d have to cross several bridges to get there. It was the first week of October, so I figured that, much like the shore back home, it’d be dead and we’d have no traffic.
There was so much traffic, we didn’t get out of Rhode Island until about 2:40. We had 20 minutes to get to Fall River and find the house. Since it was on 2nd Street, I figured we’d see it driving down the main road. Can’t really miss numbered streets.

I had to stop at a gas station. The kid said we were just a few blocks from it.
It was now 5 minutes til 3.
Well, in epic movie tradition, we got there exactly at 3 and were just in time. We were also lucky because the previous tour had run a few minutes late. We lucked out even further and were the only ones on the tour. It costs $10 per person and lasts anywhere between a half hour to an hour, depending on the size of the group. Afterward, we went to the nearby cemetery and visited the Borden family plot. I found it funny Lizzie is buried with her parents.

Lizzie Borden’s grave.

Massachusetts doesn’t have very many campgrounds, at least not the eastern half. We searched online for a good hour or so and couldn’t find one (well, we did find one, but they wanted fires out by 10 PM so we said screw ’em). It was pretty late at this point, and we ultimately ended up staying at a hotel in Salem, NH – a town we almost always end up going to on our trips. Maybe it’s a sign.

Clock made out of newspaper at The Paper House.

The next day we headed to Rockport, MA, to visit a silly attraction – a house with its walls, fireplace, and furniture made out of newspaper. It was a pain to find, since the signs in Rockport are near-unnavigable. It was hokey, as I was expecting it to be – but I saw it, darn it. And that’s all that matters.
The entire area was just nice – very picturesque – never seen a place like it before. Too bad it’s for rich people.

Our final stop was a place we hadn’t been to in 3 years – Salem. I know it’s touristy, I know the witch stuff is all mostly nonsense, but there’s something about the town. The museums, the old cemeteries, the tons of stores – it’s just nice to walk around. This time around, they were doing heavy road work, so we ended up parking pretty far away – but at least it was free.

A creepy headstone in Old Burying Point that I somehow missed my first visit.

I was a bit upset to see the place has been dumbed down even more; there were a lot more people this time around as well. The Old Burying Point graveyard now has nighttime candle tours, and the alley in front of it was lined with hot dog and kettle corn stands. It’s not a county fair, people – it’s a cemetery. The small mall in the town center had a ‘psychic fair’ going on. Overall, the place has just become far more tourist friendly (aka adding more stupid stuff to part stupid people with their money). I don’t know if I’ll be going back anytime soon.

And that was that. We were going to camp over another night, but we decided to save some money and chose to just drive home.
Perhaps someday I’ll start planning these things in advance. Or at least where we’ll be staying.

Popularity: 9% [?]

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