Thursday, August 22, 2019

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Ocean View Hotel Ruins

Posted by Stu On August - 26 - 2009

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Not far from the port on Block Island can be found the ruins of the Ocean View Hotel, destroyed by fire in 1966.  Sections of the foundation and some rubble are all that remains of it today.  The area also had quite a bit of poison ivy, so needless to say, I had to tread very carefully.

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Part of the area has been maintained by schoolkids and is being used as a garden.  We didn’t see anything growing when we were there though.

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The above bluff is right by the hotel site.  A small plaque on the ground tells of a couple being married on this spot.

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Popularity: 91% [?]

Touro Park “Viking Tower”

Posted by Stu On August - 26 - 2009

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I had been meaning to get to this one for a number of years, but it was usually out of the way.  Since we were touring a mansion in Newport, I finally had a chance to get to the “Viking Tower” in Touro Park.  Nobody seems to be clearly sure of its age or who built it.  There are 2 major sides to the theory of this structure’s origin – some people think it’s the remains of some sort of mill from the 16-1700’s, while others feel it was built much earlier – around 1000 – by Vikings.

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The tower, windmill, or whatever it was sits in the middle of the park, surrounded by a small fence.  There are lights at its base, and a statue of William Ellery Channing – a prominent Unitarian from the 1800’s – is nearby.

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I found a 360-panoramic of Touro Park.  Kinda trippy.

…wow, ‘trippy’ isn’t in my spellchecker.

Popularity: 9% [?]

Devil’s Hole

Posted by Stu On July - 10 - 2009

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Virtually nothing is known about the ruins in the Devil’s Hole, found ironically in Paradise Valley.  According to local legends, the place was a hunting lodge, ski resort, or speakeasy.  The only thing agreed upon is that it was destroyed in a fire decades ago.

I was told it was quite a hike to get to this place, about 6 hours, and that I’d have to wade through a river several times before reaching it.  Long story short, the trek was less than a mile, although I did have to walk through a stream 5 or 6 times.  It was slightly above ankle-deep for the most part.

The first part of the trail winds through thick rhododendrons and abruptly stops at the first water crossing.

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The trail is pretty unclear at times; orange blazes are few and far between.  It doesn’t help that the stream zig-zags across the trail quite a bit.  Lucky me decided to find this place just weeks after the spring runoff, so needless to say the water was cold.

Eventually, a very discernable trail materializes out of literally nowhere.  Following this down a bit will lead you to the first part of the ruins, just a small fireplace.

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Sort of hidden among the trees, diagonally across the path, is the true prize, though.  The big building has two double fireplaces.  The first floor was completely destroyed, so when you’re poking around the place, you’re actually on the basement level.

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So what was this place?  There are a few things here that pretty much prove it was a ski lodge of some sort. I’m guessing that first fireplace I came across used to be a tow shed, because right behind it was a cleared area running all the way up the mountain – a telltale sign of a ski lift.  Also just behind the small fireplace was a wheel mounted in a tree – most likely to run the lift.  I think it’s pretty obvious this place was a ski lodge.

Unfortunately, I don’t have photos of the wheel or cleared area because I was too busy putzing around with my camcorder and forgot to take actual pics of them.  If I ever figure out how to edit the video I shot, they’ll be on there.

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Popularity: 98% [?]

Rausch Gap

Posted by Stu On July - 10 - 2009

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Hidden in between Fort Indiantown Gap Military Reservation and Swatara State Park in northern Lebanon County are the ruins of the town of Rausch Gap, once a mining and railroad town.  The basics are up on that sign right there, so I’m not going to reiterate all of them.  Basically, the area’s coal mines went dry quickly.  Soon after, the railroad company moved all its employees and operations to larger and busier towns along the tracks, leaving virtually no employment in the area.  Throw in the fact that Rausch is smack in the middle of an area known as Saint Anthony’s Wilderness (it’s still almost wilderness today), and you have the recipe for a ghost town.

Rausch Gap can only be accessed by a hiking/biking trail that runs partially along the Appalachian Trail.  One end is shorter but is much more brutal on cars to reach its parking area.  The other end, the one I ended up using, has much more accessible parking but requires a 3.5 mile hike to get to the town.  This is, to date, the farthest I’ve hiked to reach a site and easily crushes my previous record of 1.5 miles to reach Dana, MA.

On the trail to the town are several random mile markers spray painted onto trees:

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Also along the trail are concrete markers.  I’d find out later on that the trail leading to town was once the very railroad track that gave life to the towns of the “Wilderness,” and these concrete things actually held spare pieces of track in case the rail line ever needed repairs.

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After a long and seemingly perpetual 3 1/2 mile hike, you come across a bridge and a sign.  One side of the sign is the info pictured above.  The other is a map:

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Let’s back up a bit.  Just before coming up to this sign…if we go about 300 feet off the right side of the trail, we come across some of the town’s ruins, including a well.

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OK, back up at the bridge, there’s a small trail that goes off to the left just before crossing it.  Taking this down about 1/3 of a mile leads to a tiny cemetery with only 3 headstones.  There is a 4th stone but nobody’s really sure if it’s a badly weathered headstone or just a rock.

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I didn’t have much daylight left and still had to hike another 3 1/2 miles back out, so I quickly explored the other side of the bridge.  I found the remains of an old stone bridge.

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That was about all I had time to find.  I had about an hour to get back out to the road.

Popularity: 18% [?]

Ashley Planes & Powerhouse Ruins

Posted by Stu On January - 27 - 2009

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Gravity makes trains sad. On some mountainsides, a train simply couldn’t get the speed or power needed to make it up the side. In the Ashley area, three huge planes (as in inclined plane, not airplane) were built to get freight cars up the mountain. Small cars, or barneys, would push the freight cars from plane to plane.

Along Rt. 309 is a trail that leads to one of the plane sites and the ruins of its powerhouse.

Popularity: 8% [?]

Monson

Posted by Stu On December - 27 - 2008

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This southern New Hampshire ghost town was the first European inland settlement in the state. Built around 1737, Monson would not last very long; it died sometime in the 1770’s. Considered one of the most archaelogical significant sites in New England, its ruins have remained for the most part undisturbed for over 200 years.

Monson has the usual ghost town stuff – rock walls, cellar holes, a restored house, etc. However, there is also a sign indicating who each house belonged to, and some house sites even have a short bio on the person who lived there.

Monson was supposed to have been developed in 1998, but luckily local citizens fought to have it preserved.

Popularity: 8% [?]

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