Goodbye Cruiserface, Hello Happyface: The (old) Long and (new) Short Of It All

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by popscycle, Apr 24, 2014.

  1. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    Remembering Getting Kicked Out Of The Prison/Reformatory: Earlier this month, I rode the redhead onto some grounds, shown below. Some years earlier, I had parked the bike in the same spot and started to walk towards the interesting old building shown below. Behind me was an old, ramshackle farm house. The sign on the old house said "Administration Building" and I didn't get 100 feet away when some woman burst out the door and started chasing me yelling "get out of here". Trying to convince here I was just a harmless photographer didn't work. I think she was convinced I was up to no good so I left. This time, the place was totally deserted. Being short on time, I just took the pic below and then rode off.

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    That was then and now the place is deserted. On the register of historic places, it was once both a reformatory (i.e., the Industrial School For Girls) and a low-security prison. What does an 1850s reformatory and prison look like? We rode back several days ago for a better look. This to follow.
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  2. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    Evil Disposed, Vicious Girls and Old Buildings: She had burst out of the building below and come running after me yelling, "get out of here!" Unable to persuade her that I was just a harmless old guy on a motorcycle who liked photographing old buildings, I left.

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    That was some years ago when I happened by what seemed to be a campus of turn-of-the-century old buildings. Earlier this month I happened by the place and noticed the administration building above was totally deserted, suggesting I might not get chased away from taking pics of these old buildings. Several days ago, I rode to the place, parked the bike, looked around and got some pictures.

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    Built in the mid 1800s, this campus started out as the Lancaster Industrial School For Girls. An explanation follows:

    A State Reform School for Girls was proposed for Massachusetts by Resolves 1854, c 52 and formally established by St 1855, c 442 for the "instruction, employment and reformatory treatment of exposed, helpless, evil disposed and vicious girls." The name of the school was changed by St 1856, c 60 to the State Industrial School for Girls, under which name it opened at Lancaster in Aug. 1856. The school was administered by seven trustees appointed by the governor to administer its affairs in accordance with the requirements of the legislature; provide employment by binding out school inmates; appoint and remove staff, including a superintendent, chaplain, and matrons; and determine salaries. Girls between the ages of seven and sixteen could be committed by a judge of probate or a special commissioner appointed by the governor on request of municipal authorities. They were to be discharged no later than their eighteenth birthday. This threshold was raised to twenty-one by St 1864, c 290, except for those satisfactorily serving under indentures as a servant or apprentice, as bound out by the trustees. (Other activities for reformation of girls included agricultural work and schooling.) Source: SNAC
    There are a good half dozen or more buildings like the one above. Below is the backside of another, similar structure sitting on the other side of the old, white admin house. Like the others, it appeared to be abandoned and shuttered. The brick architecture is typical of the 1800s industrial era.

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    There were similar reformatories around the state (e.g., one in Monson, MA and another in Westboro, MA). Structures like the one above and below were residence halls where the "students" lived. Sleeping quarters were generally on the seond floors with common areas, dining rooms and class rooms on the first. The first floor also had a kitchen, parlor, laundry and sewing rooms.

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    It was the building above that I was trying to take a picture of when the lady said she'd call the police if I didn't leave. With the old admin house deserted, I took a zoomed pic of the place and then rode the bike around a "Road Closed" barricade for a close up look. This building is classic, industrial age design.

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    There are some 20 or so structures on the campus, 18 of which are considered historic and are supposedly on the National Register of Historic Places. The place also had a power house/eating plant, chapel and some wood frame structures. These were in fenced off areas I stayed out of as there were still people to be seen.

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    Though never abolished by statute, the Industrial School for Girls and four similar institutions were closed by the state in 1972. Sometime after that, the campus was turned into a minimum security prison. I've little information on the campus' prison years. The place is located at coordinates 42.442717, -71.659857. There's one, more recent, building on the grounds that doesn't seem shuttered named the Kennedy Children's Action Center. It is apparently a private organization that might find old guys on motorcycles somewhat suspicious. That said, the town of Lancaster is trying to figure out what to do with these old buildings. At least one of the old farmhouse structures on the grounds (i.e., the old admin house in the first pic) dates back to the 1700s.
  3. TheAdmiral

    TheAdmiral Long timer

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    I love finding a riding through old campus's military installations etc. like this one. Very cool!
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  4. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    Been Hanging With Jack: I probably don't need to tell you that this year sucks so far, comparatively speaking. If the 24/7 barrage of virus fallout wasn't enough, weather so far hasn't been conducive to much riding. I got up the other morning to freezing temps, high winds and spitting snow. If all this crap doesn't let up soon, I am going to run out of Reacher books. Around the start of the year I happened to pick up a Jack Reacher novel and have now read all but the author's first and last books. I am not a slow reader.

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    The way it looks now, I will run out of Childs' (i.e., James Grant's) novels before running out of bad weather and virus sequestration. Time to box up the 23 Reacher books, order the last two (which will last me two weeks at most, but more like one) and start looking for another adventure writer.
  5. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

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    I couldn't help but notice a couple of wheelchair ramps. To me, they certainly lend a window to when the buildings were last used.
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  6. DeansZG

    DeansZG Adventurer

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    Neat place & surroundings! Too bad they can't re-purpose this campus, or maybe just one or two of the larger building(s) into a hotel/conference center similar to what they did with the old watch factory in Southbridge, ie; Southbridge Hotel & Conference Center, 14 Mechanic St, Southbridge, MA
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  7. B10Dave

    B10Dave Long timer

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    John; in the first book Reacher is still in the army. Sets it up well for the rest of the series.
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  8. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    When last there, I only noticed two buildings with ramps, one being the chapel, which is supposedly still being used. Am still trying to get info on the place during its "prison" years.
    I am guessing some, if not all, of the old buildings might need asbestos/mold remediation. With the old AO plant in Southbridge, I believe they tore down everything but the front facade and built a new structure behind it. Picture of that undertaking is below.

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  9. B10Dave

    B10Dave Long timer

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    John; I have not put the F650GS on the market yet as the insurance is good til May 19th; but I have bought the bike which will replace it. 1972 BMW R50/5 with 20,978 miles from new. I am the third owner. Back to being an "airhead" owner.

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  10. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    Congratulations, Dave! May you enjoy that gem!! She's a beauty!!!
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  11. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    Just A Note On Road Food: Given the current scarcity of places to stop and eat, may I suggest some haute cuisine for the road. That would be roast beef, ham, turkey, whatever cheeses you have (e.g., suggest swiss, cheddar, provolone), LTO, mayo and mustard on Italian bread.

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    Pack the sandwich, chips, a cold drink and some ice in your bags and you're good for the road. My error with this one was its size. It was too big to get a good bite but perhaps short of being a Dagwood. That would have required the addition of corned beef, turkey and at least one more kind of cheese.
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  12. B10Dave

    B10Dave Long timer

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    I don't care how big the sandwich was John; it looks delicious.
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  13. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    Two Old Houses In One Stop: These two old places were next door to each other. I'd taken a picture of the first place before but not in the context of "Your Best Old Structure".

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    We've lots of really old (for this country) structures and many have been well-maintained over the years as private homes. Although historic and dating back to the late 1700s, these two houses were taken over by the state in 1800s when the land they were on was taken to build a reformatory.

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    The first place is at coordinates 42.441934, -71.660088, with the one above being the next house to the west. The town has the dilemma of wanting to save these historic homes but having no money to do so. The last tenant of these two houses was the (private) Kennedy Children's Action Corps.
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  14. KMichael

    KMichael Go Explore

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    Glad to see the state's being fiscally conservative by going the maximum number of years inbetween paint jobs.
  15. red bud

    red bud alky w/motorcycle problem Supporter

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    that's what we've been doing lately or 7/11 seafood platter

    sardines, crackers and a moon pie
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  16. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    A Shortage Of Mansions: Current restrictions and closures are keeping us closer to home, thus limiting are ability to visit new interesting places. Closer to home is this interesting old mansion that we visited some years back. It is the Nathaniel Thayer mansion in Lancaster, MA.

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    This 40 plus room place was built in 1846 by Nathaniel Thayer II, who was the wealthy, businessman son of the town's Congregationalist minister. It sits on the site where his father's house, built in 1796, stood before being torn down to build the manse. Father and son descended from early settlers and brothers Thomas Thayer (1596–1665) and Richard Thayer (1601–1664). Mansions ran in the family.

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    The Thayer family sold the mansion in 1943 to the Atlantic Union College for the sum of $12,500. The college then used the building for administration offices, dormatory space, etc. Currently, the college is closed but the mansion is home to the Thayer Conservatory for Music and Arts.

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    Such mansions are the antithesis of buildings I grew up in - the first one being a small old farmhouse with a coal stove, ice box and outdoor plumbing. Makes for an interesting contrast.
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  17. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    A Sterling Ride: Some scenes from hydration stop.

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    Pics were taken from various points riding around the town common. First settled in 1721 and incorporated in 1781, the town now has a population of around 8K to 10K people.

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    The chuch and meetinghouse shown above and also below is the third meeting house built on this site. It was constructed in the early 1800s.

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    As in most New England towns, the separation of church and state led to the construction of separate buildings for each.

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  18. KMichael

    KMichael Go Explore

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    One of those churches has steeply envy.
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  19. popscycle

    popscycle Fahren Away Super Supporter

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    Piss On It: I thought I heard them hollering the other night so I went out and retrieved the trailcam card. Seems like one wanted to mark what's left of the salt and mineral blocks. Video shows him pissing on both.

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    Closer to morning, some deer spent a good amount of time near both blocks (salt and mineral).

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  20. KMichael

    KMichael Go Explore

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    That coyote is just plain rude. Would a coyote attack a deer? That would make quite a pic.