March 1, 2013

Ravenloft Castle Winter 2013

Every 2 years I seem to make a trip this wonderful Abandoned Castle thats Sits high on a dark hillside outside of a small town in Upstate New York.

This Year was a disappointment. Over the last year or two this wonderful location has taken a turn for the worse. Upon walking into the kitchen I noticed stack of plywood and now the owners of this location have decided to start sealing it up. This to me is a good idea and might save it from further vandalism.

The 1st floor still looked the way it did in 2009 when I made my 1st trip. After walking up the staircase to the 2nd floor everything changes. Almost 95% of the 2nd and 3rd floor halls and rooms are now covered in Graffiti. Not Graffiti that one would consider art, Instead its filled with profanity and stupid ramblings that make no sense at all. Sealing this location will be the best thing to ever happen to it....

And now on to some history,

Sitting high on a dark hillside outside of a small town in Upstate New York, The Ravenloft Castle looks like it escaped from the pages of Grimm’s fairy tales. Complete with Gothic windows, turrets, towers, steep parapeted roofs, crumbling walls, and a courtyard overgrown with shrubs and trees The Ravenloft Castle has been a landmark and a source of stories both real and romantic for almost 100 years. The design of the castle is thought to have been inspired by late nineteenth century interpretations of medieval European castles constructed in Scotland.
The castle had 36 rooms and legend passed down from generation to generation says that each room had steam heat and electricity long before any home in the township had them. The roofing slate came from England, the marble for the floors, fireplace and staircases from Italy and the iron gates from France. The fireplace in the reception room was valued at over $5000 in 1910. Gold leaf was used to cover it.
Construction on the castle was begun in the early years of the First World War, and ceased in 1924, three years after the owner’s death in 1921. Never fully completed, the building represents an impressive example of the romanticized medievalism that emerged in American culture at the turn of the twentieth century.
Buildings on the property include the castle, tall ornate iron gates with stone piers, a one-lane stone bridge on the service road, several "service" buildings along the Road and a farm complex in the southwest corner.

A few that I edited to make look them look vintage.

These Next 6 Pictures Showing the Graffiti are from an urban explorer and my good friend Lisa Walsh

That is the Reason I Never Post Real Name of Locations or Give Out Info!!!!

See More Here

February 6, 2013

The Sterling Opera House. Derby, CT.

Built in 1889, the Sterling Opera House, located across Elizabeth Street from the Derby Green, has been deeply rooted in the Valley’s cultural and political traditions for more than 110 years. A veritable “Who’s Who” list of performers and celebrities have appeared at the Sterling: from John Philip Sousa to Red Skelton; Harry Houdini to Donald O’Connor; and Amelia Earhart to Lionel, John, and Ethel Barrymore. The Sterling served as an opera house until 1933; from then until the building’s closing in 1965, its two lower levels housed Derby’s City Hall and Police Station.

Designer H.E. Ficken, one of the creators of Carnegie Hall, combined several architectural styles in the Sterling. The exterior and rooftop and the interior walls and doorways are Italianate Victorian and display the final evolution of the Italian Baroque opera house. The interior-seating plan was influence by German composer Richard Wagner's conception of a triangle seating arrangement, with all the seats enjoying an unobstructed view of the stage. No box seats were used, but two "piano boxes" were located on either side of the stage to accommodate two Sterling Pianos. A proscenium arch frames the 60-by-34 foot stage. Below are 10 dressing rooms. The auditorium boasts an orchestra pit, two gracefully sweeping balconies, and fine examples of bottle glass, keystone arches and wrought iron work. Acoustically, the Sterling has no equal. Even a whisper can be heard clearly from all areas of the auditorium.

Almost as storied as the Sterling itself have been the dedicated groups committed to its restoration and eventual revitalization. From the 1970’s through the mid-90’s the Sterling Opera House Foundation, led initially by the late Vivian Kellams, included current Valley Community Foundation Board Member Alan Tyma. The group began to create awareness of the Sterling’s place in Derby’s and the Valley’s history, and successfully had the Sterling listed as the first structure on the National Register of Historic Places. In the 1990's, Paul Lane formed the Old Birmingham Business Association (OBBA) and its subsidiary Save Our Sterling (SOS) took up the charge, drumming up support for the opera house’s restoration. Harvey Bletchman, then artistic director of SOS, along with other members of the group, organized local soirees with a variety of musical themes to raise funds for, and create cultural awareness of, the Sterling.

Those fundraising efforts generated enough to enable the current members to create the Sterling Opera House Endowment Fund at the Valley Community Foundation. “We want people to be able to use and visit the Sterling 100 years from now,” said Association President Beth Colette. “By creating this Endowment, we are setting aside money that has come in from so many caring Valley residents to help the Sterling carry on its rich traditions.” Board member Judy Augusta agreed. “This beautiful building has the opportunity to become a vital component of the revitalization of downtown Derby,” she said. “This Fund will allow other groups who follow in our footsteps to address its needs well into the future and keep its wonderful spirit alive.”

Through the years, the efforts of Congressional and State representatives, along with the Connecticut Dept. of Economic and Community Development, have produced funds to help with this project. Current Derby Mayor Anthony Staffieri, a former member of OBBA, has continued ongoing efforts to restore the Sterling. At present, the exterior has been completely renovated, and the City is moving forward with plans for restoration of the interior. “The City is pursuing additional funding for the Opera House through historic preservation funds and federal and state tax credits,” said Sheila O’Malley, Derby’s Director of Economic and Community Development. Perhaps one of the greatest gifts the Sterling has received, however, is the forward thinking of the dedicated groups whose Endowment will help to ensure the Sterling is here for generations to come. As Board Member Markanthony Izzo so aptly said, “There is no time like the present to plan for the future.”
















January 6, 2013

Cedar Cliff Nursing Home

Cedar Cliff was opened in 1929 as a tuberculosis sanitarium.

In Two Thousand & Nine Construction of the new wing at the county nursing home is now finished and awaiting final safety inspection by the state. Should the building pass the inspection, residents are expected to begin moving into the wing within four to six weeks.

The new facility, which has been under construction for three years, is meant to replace two Depression-era buildings that are overcrowded, dank, and cheerless. The goal has been to bring all of 342 current residents under one roof and to create enough space so that the Nursing Home can expand the number of beds to 406.

 Cedar Cliff provides both long-term and short-term care for both the indigent elderly and people with a variety of disabilities, including Multiple Sclerosis.

In the old buildings, some residents are currently living four to a room and sharing community bathrooms that are not accessible to the handicapped; such residents must be assisted onto toilets. The dining room is a cramped, drab place, with room for about a half-dozen card tables with metal folding chairs.
By contrast, the residence rooms in the new wing are bright and pastel-colored and will be occupied by no more than two people per room. Each room has its own wheelchair-accessible bathroom and the beds are separated by a wall, which allows a resident to control the temperature on their side of the room. The dining room is now a big, wide-open space that invites residents to congregate.

As for the Old Building, The Fate is Unknown.