Crazy for Fairfield Hills

One of a dozen abandoned buildings at the former Fairfield Hills state mental hospital.

Last weekend was relatively uneventful despite having an extra day off and pleasant weather as far as August in Connecticut goes. When not puttering around the house or watching The Daily Show and movies on, one notable event was our afternoon stroll through the grounds of Fairfield Hills, an abandoned state mental hospital that covers nearly 800 acres of meadow and wooded landscape in the center of town.

After years of decay from lack of upkeep since its closure in 1996, the buildings have become creepy reminders of what this place once was: a respite for as many as 4,000 patients with various mental ailments. Yet the chipped paint and boarded up buildings do nothing to keep away dog walkers and town soccer leagues who make use of the college-campus-like setting for recreation.

Our favorite activities include riding longboards down the perfectly paved roads (no cars to dodge) and hiking on the trails that snake through the place.

It’s haunting appeal has made a great set for scary movies, most famously the Kevin Bacon flick Sleepers, and some b-grade horror films. It’s also a regular stop for ghost hunters and druken teenagers thanks to its 1920s-era architecture and underground tunnel systems. After MTV filmed an episode of its show MTV Fear the town started cracking down on trespassers by boarding up all of the windows and doors.

In 2001 the town purchased the land for a steal but it has recently brought in the bulldozers to begin revitalizing the place. We’re just keeping our fingers crossed that they don’t put in speed bumps.

Ringo earns his keep pulling the longboard. circa 2005

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