Formerly known as "Creepy-chusetts, Strange-chusetts".

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Metfern Cemetery, Waltham 1-2

If you are interested in the history of Massachusetts (or even American) psychiatric institutions, Trapelo Road is the place to go. 

Around the narrow road that cuts through a genteel, wooded residential area of Waltham and Belmont is indeed a home of McLean Hospital (a private psychiatric hospital that treated Sylvia Plath, David Foster Wallace and other notable people), Walter E. Fernald State School (est. 1888, formerly known as Fernald School for the Feebleminded), the Metropolitan State Hospital (a public psychiatric hospital est. 1927) and the Gaebler Children's Center (est. 1955, the MSH's branch for youths. Sadly, it is under demolition as of writing.) 

The Metropolitan and Fernald patients deceased between 1947 and 1979 are buried in the Cemetery. The site is tucked in a nature path along Trapelo Road, and it is a little mystery (and hike) to get there. A mystery often requires an accomplice for many reasons, I managed to coax my husband to help me.

It was a gorgeous autumn day. I parked my car at a baseball field off Trapelo Road with no apparent confidence, and stepped awkwardly into a wooded area holding a flower bouquet I bought from a nearby supermarket.

Sort of a path in the middle, right?
Holding a trail map, I was scratching my head. Where are we? But as soon as I saw a red brick building under demolition, I realized where we are: the Gaebler!

The interior is completely gutted...
 Waiting for a wrecking ball ...

The ruin momentarily appears from a thick wood always fascinated me, but the sign of NO TRESPASSING on Trapelo Road entrance discouraged me from investigating the place (I even saw two police cars on the parking lot on the Google satellite map.) Well, it's fortunate I finally had a chance to observe the building from a distance on the last moment. Let's keep going!

... I thought I knew where I'm heading to, but I didn't expect to get to a water tower. We are going to be trapped in the woods, forever!!

And we spray paint with freak kids over and over...

"Hello," a woman with skis and poles talked to us. "Why is she skiing without snow, the world is upside down," I was thinking. I looked twice; it was the one with caterpillars. I think we are back from the Twilight Zone.

I think...

Demolition  begins on Waltham 's 58-year-old Gaebler School: Wicked Local Waltham, Nov. 15, 2010 (added on Nov. 29)

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