Hiking Trail · Historical Landmarks · Massachusetts · Parks

Prison Camp Ruins, Rutland State Park- Rutland MA

Today I decided to check out some prison camp ruins rumored to be in Rutland State Park in Massachusetts. The directions said they were on Prison Camp Road, which was easy enough to remember but what they don’t tell you is the park is FULL of primitive dirt roads going in all directions, most of which the GPS does not recognize, and they aren’t labelled either. So this place was somewhat difficult to find but not too bad. It was a lucky day and the road I needed wasn’t gated off due to seasonal flooding as many were. The prison ruins are visible from the road and since you can only drive five miles an hour without breaking an axle it’s hard to miss.

I must say as parks go this place was drop dead gorgeous. I had only intended to check out the ruins but now I want to go back and explore every one of those dirt roads! But back to the prison…. it was built to house minor offenders, probably mostly the town drunks, and it kept them busy growing potatoes and milking cows – a field still exists and is covered in billions of dandelions this time of year. And of course this was also the location of a Tuberculosis ward. The ruins you can see from the road are of four absolutely tiny cells. I couldn’t even take a photo in them to show they were rooms and not just a wall! This place was apparently still very popular as every inch of masonry had been tagged by one sort of graffiti or another and trash was ankle deep where ever I walked. Still… that sort of adds a bit to the allure and I sure had fun snapping photos of this unusual subject matter. Three other structures were within walking distance but be forewarned — bring your bug spray! The dense vegetation tossed up many ticks.

Hikers who knew where they were going seemed to be using the roads to amble down rather than drive – which is a wonderful idea if you have a map! I drove around for a long time and passed several bridges and rivers and a few rock formations that were just to die for. This place seemed to have it all and we were out in the middle of nowhere. For as peaceful at it was there was also a very wild and untamed sense about it – maybe this was because of the occasional bits and pieces of other ruins that dotted the roads here and there – like a staircase to nowhere which was probably someone’s house at some point in history.

All and all I had am amazing day out here and wish to go back with a picnic basket! This was another win on my travels.

 

 

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