I’ve been saving this until after the site redesign, so since the site is half-redesigned, here you go. You might remember that we got kicked out of Bennett College. The backup plan was the abandoned Holy Cross Campus about a half hour away in Rhinebeck.
This place started as a military academy, built shortly after WWII. In the early ’80s it was converted to a juvenile detention center for teenage boys — and as has been pointed out in comments, also housed girls. The place is suitably clinical, sterile, and individualism-killing for both purposes. In 2000 it closed after allegations of sexual abuse were leveled against a female counselor. It’s since sat vacant, in the wooded hills overlooking the Hudson River.
There are four main buildings forming a sort of courtyard, with outdoor basketball courts and playing fields set off a bit. The buildings include dorms, classrooms, administrative offices, and in the most interesting one, two gymnasiums and a pool. Now they also include a lot of broken glass, graffiti, holes in the walls, and trash. The few fixtures that are left are wrecked and scattered around the rooms and grounds.
Holy Cross has been one of the more interesting places we’ve visited. There’s a lot of variety, and while it’s obvious that local kids have been using it as their private playground, things are still mostly intact and everything’s accessible. The rec building is by far the highlight; the gyms are vast and drive home the emptiness, and the pool really has to be seen to be appreciated.
It’s hard to say exactly how long this place will be around. The area is not unwealthy; million dollar houses hide in the woods nearby, and their owners undoubtedly don’t want the eyesore or the trouble it can bring. Plans to build senior housing on the property have been tied up in red tape, and because it was constructed to decades-old building codes and is full of asbestos, converting the existing structures isn’t going to happen. Oh yeah, it’s also built on 100,000+ cubic feet of landfill and there are multiple above and below ground fuel storage tanks.
But, like most abandoned properties in the area, it’s not going anywhere soon. Nice legacy.
We spent a few hours here, and it kept surprising us. It’s definitely a Hudson Valley urbex site worth looking into. Come for the creepy kitchen that looks like something from a Saw movie, stay for the dead birds in the gym!