Driving down the wrong road can produce exciting results. My exploration companion and I stumbled upon this abandoned ski lift, known as Dacre Heights Ski. It was adjacent to the abandoned house and after exploring the dwelling, we made our way back to the lonely machinery.
The chairs hang eerily in the sky, never to ride again.
I'm reminded of The Simpsons episode "Girly Edition" where reporter Kent Brockman is doing a segment called 'Kent Cares'. He stands on an old carousel:
"Hear that? It's the sound of children's laughter... silenced. That's because tomorrow, this old carousel, which has delighted young Americans for lo these past six years, will be torn down, to make way for the future: a store that sells designer mouse pads." Music cue: "Turn turn" by the Byrds.
The wiring looked like it was relatively recent (@ 2009). When was this place shut down? Why?
There is a larger, classier ski slopes in Calabogie - did they put Dacre Heights out of business? So many questions left un-answered. But we must keep asking.
There is a recreational section just outside the individual cells. Tables, TV's.
On the tables were board games printed directly on. RISK & MONOPOLY. Both have been scratched away by inmates.
A typical cell.
Privacy for the Loo: "STAY OUT When nobody is here".
Graffiti - "Mohawk Mafia" "L, Seguin" & Counting the Days.
Map of the First Floor.
THE female cell.
Graffiti in the female cell.
Tunnel to connect to the Courtroom Staircase.
This staircase led to the courtroom above. Prisoners could be sentenced quickly without ever leaving the building.
The Stairs to Justice.
The jail is an amazing piece of history. I love that they have preserved it as it was. It is also said to be haunted - strange sounds, voices, noises, etc. While I certainly saw nothing of the sort, one experiences, if only a fraction, of how terrible conditions were (even recently). There are many stories here and this is definitely worth exploring.
The Cornwall Jail is a unique museum capturing the history that is often untold: the correctional system of Ontario. From the museum's website: "Built in 1834, the Jail operated until 2002 when the Ministry of Correctional Services closed the facility in favour of newer, larger facilities in major cities. "
It has been preserved as it was when the prisoners left. It has not been painted over. It has not been politically sanitized. It smells. It is fascinating. And it may be haunted.
Going inside was like stepping back in time. I felt black and white captured that mood.
The jail was intended for only 50-60 inmates. More than 100 were kept here at its height. There were never more than 3 guards on duty at one time. This meant activities like 1pm exercises in the courtyard frequently did not happen because inmates could not be controlled.
The Control Room.
Mannequin guard. Does he come to life at night?
Privileges inmates could buy from the past.
The visitation area.
Solitary Confinement. Notice the cement bed.
A standard cell. The hole at the foot of the bed was for the pot which was used as a toilet. It was not uncommon for the guard in the morning to have said pot thrown at him.
A communal toilet.
The communal shower. There was a hole in the shower so I poked my camera inside. It appeared the museum was using it for storage of shelves and paintings.
The graffiti has been left untouched to preserve history. Except for a few extremely offensive depictions.
There is a fan in this room that is quite loud. I was told that prisoners who have returned to visit still talk about how the sound haunts them and that they cannot forget it.
A re-creation of the gallows. 10 people were hung and many more died in the jail. Many were buried in this courtyard. When the newer section was added to this courtyard in the 1960's, they found 3 'cells' that were laid flat in the ground like coffins where prisoners were lowered down as punishment. There had been no record of these cells.
While exploring the back roads West of Ottawa, taking a slightly wrong path, we stumbled upon an abandoned house, next to an abandoned ski lift (another post another day). There was no driveway, but we made our way along an old lane, hiking through the bush, and fighting tall weeds. The house has been stripped and left to rot for many years.
The windows have all been smashed.
The living room.
Nature is reclaiming the house.
A view of the ski lift.
Horror movie ideas were flashing through my head. I half-expected to climb the stairs and find a half rotted corpse of a hippie/squatter in the bedroom, and her decapitated boyfriend in the yard. We did find a dead mouse and a dead bird. Cause of death . . . unknown.
A very interesting find. Long abandoned, and no hope for a future. Who lived here and why did they leave?