Nestled within Massachusetts’ Rutland State Park are the ruins of an old prison complex where drunkards would be put to work growing potatoes for more hardened criminals.
The prison was built in 1903 to house minor offenders such as drunkards and the like, and contained a fully-functioning co-op farm to keep them busy and productive. In addition to the prison-bound potatoes, the farm, which operated on 150 acres of a 914 acre site, also cultivated chickens and dairy cows, producing enough milk to sell to the nearby town of Worcester.
In addition to the farm facilities, the prison facility contained cell blocks, staff housing, and a water tower. In 1907 a tuberculosis hospital was added to the complex to treat the patients.
Due to the fact that the prison grounds were built on a drainage area for the local water supply the whole place was abandoned in 1934, left to crumble in the wood. Today the ruins of the prison are open to the public to hike through and explore. The decaying cement ruins are now covered in graffiti, but are nonetheless an evocative, hidden find.
Know Before You Go
Easy access to the structures (can be reached by car) and each piece is fairly close to the others. Try leaving the same way you came as there are many long roads that are easy to get lost on around that area. The surrounding area is a popular spot for turkey hunting, so be mindful if planning a visit during turkey season (April-May).
In the winter, the area is popular with cross country skiiers and snowmobilers and is closed to traffic. You can park at a pull-off on Intervale Rd and walk a bit more than a mile to the site. The paths are well-packed.