As stated before, we had tried and failed to visit the dead train cars on the northern end of Aquidneck Island before. But this second trip was successful. We also took a look at a couple other spots that managed to deliver a whole lot of average.
This time around we started good and late in the day. None of that wake up early and get out there crap. Around lunch time, the day kicked off with a plate of eggs and fell-on-the-floor-bacon for my friend, and a cup of chilli with American cheese for me. Blech. After gagging that shit down, we figured the day couldn’t get worse.
The first spot we checked out looked like what had once been a restaurant and inn, directly across the street from the diner. Getting onto the property was a little weird, because it was surrounded on all sides by homes, and for whatever reason everyone decided to go out and mow their lawn at the same time. Now, from the road, this place looked like it had a clean yard, and some landscape machinery of its own, and we were worried about how abandoned it actually was. Upon closer inspection, the answer turned out to be, very, very, abandoned. The place looked like, a very long time ago, it had been completely sealed shut. We happened upon a spot with a board removed and found a mangled kitchen, full of broken plates, smashed walls and shredded fibreglass insulation. But man, the worst part was probably the smell. There was plenty of light getting in from were we stood, but the room still looked dark. Everything was coated in thick black mold and reeked of pneumonia and death. So, I definitely wasn’t going in there. You are more than welcome too, just make sure you bring some bleach to take a bath in after you leave.
And as if all this rottenness wasn’t enough, we noticed on our way off the property that the top floor windows had been blacked out. We were pretty sure it was black paint, and not mold or fire damage, because one of the windows had been knocked off it’s hinges and was hanging off the building with a knotted bed sheet draped over the sill. It looked like maybe someone had been in there, and then very quickly decided they didn’t want to be. We made the same decision, and headed for the train.
This time, the train was right where we expected it to be, which I guess happens if you know where you’re doing. We drove right down the muddy road and parked pretty much right next to it. It was definitely a neat find: a set of five solid looking old Pennsylvania Rail Road passenger cars, rotting to dust on some swampy abandoned track. The decay was pretty severe. Sections of the cars had fallen out completely and you could see straight through to the ground. Other parts of the train had trees growing through them, a hint at just how long it’s been since these cars had a chance to move.
The Sakonnet River train swing bridge had serviced these island tracks since 1899, but closed permanently in 1980 when an overweight train carrying military equipment rendered it structurally unsound. The swing bridge was left open for another eight years before someone ran into it. Finally it was blown to smithereens in 2007, presumably by teenage vandals who had recently discovered rock ‘n’ roll and boozing.
Adjacent to the dead train was an old fish dock and several buildings that were empty and smelled terrible. While checking these out we scared the shit out of, and then had an awesome conversation with, a woman pushing a stroller down by the beach. She had stories about the old wire and cable company headquarters nearby that had once been abandoned, and recently been turned into a high-rise condoplex. (Which coincidentally, is also completely empty.)
Soon after, we then parted ways and headed back towards the bars on Thames Street, only to be distracted by the old monastery on the hill. I had heard stories of this place my whole life, but never made the trip. (And honestly, I was preoccupied with NoHo and Met State getting demolished, so whatever.) The word was that this place had kicked it too. While it’s mostly true that the buildings surrounding the monastery have, relatively recently, been demolished to make way for condos, the chapel and dormitory are still there. But they’re completely stripped bare, and apparently have been for some time. So, who cares about this spot? No one.
It looks like the place had been gutted once, years ago, down to the studs. There was some old construction material laying around, but it looks like whoever was rehabbing the place had given up without trying very hard to fix anything. The stairwells looked pretty in the sunset, so I snapped a few photos of those before my friend was totally fucking annoyed and bored. “I was done with this place as soon as I walked into it.” He said. Which pretty much sums it up.