With its low self-esteem and high urban blight, Hartford is the ultimate underdog city. Sad City Hartford documents the joys, sorrows and eccentricities of New England's Rising Star.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Sad City Field Trip: The Hyde Manor

Every once in a while Sad City will venture out of the friendly confines of the Hartford city limits and see what the rest of the world has to offer. A recent trip found us deep in rural Vermont, channeling our inner Palin by snowmobiling. As we crossed the frozen tundra we came upon a large building in a state of near total collapse.

We learned later that we had found the Hyde Manor, a hotel constructed in 1862 that once housed 300 guests. We were able to find only one article on the manor; it closed in the 1970's and fell into the state a disrepair and imminent collapse.

Fortified with courage from being rugged outdoorsmen adventuring on our snowmobiles, we pulled up to the decaying structure.  Two of our group of four decided to approach the porch and inspect the mysterious structure. (A Texan and an Irishman declined.) The two Hartford county natives without hesitation nor fear scaled the porch and entered through the partially open screen door.

We found the building in very bad shape. Parts of the second floor have already collapsed down onto the first floor. The first floor area near the staircase was full of holes and impossible to navigate. Snow had fallen down the chimney and was pouring into a living room through the fireplace. Furniture and curtains remained as they must have been when the hotel was operating. As we journeyed towards the back of the badly sagging structure my hearty companion remarked "better hope the wind doesn't blow."

As we made our way through Hyde Manor, one couldn't help but think of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre being grabbed from behind by Leatherface. At the back of the first floor we found an abandoned industrial kitchen. There isn't much creepier than a long abandoned industrial kitchen the with rusted equipment all still there.

We also came upon a handful of old books that were marked "Hyde Manor Library" we considered taking one as a souvenir, but when we picked up the books they were moldy and nearly fell apart. On one occasion we had to backtrack and retrace our steps because entire portions of the first floor had collapsed. Portions of the second floor had collapsed down into the first floor. We located an ornate staircase leading up to the second floor, but given the state of the building and the rapidly diminishing light, we both thought it wise not to venture upstairs. Having explored the first floor and avoided any encounters with Leatherface, we went back outside and rejoined our less adventures, non-Hartford county companions.

Overall a great find and a fun exploration. While we come across abandoned buildings on a regular basis in Hartford, we don't see any quite like this. Perhaps we will get a chance to visit the Hyde Manor again, but there also exists the possibility that these will be the last photographs taken from inside Hyde Manor before its imminent collapse.


  1. Awesome pics Hakaan! What a beautiful disaster this old building is, I would love to know more about its history.

  2. Thanks Nicholas - there really isn't much out there besides the one article I linked to.

  3. Here's something I found that includes a pic of what it looked like in it's prime:http://forum.treasurenet.com/index.php?topic=174060.0

  4. That is insane. You could film a new Psycho film there in Heartbeat. Nice shot.

  5. Is this right as you are entering Bennington VT? I am positive it is the place I used to pass all the time when going up to Stratton.
    Thank you for the awesome photos! I always wanted to know what this place looked like from the inside! Glad you were careful! Sounded dangerous!

  6. No, up a lot further then Bennington.

  7. Oh, the hotel that I thought this was is called the Walloomsac Inn in Bennington VT. Check it out! : )

  8. went up to photograph the hyde manor this past july boy a lot has changed, you can check my shots out if you like , Dave my blog is lostinnewenglanddotcom. can't wait to check out more of your site.

  9. I live about ten miles from this place & never noticed or heard about it before. I am a life long thirty six year old Vermonter how the Hell did I never notice this incredible place before today? Wow...your article is fascinating!