The Beauty In A (State) School

I love history. I love the way that it doesn’t change and that one person has the power to take a group of people and lead them. History to me is power. 

One of my favorite time periods is the Roaring ’20s. I love Gatsby, and I love flapper dresses and the constant dressing up. 

The Belchertown State School was established in 1920. It was originally constructed for the feeble minded. The reason why it takes the title of “school” is because children were often instituted here as opposed to adults. 

After shutting down in 1992 it became a place that people wanted to see. A place that people wanted to experience. 

Now, 24 years later, Belchertown State School has experienced so much. The most famous building is the building with the theatre. 

My friend and I went and climbed through a window through the basement in order to get in, conquering my fear of heights my friend helped me to jump and not plummet to my death. The jump was probably 5 feet so not bad at all but to me, it felt more like 20. 

After walking through the basement we went up stairs to the main hallway. Greeting us was a painted wall with an anchor that said “Don’t Sink” which was probably one of the very few positive artworks in the institution. 

Walking up another set of stairs we were greeted by a door with a window that looked as if someone punched a hole through it, the most devastating part of the experience is seeing how much damage people have caused on a place with such rich history. However, the walls filled with graffiti and drawings were a part of a culture that could never be forgotten. 

When you walk into the theatre the feeling that came over me was one of: “This is it”. After seeing photo after photo of this room to finally be there myself was something of relief, to see the infamous auditorium was just amazing. 

With debris on the ground you had to constantly watch where you were stepping. My favorite part of the whole experience was seeing the left over spray cans, as if someone had just wanted to leave something of themselves there. Although, the truth is they were probably too lazy to pick up their trash, I like to see the metaphorical reasoning behind it.

My friend took me up the stairs where you could overlook the auditorium. See everything from one space. We went to climb a ladder to see some of the roof, then left and wandered down the hallways. 

The hallway was probably the creepiest part of the whole experience. 


The classrooms you could tell went through the most damage, with the walls broken in and desks turned over. Some ceilings were torn apart as well as walls, clearly suffering from years of abuse and torment, much like the patients beforehand.

Afterwards we went down the hall and Wheez led me down the staircase into a basement.

Not having any flashlights we had to resort to the ones that are on our iPhones, which did not work.

She showed me the underground basketball courts and the old basketball hoop. Both, hardly able to see but authentic as well.

 Afterwards we left the auditorium and went to walk around the old campus, unfortunately most of the buildings were already boarded and sealed but that didn’t contain the spirits and stories that lived within them. The graffiti was still seeping through the doors and onto the outside of the buildings, even on the concrete.

The experience itself was amazing, and kind of mind blowing.

 It was weird to think that so many other people walked the path I was walking on. I said to Wheez, “Can you even imagine how terrified the people were, pulling up to this place and being dropped off?” And she replied with something along the lines of people didn’t really know what we know now, they just thought it was normal.

 I think that’s the crazy part. However, the experience that I experienced was amazing. I’m glad that Wheez gave me the opportunity to go with her and to go on this little adventure. 

 What was the last adventure you went on?   


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A Type 1 Diabetic teen that was introduced into the world of diabetes on November 11th, 2008. I continue to walk through the path of life even in this carbohydrate and plastic infected world. Follow me while I deal with diabetes, art, and environmental issues.

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