I’ll be the first person to tell you that I hate my hometown. There’s nothing to do and you can easily skip it. However, my county as a whole is actually pretty interesting, especially if we’re talking about the past. So if you’re a history buff, come through to Rockland County — you’ll be in for a treat.
Historically, the county offers a lot of cool things. One town was a spot used in the Underground Railroad; the Battle of Stony Point was big in the Civil War with reenactments happening annually, and Rockland Lake was a big site during the salt trade. In the past, my hometown was pretty lit. Another interesting thing about Rockland is the infamous Letchworth Village.
Letchworth Village was built to house physically and mentally disabled people of all ages. In the 1950s, this site was home to the original trial for the polio vaccine. However, like most mental wards during this time, the patients were treated very poorly. Cases of patients being neglected and possibly even raped, as well as a lack of funding made Letchworth hard to maintain. Patients lived in dirty and overcrowded conditions and didn’t receive their basic needs.
Up the road from the Letchworth site is a memorial site that mourns those who lost their lives. A stone is shown with the words “THOSE WHO SHALL NOT BE FORGOTTEN,” with a list of hundreds of names. T-shaped markers are also behind the memorial to symbolize the nameless patients. The names weren’t included because their family members didn’t want that information released into the public. The only marker they have is their patient ID number. Even though it may not seem like this area receives a lot of attention, it still gets maintained by a grounds crew every once in a while.
It was officially closed in 1996 since many of the buildings were in a state of decay. Many buildings have since been burned down, and other spots show signs of nature taking over. There were attempts to use the property for other things like a shopping center, but eventually, the idea got scrapped.
Despite its tortured history, people still go and walk the lands. My high school friends and I ventured there a couple of times. Surprisingly, the land is open for walking to the public. People can just walk their dogs around and it would be no problem. Do anything else and you would be trespassing private property. So naturally, 18-year-old me couldn’t have cared less and went inside the buildings.
It’s no surprise that you can feel the eeriness of each place. It just felt uneasy going from room to room, knowing the awful things that were done to people there. Feeling the souls that never really left and are just lurking there is crazy. Plus, it almost sounded like there were objects being moved when there wasn’t anyone there. Another thing about Letchworth is that a lot of the buildings are not stable. Due to arson, the structures are not as stable as they once were, and any sort of pressure can cause walls and floors to collapse.
Honestly, I would go to Letchworth again. In a way, it’s keeping the memory alive of those who may have been forgotten. I would even bring people who are curious about it. I’m always on a mission to know more about my hometown, and going to creepy sites like this is part of the adventure. Letchworth is also pretty well known since it was featured on “Ghost Adventures”, “Elementary”, and was the inspiration for season 2 of “American Horror Story.”