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UER Forum > Archived US: Northeast > Halcyon Hall/Bennett School for Girls, Millbrook NY (Viewed 3477 times)
ItTurnsToRust 


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Halcyon Hall/Bennett School for Girls, Millbrook NY
< on 1/7/2011 3:10 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Hey everyone, this is my first posting of a trip so let me know anything else that I need to include or not to include. Thanks!

So a few weeks ago, back in December, my Girlfriend and I took a short road trip from my college to check out Halcyon Hall/The Bennett School for Girls.

This school was originally constructed in 1890 as Halcyon Hall - a luxury hotel constructed of wood and stone dreamed up by publisher H.J. Davison Jr. Filled with books and curios from around the world, the hotel was a retreat that featured beautiful carved wooden pillars, balconies, and small niches to steal a quick read or nap. The building had been designed in the elaborate Victorian Queen Anne style by James E. Ware, and consisted of 200 rooms in 5 stories, plus a basement and sub-basement. Despite the grandeur, Halcyon Hall failed to catch the popularity it had hoped for. It closed in 1901, and stood vacant until another a buyer was found eight years later.

The Bennett School for Girls, originally founded in Irvington N.Y. by Miss May Bennett, found Halcyon Hall quite suitable as a new home in 1907. The school had been in operation for seventeen years and had 120 students, most from prominent families. These women took a six year course of study - four years of high school and two years of higher study. Language, culture, and fine arts were stressed in the curriculum. In the early 20th century, the school eliminated high school courses and became a junior college, offering two year degrees.

A number of addition and modification took place at Halcyon Hall during the college years. In 1926, a northern service wing which formed part of the courtyard was demolished and replaced with the present-day Gage Hall. The new wing had originally held dormitory rooms, but was converted into classrooms, offices, and other facilities in later years. In 1952, the stucco Alumnae Hall added as a west wing dormitory. In 1956, the Ella Buffington Library was built out of the east wall of Gage Hall.

Bennett College found itself struggling to survive in the 1970s as the popularity of coeducation steadily grew. A major movement to upgrade the school into a four year college had left the college in financial distress. An attempt to merge with nearby Briarcliff Manor failed, and Bennett College entered bankruptcy in 1977. The school was closed for good one year later, and many school artifacts including the entire library was moved to the Millbrook Free Library.

Several attempt to redevelop the property failed in the 1980s, and the title was acquired by a savings bank subsidiary. When the bank went out of business in 1991, its assets including Bennett College were seized by the FDIC. An agreement was reached to place Halcyon Hall on the National Register of Historic Places in 1993 - however, the town of Millbrook has been working with developers to demolish the building for condominiums.


As we approached the site, we found a nearby area to park and proceeded to approach the building. Approaching from one side, we passed Gage Hall first. The ground levels were all boarded up with no real hint of an entry point, so we just moved on. As we came into full, close-up view of the main building, we were in awe. The amount of the original detailed stone and woodwork left intact was incredible, not to mention the shear size of the structure itself. We made our way into the building on what we assumed was the first main floor.

The first room we entered into seemed like it may have been a reception area at one point, but now was essentially bare. There was a large portion of floor/ceiling that was caved in so naturally we avoided it. Walking past the cave in, we made our way a little ways down a hallway before the floor began to look too unstable and we turned back.

We then went down the main hallway and past a few rooms here and there. At the end of the hall was what seemed to be a large dining room or something similar. People had definitely been here recently as there were Gatorade bottles and candy bar wrappers littered near a broken window. Behind the dining area, we found the remnants of the kitchen (being a Culinary student, this was of especially high interest to me). There were the remains of the ventilation system from the stoves, and even the old dumbwaiter still intact. Even further back was what appeared to be some sort of storage area.

After this we decided to turn back as my girlfriend was getting nervous (this was her first urbex trip). On our way back down the main hallway we noticed an open elevator shaft with the control box open. Also on our way out, we spotted a possible POE on one of the higher levels of Gage Hall, but decided not to pursue it.

As we made our way back to the car and began to leave, we stopped on the roadside to take some long shots. We even saw another couple making their way up (presumably) to take pictures.

With such a massive site and so much to explore, I never planned on doing the whole place in a single trip. Thankfully, it's only about half an hour away, and WELL worth the gas. Hopefully once it warms up some, I'll be able to make another trip out. If anybody is in the area, let me know and I'd be glad to meet up.

Thanks for reading, and Enjoy the pictures!

ITTR

Note: These pictures were taken with my cell phone, so excuse the blurriness. I did however get a nice digital camera for Christmas, so future pics should be of somewhat better quality.


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[last edit 1/7/2011 3:12 PM by ItTurnsToRust - edited 1 times]

CatalogOfCulture 


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Re: Halcyon Hall/Bennett School for Girls, Millbrook NY
<Reply # 1 on 1/7/2011 3:29 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
While this place is pretty well known it is generally frowned upon to give specific site information or mention locations by name. Also discussion of POEs in a public forum is discouraged.

Nice story and pictures... hope you make it back to continue exploring.

If it rusts I will find it
MonoxideChild 


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Re: Halcyon Hall/Bennett School for Girls, Millbrook NY
<Reply # 2 on 1/7/2011 4:17 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
love the history behind the place. thanks for sharing.

~Quote By Thomas Edison~
I have far more respect for the person with a single idea who gets there than for the person with a thousand ideas who does nothing....
phrenzee 


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Re: Halcyon Hall/Bennett School for Girls, Millbrook NY
<Reply # 3 on 1/7/2011 4:42 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
I am a big fan of this location and have been inside a couple of times. With the awful news below, I don't think that posting the name/location and POE really matters any longer. Hopefully any explorers who haven't been inside yet get a chance to visit this epic location before it's too late.

-----------------------------

November 10, 2010

Bennett demolition to be completed by October 1, 2011

Barring an “act of God,” property owner will have to follow timeline

By Olesia Plokhii

The attorneys for the Bennett property owner agreed that by October 1, 2011, six empty, deteriorating buildings that have like a plague haunted the village of Millbrook for more than three decades will be demolished and the property cleared of equipment, village attorney Rebecca Valk said Monday.

A legal document stipulating the completion date is expected to be signed by the end of the week.

Legal council for Louis Heithaus, the presumed current property owner of more than 300-square feet of the former Bennett College campus, including the six buildings known as the Halcyon Hall Complex, met with Valk and village Building Inspector Ken McLaughlin October 14 to decide on a timeline by which all work, including permit acquisition, the physical demolition, and clean-up, would be completed.

“We suggested October 1 as a reasonable timeframe that allows a cushion if they need it, and they agreed to it,” Valk said. “But I want to emphasize that it wasn’t a joint negotiation.”

“We proposed and they accepted.”

A 30-day period given by the officer to begin establishing a timeframe to demolish ended October 20, Valk said, with it ending the period for the property owner to appeal the decision to demolish.

“I made it clear to them that we could only consider an extension to the October 1 deadline if it were due to a third party hold-up or a major snowstorm,” she said.

“An act of God, they call it.”

Source:
www.themillbrookindependent.com/
 
[last edit 1/7/2011 5:46 PM by phrenzee - edited 2 times]

Rinzler 


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Re: Halcyon Hall/Bennett School for Girls, Millbrook NY
<Reply # 4 on 1/7/2011 5:22 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Well now

ItTurnsToRust 


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Re: Halcyon Hall/Bennett School for Girls, Millbrook NY
<Reply # 5 on 1/7/2011 8:40 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
@Catalog: Thanks for the pointers. I'll try to make sure to avoid things like that in the future

CatalogOfCulture 


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Re: Halcyon Hall/Bennett School for Girls, Millbrook NY
<Reply # 6 on 1/8/2011 1:07 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Damn... shame about demo news. Guess it doesn't matter too much about secrecy.

If it rusts I will find it
CatalogOfCulture 


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Re: Halcyon Hall/Bennett School for Girls, Millbrook NY
<Reply # 7 on 1/8/2011 1:12 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Posted by ItTurnsToRust
@Catalog: Thanks for the pointers. I'll try to make sure to avoid things like that in the future


No worries... it's just about protecting the location for you and other explorers. Too many dumbasses will go trash a place or be stupid in there and end the fun for the rest of us.

If it rusts I will find it
Rinzler 


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Re: Halcyon Hall/Bennett School for Girls, Millbrook NY
<Reply # 8 on 1/8/2011 1:15 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Posted by CatalogOfCulture


No worries... it's just about protecting the location for you and other explorers. Too many dumbasses will go trash a place or be stupid in there and end the fun for the rest of us.



You cant trash this place lmao. The inside is a complete wreck. You wouldnt even notice.

CatalogOfCulture 


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Re: Halcyon Hall/Bennett School for Girls, Millbrook NY
<Reply # 9 on 1/8/2011 1:33 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Posted by Played



You cant trash this place lmao. The inside is a complete wreck. You wouldnt even notice.


People can ruin places that are wrecked inside... even if it is just causing more security and/or boarded up doors and windows.

And I was talking in general terms there as to why people don't name locations in threads.
[last edit 1/8/2011 1:34 AM by CatalogOfCulture - edited 1 times]

If it rusts I will find it
amy atomic 


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Re: Halcyon Hall/Bennett School for Girls, Millbrook NY
<Reply # 10 on 1/8/2011 5:05 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Judging by the super sharpness of your exteriors, I'm going to guess you have an Android phone?

BippleMcKipple 


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Re: Halcyon Hall/Bennett School for Girls, Millbrook NY
<Reply # 11 on 1/8/2011 9:43 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Posted by abandonedNH
Judging by the super sharpness of your exteriors, I'm going to guess you have an Android phone?


hey now, don't hate

ItTurnsToRust 


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Re: Halcyon Hall/Bennett School for Girls, Millbrook NY
<Reply # 12 on 1/9/2011 3:26 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Posted by abandonedNH
Judging by the super sharpness of your exteriors, I'm going to guess you have an Android phone?


Nope, LG Xenon



macgruder 


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Re: Halcyon Hall/Bennett School for Girls, Millbrook NY
<Reply # 13 on 1/10/2011 5:34 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Posted by Played



You cant trash this place lmao. The inside is a complete wreck. You wouldnt even notice.


One match would destroy this place if you aren't careful. Old rotted wood would light up in a second.

A shame about this place, I was just talking about it yesterday. I'm happy I got to see it before it's gone.

To all who haven't seen it yet, GO NOW, or forever hold your peace.

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Sceptic 


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Re: Halcyon Hall/Bennett School for Girls, Millbrook NY
<Reply # 14 on 1/10/2011 5:35 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Due to the news...How is security there lately?

"Instinctive forces influence the activity of consciousness. Whether that influence is for better or for worse depends upon the actual contents of the unconscious."
Rinzler 


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Re: Halcyon Hall/Bennett School for Girls, Millbrook NY
<Reply # 15 on 1/10/2011 5:43 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Posted by macgruder


One match would destroy this place if you aren't careful. Old rotted wood would light up in a second.

A shame about this place, I was just talking about it yesterday. I'm happy I got to see it before it's gone.

To all who haven't seen it yet, GO NOW, or forever hold your peace.



Most of the place is damp inside tho

20SeVeN 


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Re: Halcyon Hall/Bennett School for Girls, Millbrook NY
<Reply # 16 on 1/10/2011 8:46 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Love the exterior architecture, and combination of wood and stone, very unique look...

ItTurnsToRust 


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Re: Halcyon Hall/Bennett School for Girls, Millbrook NY
<Reply # 17 on 1/13/2011 3:52 AM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
Posted by Sceptic
Due to the news...How is security there lately?


When I was there we had no problems with security. I even saw some more people walking up to it as we were leaving

phrenzee 


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Re: Halcyon Hall/Bennett School for Girls, Millbrook NY
<Reply # 18 on 1/13/2011 12:18 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
When I was there in November, some members of our party narrowly missed being spotted by the police when they exited the building. The police still do periodic checks of the courtyard, probably every hour or two.

prettyflowers 


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Re: Halcyon Hall/Bennett School for Girls, Millbrook NY
<Reply # 19 on 3/4/2011 8:03 PM >
Posted on Forum: UER Forum
 
I was there with three friends in early November. As far as I know there were no visits from police while we were in the vicinity, and there were no other people in the building that day.

I'm sad that it's being demolished, but it's clearly well beyond repair. A lot of the upper floors are pretty unsafe.

I'm planning a trip back to those parts and some other Catskills locations from Toronto in early Summer. I'm glad at least that there should be a final opportunity to see Halcyon Hall and some of the other interesting buildings that are very close by...

UER Forum > Archived US: Northeast > Halcyon Hall/Bennett School for Girls, Millbrook NY (Viewed 3477 times)
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