Monday, July 16, 2012

Taggers' Paradise

From Dave Brigham:

I lived in Boston's West Roxbury section several years ago, and played baseball in the adjacent Hyde Park neighborhood, so I was familiar with the area's Stony Brook Reservation. But on a recent drive through the reservation I took a route I'd neglected in the past, and discovered a sad and abused recreation center.

This was my first view of the defunct Thompson Center, as I drove by:

Just the beginning

I couldn't see the graffiti from the road, but because the driveway leading into the center was fenced off, I knew I'd find something of interest.

I found way more than I was expecting.

Tagged One Five One

The center opened in 1977, according to information I've found online, and was the first in New England designed specifically to accommodate handicapped visitors. The facility was shuttered in 2002 and it has since been defaced and vandalized to the point that the state's Department of Recreation and Conservation has considered demolishing the site.

From the DCR's Resource Management Plan for Stony Brook Reservation:

Heavily vandalized both inside and out, the Thompson Center is not sealed to the elements. Removal of the chimney, repair of the roof sheathing, replacing the roof, and replacing wall caps are needed to seal this structure. This building is not in use. There are numerous ancillary structures, including wooden walls and an inoperative spray pool associated with this building. All are in poor condition.

The isolation of the Thompson Center from other Reservation facilities and from the view of neighbors and passers-by has also made it an attractive nuisance. Many of the Thompson Center’s needed repairs were caused by extensive vandalism to the building. This site may no longer be appropriate for a building and recreational facilities.

I was a little leery of going inside the center. On a previous visit the week before, I'd come across two teens frolicking just outside the place, and I could hear them shaking up spray paint cans. I had no idea if people hung out here on a regular basis, or were perhaps even squatting inside.

But I had to push through that door.

Mess Torn apart

Quite the disaster area, I'd say.

The grounds aren't in much better shape.

Broken bench Porn Infamous

This place must have been a blast for kids of all abilities during its heyday. There was a spray park...

Graffiti cannons No More H2O

...and a wading pool.

Tagged pool

Now there are just illiterate taggers leaving behind nihilistic messages.

Let's Get High

For more on tagging, see our recent week-long series:

Here's the link to the final installment; at the bottom of that post, you can find links to the other five.


  1. Thanks Dave. I drive by this place once a week and always wondered what the heck it used to be. You answered not only what it was but what it is now (a sad mess.)

  2. Always glad to shed a little light. Too bad this place was allowed to go to such rot.

    1. Dave - I have some great news regarding this site. I am working with a non-profit organization that is dedicating itself to this area of Stony Brook Reservation. I am hoping that your blog and any other access you have to social media sites will give you the opportunity to publicize the website and Facebook page. As much as we need money to put this vision in place, we need supporters as well in the form of likes and publicity. There are grants to help us support this effort and those that we have to file the grant with need to see real support and acceptance of this project. We nearly have 100% approval from the neighborhood abutting the property and the MA DRC is 100% backing this proposal. The city representatives are even in favor.

      The goal is to turn it into a 100% dog only park with 9 acres of land it would add to the merely 0.2 acres of 6,000 acres of park space in the City of Boston that is dog only. I hope you will respond to my post and will also take the time to see our vision and publicize it some how...

      Wayne LHeureux

  3. Wayne -- that IS great news! I'll check out your site and Facebook page. I wish you the best in this effort. Will the building be saved during this process?

  4. This is cool.This is cool because I went 'exploring' today.And I can't believe a beautiful park got abandoned