The New York City Farm Colony

In 1829, the government established a colony on 300 acres of woodland on Staten Island in New York. The poor, the disabled, and the mentally ill were taken there to raise crops and earn their keep -which they did, until the population aged and it became an old folks home. It was only closed in 1975. That's where the history of the site takes a more sinister turn.

Crime had been present on and around the grounds since the 1920s, when a seven-year-old boy disappeared from the woods after being seen walking with an elderly man. The nearby Willowbrook State School had a troubled history for much of its life as an institution for the developmentally disabled. A famous 1972 exposé revealed the children at Willowbrook lying naked on the floor, smeared in their own feces, with one attendant for every 50 kids. And then, in the 70s and 80s, children started disappearing.

Many of them disabled, local kids would disappear from family homes, most never to be found again. Jennifer Schweiger, a 12-year-old with Down’s syndrome, disappeared on July 9, 1987, during what was intended as a short walk, to be found 35 days later in a shallow grave on the grounds of the Farm Colony. Andre Rand, once an orderly of the colony, was blamed for the series of murders. It was rumored he lived in the tunnels under the decaying hospital, and his campsites were found on the grounds of the property.

But that's not all. The buildings and grounds are the site of urban legends of ghosts, criminals, and satan worshipers. It's also a party place. Legally off-limits, the site is accessible and popular for drug users, graffiti artists, urban explorers, and paintball enthusiasts. Add to that the disintegration of the neglected structures and the encroaching forest, and the New York City Farm Colony is now a site to see, which you can at Atlas Obscura. Link

(Image credit: Hannah Frishberg)


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This location was also the subject of an excellent documentary film, "Cropsey", that digs into the events surrounding the place and their enduring impact on the population of the area. Do recommend giving it a look.
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Neat article. I read the whole thing a AtlasObscura and was pretty fascinated (and I'm only an hour or so away! May have to check it out).

I did notice the author is clearly trying to perpetuate how "ominous" it all is, and I want to point out that those "Satanic Rites" he talks about? With the things nailed to trees? They're for target practice, not any sort of worship.
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