Reminds me of place that me and my friends would go to back when I was a teenager. It was called the "Wayne County Training School For Feeble Minded Children", but the name was changed to "Wayne County Child Development Center" in the 60's (obviously a little more PC)...everyone just referred to it as the Northville Tunnels though. It was a completely independent community from the rest of the city...it had its own school, firehouse, theater, gas station, bowling alley, swimming pool, etc. There are underground tunnels that connect all of the major buildings together (hence the nickname). It was built in the 20's on several hundred acres and operated until 1974, when they decided to close it down. During it's time, the center came under some scrutiny for abuse amongst other things. They actually did various drug testing on the kids there over the years as well. Sounds kinda like some urban legends, doesn't it? Here is an article from Time Magazine
in 1935, that talks about a Meningitis Antitoxin that was tested there.
Additonal Links (in case anyone is into this sort of thing...i know these things are always intriguing to me anyway)Vintage Aerial Picture of the Property
- it was completely overgrown when we were going thoughMap - Original Layout 1926Historical Timeline and a few picsPicture of the Outside of a Building Picture of the Inside of a Building - 90's
Anyway, in the 80's and 90's, the place became somewhat of a hangout for teens to party at night time...trips there were always interesting, even if you weren't drinking though. There were times that we'd go there and we'd run into other groups of people...and other times, we'd be the only ones. Even if you didn't see anyone else, you'd still hear noises in the distance though, but the place was so big, that sometimes you'd never cross paths. I tell you what though...when you first ran into another group while walking in the underground tunnels, it would scare the crap out of ya.
One time our group was back there walking around and a couple of my buddies were getting a little freaked out...even though there were like 10 of us there. So, we come across this stair well than went down to this door that was about 6 feet underground. Someone had painted a big ol' 666 on the door. Needless to say, not everyone was willing to stick around and see what was on the other side. Instead we kept moving and ended up at a multistory building. We went upstairs to the second floor to hang out for a while. The entire wall was missing on one side of the building, so you could see out in the distance a ways...as far as the moonlight would show anyway. So, we're talking and one of my buddies starts going "shhh shhh"...and says to look down there. One of the guys with a flashlight shined it down to the ground outside the building. And there was a guy in black pants and a black jacket. He kneels down, almost as if he were gonna tie his shoe, but doesn't move...we keep the light on him for about 15 seconds, but it was like he was pretending that we couldn't see him or something. Cops were known to keep an eye on the property, so kids wouldn't go back there and get hurt or set buildings on fire...still to this day, I'm not sure whether it was a cop or not. So someone says to stop shining the light at him, to which my friends complies...a few seconds later, he shines it back over at him, but now he's gone. He starts waving the light around trying to figure out where he went. He shined it on him just in time to see him walking around the corner of the building...to which we all said "f**k this" and hustled down the stairs and ran all the way though the woods to a safe distance and walked back to the cars. You had to park quite a distance away, so it was a decent hike.
I went there a couple of times after that, but then not again for a while. They'd been talking about tearing down the buildings for several years, but I think they felt the pressure when a teenager fell from one of the taller buildings, while partying with his friends, and died. I remember that day like it was yesterday. I worked at a fast food restaurant a couple of miles from the tunnels. There were a couple of paramedics that always came in to eat in the evening. One night they came in and the one guy is telling us about a kid that had fallen (or was pushed, as he wasn't sure at the time) from the old hospital and they had to scrape him up (his words, not mine). I think that incident did the trick, since they actually started moving forward with doing away with the buildings not too long after that. Here is a News piece
that the local news did on the Tunnels that has some video footage of the buildings and tunnels and touches briefly on the kid that died as well. I went there one last time during the daytime to get a few photos, before it was too late. I'd post them, but I loaned out my scanner a while back. Anyway, they demolished everything in the late 90's and now the land is occupied by 3/4 million dollar homes and an Arnold Palmer golf coarse.
It was a better time than any haunted house out there, but it's no longer.