Reinvestigating The Caverly Preventorium

Though I’ve written about The Caverly Preventorium previously for The Rutland Reader, it wasn’t until a few days ago when I would actually get to set foot inside for myself. Meeting up with Paul Dulski from Haunted Vermont, we set out for the Rutland County town of Pittsford.

As tuberculosis gripped the United States of the early 1900s, there was a growing need for hospitals and places to treat the ever growing number of people falling ill to the terrible disease, as what was once thought to be the work of vampirism in 18th and 19th century New England was finally becoming understood more. Sanatoriums were soon constructed across the country to not only house and attempt to cure all those who were grieving from the disease, but to remove them from the rest of society.

Researching the storied and often troubling history about the hospital, as well as listening to numerous people telling me of uncomfortable and most often unaccountable events that they experienced inside the building, this abandoned tuberculosis hospital in the woods has long held my interest. It certainly is a unique place in the Green Mountain State. Even DeadFi productions offered strange accounts they remembered while filming there one night last fall. But it wasn’t until visiting the place that I truly had a better understanding on just how compelling it really was.

Pittsford Volunteer Fire Department members Cody Hesse and Ethan Nordmeyer, who also help run the Pittsford Haunted House, a Halloween attraction ran on the first floor of the abandoned hospital every October, were kind enough to agree to unlock the building and give me a first hand tour. Sitting outside, swatting away swarms of mosquitoes under summer humidity, I got my first look at the hospital. Already, it was firing my imagination, and I underestimated it. The building looked smaller than I had thought – and with the tacky Halloween props decorating the facade, I admittedly wasn’t taking my first impressions all that seriously.

However, I had subconsciously broken my first rule of adventuring, to come in with an open mind. And as I was soon to find out,  that would end almost immediately as they unlocked the basement door, and beckoned for me to step inside. I knew things were going to be interesting when I saw the amount of effort the fire department took to keep people out. Each entrance was outfitted with deadbolts and padlocks. Ethan explained that several people had attempted to break in recently. Some of the doors were damaged from where a forced entry via crowbar was unsuccessfully attempted.

Apart from renovations to create the different areas of the haunted house, the bones were still authentic. The basement was musty and dark, a labyrinth of side rooms and doors. A massive old boiler adorned with ornate decor on its cast iron door was illuminated by the beam of a flashlight, standing out from swirling dust. Old industrial porcelain sinks, and relics from the old hospital lay stacked up in piles, leaning against the old walls in silence.

Almost immediately, my camera began to act up, which was a rare occurrence for me. It refused to focus when I attempted to take a photo and my battery kept loosing energy. To the group’s amusement, they all laughed at my misfortunes, and nodded their heads in mutual affirmation. They had all seen this happen before.

Cody fiddled with another padlock and swung open a camouflaged side door, revealing the staircase leading up towards the second floor, an area that visitors aren’t allowed to see. Almost instantly, the atmosphere changed, and we went from black painted walls and hanging demon clowns set to spring at you, to a funereal atmosphere of peeling lead paint, pensive silence and dull light coming through dirty windows. This was what I wanted to see, this was the bona fide experience.

Almost immediately, I felt different, it was something tangible, something I noticed crawl underneath my skin. Our feet clomped up the wooden stairs, the aging planks groaning and cracking beneath our feet that seemed to crack the heavy silence. Gazing downwards through the beam of our reliable mag lights, the original hospital floor, which had long faded, could still be seen, covered in lead paint speckles, dust, and raccoon feces. Cody explained that they always found evidence of raccoon and other critters on the upper floors.

We were met with a long and narrow hallway, with lines of wooden doors leading in either direction. Most of the rooms were almost identical, and empty, with robust radiators sitting underneath windows, showered with more flaking lead paint. It was strange to think about how these decrepit spaces were once occupied by suffering children who knew all about agony, now vacant, lifeless, and miserable in a completely difference sense, haunted by silhouettes. Things that were once in order, now seemed so strange.

Through the stale air, we pressed on, flashlight beams momentarily brightening dark rooms. Walking around up there wasn’t for the faint of heart. With lead paint, animal feces and asbestos, it wasn’t a sanitary place to be, but there was another quality that smoldered within the empty halls, we all felt uncomfortable being there.

Parts of the building had been taken down or have collapsed over the years. Former porch areas had been razed, leaving doors on the second floor opening into nothing but a straight drop down to the lawn below. Other sun porches – which was once thought to be a tuberculosis treatment, were now rotted beyond repair and unsafe to tread on, barricaded by doors that had been screwed shut.

The main house was surrounded by three smaller cottages, which offered a similar landscape of grungy hospital tiles, awkward spaces and stale air, all sealed up like a tomb. It would honestly be quite easy to loose your mind inside one of these buildings. The entire time I was inside, I felt like I had been spending my time in dislocation.

After the grand tour, we all gathered again on the front lawn, and as Cody and Ethan swapped their own stories of strangeness, I had a better idea of why The Caverly Preventorium had such a dark reputation. It was one of the few places I’ve gotten involved with where most people openly and insistently admitted to experiencing something inside. Though I didn’t see any ghosts or witness anything baffling, I can honestly say that this was one of the most unsettling places I’ve ever explored, and it certainly left an impression on me.

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This is Mary's Room, the hospitals most famous haunt. While people speculate that several children who died here still wonder the halls and empty rooms upstairs, Mary is the only one who really has an identity. She was formerly a nurse here, who died tragically by either falling down the very staircase we walked up and broke her neck, or contracted tuberculosis while caring for the sick children and died in her room. Many people have allegedly reported run ins with Mary.

This is Amy’s Room, the hospital’s most famous haunt. While people speculate that several children who died here still wonder the halls and empty rooms upstairs, Amy is the only one who really has an identity. She was formerly a nurse here, who died tragically by either falling down the very staircase we walked up, breaking her neck, or contracted tuberculosis while caring for the sick children and died in her room. Many people have allegedly reported run ins with Amy, including seeing her staring down at visitors from her window. The fire department reported that light bulbs would mysteriously burst inside this room as well, with no accountable explanation.

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Behind the cottages, another vestige of the former hospital remain, a former swimming pool, now almost entirely filled in by mother nature.

Behind the cottages, another vestige of the former hospital remain, a former swimming pool, now almost entirely filled in by mother nature.

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Years ago, when the haunted house was being created and the fire department was touring the buildings, this room was filled with piles of old post cards and paperwork from the hospital's functioning days, a scenario which was very typical of any abandoned hospital of asylum.

Years ago, when the haunted house was being created and the fire department was touring the buildings, this room was filled with piles of old post cards and paperwork from the hospital’s functioning days, a scenario which was very typical of any abandoned hospital of asylum.

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Much of the hospital is used for storage, making you feel claustrophobic as you wonder around the halls and rooms inside. Underneath mounds of various items, original features can still be seen.

Much of the hospital is used for storage, making you feel claustrophobic as you wonder around the halls and rooms inside. Underneath mounds of various items, original features can still be seen.

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17 Comments on “Reinvestigating The Caverly Preventorium

  1. You always take us to the most amazing places Chad. Every time I see a new post from you I immediately get a coffee and settle down because I know I am going to be entertained and thrilled. What an amazing house…it just ‘looks’ as though it is haunted – especially ‘Amys’ room. Brilliant!

  2. If family history is accurate, my great-aunt Bertha spent time here as a young TB patient. Unfortunately, the disease left her crippled, and she finished out her life in a sanatorium in Waterbury. I always wondered what the places she lived in looked like. Though grim and forbidding in its current state, this building looks like it might have been rather bucolic in it heyday. Thanks for bringing us more detail on the site.

  3. AS usual another fantastic story. Not being able to focus and battery draining are, from what I’ve learned, from something possiby paranormal. There are things we can’t expain and have to make you wonder. Keep up the good work. I for one enjoy all of your articles. Thanks.

  4. Thank you for showing us something few people would ever get to see. Rather creepy but also historic and gives one something to think about.

  5. I was a patient there from 1951-1956. I’m 66 now and those pictures and comments brought back memories I had long forgotten. I remember walking home from the school house in late winter with all the other little kids and being very afraid of the woods. The article was enjoyable but gave me the willies!

    • Hi Doreen. I think I know which picture you are referring too. The woman in the long red coat is actually a prop for the Pittsford Haunted House – she is very much not alive. I’ve had a few other people ask me this as well. I almost wish I could offer a more compelling answer.

  6. About 20 years ago I stayed here for a week. I was in training with the VT correctional academy, (I was hired as a correctional officer and we did our training here. I was the only female at the academy with about 20 male officers., so therefore I stayed in a wing of the sanitorium all by myself. I had numerous experiences. It was so scary that there were a few nights that the male officers slept in the doorway of my room to keep us all comfortable. This was 20 years ago, but I still remember wandering the hallways late at cnight after everyone else was asleep. Patient files were still intact at the time as well as stacks of sheets and linens left from livelier days long before. I will never forget the time I spent here.

    • Wow, that’s terrifying Alison. Sorry for my delayed reply, it gets hard to keep up with WordPress comments! That being said, I had some weird experiences inside the sanatorium, we all felt pretty uncomfortable inside. I wanted to photograph it so badly, but soon after, I just grew more and more…uncomfortable I suppose is the right term. The fire department had much worse experiences there though. Some people I talked too swore they would never go back…

  7. I went to summer camp there in the early eighties. We were mostly outside; doing camp like stuff in the woods. If I recall correctly, the camp was based out of the building closest to the pool. I never felt uneasy about being there….

    • It seems like everyone I have talked too has had some sort of creepy experience here, one way or another. It’s really fascinating how fast the intrigue is layering up here.

      Anyt stories in particular? Thanks for commenting!

  8. I spent most of my childhood in Pittsford, and spent many years going to the annual Haunted House. But it wasn’t until a few years ago my father and I made a trek up here to explore, and it definitely has a vibe that you don’t forget! This was my first exploration of a formerly abandoned facility, and I can definitely see why you continue to do this. Great pictures and a wonderfully written article!

  9. iREALLY ENJOYED THIS.Iwas their as as small child.dont remember much about it.,I do know they decided we did;nt have Tb.something about sleeping on cold porches in winter time.To this day i’ve never warmed up in the winter..???/I of fcourse thought it was a much bigger place in my mind. Altho id been by it in later years, Never gave it much thought.Then move away.But thank you for the Article.And the Cold memories. (on a hot day in the south now) lol.Thanks.

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