Wednesday, December 09, 2009

The definition of HALCYON …calm, peaceful, tranquil !

To my eye this place looks anything but calm, peaceful & tranquil but in it’s heyday the main part of the building was called Halcyon Hall. Now this abandoned and eerie building is all that remains of Bennett College, an exclusive school for girls in Millbrook, NY

When my husband and I and our three children moved to Dutchess County in 1964 this was an ongoing Junior College. Our children attended High School in Millbrook and they would pass this each day on the school bus.

My two boys told me recently about some of their night-time escapades spying on the girls. This was a complete surprise to me but I guess since it happened over 30 years ago they felt they could let me in on the secret now !

Generations of young women from prominent American families attended Bennett over its 90 year history, but it went into bankruptcy in 1978. Halcyon Hall was never reopened and quickly fell into ruin.

When I was in Millbrook in October I took this picture. I was surprised to see that the town has not sold, renovated or razed this structure since it’s demise in 1978. Perhaps it is tied up with legalities or is too expensive to contemplate. I do know that Halcyon Hall has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places but I doubt if it’s salvageable at this point.

Of course a building like this must have a resident ghost or two and, sure enough, I talked to one young man who swore he had seen one. He made me promise not to tell his name since he was trespassing, but, according to him he was wandering the rooms at night and came across a young girl playing the piano. He could even hear the music, he said, but it all faded the closer he got.



Blogger kenju said...

Very interesting. It's too bad that the building has been allowed to fall into disrepair. Surely it could have been used for something good over the years.

4:21 PM  
Blogger KGMom said...

Halcyon is one of those words that I love. It rolls off the tongue.

When I first looked at the photo, I thought--why that doesn't look lived in. Then I thought, what a lovely old building. Reading your description, I realized that it is both.
Sad, really--it looks like it was quite magnificent, in its halcyon days.

7:36 PM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

I'm so sorry to hear you were in Millbrook as it is a regional prison in this general area. ;)

9:14 AM  
Blogger Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

What a wonderful building and a sad demise. It is hard to imagine a college going under. There should have been other options for a school with wealthy Alumni. Fund raising, coed, merger with another school, transformation into a another kind or educational facility. It sits on a wonderful piece of land also.

8:42 AM  
Blogger Cazzie!!! said...

Wow..that building is not that dissimilar to the one my grandmother grew up in. They believe that that one too is haunted..I guess it is. If not in spirit in the memories of residents past.

9:38 PM  
Blogger possum said...

How sad to see something that magnificent falling apart. It is a shame it could not be saved. Wouldn't it be a perfect backdrop for a real scary movie?

5:07 AM  
Blogger Syd said...

Ginnie, it would be so great if this place could be restored. I don't think that NHR houses can be razed. This looks like a fabulous place. Thanks for sharing.

1:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep posting stuff like this i really like it

6:52 AM  

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