Salesian Park in Goshen
March-April, 2012
The Salesian Park in Goshen was first owned by a couple in 1791 and was then passed on to descendants. One descendant, Mary Ellen Haight, and her husband are laid to rest in a mausoleum on the property.The property was sold and re-sold numerous times mostly out of financial difficulties.

In 1925, when the Haight mansion had fallen into disrepair, the Salesian Fathers bought the estate and turned it into a resident school for boys. For decades the school operated but enrollment eventually declined and in 1985 the school closed for good.

In 1998, the Village of Goshen bought the property. For nearly ten years, it was closed off due to undergrowth, overgrowth, poison ivy, and other safety issues. In 2007, Salesian Park finally opened to the public.

The Salesian Park has had a varied history. From being passed on to descendants, changing hands through sales, at least two foreclosures, being turned into a school, and finally being bought by the village to the consternation of some villagers who thought the price was too steep.

But what stands out in its history is the story of 9-year old boy who in 1964 fell to his death from the Salesian school’s roof. It was deemed an accident at the time, but attempts to re-open the case in 2003 because the distance from the ground on which the boy fell to the wall of the building suggested the boy was pushed from the roof, failed to reach a conclusion. To this day, in large part because of records lost in a 1971 fire, the case remains unsolved. Since the “accident”, it is said that the boy haunts the place and numerous trespassers, mostly teens, have been caught by police.

Click on a picture to enlarge.
Salesian School, back.
Park grounds, back.
The property changed hands numerous times. One owner had a water tower with a viewing station built on the property.
One of several memorials reads, “To Dominig Savio, His Friends”.
I'm not sure what the significance of this building is, but gate from Main Street has a sign that says,
Gate to the Haight Mausoleum.
Haight Mausoleum.
Ruins, not sure of which. From its location, which is around center of the park, I'd guess it to be the Haight's mansion.
Salesian School grounds.
Salesian School, front.
Salesian School, back, from one of the park's two parking lots.
Man-made lake used to teach Salesian students swimming.

It was around 8am Sunday morning when I started taking pictures, initially from the water tower. After shooting the exterior of the school I went to this lake and while setting up my tripod to take this shot I felt someone approach me on my left. I looked but there was no one there.

The feeling I had was similar to when a stranger, security, or cop would approach me while shooting in New York City. That is, I was cool on the outside but inside my guard was instantly up. That was all. I've taken numerous pictures of supposedly haunted places in the area before but never experienced anything like this.
Entrance at the corner of Craigville Road.
I read that there are several memorials in the park but so far have only seen one. So I was surprised when I found this memorial outside the perimeter fence in the woods. Water tower, furnace, ruins, mausoleum, abandoned school, and now this -- a hidden memorial. Salesian Park is also a place for exciting discoveries. I shot from behind the fence so I couldn't come close to read the inscriptions.
One blog comment said Salesian Park was inspired by the works of landscape architect Calvert Vaux who collaborated in designing Central Park. The walks, lamps, benches, and the overall mood of the park -- quiet expanse -- do give me the same feeling as when photographing landscapes at Central Park.
The town is considering turning Salesian Park into an “active” park meaning baseball fields and hotdog stands for weekend little leaguers. I wish they’d reconsider. The vast expanse offers much peace and quiet even in the largely rural setting it’s in.
Houses on Main Street.
Gate on Main Street.
Looking east from the ruins.
I went back to the brick structure a second time and saw an inscription on the front door which reads:

“In memory of Benjamin Merwin Haight, C/F Pilot R.C.A.F., died 19 March1943”
I still don’t know the significance of this building -- it looks like it's in active use so it could be the park office -- but it#8217;s one of few well-architected homes that I can knock myself out taking pictures of without disturbing occupants inside, so I did a third time.
A few days later -- on April 24, 2012 to be exact -- I went there again. This time I went to the Salesian Cemetery. The cemetery is in back of the Salesian school and has its own gate on Craigville Road.
As soon as I drove in I saw people in the distance at the foot of the water tower.I noticed, too, that the water tower's roof was gone.When I approached the people, two women told me that the roof caved in just a few hours ago. There were strong winds the previous night and although the water tower was structurally sound, according to one of the women, the winds may have weakened the roof to cause its collapse.

The people were town officials and they were there to survey the damage and alert police of the new hazard.
It’s a shame that a telling feature of the village’s historical landmark had been lost. If you look closely at this picture you might see an angry face in the clouds -- malevolent, even -- as if surveying the damage it caused and making sure that the decapitation was complete.
Salesian Cemetery where many of the former school’s superiors and teachers are buried.
The “monument” I found earlier was accessible when coming from the Salesian Cemetery. The inscription reads (it’s hard to make out the name):
Egbert Jauson
Born 22 ??? 1778
Died 20 October 1834
Grotto in the wooded part of the park.
Oddly, the cemetery isn’t one of Salesian Park’s spookier features.
On the other hand -- literally on the other end of the park -- the gate to the Haight Mausoleum on Sarah Wells Trail looks straight out of a haunted horror movie set.
Approach to the Haight Mausoleum from the Sarah Wells Trail gate.
I later found out that the spot by the pond where I felt a presence on was actually a crypt. At the time I was there, I thought it was just a storage room -- indeed, according to one website it was turned into a storage for pond chemicals by the Salesian Fathers -- and so I was reluctant to take a picture of it. But I did anyway. I was standing behind my tripod facing the pond with the crypt/storage just off my left behind me and exactly from where I felt the male presence approach.
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