LYMAN SCHOOL FOR BOYS

194-264 North Drive, Westborough, MA

Status: Former Boys Reform School; Partially Demolished; Partially Repurposed; Partially Abandoned

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History

The school was originally created on 100 acres (400 hectares) in 1886 with about half of the property being used as a farm which was maintained and worked by the students.

It replaced a huge building built in 1848 which was abandoned after a violent and bloody riot showing housing all the boys in one structure was not a viable option. This building would eventually be repurposed to become the Westborough Insane Hospital.

When it was first built the school was nearly destroyed by fires set by boys who are said to have escaped and never found. Most people believe the school administrators probably killed the offenders and buried them in unmarked graves.

The boys were all sent to the school from the Courts, although they were not all criminals per say. Many were sent here for disobeying their parents, being stubborn or skipping classes. Previous to the 1970’s minors in Massachusetts were not granted any protections from the Constitution meaning the Courts could do pretty much anything they wanted.

In fact, there was even an old law in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that allowed stubborn children to be put to death.

This is not to say that weren’t some really nasty boys here after all Albert DeSalvo (the Boston Strangler) graduated from this “school”.

Until the 1950’s the boys were taught agricultural and farming skills but as the world changed so did the training. By 1955 the training was more focused on industrial skills including carpentry, groundskeeping and laundry.

The school was extremely martial and breaking even the smallest rule could be punished by everything from having privileges revoked to spanking (which was probably a much more severe beating than being paddled by your parents).

Christian education was mandatory – as was attending church services every Sunday – and every boy not Catholic was simply labelled Protestant. No Constitutional rights; no freedom of religion.

The students lived in huge buildings called cottages with about 100 boys – segregated by age – in each cottage. The top floor was the dormitory, and the lower floors were the living areas. A married couple lived in a separate apartment in the cottage and was responsible for all the boys in the building.

About 300 boys “graduated” from the school every year.

The school finally closed in 1971; but not because of any outcry as to how the boys were treated - as happened with many other similar institutions – but because the trade unions argued the boys were doing union labor without being in the unions (so the unions weren’t making any money). Changing the system would have cost the government 10X what is was costing them now.

Meaning; the school was closed in 1971 as it was no longer cost effective to run.

After the closure some of the school’s 40+ buildings were demolished and some of the newer ones were taken over and repurposed. There are, however, a few of the original buildings still standing – some in good shapes and some not so much – that are protected by their heritage standing.

 

Paranormal Activity

Reported activity dates back to when the school was operating as well as the decades when large parts of campus were left abandoned previous to the repurposing and demolishment.

As with similar closed institutions the older buildings seem to be the most active.

One of the most commonly reported activity is faces appearing in the windows of the empty buildings.

Other Reported Activity: apparitions of young to teenage boys; shadow figures; disembodied voices; light anomalies; electrical disturbances; objects moving on their own; unexplained noises from low whispers to cries and screams to loud bangs; cold and warm spots; unexplained breezes; phantom footsteps; lights turning on and off even in buildings with no electricity; touches, pokes and prods from unseen entities; physical sensations including nausea, dizziness and headaches and feelings of being watched, not being wanted and not being alone.