Dublin cracks down on trespassers at Beech Hill after fire

  • Beech Hill has been abandoned and heavily vandalized since closing its doors as a rehabilitation facility. Courtesy image—

  • Beech Hill has been abandoned and heavily vandalized since closing its doors as a rehabilitation facility. Courtesy image—

  • The Beech Hill Trails in Dublin are open to the public, but bypassing the gated area of the former rehab center can get you arrested for trespassing. Staff photo by Ben Conant

  • The Beech Hill Trails in Dublin are open to the public, but bypassing the gated area of the former rehab center can get you arrested for trespassing. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 8/10/2020 4:33:32 PM

Dublin police apprehended more than 20 trespassers at Beech Hill in just 12 days following an arson investigation at the abandoned property. Police made 18 arrests and took six juveniles into custody on the property between July 7 and 18.

The abandoned two story mansion, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, is the last standing structure on a former summer estate. It most recently served as a rehabilitation facility but has stood vacant for years. Police responded to a small fire in the building in late June, the same weekend WW Cross building in Jaffrey burned, Police Chief Tim Suokko said. “It wasn’t serious, we caught it very early,” he said, and it was extinguished before it spread.

“It was posted several years ago, the owners kind of let it rot,” Suokko said of the building. “For years it’s been vandalized, all the windows broken out,” he said, with spray paint on the inside and outside of the building. The building is slated for demolition by the end of the year, Suokko said. After the fire, which spurred an arson investigation through the state Fire Marshal’s office, the property owner re-secured the property, replacing the fence around the building, boarding up windows, and posting it, he said.

Unfortunately, nobody told the droves of urban explorers and would-be vandals, as evidenced in the number of trespassers police apprehended on the property in less than two weeks of directed patrols in July. “It’s gotten some kind of popularity,” Suokko said about the property. “It’s kind of made a name for itself.” Visitors have posted their exploits in the abandoned building on YouTube and turned the site into “a bit of a nuisance attraction,” he said. Every person police have apprehended was 20 or younger, and many had been carrying spray paint or tools for breaking in, Suokko said. The ongoing pandemic could be contributing to the high volume of visits, he said, noting that hiking traffic has increased around town. Beech Hill Road itself was also recently repaired following heavy damage from the storm in Aug. 2018 and the hiking trails on the property remain open, Suokko said – just stay out of the fenced-off area.

The building is listed as owned by 135 Beech Hill LLC, and sold for $1 from prior owner Lavinia Clay, according to town assessment records.


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