Retreat Tower – Brattleboro, Vermont - Atlas Obscura

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Retreat Tower

Designed as a place for patients to take in the scenery, this tower has a dark history. 


Brattleboro Retreat was established in 1834 and was designed to provide humane care for patients suffering from mental illnesses. 

As with many facilities for mental health during that period, doctors believed fresh air and exercise would help treat ailing patients. In 1887, construction began on Retreat Tower. Patients were designated to construct the tower as it was believed the physical activity would help their treatment. 

Upon completion, it provided patients with breathtaking views of the surrounding area. Although meant to aid their health, the tower proved detrimental. It’s believed several patients ended their lives by leaping from the tower. The site is now home to various paranormal accounts. 

There is also a cemetery near Retreat Tower. Many of the graves date to the 1800s, and some are marked with numbers or the word “Unknown.”

Know Before You Go

The tower is not open for visitors to climb due to its condition.

Free parking is available at the Harris Hill Ski Jump parking lot on Cedar Street. Cross Cedar Street and enter the hiking trails at Cemetery Trail or Retreat Tower Trailhead.

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