The City of New Bedford Now Owns One of the SouthCoast’s Most Haunted Buildings
NEW BEDFORD (WBSM) — The City of New Bedford has officially acquired the New Bedford Armory, and with it, the ghosts that live inside.
The news first broke in February 2022 that the City was moving forward with a plan to purchase the armory from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for the low, low price of just $10.
As part of the plan, the state agreed to fund $3.8 million in repairs, including repairing the roof as well as other structural stabilization.
Those repairs have now been completed, and the City has taken possession of the building, located at 5 Sycamore Street.
The History of the New Bedford Armory
The armory was built in 1904 for the Massachusetts Army National Guard and expanded in 1935. It served as a training, meeting and storage facility for the National Guard until its closure in 2004.
It was later damaged in a March 2009 fire and remained vacant and boarded up for over a decade.
After its closure, the armory was under the control of the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM). Attempts to auction off the building proved fruitless, and in 2016 Mayor Jon Mitchell’s administration approached DCAMM to explore an arrangement in which the City would take ownership of the armory.
A Purchase and Sale Agreement was negotiated, and it was approved by the city council in April 2022. The City would take ownership of the historic structure once the state completed repairs.
“Its significance derives not only from its architectural interest but also from its role in supporting reserve units comprised of New Bedford residents who served – and in some cases died – in every American war since World War I,” Mayor Mitchell said. “I’m proud that we have been able to save it.”
Why Is the New Bedford Armory Believed to Be Haunted?
The armory was the focus of a November 2004 episode of SyFy’s hit television program Ghost Hunters, where a team of paranormal investigators from The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS) – including New Bedford native Steve Gonsalves – came to seek out the ghosts reported to haunt its halls.
Reports were that National Guardsmen would see a black-hooded figure lurking in the shadows, and that an unseen force would shove them from behind. The heavy doors throughout the armory were also said to slam shut on their own.
TAPS did indeed encounter some alleged spirits, but the most profound experience happened to the show’s soundman, Frank deAngelis. He was hit in the face with his equipment and knocked to the ground when a spirit was said to have passed through him. The episode remains one of the most memorable from Ghost Hunters’ multi-decade run on television.
What Will Become of the Haunted New Bedford Armory Now?
Now that the City is in possession of the armory, it can begin the process of seeking out proposals from potential developers.
“It’s always great news when we can save and protect a historical building,” said Ward 2 City Councilor Maria Giesta. “As Chair of the City Property Committee, I will be working closely with Mayor Mitchell, his staff, and my colleagues on the Committee to solicit proposals from developers to redevelop the area of the armory.”
The idea has been floated in the past that the armory would make for a very intriguing residential property, and the city is certainly in need of more housing. However, that would mean living alongside the ghosts that allegedly haunt the former armory building. Perhaps you could make them chip in a portion of the rent.
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