53 Bone Chilling Photos of Abandoned Places You Can Visit Today (But Probably Shouldn't)
By Sarah Norman | September 26, 2023
Get comfortable, this exam looks like it's going to take a while
Whether they were once hospitals or office buildings, theme parks or restaurants, a myriad of buildings have been abandoned and left to turn into beautiful ruin across the world. While many of them are awe inspiring, there are just as many that give viewers the heebie jeebies.
These abandoned structures have been reclaimed by nature, leaving nothing but a mystery as to who called these places home.
What will our architecture look like when we’ve moved on? Will it crumble into the emptiness of an abandoned city? Will our cars be covered in ivy like some of the intriguing photos found here? Some of these pictures will give you goosebumps, others will make you nostalgic for better days, but they’ll all make you want to take a closer look at the deserted architecture that exists all around you.
These kind of old style examination chairs have never looked comfortable, but there’s something extra spooky about this chair in the middle of an abandoned hospital. Maybe it’s the decaying tile painted in a “calming” blue that surround the chair and dapple the floor, or maybe it’s the psychotic looking light that hangs from the ceiling. No, you know what it is? It’s the holes in the wall where cabinet doors used to be. No matter what kind of person you are, it’s safe to say that there’s something about this chillingly empty examination room that will appear in your nightmares.
These Sanzhi houses of Taiwan come in peace
During the middle of the 20th century there were a lot of architects who were dead set on the idea that people were meant to live in pod houses that resembled UFOs. These Future and Venture houses didn’t take off like the UFOs that they resemble, although many beachfront resorts in Taiwan really tried to make them a thing. There’s many a Taiwanese town that’s empty, its streets silent as the wind rustles around the pod homes that were based on designs by Finnish architect Matti Suuronen. Oddly enough, Suuronen claims that there are only 10 “true” pod houses in the world, but even cursory glance around the internet shows at least a hundred pod houses around the world with no word about who built them.
A spiral staircase in a former children's asylum in Staunton, Virginia
Supposedly the patients at this former mental institution and asylum were mostly children who were kept here under strict supervision. Records show that the asylum was constructed in 1932 as a part of the Western State Hospital. The asylum’s namesake, Dr. Joseph DeJarnette, allegedly carried out eugenics tests in the hospital where he performed tests on children in order to cure them of being lackadaisical. One story notes that he took blood from “hyperactive” children and injected it into kids that were sluggish while walking the halls quoting Adolf Hitler. Some places are just meant to be abandoned, you know?
Need a chair? Have you tried looking in the pool at the University of Rochester?
For anyone visiting this run down swimming pool it has to be one of the oddest sights in the world. Formerly a part of the Merle Spurrier Gymnasium, and connected to the Susan B. Anthony women’s dormitory, this 25-yard-long, six lane swimming pool was the jewel of the recreation area for a few years. However, once the women’s gym was moved to the Robert B. Goergen Athletic Center in 1982 the pool has become a depository for the unwanted. Whenever someone at university isn’t sure were to store something they put it in the pool, that’s why you can find chairs, desks, and televisions stacked in chaos where young women once swam laps.
FDR's secret train is still waiting for him in Grand Central Station
How could there be a giant train that once belonged to the FDR presidency hunkered beneath Grand Central Station? According to the FDR museum, it’s too heavy to move. The train was first commissioned by the president in the 1930s because he didn’t want people to know that he had polio. The president didn’t just ride in the train and then wheel out into the city. He actually had a car designed to fit his specially built limo. When the train arrived in the station FDR would get into the limo and the car would take off so no one had to see him in his wheelchair. The car passed through the ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria and his secret was kept. The location of this train has never been disclosed, but until you hear about someone moving it, you better believe it’s still down there.
This abandoned cooling tower in Charleroi, Belgium looks like it's ready for blast off
This isn’t a still from a forgotten sci-fi film, it’s a real deal piece of construction that stands empty in the Belgian village of Charleroi. Take a walk to the Monceau-sur-Sambre neighborhood and you’ll find this abandoned power station that was once used to cool the city. It’s no longer being used but it stands like a forlorn giant over the city. Originally built in 1921, this behemoth was once one of the largest coal-burning power plants in the country, and while it was updated in the ‘70s it was shut down for good in 2007. Locals claim that the place was stripped by looters, and while it’s still around it’s not clear if there’s anything left to find inside.
Empty flat files, you don't want to stick your hands in there
There’s something cool about a flat file or a card catalog that can’t be named. Is it their Tetris-like construction or is there something more animalistic about the way they’re put together? It’s honestly a shame that these files were left to rot in an abandoned building. These files look like they’re either built into the building or frankly too heavy to load into a truck. It’s fascinating to think that when this building’s inhabitants took off they left all of the storage items. What could have made them want to leave this place? Ghosts, it must have been ghosts.
Just one of the metal birds collected at the Soplata Airplane Sanctuary
Czech immigrant Walter Soplata was a fascinating man. According to his son, Soplata constructed his family’s home from lumber that he salvaged from warbird engine crates he found discarded at a smelter, and after watching Spencer Tracy’s Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo he decided to start collecting airplanes. In the 1960s planes like the Fairchild C-82 Boxcar were sold by weight, which meant that Soplata only paid a few hundred dollars for his planes. He hated to hear that they were going to be scrapped for metal so he started buying up whatever he could and personally hauling them to his Ohio “sanctuary.”
You too can live in an abandoned Italian castle
If you’ve ever wanted to live like royalty now’s the time. Abandoned castles across Italy are for sale right now thanks to a cut on government subsidies meant for maintaining historic properties. Since Italy can’t do afford the upkeep for these castles there’s an opening for anyone who’s up for it to move to the country and get to work on the house. Often the current owners of these castles inherent the buildings and aren’t able to pay for them. With the lack of government subsidies and high cost of upkeep the inheritors are forced to sell. Think of it, you can start a new life and have a place that’s big enough for your antique sword collection.
Is that a dragon on your aquarium or at you the Ho Thuy Tien waterpark?
There’s no hotel and no food vouchers at the Ho Thuy Tien waterpark in Vietnam. Most people in the country do’t even know that it’s a thing. To get there travelers have to take a trek to the land beyond Hue, a place surrounded by crocodiles and overgrown with local fauna. The park opened in 2004, and even with its massive water slides and super cool dragon standing above the building it went out of business in a few years. The local government has tried to resurrect the water park, but as of this writing the revitalization project has never come to fruition.
Field Station Berlin Teufelsberg, the abandoned NSA listening station doesn't eavesdrop on anyone anymore
During the height of the Cold War the US built a real deal spy station on top of a what was meant to be a Nazi training school. Field Station Berlin housed listening units that eavesdropped on the Soviet Union and East Germany. After the fall of the Berlin Wall there wasn’t really a point to the listing station, and in 1992 the agents working in the “Big Ear” went home. Multiple people have planned to recontextualize or turn the land into things as varied as apartment complexes to a “Happiness College” run by David Lynch although the deal feel through in 2008. For now, Field Station Berlin Teufelsberg sits empty, listening to German whispers.
Leave these moldy books on the shelf
It’s hard to imagine a library closing down and no one removing the books. Whether they’re being moved to a new library or taken home to be given a little extra love by a librarian someone had to want these. There had to be something terrible wrong with these books for everyone to leave them on the shelf. It’s not clear what happened in this library, it looks as if everyone just stood up and left, leaving the books to grow moldy with time. Sadly, there’s nothing that can be done with these books besides test them for black mold. On second thought maybe they should just be left alone.
Anyone for burgers and beer at Madge's in Millerton, Iowa?
Ah, the burger shack. Is there any greater culinary creation than a simple building that kicks out burger after burger for inexpensive prices? These cafes were once a staple of small town cuisine. You could pop into one of these spots and grab a quick lunch and a beer before getting back to work, and the folks behind the counter knew you and knew what you liked. Customers weren’t just a a widget to get in and out of the shop, they were people. Mom and pop places like Madge’s went the way of the dinosaur as chain restaurants became the thing in the suburbs and small towns. If you’re on a road trip and see one of these on your travels make sure to stop in and get a slice of pie.
The derelict Hudson State River Hospital in Poughkeepsie, New York, was actually in operation until 2003
This psychiatric hospital has been crumbling since the 2000s in spite of the fact that it’s a National Historic Landmark. Constructed in the 1870s, the hospital was built with a high Victorian and Gothic styles and throughout the 20th century architects were adding onto the grounds to make space for people in psychiatric need as well as the criminally insane. As the 20th century wore on, a major fire tore up a hospital wing and part of the administrative building. Costs skyrocketed for reconstruction and as patients were pulled from the hospital in droves, by the ‘90s the hospital was mostly abandoned and it finally closed its doors in 2003.
Max's Dry Cleaners, Detroit
This eerie image shows the full extent of the decay in which Detroit has fallen into. Many of the neighborhoods are abandoned, the businesses are either non-existent or they’re on the brink of financial ruin. The city was once a thriving place full of families and auto workers, but with the constant economic failings of the city people have fled the city at an alarming rate leaving empty buildings and broken dreams. Is Max's opened or closed? It's hard to tell. There’s still promise in the grime covered walls of this dry cleaners if only people would move back to the city.
The day the music died, a burned out night club in Europe
Is there anything scarier than a nightclub fire? A thousand people pushed inside a building; no air conditioning, sometimes no sprinkler system, and even without a fire it’s suffocating and hot. It’s clear from this photo that the moment a fire broken out the DJ dropped what they were doing and bailed. Do you think they turned off the music? Or was the sound of house music soundtracking the rush and the push towards the emergency exit? Hopefully everyone made it out of here safe, and maybe they’ll be able to open this place again and let piles of eager club kids hit the dance floor.
A desolate hallway in the abandoned Brecksville VA hospital, Ohio
During its time in operation, the Brecksville veteran’s hospital held 999 beds and sat on 87 acres, the perfect place for a soldier to get the care they needed after a long tour overseas. Now it sits empty, it’s halls no longer tremble with the footsteps of soldiers on their way to treatment, or a movie in the building’s theater. By the ‘70s the hospital had taken on criminal patients who caused more trouble than they were worth. It’s believed that they wandered away from the facility and into the neighboring communities. After a series of scandals in the 1980s the hospital closed and its halls were abandoned.
The Chateau De La Mothe-Chandeniers in all its fairy tale glory
Constructed in the 13th century, the Chateau de la Mothe-Chandeniers in in Les Trois-Moutiers, France, looks like something from a fairy tale. Its grand turrets rise into the sunset, and it’s even got a moat, when was the last time you saw a moat? Even after multiple restorations the structure fell into disrepair in the late ‘80s when its owner failed to maintain the upkeep. In 2017 a crowdfunding campaign was launched to save the site, and the folks behind it made €1.1 million ($1.3 million) in order to help reconstruct the building. Each person who donated to the fun became a partial owner of the historic chateau.
No animals reside in the LA’s old zoo in Griffith Park
When Los Angeles moved their zoo from Griffith Park to its current location the city left everything as is, they just transported the animals and never came back to disassemble the cages, enclosures, or areas where visitors hung out. Unlike a lot of beautiful abandoned places, the old LA Zoo is really easy to get to. If you’re in Los Angeles you can just walk right up to it. The city allows people to explore the ruins of the old zoo during the day, and it’s a great place to take someone on a date, after dark things can get dicey, but that’s when most of the tagging takes place. Make sure you visit the large animal enclosures to get a taste of what it’s like to be a lion, tiger, or bear, oh my.
After the rain, a Golden Arrow gas station glistens under a cloudy sky
There’s beauty in an abandoned gas station. No longer pumping trucks full of their life blood, stations like this fall into ruin and deteriorate along with the idea of a time when a driver could get full service and a cup of coffee for just a few bucks. Was the Golden Arrow filling station ever a bustling hub of activity? Or was it always destined to fall apart. To decompose and dry up? At one point in time it seemed impossible that a business as straight forward as a gas station could ever go under, but this photo is proof that anything can go wrong.
Constanța Casino, a monument to Art Deco opulence
While you may not be able to win big at the Constanța Casino these days, it’s still as opulent as ever as the world passes it by from the waterfront of the Black Sea. No one knows exactly how the casino was built, some say that it was constructed by a man who’s daughter passed away when she was 17. He wanted the people of Romania to revel in life the way that his daughter no longer could. Local legend says that from the top the casino looks like a hearse and its windows are shaped like graves. Briefly used as a hospital during World War II, the casino hasn’t seen much action since 1990 and it’s been closed ever since.
A dilapidated drive-in theater
The drive-in, that purely American past time that went away too early. So what if it’s easier to stream a movie directly to your TV? Wasn’t it more fun to sneak into a drive in with a couple of friends int he trunk of your car and huddle around a speaker? The movies may not have had the perfect sound or an amazing visual quality, but the experience was unbeatable. While some drive in theaters have have been kept up and are even in use, this outdoor facility has clearly fallen into disrepair, with no one around to make sure that history is preserved.
The Earth reclaims this abandoned shack inch by inch
Empty and beautiful, no one knows why the people who lived in this charming little home left it in the dust, but no one ever moved in and it fell into disrepair. Trees don’t magically sprout overnight, so this house has been sitting alone and decrepit for decades as the moss grows over the roof and the grass creeps up the walls. This valley is a photographer’s dream, or maybe a writer if they don’t mind a bit of cleanup. Before long this shack will fall apart and the Earth will take it back and the wood will decompose. It’s a beautiful thing.
Metro Mall North, Missouri, before it was demolished
Opening in 1976, the Metro North Mall was a popular shopping spot for folks in Kansas City and the surrounding areas, but by the late 2000s the massive building was simply a shell for the ghosts of commerce. The mall itself looks like something from a horror film, can’t you just imagine a pile of zombies staggering out of the darkness to feast on human flesh? According to locals, Macy’s was the only store open in the desolate mall for years, but when the store finally closed its doors so did the mall. This creepy spot has since been torn down to make way for a new structure that hopefully fairs better.
Remains of the amusement park in Pripyat, Ukraine, rendered uninhabitable by the Chernobyl disaster
April 26, 1986 was like any other day for the people of Pripyat, Ukraine. They went to work, ate with their families, and planned to visit the new amusement park in the city. Around 1:30 in the morning two explosions went off in reactor number 4 of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, the radiation spread quickly and as the locals rode the Ferris wheel or the myriad other rides at their new theme park they succumbed to radiation poisoning. People weren’t officially evacuated from the area until April 28, turning Pripyat into a modern day ghost town. The homes of the people who worked in the power plant still stand, and the stark desolation of the town’s amusement park serves as a reminder of the destruction that man can create.
The only Soviet jet train constructed sits behind a factory near Doroshikha
Cold War era Russian design is responsible for some of the coolest looking vehicles that have ever existed. Their trains and busses look like like 1950s diners crossed with space ships. They may not be aerodynamic but they look amazing. In the 1960s Russia reacted to America’s plan to make faster and faster trains by creating jet engines. Russian train makers refitted two turbo engines from a Yakovlev YAK-40 (a jetliner), in order to make the train go up to 225 miles per hour, but at best the trains only got up to 155 miles per hour. After the trains were deemed too dangerous the project was shut down and the unused trains were moved behind a factory near Doroshikha.
How'd that get there? This tree somehow grows around a bicycle
So how exactly does a bike get stuck in a tree like this? And if a tree steals your bike do you want to try and get it back? According to retired King County deputy sheriff, Don Puz, this Washington state tourist attraction came about when when he was just a boy. Back in the mid 1950s his mother moved the family to a home in the Sound that was mostly marsh lands where kids could chase frogs all day and take a dip in a pond.
Puz says that the bike in question was an uncomfortable ride at best, so when he forgot it in the swamp one day he never thought about it again, not until 1995. While visiting his sister on the island she took him to the tree and he was hit with a flood of nostalgia. Puz told Vintage News:
The first words out of my mouth were, ‘That’s my bike!’ There was no doubt in my mind… I don’t think I own it anymore. I threw it away a long time ago. I think the tree owns it now.
A derelict trailer in Slab City, California
What’s the difference between an abandoned trailer and place that’s simply waiting for a lodger? Semantics? Or is every empty building a summer home with the right mindset? This is the question posed by Slab City, essentially a desert camp site outside of Niland, California. What was once a Marine base during World War II, there’s nothing left of the buildings but their concrete slabs - hence the name - and when the temperatures get low in California the weirdoes and snow birds flock to this area to stay warm. The strangest of folk who live in the area are those who stick around all year, braving the scorching heat in favor of living a life without rules or abandon.
The Hotel Belvédère, forever vacant on the Rhone Glacier
Standing in the middle of a nasty turn on the Rhone glacier in Switzerland is the Hotel Belvédère. If you’re having trouble placing this spot, it can be seen in 1964’s Goldfinger. The hotel was once apart of the Furka Pass, an iconic drive through the Swiss Alps, something that used to be multi-day thrill ride through a mountain, but as cars got faster and the glacier receded travelers stopped staying the night and over the course of a few decades the hotel went out of business. The Belvédère still sits on this hairpin turn, presenting an obstacle to drivers across Europe, and a photo opportunity for everyone with a decent camera.
The remains of a mansion deep in the jungle
Deep under the cover of crooked trees taller than buildings stands the remains of a story book mansion, all twists and curves and Dalí staircases. These hidden ruins of a mansion stripped bare tell the story of a once opulent home that long ago fell into disrepair. Its walls have been stripped, its roof long gone, if this was once Wonderland then Alice doesn’t live here anymore. It’s a curious house, there’s no plumbing or amenities to speak of, but maybe they’ve long been stripped by looters or reclaimed by the Earth. Still, it looks to be a wonderful play land for anyone who chances upon it on an early morning hike.
The Worth Street subway station is a graffiti artist's paradise
This station once helped thousands people get to and from work every day, but now it’s a primo spot for taggers and graffiti artists to bomb on the regular. Opened in 1904, the Worth Street subway station that was shuttered in 1962 because of the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall station. The city attempted to keep the keep the station running, but the cost of renovation was projected to be more than $4 million. While the original entrance to Worth Street is covered up, it’s still possible to find, you just have to make sure you bring a flashlight if you’re going to go on a journey into the depths of the city.
Buy the world a coke from this long forgotten motel in the plains of Texas
Is there any more desolate place than an empty motel in the middle of nowhere? The highway towns of Texas, no longer as busy as they once were have all fallen prey to the detritus of time. Their stores are shuttered and their motels are mostly done for, and this motel looks like it hasn’t seen any tender loving care since at least the early ‘90s judging from the soda machine. It’s not likely that roadside motels will ever make a comeback, even if you see one open you have to be in fairly dire straights to stay in one. Or maybe you just feel like living out your own horror movie.
Bumper cars waiting for someone who wants to go for a spin in Pripyat, Ukraine
Imagine, one day you’re excited about a new amusement park opening in the town down the road, and the next day the whole park is uninhabitable because of a nuclear reaction. That’s not a hypothetical for the people of the Ukraine on April 26, 1986 when Chernobyl melted down. The amusement park was only open for a day, but these bumper cars were barely used thanks to the dangerous levels of radioactivity in the area.
The amusement park is still standing and these bumpers cars have yet to be loaded up and used, likely because they’re still too dangerous enough to touch. Even if they aren’t it’s not like anyone’s chomping at the bit to go and handle a bunch of radioactive cars.
This Singer factory is still standing in Huambo
The singer sewing machine is thought of as a uniquely western machine, but here’s a run down and empty factory in Huambo, which was once known as Nova Lisboa during Portuguese colonial times. It’s not clear when this building was manufacturing Swinger machines, but after a decades long battle for independence that lasted from 1975 - 2002 the entire countryside was destroyed. Now this building simply sits in the dust and falls apart, waiting to be rebuilt by human hands. The bones of this building are still good, but it’s likely that this building will never again be brought back to its original luster.
The remains of Dunalastair Castle in the Scottish highlands
Deep in the highlands of Perthshire Scotland, stands Dunalastair castle. The castle was the home to the Clan Donnachaidh who lived in the family until the 1850s and a burial ground for the family still exists on the grounds. Even though the castle stands empty as it overlooks the peak of Schiehallion, there are cottages on the nearby grounds where visitors are allowed to stay. The castle has served multiple purposes over the years. It’s been a sheep farm, it was a home for Polish boys and girls during World War II, and in the ‘50s and ‘60s it was nearly destroyed by vandals. It’s currently being looked after but the owners don’t have the money to restore the building to its former glory.
This tiny house in San Francisco has seen better days
This tiny house has seen better days, but with such a massive build up in San Francisco there are plenty of other tiny homes that are thriving - or at least the local government hopes that these miniature versions of home will thrive. The houses aren’t just a way for people to cut down on rent - although that’s not a bad reason to live in one - they’re also a monument to minimalism. Why live in a massive home when you only need a few things? There’s not one person who lives in a tiny house; from lawyers, to contractors, to artists, these bad boys are perfect for someone who wants to ditch the belongings that are weighing them down and live somewhere that’s a little more… well, little.
Sunlight shines on an abandoned theater near Scranton, Pennsylvania
As ripped up and derelict as this theater looks you have to admit that the seats are in pretty good shape. It’s not clear where this theater is but at one point it must have been a great night out when you wanted to watch a picture with your best gal or sweet fella. The walls are being overgrown with fuzz, and the floors look like they haven’t been cleaned since a midnight showing of The Creature from the Black Lagoon. If you look close enough you can still see popcorn kernels jammed into the floor with little pieces of gum. Hopefully some day someone will repurpose this space and restore it to its former glory.
An abandoned train wreck, Jefferson County Ohio
Strained brakes, twisted metal, and miles of tracks, what are you supposed to do when there’s such a massive pile up in the middle of nowhere? This abandoned train can be found deep in the woods of Jefferson County, Ohio, and it’s been mystifying hikers for years. According to locals, the wreck is called “The Trolly Tragedy of 1957,” and they believe that it’s haunted by the spirits of the riders who didn’t survive the accident. It’s not worth it today to remove the trains, the cost alone of towing all of these cars would be too much for the local government, so here they stay.
Ruined shelves in a flooded store
Some abandoned spaces are beautiful, others have a stark emptiness that leaves you breathless, this is simply devastating. It’s heart breaking to see a once vibrant store that served a pillar of the community destroyed by flood waters or a hurricane, unable to regain its status or save any of its goods. It’s not just that the products were ruined, it’s also the floors, the ceiling and the very bones of the structure. There’s rarely hope of putting a place like this back together after its faced such a downturn, and more often than not the only choice for a business like this is to gut it and start over.
Buck Hills Falls Inn, a desolate resort in Pennsylvania
Empty and forlorn, what was once a top notch Poconos Mountain resort, the inn was a primo spot for families on vacation. Anyone looking for a lavish vacation in the mountains were able to take in 27 holes of golf, horseback riding, and even swimming and tennis. When the ‘70s rolled around business fell apart as people stopped going to the Poconos for vacation. The inn slowly fell into disrepair, and now it’s sits as a monument to the failure of its creators. It’s possible that the building could be returned to its former glory, but that would take a long trip to the woods of Upstate Pennsylvania.
Take a ride down this rusty slide in Dadipark, Belgium
What started as a place for Belgian children to spend their summers was abandoned after a ride went wrong and ended in a blood bath. The park was initially built with park rides and jungle gym equipment, but by the ‘80s the equipment was changed out for amusement park rides, turning it into a must visit park. The rides, including this slide, were rarely kept up with, and as the rides fell apart it was only a matter of time before something bad happened. In 2000 a boy lost his arm on the Nautic Jet ride, and two years later the park was closed for “renovations.” Many of the rides have fallen apart or they’ve been demolished.
Even as Tbilisi, Georgia decays there are people working to revitalize it
Decaying and picturesque, the capital of Georgia and the heart of the Caucasus is a dichotomy of riches and corrosion. The old town’s architecture is a abandoned building lover’s dream, but as expats and hip Europeans move to the city it’s becoming more of a cultural hot spot than its been in decades. What was once a Soviet town of people who did what they had to in order to survive is slowly becoming a new mecca of cool. However, hipster hot spots can’t be built in one night and many of the facades and alleys of old Tbilisi are stills standing as reminders of the once dour city.
Tower Records, long after its glory days
For anyone under the age of 30 who happens to be reading this, at one point in time, for quite a while actually, there were these places called record stores where you could physically purchase an album, and Tower Records was one of the coolest record stores out there. At the company’s height Tower Records had a shop in every major city, but rather than have a homogenous selection the stores each specialized in their own personal style. Actor and director Colin Hanks explained:
New Orleans had a huge heritage music section; Nashville had a gigantic country section. Tower was, in essence, a bunch of mom and pop record stores, you know? Although they were all under the same banner, the same name, the same yellow-and-red signage, each one was run individually by the people in the stores: the clerks, the buyers for each individual store, the art department from each individual store. Each store represented its city or its neighborhood in the city. They all had their own style.
It didn’t matter how unique and special Tower Records was, by the 2000s the company couldn’t compete with iTunes, and it slowly fell apart. Thanks for the music Tower, and thanks for the memories.
Is this what they meant by street parking?
If you leave anything in the same place for long enough it’s an absolute certainty that the Earth will slowly break it down and consume it. For example, this car looks like it’s seen better days, but as its been left to rust the ivy that was invading this nearby building wrapped it in its thousands of arms and held it close. Before long the car won’t even be visible. Ivy is able to enshroud and cling to inorganic material by using its own energy efficient scientific system to climb house, cars, and really whatever it likes. The plant’s roots actually change shape in order to climb the surface of the whatever structure its near, then the plant puts off a kind of glue to keep itself intact.
The Hachijo Royal Hotel in Japan is the largest abandoned hotel in Japan
Japanese tourism after World War II was kept mostly to areas that were close to the country. In this post-war rebuilding stage investors created all encompassing resorts near their island which could be reached by ferry. The Hachijo Royal Hotel was constructed on the island of Hachijo-jima, part of the Izu islands in the Philippine sea, it was considered the “Hawaii of Japan” because of its tropical climate.
The hotel’s ornate, Ancient Greece inspired exterior held everything that a vacationer could want - except for access to places outside the country. As tourism expanded throughout the 1980s and ‘90s the Hachijo changed names and fell into disrepair until it closed its doors forever in 2006. Urban explorers who’ve visited the hotel say that the hotel was left as is, and that the bedrooms, conference areas, and even computers are still waiting for the hotel’s guests to return.
Loew's Kings Theatre in New York has been standing since 1929
Opened on September 7, 1929, in Brooklyn, New York, the Loew’s Kings Theatre, the ornate picture house was built to be an Art Deco jewel; its chandeliers with their impossible angles still hang from the rafters and its incredibly detailed ceilings are a thing to behold. In the 1970s Loews removed Kings from its umbrella, turning the theater into a second run and B-Movie theater, but 1979 it was seized by the city due to back taxes owed by the owners. As of 2014 there have been plans in place to revitalize the theater and turn it into a thriving art center and theater. If the plan works out the Kings will be the third largest theater in New York City.
The Screw Coaster, a major draw to Nara Dreamland
When’s the last time you road a screw coaster? You know what, don’t answer that. Nara Dreamland opened in 1961, and while it was supposed to be Disneyland-Japan, disagreements over the licensing fees of the characters led its creator, Kunizo Matsuo, to forging ahead with his idea and building Dreamland as a park that’s identical to Disney’s park in Anaheim. There’s a Main Street, U.S.A., a Sleeping Beauty Castle, and there’s even a Matterhorn.
After closing in 2006 the Screw Coaster, a double-corkscrew steel roller coaster designed by Arrow Development, stood tall over the Nara prefecture, begging urban explorers and roller coaster enthusiasts to imagine what it was like to take a spin.
Gaze at the stars at the Cointe Observatory Liège, Belgium
Standing guard over the hills, waiting to be used to search the stars is this observatory that was once used by Belgium’s University of Liège. Up until 2002 the Cointe Observatory housed the Institute of Astrophysics and Geophysics. After they moved on for greener pastures the Société Astronomique de Liège took over, but they too vacated this solemn giant. Supposedly there are plans to renovate the space, which makes sense, the structure looks like it has many good years ahead of it, and aside from turning this observatory into some kind of space themed nightclub there’s not much that you can do with it.
The Spaceship Ropeway was the height of futuristic design in the 1960s
There’s something starkly beautiful about retro futuristic design. It’s not just that the modern design looks dated despite its name, it’s the idea that when this tram and its sister designs were created they were made by people who thought the world was moving into the space age, that we’d be on the Moon, or maybe even Mars by now. This cable car overlooks what was once a theme park and took its passengers over a river until 2000 when the theme park closed its doors. Even though this mysterious orb looks small, it could fit up to 40 passengers in its one ton body.
The abandoned Grossinger's Catskill Resort And Hotel in New York before demolition
In the post war era there was nothing like packing up the house and spending a couple of months in the Catskills. Even if you were a weekender it was freeing to get out of the city and breathe in the fresh air of the woods. Grossinger’s Resort was one of the premiere spots of Borscht Belt, and this beatific area known as the “Waldorf of the Catskills” sat on the hills outside of Liberty, New York. For most of its nearly 70 years of operation, Grossinger’s hosted thousnads of guests a year who enjoyed swimming in its indoor pool (seen above) and taking in the many delights of resort life. Grossinger’s closed its doors for good in 1986. The building has been left to rot in the woods as its gradually reclaimed by the roots and vines.
The remains of an ancient church, location unknown
Abandoned by time, this church hasn’t just fallen into disrepair, it’s been completely chewed up and spat out by nature. The domes have crumbled to the ground, and the roof of its inner sanctums have been stripped completely, leaving anything holy left inside to the ravages of Mother Nature. As beautiful as this structure is, there’s something creepy about the way it’s sitting in the middle of nowhere, waiting to fall apart without anyone visiting it. Without this photo it’s likely that we’d never know it existed before it completely fell apart. One wonders if there are still bats in the belfry or if they've abandoned the church as well.
The neon sign outside of the Robert E. Lee Motel before it was demolished
Once serving people traveling through Washington County, Virginia, the Robert E. Lee Motel once stood on a major road which meant that its rooms were rarely vacant. However, when the interstate system moved into Virginia traffic was siphoned away from the motel and it fell into disrepair. Travelers passing through Virginia in the late ’60s paid about $11 for a room, which isn’t bad for a large group. The building has since been demolished, but the neon sign was saved and restored, which is great news for fans of vintage neon signs. Maybe it’ll hang outside a new motel some day, or just in the back room of a local bar.
Inside Weylu's, the abandoned Chinese food restaurant that could seat over 1,000 people
Whether it has good food or not, the one thing that a restaurant needs to survive is customers, and while Weylu’s definitely had room for plenty of hungry eaters - it could seat 1,500 at a time - it just didn’t have the clientele to fill it. Opened in 1989, Waylu’s was meant to be a huge deal in the Boston community, but the cost of the lavish building far exceeded the money that its owners brought in and suffered foreclosure in the 1990s. Businesses came and went through the grand building but nothing ever stuck and it sat for years as a monument to bad spending and poor planning. This fascinating, abandoned restaurant was finally demolished in 2015.