I’ve always been fascinated with abandoned spaces since the first time I saw the run down family home on my grandmother’s street in Adairsville, Georgia. What makes these places become abandoned? Who forgot about them? What did they leave behind? I’m in love with the stories and have even created an Abandoned Spaces Pinterest board, which served as the inspiration for this post.
Places I’ve Visited
School, Ridgeway, South Carolina
We always drove past this abandoned school on our way to summer camp in Ridgeway, South Carolina. For years there were just the two buildings but on my most recent visit, back in the summer of 2009, the doorway and auditorium were all that were left. The auditorium’s roof has caved in and a warning sign is posted on the doors. I wish I had more information on what happened to this school, so if you have any details, please let me know!
Old Sheldon Church Ruins, Beaufort, South Carolina
Outside of Beaufort lies the Old Sheldon Church Ruins, one of my favorite hidden Lowcountry spots. Built in 1757, the church was burnt in the Revolutionary War but soon rebuilt. Then Sherman and his troops burned it down again. At the end of the Civil War, residents salvaged materials from the church to rebuild their homes. It still stands as a reminder of the region’s past.
Auditorium, New Orleans, Louisiana
There are plenty of abandoned spaces in New Orleans, especially since Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc back in 2005. The municipal auditorium once hosted musicians like Elvis and The Beatles, as well as Mardi Gras functions and community events. You can see the rotting wood and chairs through the windows in Armstrong Park. Unfortunately the area has become known more for high crime than for the arts.
Tempelhof Airport, Berlin, Germany
I read about this former Berlin airport on other blogs before I planned my trip to Germany. Unfortunately I didn’t get to tour the Tempelhof Airport since I wasn’t there at the right times, but even wandering around it was fascinating. It went out of use in 2008 after other airports were built nearby.
Places I Want to Visit
Ghost Town, Bodie, California
Bodie is one of the best preserved ghost towns in the United States. Gold was discovered here in 1861 but was completely abandoned by the 1940s. Like many of the mining boom towns, when the gold left, so did the people. It still has over 100 wooden structures still standing and is a major tourist attraction in California.
Heritage USA Theme Park, Fort Mill, South Carolina
During my many drives between Charleston and Atlanta as well as Charleston and Boone, I always heard about the ruins of the Heritage USA Theme Park that was the crown of Jim Bakker’s Praise the Lord ministries. It closed in 1989 when the entire empire came crashing down in scandal. I’ve read about people going to walk around there, but I have no idea if it’s legal.
As one of the former industrial capitals, Detroit has seen better days to say the least. The Denver Post’s PLog shared some amazing photos from abandoned buildings all over the city. It’s hard to believe that there are so many because it’s as if everyone vacated these buildings in a hurry, leaving behind chairs, books and other items.The Michigan Theater is now a parking lot. Everything wasn’t abandoned at one time, but over the last fifty years.
Chernobyl, Pripyat, Ukraine
It may sound creepy to visit Chernobyl, where thousands died in the chemical meltdown and its after effects, but it’s something I’m interested in. The town of Pripyat was abandoned in a single day in 1986. Tours run on days when radiation is not too high, as my friend Katie Going Global discovered on her trip there.
Grande Hotel, Beira, Mozambique
In the middle of working on this post, I was watching an episode of Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations about Mozambique. What was once a luxurious resort for Rhodesians, the hotel closed down in 1963 and has become a squatter’s colony since the civil war. An estimated 2,700 people live there.
Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
I’ve heard that former prison Eastern State Penitentiary is one of the most haunted places in the world. It opened in 1829 as a new style of prison where inmates were held in solitary confinement, no matter the severity or lack thereof of their crimes. Al Capone was one of the prison’s most famous residents. It was completely abandoned in 1971 and tours of the facility began in 1994. It’s even more eerie than Alcatraz in that everything was left as it was.
Rozelle Tram Station, Sydney, Australia
I never knew about the Rozelle Tram Depot, despite living in Sydney for over six months. The city used to have trams like the ones in Melbourne but changed to light rail, trains and buses in 1958 after going out of use. The depot housed the oldest trams but they have all been vandalized.
- 10 Abandoned Buildings Around the World You Must See, Off Track Planet: This website lists their favorite abandoned destinations around the world.
- World Abandoned is a blog devoted to abandoned spaces all over the world.
- The NOLA Daily has its own abandoned category for run down buildings in New Orleans.
- Dark Roasted Blend has posts on ghost towns in Antarctica and other offbeat destinations.
- Opacity specializes in urban ruins.