In the winter of 1980 The Chicago Milwaukee St. Paul and Pacific Railroad (Milwaukee Road) abandoned almost 2000 miles of track between Miles City, Montana and Cedar Falls, Washington -- part of a passenger and freight shipping route known as the “Pacific Coast Extension.” Today, what's left of the Extension is "cut up among different railroads and the best engineered rail line through the rugged Rockies and Cascades is but weeds and trails, a vital transportation artery no longer available to shippers and the American economy." But in August 1980, before it was abandoned, two former locomotive firemen and engineers spent $400 to rescue a track-maintenance railway car, a 1952 M-19 Fairmont Speeder, from a scrap heap in a Maine train yard. They used it to travel the route and took photos along the way. [more inside]
Chronicle of Higher Ed: U. of Iowa Doesn’t Know Why Its Fight Song Blares From an Empty Building in Niagara Falls "A University of Iowa spokesman said on Tuesday that he had 'no clue' why the university’s fight song is being played, week after week, in a vacant building in Niagara Falls, NY. The mystery was first reported by the Niagara Gazette, which says the song has been repeated on a loop, for several hours at a time, on 'most nights for roughly six months.'" [more inside]
Touring abandoned college campuses, Second-Life style. What happened to the virtual-world dreams of a decade ago? Patrick Hogan of Fusion investigates, and finds a pirate ship, Test Questios [sic], and defunct certification programs. Get comfy. [via ArsTechnica]
Watch noisy Texas power pop band Radioactivity play two songs in an abandoned shopping mall. [more inside]
Pennsylvania's oldest and largest is 400 acres. The oldest in New Jersey is now "trapped in the 19th century." NYC turned many into parks. What happens when a cemetery goes under? [more inside]
Pyramiden was abandoned in 1998. The town’s population, then somewhere around 300 people, was given four months to leave, and they left behind everything non-essential. Walking through those buildings, it felt as if some vague poisonous gas had swept through and killed everyone in a matter of minutes. There were signs of life everywhere—trays still on tables, rolls of film in the projection booth, musical instruments strewn about—alongside the inescapable fact of decay and abandonment. In the gymnasiums lay sports equipment that would never again be used, books that would never again be read. The world’s northernmost swimming pool is now empty; the world’s northernmost grand piano now badly out of tune. The triumphant gaze of Soviet monuments now look out over nothing but emptiness. The rise and fall of Pyramiden, a Russian mining town located in the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard.
Circle of an Abstract Ritual is the latest stop motion timelapse from artist Jeff Frost (previously)who creates short films that defy description. This latest work gathers hundreds of thousands of photographs taken over the last two years during wildfires, riots, and inside abandoned houses where he created a series of optical illusion paintings. Frost says the film “began as an exploration of the idea that creation and destruction might be the same thing,” and that it is in part “a way to get an ever so slight edge on the unknowable.” [via]
A Giant Network of Trampolines Suspended in an Abandoned Welsh Slate Mine Open to the public July 4th, 2014
Gorgeous castle, abandoned for 20 years. And, interestingly, it's a variation on a Calendar House, with 365 rooms--one for every day of the year. No idea what they did about leap years. Tent, maybe?
Mefites are awfully fond of abandoned places, whether they be water parks, train stations or even entire communities. But how about golf courses? A look at what has happened to some of the abandoned courses in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (via Salon).
"On a sunny day at the very beginning of this millenniums, a crazy frenchman found himself in the desert of Sinai. After some puffs of a magic smoke he wondered - how come that there are no cinemas in the middle of the desert...?"
Nightwatch: The Haunting Light Painted Nightscapes of Noel Kerns: Dallas-based photographer Noel Kerns specializes in capturing haunting night scenes of ghost towns, decommissioned military bases, and industrial abandonments. His creative use of different colored lights combined with moon light helps these old abandoned places come alive as vivid nightscapes. [...] By very carefully planning out his shot and using flashlights, strobes and colored gels to strategically add light, Kerns captures the final product in-camera during exposures that last, on average, one to three minutes — very little, if any, post-production is done at all. [more inside]
Once upon a time, a man explored some abandoned cottages. The people had left long ago, but the houses were still being lived in. Fortunately, the man was a photographer.
"Founded in 1912 as a farm colony of Brooklyn State Hospital, the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center in Queens [New York] became, by mid-century, a world unto itself. At its peak, it housed some 7,000 patients. They tended gardens and raised livestock on the hospital’s grounds. The hospital contained gymnasiums, a swimming pool, a theater, a television studio, and giant kitchens and laundries where patients were put to work. Today, Creedmoor, still run by the New York State Office of Mental Health, has only a few hundred patients" and houses The Living Museum, an 'art asylum within an asylum' where patients can create and exhibit their art. But what is life like inside the institution itself? In 2010, Katherine B. Olsen spent weeks interviewing staff and patients. Her essay, published this week, 'Something More Wrong' takes us inside Creedmoor's women's ward. [more inside]
While L. Frank Baum never specifically mentioned where Dorothy lived in Kansas, he did leave some vague and/or misleading hints. They don't quite point anywhere, but two home inspectors did some digging and claim Dorothy's house was near Troy, Kansas, but they're not the first to claim a home for Dorothy. That credit goes to Max Zimmerman, an insurance agent from Liberal, Kansas, who thought of capitalizing on this lack of location. Oliver Brown, another resident of Liberal, knew of a house that resembled Dorothy's, and this was the start of Dorothy's House Museum & Land of Oz. But over 300 miles away, Wamego, Kansas has its own little land of Oz, where you can attend the annual OZtoberfest, or check out the Oz Museum, with its collection of Oz memorabilia on permanent loan from Friar Johnpaul Cafiero. And then there's the abandoned Land of Oz theme park in the resort town of Beech Mountain, North Carolina, about a thousand miles from Wamega.
INFINITE is an amazing timelapse of Australian graffiti artist Sofles painting an abandoned warehouse. [slyt | via]
Unless you have a camera, of course, in which case there are some amazing shots.
Deep in the belly of New York’s subway system, a beautiful untouched station resides that has been forgotten for years with only a limited few knowing of its existence. But if you know what to do, you can see it for yourself. Bonus: The Underbelly Project, a secret underground art exhibition. [more inside]
Detroit's Lewis Cass Technical High School, Then and Now. Period photos superimposed over the historic building's abandoned interiors, presented by detroiturbex.com.
For decades the Golpa-Nord open-pit mine was scoured by gigantic machines day and night. When the coal ran out, the enormous steel constructs - with names like Mad Max, Big Wheel, and Medusa - were left in place. Today, the abandoned machines form the remarkable city of Ferropolis. Much more at Urban Ghosts.
"The truth, the absolute truth, is that the chief beauty for the theatre consists in fine bodily proportions."~ Sarah Bernhardt
Derelict Cinemas and Theatres by Adam Slater: Since 2008, Adam Slater has been on a quest to photograph Britain’s abandoned and derelict cinemas and theatres before they are gone for good. Below are some examples from his astonishing set of beautiful yet grotesque ruins, which you can see in full on his flickr page. His blog, Reality Trip, features more fantastic photographs of old power stations, quarries and more. Be sure to check it out. [kubrickontheguillotine.com]
The ruins of Gede are the remains of a mysterious lost city on the Swahili Coast of Kenya, located deep within the Arabuko Sokoke forest. The mystery of Gede (Gedi) is that it does not appear in any Swahili, Portuguese, or Arab written records and present day research has not yet been able to fully account for what actually happened to the city. The inhabitants were of the Swahili, an ancient trading civilization that emerged along the eastern coasts of Africa ranging from Somalia to Mozambique. Archaeological excavations carried out between 1948 and 1958 have uncovered porcelain from China, an Indian lamp, Venetian beads, Spanish scissors, and other artefacts from all over the world, demonstrating the occupants were engaged in extensive and sophisticated international trade. Questions still remain as to what caused the downfall of Gede, but by the 17th century, the city was completely abandoned to the forest and forgotten until the 1920s. Today, a National Museum, Gede's sister cities from the period are part of the ethnography based archeological work of Dr Chapurukha M. Kusimba of Chicago's Field Museum, whose lifework has thrown light on the precolonial heritage of the Swahili peoples.
La parenthèse urbaine. A stop-motion journey around an abandoned Paris railway line (SLV)
Stephen Fisk runs a website called Abandoned Communities, which documents unsettled settlements around Britain. Some were huge, like Sarum, between (roughly) the eleventh and fourteenth centuries a royal city with its own cathedral, while some were never bigger than a few dozen people. There are places that have been swallowed by the sea, places that have been swallowed by London, and some that simply dwindled into nothingness. Some you may have heard of already, like St. Kilda or Capel Celyn (cofiwch Dryweryn!). There's also a handy map that links straight to any particular location, and collections of painting and poetry pertaining to these vanished places
Six Flags New Orleans closed on August 27, 2005 in preparation for Hurricane Katrina. The park never reopened. [more inside]
The Abandoned Palace at 15 Beekman Street [via mefi projects] (I think it's actually 5 Beekman street, but whatever. The photos are amazing.)
The Freegan Establishment. Squatters in Buffalo get a mansion for free.
Abandoned Detroit Public Schools "People tend to have a visceral reaction to the sight of books piled ten feet high and left to rot in a windowless warehouse or strewn about a classroom floor. They seem to have more sympathy for books than for the children who’ll never have the chance to use them. Half of Detroiters cannot even read. Unemployment is above 20 percent and our streets are filled with hopeless people. When I see schools left like this, I know exactly what waits for many of these kids. I see it every day on the streets." [more inside]
River County, Disney's first water park has been shut down since 2001 and permanently closed since 2005. It has not been dismantled. It was smaller than the two other (currently operating) water parks, and frequently much less crowded. In only a few years, relatively, weather, growth and neglect have damaged the slides and pools, many of which are still full of water. The entire thread with many more pictures is here [more inside]
California City is the 3rd largest city in California (geographically), home to California's largest open-pit boron mine, a privately-run Federal Prison, and only 8,835 residents. Originally planned as a "large master-planned leisure community" of up to 1 million people, such growth never materialized, and the remains of the undeveloped streets and cul-de-sacs presage images of the current housing crisis, and are a modern, uniquely American version of the Nazca Lines.
Urban exploration has been featured here once or twice before, but Jim Griffioen's site photo-documenting his discoveries in and around Detroit deserves a look. Griffioen was recently interviewed [direct mp3 link] on the American Public Media radio program The Story. [more inside]
Photos of nuclear-explosives production facilities built during the Manhattan Project, by photographer Martin Miller. He also took photos of nuclear missile sites built during the cold war.
The New York Times commissioned Portuguese photographer Edgar Martins to travel around the United States and take photographs of abandoned construction projects left in the wake of the housing and securities market collapse.
Julia Solis, who brought us Dark Passage (previously), is still exploring derelict sites, both subterranean and in urban decay. Her most recent project is Abandoned Theaters, a look at grand old movie palaces, school auditoriums, and theaters that have become, shall we say, retired. Julia still keeps a photoblog that she calls Dark Passage Travelogue, and partnering with Suzy Poling, she chronicles the decrepitude of hospitals long abandoned in Fantastic Degradation.
A website has been launched to preserve the history of Danvers State Insane Asylum. The Asylum, which opened in 1878 in Danvers, MA (site of the Salem Witch Trials) and closed in 1992, was featured in the horror movie Session 9, and may have been the inspiration for HP Lovecraft's Arkham Asylum. Its Kirkbride Wings, which once held the institution's living quarters, now house a 400+ unit apartment complex. [more inside]
When thousands of people depart, leaving an entire city dead that’s a real tragedy. There are mainly two reasons why people leave the place where they used to live for years or even generations: danger, and economic factors. Abandoned Places In The World. ( previously 1,2)
J. Bennett Fitts traveled some 20,000 miles to produce “No Lifeguard on Duty,” an investigation of America’s forgotten roadside motels. These vestiges of an earlier era—when families packed into their cars for summer vacations via two-lane highways—now exist in various stages of operation and disrepair. [via, by way of]
At the mostly abandoned Moffett Field in an abandoned McDonald's, digital archeologists attempt to restore, recover and archive abandoned high resolution imagery and data from previous manned Moon missions, using an abandoned Ampex 2" tape drive found in a chicken coop - the last working machine in the world, restored by the last man alive capable of rebuilding the heads. This is likely only part of their weird story.
The Dzrtgrls explore mines, ghost towns, rockhounding spots, petroglyphs, geocaching and metal detecting sites, and take lots of great pictures in the process.
100 Abandoned Houses. A photo essay from Detroit-based photographer Kevin Bauman.
Detroit's Beatiful, Horrible Decline: Photographers Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre's work in Motor City. More photography capturing abandoned properties in Detroit. (Previously, and more previously)
They call this “Sanctuary Wood” – for me it fulfils a dream. I’m sorry I trespass but if I had my dream somewhere like this would be my home and sanctuary. An urban-explorer and his girlfriend come across an abandoned caravan in the woods of Essex, then find they are not the only visitors... [more inside]
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