Photo Gallery: Abandoned Amusement Park

Is there anything more creepy than an abandoned amusement park? Because everything I find truly perverse and creepy pretty much goes hand in hand with abandoned amusement parks.

That’s why the below gallery by Kansas photographer Brandon Vogt is so powerful. Vogt visited Joyland (an oxymoron if ever there was one), a shuttered theme park in Wichita, KS, and shot a series of 33 haunting images. From the death’s head roller coaster to the abandoned log jam house, Vogt’s photos evoke a sense of nostalgia mixed with primal fear. At least, that’s my take. Impressive work.

For complete gallery, click here.

[All images by Brandon Vogt]

Abandoned Austin: photos of neglected structures in the city of Austin

Life might sway to a slower beat in the South, but, compared to other cities in the United States, Austin, Texas‘ growth over the span of the last decade or so hasn’t been slow at all. Steady job growth and population growth have worked together in Austin to create a sort of surreal union between urbanity and rurality. A succinct but steadfast downtown area in Austin is only a couple of miles away from artists’ communities developing on the outskirts of town. These communities are budding and blossoming a short bike ride away from the city’s center, but these communities, like East Austin, are still rural enough that you’ll find chickens roaming the streets and newly-converted living and work spaces being created from has-been barns. This is usually the way these things work.

Artists seeking more affordable housing in New York sought Brooklyn and found homes in vacant factories–vacant anything, really. With dilapidating real estate, supply often meets demand in communities that are attractive for one reason or another to creative thinkers–innovators. It takes a visionary to see the worthwhile in what’s been neglected, and Austin seems to have plenty of visionaries. Upon close inspection, Austin’s framework is still falling apart at the seams in some places. It’s a safe bet that these abandoned and broken-down buildings will be renovated or replaced in due time, but for now, during an economic shift like the one taking place is Austin, these boarded up buildings belonging to abandoned Austin represent the transition of a city to me.

%Gallery-145676%Austin is no abandoned city, but the bygone buildings in Austin are all that much more interesting because of this. Some of the most notorious neglected buildings in Austin are, as summarized in an article in the Austin Chronicle: The Cabin, The Walls, The House, The Restaurant, The Tracks, The Kiln, The Athletic Club, The Rock, Robertson Hill, The Hog Farm, and The Dog Park. The Riverside Dog Park‘s abandoned house on the hill is the only one I visited for this piece, and that’s because I frequent this dog park regularly as it is and was interested in taking a closer look at the house, which has always only been an object barely noticeable in my periphery while socializing my dogs.

Other abandoned Austin buildings have stuck out to me since moving to Austin. The old train station that sits next to the current Amtrak station, for instance. Smaller buildings, like homes, that are beautiful in that way that only a run-down structure can be always catch my eye–particularly since there are so many of them in my neighborhood, East Austin. When I went out to shoot for this piece, I posted a status on my personal Facebook page that read:

“Out photographing abandoned Austin. If you know of a cool abandoned building in Austin, tell me where it is.”

One of my friends commented:

“There are abandoned buildings in this town?”

And I thought that was telling. With all of the boom and business hitting Austin, it seems people are quick to overlook the lack thereof in some areas. It’s easy to overlook, primarily because there really aren’t that many abandoned or otherwise neglected properties in Austin. Thanks to Austin’s increasing popularity and good reputation, people have been flocking to the city for years now and swiping up run-down buildings and making them new. Few remain untouched and that is exactly why I wanted to capture them while I still can. It’s a beautiful thing that Austin is doing so well, that these buildings likely won’t stay neglected for long–and I say that despite that fact that I aesthetically like something about dying structures. I gathered these photos not as a showcase of all of the neglected buildings in Austin, but as a photo diary depicting the abandoned buildings I encounter in my daily life here in Austin. Take a look at these buildings–they won’t be unoccupied for long.


10 Creepy Abandoned Prisons

Ghostscrapers – Top ten post-apocalyptic abandoned skyscrapers

abandoned skyscrapers

When city plans exceed reality, or the money dries up, or people simply leave in a mass exodus, skyscrapers vacate and slowly decay. High winds thrash through broken windows. Rats live undisturbed amongst decades old rubble. Stairways lead to doors that may never open again. The ghost of ambition’s past arrives in the present like a howling specter, creating eyesores, dangerous conditions, and free housing for opportunistic urban survivalists.

These abandoned skyscrapers range from forsaken structures aborted long before their doors opened to icons from a bygone era. While a slumper like Detroit has its fair share of empty giants, even cities with tiger cub economic growth like Bangkok are not immune to the plague of creepy abandoned high-rises. South America brings vertical favelas to the list, and Poland has a tower named after a pop-culture villain. And even San Francisco, a city with a high recreational scooter to human ratio and droves of individuals who see the world just beyond the tip of their nose, has its very own abandoned skyscraper.

From North Korea to Venezuela, these structures differ in their stories and circumstance, but each is a fine glimpse at post-apocalyptic urban decay.


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abandoned skyscrapers

Michigan Central Station
Location: Detroit, USA
Stories: 18 floors
Story: The Central Station was finished during the advent of the automobile – 1913. The Beaux-Arts style of the classical building recalls a time when Detroit possessed the resources and momentum to rightfully emulate Parisian architecture. Its old school ambition is not lost on current Detroit residents but its function certainly is. It is a doorway into a forgotten world and a poster-boy for urban decay. The graffiti and dilapidation tells the story not just of Detroit’s acrimonious decline but also the abandonment of rail travel in the United States. At its peak during the 1940′s, 200 trains left this station daily. Today, none. While rail travel is receiving some political buzz in Washington, the fate of this gorgeous structure is uncertain. Many have flirted with re-purposing the old building, from the Detroit Police to casino developers, but for the moment it stands quietly on the outskirts of the modern world like an old ornate wrench that fits no bolt.
Abandoned since: 1988

abandoned skyscrapers

Ryugyong Hotel
Location: Pyongyang, North Korea
Stories: 105 floors
Story: This massive pyramidal structure (above, furthest left) is a 105 story symbol for the absurdist ambitions of Kim Jong Il and the hermit kingdom. It has been under construction (on and off) for decades. It has been called the world’s most hideous hotel. It is an unnecessary extravagance in a country that can barely feed its people. The project was abandoned after the fall of the Soviet Union due to Soviet subsidies to North Korea coming to an end. The hollow shell stood vacant for decades, just towering above the city – a failure too large to ignore but too painful to acknowledge. The North Koreans spent years denying the structure’s existence, removing it from photographs and excluding it from maps of Pyongyang. Too much shame, it seems, in the very obvious failure. Construction on the structure resumed recently with Egyptian architectural firm Orascom leading the project. It is slated for completion in 2012, to sync with the 100th birthday of Eternal President Kim Il Sung, deceased since 1994.
Abandoned since: 1992, currently under construction

Tower of David
Location: Caracas, Venezuela
Stories: 45 floors
Story: The Tower of David, one of the tallest buildings in Latin America, is the quintessential slum-scraper. There is no government interference, just 2500 squatters carving up its 45 stories for purposes ranging from housing to business. The building includes apartments, home-brew PlayStation arcades, beauty salons, and perhaps the most suspicious dentistry operation in the new world. While the current occupants have yet to climb higher than the 30th floor, it is only a matter of time before the anarchic housing market pushes residences higher towards the dilapidated rooftop helipad – a symbol from Caracas’ forgotten banking boom.
Abandoned since: 1994, never completed

abandoned skyscrapers

Buffalo Central Terminal
Location: Buffalo, USA
Stories: 20
Story: The Buffalo Central terminal has been looted for artifacts, vandalized by bored delinquents, used for art exhibitions, explored by ghost hunters, and even sold for $1. It is a gorgeous old structure plagued by a series of humiliating footnotes, caught in a perpetual fall from grace. But it was not always so. At a time, the Buffalo Central Terminal was an important hub servicing hundreds of trains daily. Still an Art Deco architectural masterpiece, the structure possesses a prominent tower worthy of superlatives, and its halls are said to be haunted by ghostly apparitions waiting for trains that will never arrive. Last Halloween, the TV show Ghost Hunters filmed a 6 hour marathon in the creepy old building. It is possible to tour the structure and even get hitched in its lofty halls. Click here for more information.
Abandoned since: 1980

abandoned skyscrapers

Szkieletor (Skelator)
Location: Krakow, Poland
Stories: 20 floors
Story: The tallest building in Krakow is a a hulking skeleton of a structure unofficially named after the villain from He-man – a show extremely popular in Poland in the early 1980′s. Construction began in 1975, but the Pols ran into economic troubles. Today, the building is primarily a backdrop in which to drape massive advertisements. It is also a constant reminder of the decades old malfeasance of Skelator – an urban Castle Grayskull looming on the Polish horizon.
Abandoned since: 1981, never completed

PacBell Building
Location: San Francisco, USA
Stories: 26
Story: Once the tallest building in San Francisco, the PacBell building is a Neo-Gothic marvel abandoned last decade. Completed in 1925, the giant is capped with 13 foot tall art deco Eagles looking out over the great San Francisco expanse. While the building was purchased in 2007 for $118 million, it has since been left to decay quietly in its own upscale way. Unlike most abandoned skyscrapers though, this one still has some life in it. Security guards patrol the ground floor, and the tower is lit up at night. A couple of brave urban explorers over at Bearings snuck past the guard and explored the tower’s heights. Check out their first hand account of the abandoned skyscraper. The PacBell Building will likely be repurposed into condominiums in the coming years.
Abandoned since: 2005

abandoned skyscrapers

Edificio Sao Vito
Location: Sao Paolo, Brazil
Stories: 27 floors
Story: The original vertical favela arrived on the scene in the late fifties with the intention of providing housing to Sao Paolo’s middle class community and expats. Before long though, the building fell into disrepair and became an overpopulated den of urban plight – a favela that sprawled up. As basic services and utilities declined over the years, tenants began disposing their garbage out the window and obtaining illegal electricity. Many of the Edificio’s 624 apartment units were split into two – stressing the already shaky infrastructure of the building known as “Balança mas não Cai” (It shakes but does not fall). By the eighties, the tap water was polluted and only one of the three elevators partially worked – making its way halfway up the building. Edificio Sao Vito was formally evacuated in 2004, though crackheads and drug dealers have taken to the abandoned structure like moths to a flame. Allegedly, the Mayor of Sao Paolo tried to demolish the building because it obstructed his otherwise pleasant view. While this bit of urban lore may or may not be true, the building has been flirting with demolition for the last decade. At the time of reading its graffiti flecked concrete walls may simply be dust.
Abandoned since: 2004

abandoned skyscrapers

Book Tower
Location: Detroit, USA
Stories: 38 floors
Story: Construction began on the Book Tower in 1916, just a few years after Henry Ford transformed auto-making forever with assembly line production. It is the old style of high-rise – more a kin of masonry than a child of steel and glass. For years, the classic structure with an ornate copper roof stood for the old world extravagance of Detroit. Now, it has taken on an altogether different metaphorical role as a sad reminder of when the eminent address spoke for the industrialist success of one of America’s finest cities. The property has changed hands many times in the last decade and plans exist to drop hundreds of millions in restoring the old-school giant.
Abandoned since: 2009

abandoned skyscrapers

Sathorn Unique
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
Stories: 49
Story: During the Thai tiger economy of the 1990′s, skyscrapers grew all over Bangkok in a display of Thailand’s new-found economic prominence. This one never completely grew up. Crows circle the pinnacle and rats call its lower levels home. Locals, convinced its hallways are haunted, stay out of the ghostscraper. Expat urban spelunkers have explored the building and returned to Khao San Road with stories from its upper reaches. The verdict: it is a dilapidated mess. The future of the Sathorn Unique remains unclear but perhaps someday it will be finished. For now, it looms on the Bangkok skyline with many other abandoned skeletal structures.
Abandoned since: 1997

abandoned skyscrapers

Sterick Building
Location: Memphis, USA
Stories: 29 floors
Story: Once the tallest building in the southern United States, the original “Queen of Memphis” is a ghostly skyscraper, boarded up and decaying from the inside. The late Gothic architectural marvel once shuttled around thousands of workers, from stockbrokers to barbers, in its eight high-speed elevators. It has been the domain of urban explorers and desperate vagrants ever since being completely abandoned in the late nineteen-eighties. While inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places preserves its era appropriate charms, the future of the towering structure is unclear. Perhaps a redevelopment boom in downtown Memphis will reignite a need for the large ghostscraper.
Abandoned since: 1980s

top flickr image via country_boy_shane

Abandoned rocket factory haunts the Everglades


This creepy abandoned rocket factory once possessed aspirations to help send mankind into space using solid fuel rockets. Now, the graffiti splattered walls and crumbling facade tell the tale of stunted ambition. This documentary, called Space Miami, explores the story behind this abandoned rocket factory in the Florida Everglades known as Aerojet-Dade. Built in the early 1960′s, the factory tested rockets in the deepest hole ever dug in Florida – a 150 foot deep cavern. The solid fuel rockets were too large to be transported overland, so a man-made canal to the Atlantic was carved to transport the rockets by barge. All of this effort proved needless when the Apollo space mission decided to go with liquid fuel instead of the solid fuel. The plant drifted into obsolescence overnight.

In 1969, the lights were turned off, never to be turned on again.

Space Miami – Aerojet-Dade Rocket Site Documentary from Coffee and Celluloid on Vimeo.

The world’s ten creepiest abandoned cities


Some cities die. The people leave, the streets go quiet, and the isolation takes on the macabre shape of a forlorn ghost-town – crumbling with haunting neglect and urban decay. From Taiwan to the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, these abandoned cities lurk in the shadows of civilization. Their histories are carried in hushed whispers and futures stillborn from the day of their collapse. Some have fallen victim to catastrophe while others simply outlive their function. I think we can all agree on one thing – they are all very creepy.

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abandoned cities

Pripyat
Location: Pripyat, Ukraine – 100km from Kiev
Story: On April 26, 1986, the Chernobyl reactor began its tragic meltdown. The incident was a huge blow to the viability of the nuclear energy platform, and still today, the town of Pripyat is an abandoned shell of a city frozen in a 1980′s Soviet time-warp. While the failed reactor has been entombed in a an appropriate sounding casing called a “sarcophagus,” the area remains unsafe for human life. The town has thrived in one aspect though. Wildlife has returned to the area in droves. Wolves silently hunt among the towering apartment buildings, and boars forage for food in the abandoned amusement park – which strangely opened the day after the reactor explosion in the midst of evacuation.
Abandoned since: 1986

abandoned cities

Sanzhi
Location: Sanzhi district, New Taipei, Taiwan
Story: This area called Sanzhi was originally a vacation resort catering to U.S. servicemen north of Taipei. The architecture could be called UFO futuro chic, and the abandoned resort community had difficulties from the beginning. During construction, many workers perished in car accidents, and other freak accidents were common. The urban legend online search trail places the death count close to twenty. The deaths were attributed to supernatural causes. Some speculated that the resort was built on a Dutch burial ground while others attributed the misfortunes to a dragon statue destroyed during construction. Either way, the ruins never took their first guest, and the stillborn project was abandoned.
Abandoned since: 1980


Craco
Location: Craco, Basilicata, Italy
Story: Built on a summit, Craco’s utility was initially derived from its ability to repel invaders. The town’s placement on a cliff precipice also threatened its integrity. After being rocked by a number of earthquakes and subsequent landslides, Craco was abandoned for lower ground. Today, the empty village is great for exploration and houses a number of interesting old world churches such as Santa Maria della Stella.
Abandoned since: 1963

abandoned cities


Kolmanskop
Location: Kolmanskop, Namibia
Story: Once a successful diamond mining community, Kolmanskop is now a desert ghost town where the houses welcome only sand. The desert city was originally built when Germans discovered great mineral wealth in the area. They built the town in an architecturally German style with a ballroom, a theater, and the first tram system in Africa. The desert reclaimed the town when the miners moved on. The sands have filled houses, covered the streets, and slowly erased most signs of civilization aside from the towering homes and public buildings. The sight of a decaying German town in the shifting sands of the Namib desert is anachronistically delightful.
Abandoned since: 1954

abandoned cities


Ghost Island
Location: Hashima Island, Nagasaki, Japan
Story: During the industrial revolution in Japan, the Mitsubishi company built this remote island civilization around large coal deposits in the Nagasaki islands. The island is home to some of Japan‘s first high rise concrete buildings, and for almost a century, mining thrived on the island. At its peak, the 15 acre island housed over five thousand residents – coal workers and their families. Today, a post-apocalyptic vibe haunts the abandoned island and the dilapidated towers and empty streets exist in a creepy industrial silence. In 2009, the island opened to tourists, so now you can take a trip to explore the Ghost Island’s abandoned movie theaters, apartment towers, and shops.
Abandoned since: 1974

abandoned cities


Oradour-sur-Glane
Location: Oradour-sur-Glane, Limousin, France
Story: During World War II, the Nazi troops came upon Oradour-sur-Glane and completely destroyed the village, murdering 642 individuals. The burned cars and buildings remain frozen in time as they did in 1944, a reflection of the monstrosity of war and a memorial to the villagers who lost their lives. The massacre was one of mankind’s most vicious moments. All visitors to the “martyr village” are asked to remain silent while wandering the melancholy streets of tragedy.
Abandoned since: 1944

abandoned cities


Centralia
Location: Centralia, Pennsylvania, United States
Story: The entire city of Centralia was condemned by the state of Pennsylvania and its zip code was revoked. The road that once led to Centralia is blocked off. It is as if the city does not exist at all, but it does, and it has been on fire for almost fifty years. In 1962, a fire broke out in a landfill near the Odd Fellows cemetery. The fire quickly spread through a hole to the coal mine beneath the city, and the fires have been burning ever since. Smoke billows out from cracks in the road and large pits in the ground randomly open up releasing thousand degree heat and dangerous vapors into the air. The city has been slowly evacuated over the years, though some residents have chosen to stay, believing that the evacuation is a conspiracy plot by the state to obtain their mineral rights to the anthracite coal reserves below their homes. Smells like lawyers to me.
Abandoned since: still marginally occupied by 10 or so brave souls


Humberstone
Location: Northern Atacama desert, Chile
Story: Declared a UNESCO heritage site in 2005, Humberstone was once a bustling saltpeter refinery in the desert of northern Chile. Life on the moonscape of the Chilean pampas is extremely sparse, and outposts like Humberstone served as work and home for many Pampino miners. The hostile environment proved a menacing part of everyday life for Humberstone residents. Their efforts to extract nitrates from the largest saltpeter deposit in the world transformed farming in Europe and the Americas in the form of fertilizer sodium nitrate.
Abandoned since: 1960

Bodie
Location: Bodie, California, United States
Story: The poster boy for a ghost town, Bodie is absolutely stunning in its dereliction. The boom-town over 8,000 feet up in the Sierra Nevadas was a gold rush outpost, and, at its height in the 1880′s, allegedly one of the largest cities in California. 65 saloons lined the dusty mile long main street, meaning the saloon to resident ratio was definitely high enough to keep the sheriff busy. Beyond the swilling of brews though, Bodie developed into a city filled with big town characteristics like churches, hospitals, four fire departments, and even a Chinatown district. Today, visitors are free to to walk the deserted streets of this town built on gold and hope.
Abandoned since: 1942, though the last issue of the local newspaper, The Bodie Miner, was printed in 1912.


Kayaköy
Location: Kayaköy, Muğla, Turkey
Story: Thousands of Greek speaking Christians lived in this town just south of Fethiye in southwestern Turkey for hundreds of years. The rather large village has been a virtual ghost town since the end of the Greco-Turkish War. Over 500 houses and several Greek Orthodox churches populate this garden of decaying structures. Some hope exists for a resurgence of this old city, as organic farmers and craftsmen have began to trickle in to this fringe community.
Abandoned since: 1923

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