Our family loves hunting for treasures. We mostly meet our needs through geocaching, but we also like to visit and photograph abandoned places and trains. There is something sweet about remembering things that have been forgotten.
One of our favorite local finds was an old jail “holding house” in the middle of the woods here. It was used in the 1940s as a place to hold prisoners before taking them to the “big house.” It is situated, literally, in the middle of nowhere in the woods. Sadly, graffiti (and not the awesome interesting kind) has taken over and beer bottles and drug paraphernalia litter the scene.
Finding Abandoned Places
The best website is Abandoned Places. They provide a picture wheel where you select a button to learn about a new spot. They feature locations from all over the world, and the writers do their homework. Each post has excellent historical information about the location, stunning photos, and, when possible, links to other information.
The site is a little confusing to use at first, but just remember to click the round buttons in the photo wheel.
There are many stories about old ghost towns. They are all fascinating stories; they truly make you think about the fleeting nature of life. One example, Graffiti Palace, is “huge and similar to a village, with streets, parking spaces, a railway, hangars, workshops, and offices. There is a building with a kitchen, cafeteria, banquet room, restrooms, lockers, meeting rooms…apart from its size, the most striking feature of this site is the amount of beautiful graffiti! Not just senseless tagging, but real works of art!”
The photography included in the post is amazingly detailed and worth a look.
The site provides excellent historical information, as well. This jail located in Brussels was used in World War II by the Germans. This jail is also part of a larger old ghost town that includes beautiful stately buildings. It is amazing that a government would spend so much money to create something so beautiful and then leave it abandoned.
Another great spot to learn history and see photos is Abandoned but Not Forgotten. Their site also puts a lot of heart and soul into providing historical information, but, sadly, there are few pictures. It is a site where anyone can post up an abandoned spot or add to a post that has already been created.
Among its gems though, are leads to places that might be near you. For example, you can read about the town in Centralia, PA that is abandoned because of a coal fire burning under it. We lived fairly near this town when we were growing up and never ever heard about it!
There are a whole host of great posts that showcase abandoned places. DirJournal has an excellent post on abandoned places, and Daddu features a gorgeous photo display of the Poetry of Forgotten Places. WebUrbanist has great photos, as well (if you can stand all the trailers to get to the content!).
All Aboard Trains!
Sadly, there are no sites that just focus on the historical nature of abandoned trains, although many sites offer up gorgeous pictures of abandoned trains. One post features abandoned trains from the Soviet Era. Urban75 also hosts a lot of beautiful photos. These photo sites don’t offer as much historical evidence as other sites, but they are fascinating.