Carla is interested in learning more about once-popular places that have since fallen into disrepair. She finds them strangely alluring.
There is nothing so haunting and sad as the abandoned—life and energy, frozen in time. Derelict structures teetering on the verge of collapse are weighed down by the memories of a more purposeful time. The curious now visit these places, perhaps in an attempt to understand why the disintegrated and desolate still stands.
And where the curious cannot travel, the web takes them. So began my sojourn after hearing a story about an abandoned theme park in China. Come with me now, on a journey back through time to places long forgotten, yet still standing . . .
1. Hashima Island in Japan (The "Ghost Island")
Hashima Island (AKA Battleship Island or Ghost Island) in Japan is a floating ghost town. According to Cabinetmagazine.org, it was first inhabited in 1887. Mitsubishi Corporation bought the island in 1890 for 100,000 yen for the purposes of tapping coal resources from under the sea.
According to Cabinet, Hashima was producing about 150,000 tons of coal annually, and as population began to soar in 1916, Mitsubishi built a reinforced concrete apartment block on the island to alleviate the lack of housing space and to prevent typhoon damage. Many more structures were built on the crowded island until the late 1960s when Japan's economy soared and petroleum replaced coal.
Slowly the island was abandoned, with the last resident leaving in 1974. Today, no one lives on the island and it is solely a tourist destination. This author's brother lives in Fukuoka, Japan. Perhaps someday we'll visit Nagasaki and take a boat ride to Hashima, the Ghost Island. See a video below of my brother's visit to the island.
For more pictures of and information about the cramped island, check out the Cabinet article, "Hashima: The Ghost Island."
2. China's Imitation Disneyland, "Unfit for a Princess"
According to National Geographic.com’s Zoe Alsop, the late 1990s brought the failure of the Wonderland amusement park even before it was completed. 20 miles outside of Beijing, the “wonder” still stands partially completed.
Apparently, a disagreement between the developer, local government and farmers turned the would-be park back into farmland. Now, an incomplete castle stands beside stalks of cor—odd evidence of a political war between money and farming.
See pictures and the full story on National Geographic.
3. Oregon State Hospital's "Library of Dust"
Established in 1883, the Oregon State Hospital (OSH), Salem, Oregon, was made famous by the movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, which was filmed there in 1975.
The forgotten Library of Dust was located in a small outbuilding that was visited by a film crew in 2004. According to IMDB.com, the film documents "the existence of thousands of corroded copper urns, each containing cremated human remains of former patients. Photographer David Maisel captured these beautifully unique urns of forgotten souls on film. Exhibiting their photos revealed secrets, influenced political decisions and reunited families.”
Personally attending a viewing of this film trailer a few years back when Director Ondi Timoner was visiting a university campus near my home piqued my interest in this story. This short documentary received numerous awards and shed light on a forgotten collection of patient ashes and the reuniting of families with the remains of lost loved ones.
Although some parts of the hospital were demolished in 2011 to make way for new construction, it is unsure whether this affected the Library of Dust.
4. Grossinger's Resort (Snow No More)
In Liberty, New York in the Catskill Mountains sits Grossinger’s Resort. According to the Huffington Post, Grossinger’s Resort was part of the so-called "Borscht Belt," where primarily Jewish families from New York City vacationed starting in the 1920s.
Pictures of this abandoned resort in the mountains are reminiscent of the Kellerman Resort in Dirty Dancing, but with an elaborate swimming pool, golf course and big-name acts, Grossinger's was so much more.
"Grossinger's", says Huffington Post, "gained increasing fame in 1952, when it became the first resort to use artificial snow for its ski-fanatic patrons.” 35 well-kept buildings sat on 1,200 acres until the resort closed in 1986 after it ceased to be financially lucrative. To see the resort in all its dilapidated glory, visit HuffPost's slide show.
5. Abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike
According to RoadsideAmerica.com, “Just off US 30, east of Breezewood, is an abandoned section of the PA Turnpike. It was abandoned in the 1960s because the two tunnels along it were only one lane each way, causing massive bottlenecks.”
This portion of the turnpike, one of the first of the “super highways” today is owned by the Nature Conservancy and can only be accessed by foot or bike. According to Roadside, the tunnels are still safe and open. They were used in the apocalyptic film, The Road (2009). Of interest to Pennsylvanians is that the movie also used other locations in Pennsylvania—dilapidated Conneaut Lake Park (still functioning, but in financial crisis) and a segment of the beach at the Erie Peninsula.
6. Disney's Abandoned Water Park
The magic is gone. Disney’s River Country Water Park has been closed since 2001. According to travel.aol.com, the park opened in 1976 and featured water slides, a tube river, a nature trail and a sand-bottomed lake with swings. Before the age of water parks, this was a really cool place. The site goes on to say that the park’s demise, "was that its water came from Bay Lake and did not meet city standards.”
We can read between the lines and speculate that a Disney water park sans chlorine is just part of this magic land’s woe. Instead of tearing it down, however, the park still remains on the banks of Bay Lake in sad disrepair.
- Alsop , Zoe . "Pictures: China's Fake Disneyland, Overgrown and Ghostly." Daily Nature and Science News and Headlines | National Geographic News . N.p., 22 Dec. 2011. Web. 13 Apr. 2013. <http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/travelnews/2011/12/pictures/111222-china-fake-disneyland-disney-world-travel/#/wonderland-abandoned-castle_46175_600x450.jpg>.
- "Breezewood, PA - Abandoned PA Turnpike - "The Road" Movie Location." Roadside America - Guide to Uniquely Odd Tourist Attractions. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2013. <http://www.roadsideamerica.com/tip/32521
- Burke-Gaffney, Brian . "CABINET // Hashima: The Ghost Island." CABINET // Homepage. Version Issue 7 Failure Summer 2002. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2013. <http://www.cabinetmagazine.org/issues/7/hashima
- Dolan, Rebecca. "Five Lost Disney World Rides from River Country to Mars (VIDEO) - AOL Travel News." Travel Tips, Travel Ideas and Travel Advice. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2013. <http://news.travel.aol.com/2011/04/04/five-lost-disney-world-rides-from-river-country-to-mars-video/>.
- "Grossinger's, Former Borscht Belt Resort, Sits Abandoned In Liberty, New York (PHOTOS)." Breaking News and Opinion on The Huffington Post. N.p., 2 Oct. 2012. Web. 13 Apr. 2013. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/02/grossingers-resort-borsch-belt_n_1909981.html#slide=more252526.
- "Library of Dust (2011) - IMDb." IMDb - Movies, TV and Celebrities. N.p., 28 Jan. 2011. Web. 13 Apr. 2013. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1764454/.
© 2013 Carla J Swick
Carla J Swick (author) from NW PA on October 01, 2014:
Thank you, Kenneth. Wonderful feedback like yours certainly keeps a starving writer at the computer.... : ) Much appreciated.
Kenneth Avery from Hamilton, Alabama on October 01, 2014:
What a great read. I LOVE hubs that talk of these subjects--haunted asylums; haunted homes of olden times and such. I live in a rural town in northwest Alabama, and we have our share of hauntings.
One being an old house, possibly a famer or someone who used to live in this frame of a house loved music and came to a tormented demise.
For numerous people, non-drinkers or stoners, have stood in the yard at night and heard the beautiful music from a piano inside. And a few brave men went to check it out and it stopped.
The swore hoax. But the next day, the owner of the property gave them permission to look the old house over to find a speaker or tape system that would explain a hoaxster. But none could be found--even in the property.
These same men and women went back a day or two later and no, the moon was not full, they stood in yard and the same song was heard from inside on piano.
So one of the guys did some digging by interviewing people who lived in this era and lo and behond, a family did live there and an uncle, out of work, had to lodge with this family, but he was a piano player. Duhhh. He met his death at the hands of the husband, allegedly, who was so filled with hatred for music, that he killed this guy.
You make the call.
And we have wooded areas near old, abandoned churches that if you stand in the cemetery on a certain day or night, you can hear voices coming from the wooded areas and one young man swore he saw a figure of a man standing near the edge of the woods waving at him.
And that is just a bit of my world.
I really love this hub. And here are the reasons why:
1. This is an excellent piece of writing. Honestly, it is amazing.
2, I loved the way you worded this hub.
3. Graphics, superb.
4. This hub was helpful, informative and very interesting.
5. Voted Up and all of the choices.
6. I loved your topic of this hub.
You are certainly a gifted writer. Please keep up the fine work.
Kenneth Avery, Hamilton, Alabama
Melody Gibbons from Staff Ave Cochranton Pa 16314 on July 08, 2014:
Very interesting . I would love to take a trip to the Disney's Abandoned Water Park. Guess old Walt still has a hold on me. Let me know if you need a research assistant to go check it out ! You are a very good writer, well done !!
Carla J Swick (author) from NW PA on April 15, 2014:
Thanks Billybuc - had a blast writing it and enjoyed the stories from some real life folks who have been to these places. Appreciate the read. cjbehr
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on April 15, 2014:
That was unusual and unique and interesting all rolled up into one fine article.
JS Matthew from Massachusetts, USA on March 08, 2014:
Tanks for the link. Will check it out!
Carla J Swick (author) from NW PA on March 06, 2014:
Unfortunately, I do not believe it is open to the public - http://www.riverridgefarm.org/
JS Matthew from Massachusetts, USA on March 05, 2014:
I really do enjoy it! You can almost hear the voices and feel the energy from people past. I would love to check out an old seminary. Can you hear subtle chanting? I am re-sharing!
Carla J Swick (author) from NW PA on March 04, 2014:
Don't you just love old and interesting things...my parents used to take me to an old mansion in the woods that used to be a seminary. There were old stations of the cross in the woods... It fascinated me. Thanks for reading.
JS Matthew from Massachusetts, USA on March 04, 2014:
Very interesting read! I have always been interested in this type of topic. Near to where I live their is an old abandoned Girl Scout camp in the woods. Most of the structures have either fallen or been burned and vandalized. It is almost spooky when you visit places like this. Up and shared. Thanks!
moonlake from America on November 10, 2013:
Interesting hub I have never heard of any of these except for Ohio State Hospital. voted up.
Carla J Swick (author) from NW PA on August 18, 2013:
Thank you for sharing. Much appreciated.
RealityTalk from Planet Earth on August 18, 2013:
An interesting article. I'm like you in that I love to explore the obscure, the old and the forgotten. On the rare occasions I get to vacation these days, I like to stay off the tourist route and hit the back roads; there is always so much more to see.
Carla J Swick (author) from NW PA on May 17, 2013:
Dianna Mendez on May 17, 2013:
Thanks for the intersting read. Looks like a great place to visit.
Carla J Swick (author) from NW PA on May 03, 2013:
Thanks CBR! Much appreciate your comment and glad you liked the hub - I certainly have fun writing it and hope to visit some of these places someday. Best wishes!
Boo McCourt from Washington MI on May 03, 2013:
Wow some awesome writing. I love this hub. The references are a great bonus as well. I am a new fan.
Carla J Swick (author) from NW PA on April 17, 2013:
Mitch, yes, my brother says you don't get to see much - probably safety reasons. Thanks for the read! cjb
Mitch Alan from South Jersey on April 17, 2013:
Interesting Hub. I'm surprised that the Hashima island has not been reclaimed and made into an amusement part, resort or zombie apocalypse training center... :)
Carla J Swick (author) from NW PA on April 17, 2013:
I'll have to talk with my brother, Iguide - he lives Fukuoka
iguidenetwork from Austin, TX on April 17, 2013:
Quite an amazing list. I'd like to explore more about Hashima. Is there a sort of a caretaker of the island (as it is now only a tourist destination)? Well, if there is, how lonely a job he has... Thanks for posting. Up and interesting. :)
Carla J Swick (author) from NW PA on April 16, 2013:
Yes, my brother has visited the island so I'll be adding more pics soon. Thanks for sharing.
Alastar Packer from North Carolina on April 16, 2013:
Some cool abandoned places carla, that Hashima especially so!
Carla J Swick (author) from NW PA on April 15, 2013:
Ha ha - sorry Lastheart! It does make you think and these are only 6 places - imagine what is all over the world that is abandoned and full of history. Thanks for sharing.
Maria Magdalena Ruiz O'Farrill from Borikén the great land of the valiant and noble Lord on April 14, 2013:
Very, very interesting. Good job!!
I hope I get to sleep after reading this...I like it, but makes me think about who is inside that dusty library and that floating island.
Carla J Swick (author) from NW PA on April 14, 2013:
That's awesome! The thing I think that's most amazing is the abandoned pool area. It's huge and looks like a really wonderful place at one time. Thanks for sharing.
Randi Benlulu from Mesa, AZ on April 14, 2013:
Very cool hub! Thank you for sharing! My parents used to go to Grossingers. It's possible I went there too when I was young!
Carla J Swick (author) from NW PA on April 13, 2013:
Thank you for sharing, ytsenoh - they are creepy places for sure.
Cathy from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri on April 13, 2013:
Carla, very interesting hub. I'm sure this information is teaching someone, including myself, about the deserted island you began writing about. Interesting and too bad all the buildings are deserted. I wouldn't want to be alone there, or anywhere else similar to that at night!