The 14 Most Insane Abandoned Places in California

Published On 08/26/2015 Published On 08/26/2015
Flickr/Shawn Clover
Flickr/Miles Sabin
Flickr/Orin Zebest
Evan Thompson/Thrillist
Flickr/Samantha Stott
Flickr/Michael Estigoy
Flickr/Indecent Exposure
Grant Marek/Thrillist
Flickr/Alex Weimer
Flickr/Kamil Dziedzina
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1. Cosson Hall 601 Ave A, San Francisco, CA 94130

This Treasure Island site was once the barracks of male sailors stationed here, but has fallen into disrepair since it was decommissioned in the 1990s.

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2. Airplane boneyard Intersection of Hwy 58 and Hwy 14, , CA

Located at the intersections of California state highways 58 and 14, the airplane boneyard is home to tons of old planes, including mind-blowing Cold War relics and what's left of the Boeing B-52B Stratofortress Bomber.

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3. J's Amusement Park 16101 Neeley Rd, Guerneville, CA 95446

This defunct amusement park opened in the 1960s but closed in 2003 due to rising maintenance costs. Now reduced to bones, it's still a sight worth seeing.

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4. Chemung Mine Chemung Mine, , CA 93517

This ghost town in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest on the Nevada border once served as a miners town until its owner was allegedly thrown into a mine shaft for cheating his employees... his ghost is not super happy about it.

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5. Point Reyes Shipwreck 12781 Sir Francis Drake Blvd, Inverness, CA 94937

Located on the Point Reyes National Seashore, this abandoned ship is one of the most Instagrammable things you'll ever see -- and no one really knows how it got there.

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6. The Bayshore Roundhouse 2800 Bayshore Blvd, Brisbane, CA 94005

Built in 1910, Bayshore's brick roundhouse was used to park and service locomotives on their way into SF. As the Southern Pacific line grew, so did the Bayshore facilities -- at one point there were 25 outbound tracks, 39 inbound tracks, and even a hospital for the 3,000 employees. The rise of diesel engines meant steam facilities became obsolete and the roundhouse was abandoned in 1982. A fire in 2001 demolished half of what was left of the roof of the roundhouse, but the bones of the structure are still intact/super-cool looking. While there were once over 200 roundhouses in California, Bayshore's is the last standing brick roundhouse in the state.

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7. Griffith Park Zoo Old L.A. Zoo, , CA 90027

With the opening of the Los Angeles Zoo in 1966, the Griffith Park Zoo became obsolete, but the ruins of the old animal enclosures are still standing.

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8. A√Īo Nuevo Island A√Īo Nuevo Island, , CA

Off the California coast between SF and Santa Cruz, the nine-acre A√Īo Nuevo Island once served as a light station, but was abandoned in 1948. It's closed to the public, but has become home to hundreds of Northern elephant seals/endangered sea lions.

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9. The Cement Ship 201 State Park Dr, Aptos, CA 95003

The S.S. Palo Alto (a.k.a The Cement Ship) was launched a year too late to serve in WWI and was retired after only a decade. It was then brought to Aptos where it was outfitted as an amusement ship, complete with a dance floor, swimming pool, and café. Then, in 1931, the company went bankrupt, the ship cracked, and then it was deemed unsafe to be used even just as a fishing pier. But you can still look at it.

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10. The Fannette Island Tea House Fannette Island, Lake Tahoe, CA 96150

Located on the only island in Lake Tahoe, The Fanette Island tea house was built in the 1920s by Lora Knight, the clearly super-rich lady who owned Vikingsholm -- a 38-room castle along the Emerald Bay shore. The stone shell of the building still remains today and is fairly easy to reach for any willing to swim out to the island.

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11. The Bodie ghost town , Bodie, CA

In 1880, Bodie was California's thirst most populous city. In the 1920s, terrible weather (100mph winds, monthly frost) turned the mining town into a near-ghost town. In 1932, a massive fire left it totally deserted. The people left but more than 100 buildings remained, including the general store, Methodist church, saloon, bank vault, and cemetery. Now, Bodie is a National Historic Landmark and state park, where for $5 you can explore its state of arrested decay.

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12. The Ghost Fleet Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet, Benicia, CA 94510

After World War II, there were thousands of surplus ships in the US' naval fleet, and hundreds of them were once parked in Suisun Bay (clearly, to guard against a Walnut Creek invasion). 30 miles northeast of the city, you can still find most of these corroded ships decorating the water. Today, fewer than 55 ships from the reserve fleet of ghost warships and freighters remain, all of which are supposed to be removed by 2020.

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13. Nazi Compound at Murphy Ranch Sullivan Fire Rd, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272

Murphy Ranch was designed to be a haven for nazi sympathizers during WWII, but was raided by police the day after Pearl Harbor and all 50 caretakers were arrested. It was completely abandoned in 1990, but you can still hike up to this Pacific Palisades compound.

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14. The Donner Pass Summit Tunnel Summit Tunnel, Truckee, CA 96161

The almost 1,700ft tunnel was completed in 1867, and was the first railroad line to traverse the Sierra Nevadas. In 1993, the last train passed through, as the route was changed to an entirely less-cool location.