Nowadays Atlanta is actually using Fort McPherson, City Hall East, The Goat Farm, and other buildings that mostly sat around for years, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t still some insanely beautiful abandoned places around here. And by “some” we mean at least 11.
Atlanta Prison Farm
Of course it’s generally a bad idea to hang around a prison whether it’s open or closed, but this one is so historically dense that you almost feel drawn to at least take a tour of the grounds just to see some incredible graffiti. Not that we’re advising that, since you’d technically be trespassing on City of Atlanta property, or you know, just in danger of being killed/robbed/something worse by randos while stumbling through the toxic, shady, dangerous buildings.
Central State Hospital
The original name of this creepy-ass place -- Georgia State Lunatic, Idiot, and Epileptic Asylum -- sounds like it should, by rights, be full of people today, especially Georgia State fans who think the football team’s just gonna start magically winning whenever they get an actual stadium. From the front, it looks like the kinda place where you don’t get out with a clean bill of mental health, and outside a symbolic graveyard represents the 25k+ patients found to be buried throughout the grounds in unmarked graves. Ironically, you’d have to be crazy to check this place out.
This roofless wonderland is still standing on Cumberland Island after much of it was burned away back in 1959. Only a few decades earlier it had been owned by members of the iconic Carnegie family (who should have sold it to the Dungeon Family, but that’s another story), and prior to that it was known as the grounds upon which Robert E. Lee’s father was buried.
The New Manchester Manufacturing Company
Visit Sweetwater Creek and you’ll find trails that lead directly to the brick ruins of this former cotton mill, which was burned to the ground by Union troops during the Civil War, and now looks like the place where the Yellow King lived and died. Speaking of which, damn, True Detective season two SUUUUUCKED.
Georgia Nuclear Aircraft Laboratory
Back in the day, the military was thinking of building a nuclear-powered airplane. Fortunately they were smart enough to test it, but unfortunately they did it in a building in the middle of Dawson Forest, and built underground bunkers where white-coated dudes would run after activating the nuclear reactor so they could see what happened (all the surrounding trees’ leaves would fall off).
It seems like Kirkwood’s historic 25-acre former rail facility, which has been closed since the 1950s but has also been a backdrop filming location for The Hunger Games and Fast Five, as well as the location of more than a few wild, secret parties will be turned into something else soon. The state owns it today, and they let the public inside for a day last month, but everybody in ATL knows at least one person who’s illegally deejayed or tended bar there in the last 10 years.
This 19th-century house has two floors, 14 rooms, and reportedly, mad ghosts inside. Visitors have reported seeing blue lights shining from the upstairs windows, feeling someone blow hot air into their ears, finding doors that only open for certain people, and encountering two old ladies who used to live there sitting around in their rocking chairs. Oh, they’re dead, by the way.
Buried in Oconee National Forest is the remnants of a ghost town that was once home to Georgia’s first paper mill, before flooding and soil erosion made everybody realize it was a pretty shitty place to live. You can still see the mill building and assorted chimneys that heat nothing through a fence, but stay on all the marked trails if you’re gonna hang around this abandoned village, as there’s still hunting allowed in the area.
Woody’s General Store
One of the last buildings still upright in the gold-mining ghost town of Auraria, just south of Tennessee, this place sold goods to the miners who discovered more than $20 million worth of shiny metal during the rush of the 1820s around Dahlonega. Apparently if you look inside there are still old soda bottles stacked on the shelves. You can tell via the old Coca-Cola sign that they weren’t having any of that New Coke crap around them there hills.
James Oglethorpe, who “founded” Georgia but was British as hell IRL, had a colonial buddy named William Horton who he trusted with military leadership back when they were settling the land. Horton had a two-story building created of tabby (basically a concrete-ish substance made with oyster shells), and the place is one of the oldest surviving buildings in the state. A few hundred yards away you can find another structure Horton built -- GA’s first brewery, which he used to supply beer for soldiers. Find this place and salute.
Georgia Girl Drive-In
This old sign from a defunct diner owned and run by a White couple (that’s the family’s actual last name, you racist) can still be found on US Hwy 17 along the coast in Woodbine. Lord only knows what this place could get away with selling if it were relocated to Nevada.