The Most Insane Abandoned Places in the Midwest

Published On 12/14/2015 Published On 12/14/2015
United Methodist Church
United Methodist Church | Flickr/KEN FAGER
City Methodist Church | Flickr/Mike Boening Photography
IOWA BRICK COMPANY | Courtesy of Jim Sullivan
ROLLING ACRES MALL | Flickr/Logan Elliott
AGUDAS ACHIM SYNAGOGUE | Flickr/Mike Boening Photography
Nike Missile Site | Flickr/Eric Hines Photography(edited)
MUSCATUCK STATE DEVELOPMENT CENTER | Flickr/Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center
SAVANNA ARMY DEPOT | Flickr/Phil Roeder
LEMP BREWERY | Flickr/Chris Yunker
PONTIAC SILVERDOME | Flickr/Ashley Diener (edited)
BUNGE GRAIN ELEVATOR | Flickr/Matthew Traucht
HA HA TONKA CASTLE | Flickr/Dave Emerson (edited)
CARR SCHOOL | Flickr/Nitram242
DEVILS NEST SKI RESORT | Courtesy of Jim Sullivan
ARDMORE GHOST TOWN | Courtesy of Jim Sullivan
SOLWAY COKE & GAS CO | Flickr/Thomas Hawk
Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
1. City Methodist Church 577 Washington St, Gary, IN 46402

This massive former place of worship used to house congregations from far and wide before its outright abandonment in the 1970s. Peep the impressive interiors which, despite their dilapidated status, have been used as backdrops for films such as Transformers: Dark of the Moon and A Nightmare on Elm Street.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
2. Damen Silos 2900 S Damen Ave,, Chicago, IL 60608

These uber creepy, abandoned silos hearken back to Chicago's industrial past. Originally used as grain elevators, these often highly combustible structures now lay forsaken off Interstate 55.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
3. Wreck of the SS Francisco Morazan South Manitou Island, , Glen Arbor Township, MI 49636

This lone island north of western Michigan was the site of a storied cargo liner crash in 1960, the wreckage of which is still visible from the shore.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
4. Iowa Brick Co. 2054 Clay Works Dr, Lehigh, IA

Walk into this abandoned manufacturing plant, and you'll feel as if you stepped into a moment frozen in time-- stacks of bricks and wheelbarrows full of concrete lay bare, waiting for workers to pick up the helm.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
5. Wyman-Gordon Power Plant 104 W 144th St, Dixmoor, IL 60426

One of the original titans of industry, the Wyman-Gorden company forged titanium used to produce biplanes for World War I. Forced out of their Chicago-area factory by competing manufactures, the company has since moved most of their operations abroad. This shuttered space in Dixmoor lays bare what was once an industrial powerhouse.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
6. Rolling Acres Mall 2400 Romig Rd, Akron, OH 44320

The 2000s era economic crash killed the Rolling Acres, or as the locals call it "Rotting Acres," mall (1975-2008). The sprawling space has long degenerated into dust and the ghosts of consumer capitalism gone by.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
7. Joliet Correctional Center 1127-1299 Collins St, Joliet, IL 60432

TV fans should visit the abandoned Joliet Correctional Center and get a sense of their favorite shows IRL-- Prison Break andBones have both been filmed here. Closed in 2002 by budget cuts, this maximum security prison famously housed killers Leopold and Loeb before their acquittal.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
8. San Haven Sanatorium 98th St NE, Dunseith, ND 58329

This sanatorium near the Canadian border was one of the few treatment facilities for Tuberculosis in the greater Midwest during the turn of the century. It's been 35 years since inhabits have roamed its hallowed halls-- take a trek to see it in its dilapidated glory.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
9. Agudas Achim North Shore Congregation Synagogue 5029 N Kenmore Ave, Chicago, IL 60640

Once a majestic house of worship populated by Chicago's upper-class Jewish residents, the Agudas Achim North Shore Congregation closed its doors in 2008 following years of disrepair and dwindling membership. The cavernous synagogue remains a sight to be seen with its intact stained glass fixtures and glorious spiral staircase.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
10. Nike Missile Site C-47 W 700 N, Hobart, IN 46342

During the Cold War, the Nike Missile Site was part of a larger system, both real and symbolic, designed to prevent civilians in Illinois and Indiana from impending Soviet attacks. A relic of this paranoid era long gone by, the missile base and fallout shelter still remains intact.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
11. Central State Hospital 3100 W Vermont St, Indianapolis, IN 46222

Located in central Indianapolis, this institution housed some of the city's maddest residents. Closed in 1994, the site now hosts the Indiana Medical History Museum but the majority of the hospital grounds remain abandoned.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
12. Muscatatuck Urban Training Center 4230 E Administration Dr, North Vernon, IN 47265

What was initially one of the state's largest mental institutions is now an Army training base site used to model scenarios of urban crisis and instructs soldiers how to react during disaster.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
13. Savanna Army Depot 18935 B St, Savanna, IL 61074

Watch your step at these abandoned barracks along the Mississippi. What was once an explosives testing facility from 1917 to 1995 now is a barren landscape most of which is still not open to the public-- over 100 rounds of ammunition, grenades and land mines have yet to be removed from the site.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
14. Joyland Amusement Park 2801 S Hillside St, Wichita, KS 67216

This once iconic, now forgotten amusement park in Wichita is seriously spooky. Allegations of rides malfunctioning and subsequent safety concerns followed the park since its opening, so in the 2000s, Joyland began an ill-conceived renovation campaign which seemed plagued from the start-- looters repeatedly ransacked the place, and then in 2012, a fire burned down most of the park's most famous rides. The park officially closed in July of 2015 after years of operating at a loss.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
15. Lemp Brewery 3500 Lemp Ave, St. Louis, MO 63118

Want to beat the crowds at the Anheuser-Busch brewery tour? Head down the road towards the long begotten, nearby Lemp Brewery, one of the country's oldest beer manufacturers. Established in 1840, this German brewer employed naturally occurring underground caves within the facility to augment their brews.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
16. Pontiac Silverdome 1200 Featherstone Rd, Pontiac, MI 48342

This former home of the Detroit Lions fell into disrepair in 2013 after several attempts to sell the stadium and general economic disparity left the sports complex without a local team. What was once an 82,000 person capacity mega arena now is essentially a very large pile of debris. So long, glory days.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
17. Searsboro Consolidated School 40th St, Searsboro, IA 50242

This abandoned school building in the near ghost town of Searsboro, Iowa is a major wreck-- after the town unincorporated itself, nearly all the major landmarks in town fell to a state of disrepair and debris.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
18. Bunge Grain Elevator 937 13th Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414

Urban archeologists have long ventured into Dinkytown to check out this legendary abandoned flour factory. Several stories high, the grain elevator provides the perfect entry point to a sweeping view of the Twin Cities. Climb up at your own peril.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
19. Ha Ha Tonka Castle 1491 State Road D, Camdenton, MO 65020

Take a visit to Missouri's Ha Ha Tonka State Park and you can see fabled industrialist Robert McClure Snyder's attempt to recreate a European style castle in the Ozaks. Sadly, this venture was never fulfilled as Synder died during construction and the remaining structures were destroyed in a fire after his death.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
20. Carr School Carr St, St. Louis, Missouri, MO 63106

Since its closing in 1983, this downtown St. Louis school has fallen into a state of disrepair. The ghosts of old students however, roam stairwells and classrooms.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
21. Michigan Central Station 2001 15th St, , Detroit, MI 48216

A relic of achievement for this once strong city, this Beaux-Arts monolith of travel and commerce remains a sight to see when visiting Detroit.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
22. Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant Main Ave, Olathe, KS 66061

This massive artillery plant in the woods of Kansas operated between the years of 1942 and 1992, producing ammunition under the Sunflower Ordnance Works company. The Army has since refurbished some of the buildings on the site, but by and large, most of the property remains abandoned.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
23. Devils Nest Nebraska , Crofton, NE 68730

This haunted resort on the border of Nebraska and Missouri offers some chilling thrills... if you dare. Walk to the top of the ski lift for a truly amazing view.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
24. Armour Meatpacking Plant 79 Exchange Ave, , Fairmont City, IL 62201

Take a walk around East St. Louis, Illinois on the outskirts of Chicago and you'll find the abandoned Armour Meatpacking Plant. This company was a powerhouse during the Industrial Revolution, churning out meat products on Henry Ford's assembly line.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
25. Warner and Swasey Observatory 1975 N Taylor Rd, Cleveland, OH 44112

This majestic observatory used to house three state of the art telescopes. Sadly, light pollution destroyed the functionality of the observatory, and the telescopes were removed. However, the observatory remains a beautiful ruin to check out next time you're in the Cleveland area.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
26. Ardmore Ghost Town , Ardmore, SD 57747

Ardmore, South Dakota is a true ghost town with no recorded residents since 1980. If you've been looking for a quiet place to get away, then Ardmore is the place for you.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
27. Alexian Brothers Novitiate Butternut Rd, Gresham, WI 54166

This mega mansion on the Red River was built in 1939 as a dormitory for the order of the Alexian Brothers. In the 1970s, the property was given to a local Native American tribe following months of hostile negotiation with the church. After buying the building for $1, the tribe, however, was unable to maintain the property, and it was in turn handed over the local township of Gresham, Wisconsin. It has since fallen into a state of despair, but remains a great sight to see.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
28. Solvay Coke & Gas, Co. 311 E Greenfield Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53204

At nearly 47 acres, this massive gas power plant in the heart of Milwaukee was the largest contiguous parcel of land for sale in Milwaukee history when it went on the Market in 2012. Go exploring and you never know what you might find.