8 Super Cool and Creepy Abandoned Places in the Midwest You Can Visit

8 Super Cool and Creepy Abandoned Places in the Midwest You Can Visit

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“Out with the old and in with the new,” that’s the saying that comes to mind when I see once beautiful buildings transformed into decaying ruins. There’s something intriguing and awe-inspiring, (if not a bit creepy), about walking the grounds of these ruins and wondering what stories their crumbling walls could tell. If you like abandoned places like I do, check out these eight, incredibly cool/creepy abandoned places in the Midwest.

8 Super Cool and Creepy Abandoned Places in the Midwest You Can Visit:


1. Alexian Brothers Novitiate // Gresham, Wisconsin
This 1939 manor house in Gresham, Wisconsin, has a complicated history, but it’s best known for being seized by the Menominee Warrior Society on January 1, 1975. The group claimed the property for the Menominee Indians. The National Guard was called in, and tensions ran high for several days until the owners, the Alexian Brother’s Novitiate, a religious group, agreed to sell the property for a dollar. However, the Menominee Reservation could not maintain the building and eventually surrendered the claim of property. Then in October of 1975 the home was severely damaged in a fire. The property has changed hands many times since then, but no major improvements have been made and it continues to fall into disrepair.

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2. City Methodist Church // Gary, Indiana
This English gothic-style church was built in Gary, Indiana, in 1926 for more than $1 million (about $7 million by today’s standard). The US Steel corporation donated about half of the money, and the beautiful building boasted stained glass windows, ornate stone work, molded arches, and enormous pillars. At one time nearly 2,000 congregants attended City Methodist Church, but as the steel industry (and the town of Gary) declined, the church became too much for the owners to handle. It was finally closed in 1975. These abandoned ruins are all that remain of the original church.

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3. Ha Ha Tonka Castle // Camdenton, Missouri
Robert Snyder, a wealthy Kansas City business man, began work on this European-style mansion in 1905 but never lived to see it finished. He died in one of Missouri’s first car accidents in 1906, but his sons continued to work on the residence, finally completely the castle in 1920. One of the Snyder sons lived in the castle until the family ran out of money due to land rights lawsuits concerning the castle’s property. Then the home was turned into a hotel until 1942 when the building was destroyed by a fire. The state of Missouri purchased the property in 1970 and worked to preserve the home as a feature of the Ha Ha Tonka State Park.

4. Joliet Correctional Center // Joliet, Illinois
Twenty-five-foot-high limestone walls with barbed-wire surround the Joliet Correctional Center in Joliet, Illinois, which operated from 1858 to 2002. Serial killers, infamous murderers, and even Civil War prisoners of wars once lived behind its bars. In 2002 the Joliet Correctional Center closed due to budget cuts and potential structural danger due to the age of the buildings. The prison has been featured in several movies, including “The Blues Brothers” and the television show, “Prison Break.”

5. Michigan Central Station // Detroit, Michigan
The Michigan Central Station once served as the main passenger depot for Detroit, Michigan, from 1914 to 1988. In the 1940s more than 4,000 passengers a day used the station, and more than 3,000 people worked in its office tower. As the growth of the automobile industry grew, fewer people used trains, and by 1967 the maintenance costs were deemed to high relative to the passenger volume. Amtrak eventually took over in 1971 and began a $1.25 million renovation project in 1978, but the building was sold six years later before renovations could be completed. The station’s owners decided to close the station, and the last train rolled away from the station in 1988. The future of the building is still unknown as some restoration projects and plans remain in negotiation. A barbed wire fence remains around the outside of the building in an attempt to keep vandals and explorers at bay.

6. Ohio State Reformatory // Mansfield, Ohio
You might recognize this historic prison in Mansfield, Ohio, as the setting of the movie, “Shawshank Redemption.” It was built between 1886 and 1910 and operated until 1990, when the United States Federal Court ordered the facility to be closed. Today, visitors to the Ohio State Reformatory society can take educational visits, photo tours, or attempt to document paranormal activities through public ghost hunts at the former prison.

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7. Pontiac Silver Dome // Pontiac, Michigan
The Pontiac Silver Dome first opened in 1975 and primarily served as the home of the Detroit Lions from 1975 to 2001. It also served as a venue for concerts and a host of other athletic events. However, when Ford Field was opened in 2002, the stadium was left without a permanent tenant. The Dome changed hands a few more times, but is now set to be demolished later this year.

8. Rolling Acres Mall // Akron, Ohio
More than 140 stores, a movie theater, and a food court were all part of what was once Akron, Ohio’s Rolling Acres Mall. The mall opened in 1975, and all its retailers were gone by December 2012. The dilapidated mall is set to be demolished later this year.


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