Thursday, April 28, 2016

More abandoned border crossings around Europe

It's been more than 20 years since the Schengen agreement took effect, liberating travel between European countries. Today, 26 countries, members of the Schengen Area, have abolished border controls and share a common visa policy. 

Although the agreement was seen as a major achievement of European integration that has facilitated travel, tourism and trade, fueling economic growth, it has also received criticism for enabling the uncontrolled movement of migrants fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East, South Asia and Africa. Temporary border closures by various governments have taken effect across Europe earlier in 2016 in an attempt to keep migrants out.

Still, hundreds of border checkpoints across Europe remain abandoned and in various states of repair.

Berg, Germany

Valenca, Portugal

Nickelsdorf, Austria

Leers-Nord, Belgium

Alveringem, Belgium

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Monday, April 25, 2016

The abandoned Durham City Baths and Washhouses

The Durham City Baths and Washhouses in the city of North East England city of Durham opened in 1932 to replace an older peat-floored swimming pool that turned water into mud. The main pool measured 75 feet by 30 feet (23 by 9 meters), large enough to accommodate competitions by the Amateur Swimming Association.

The heat from the pool would be diverted to hot drying rooms and women would supplement their income by washing and drying other people's clothes. The hall was enhanced with plaster decorations of bulrushes and water lilies on the arch-ribbed roof. The balcony was supported by a pair of sandstone columns in the form of lotus buds, at either end of the pool.

The Durham City Baths stayed open until July 2008, after remaining in a desolate state during the final years. There were plans to demolish the building to make way for a housing development however those plans fell through. The Baths remained abandoned with urban explorers being the only visitors.

SEE ALSO: More abandoned swimming pools // More abandoned sport facilities around the world // More abandoned places in the United Kingdom // LIST OF ALL DESERTED PLACES 
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Monday, April 18, 2016

The deserted North Wilkesboro Speedway

The North Wilkesboro Speedway opened in 1947 and for the next 5 decades it hosted races for NASCAR's top three series. Located 4 miles (6.4 km) east of the town of North Wilkesboro, North Carolina, it carried a reputation as one of the fastest short-tracks in auto racing in the late 1940s and 1950s. The truck was also where the first NASCAR champion, Robert "Red" Byron, was crowned.

Through the 1960s and 1970s the NASCAR Grand National Series began focusing toward bigger, faster and longer tracks. To keep the facility modern, Speedway's owners built a garage facility within the truck and added new chairs for the audience. In 1964 the track was repaved however the lack of traction caused many crashes.

By the 1980's it was more obvious that the track was lagging behind other speedways on the NASCAR circuit with the attendance being the lowest. The track was closed after the fall race of 1996 and North Wilkesboro's spring date was moved to the new Texas Motor Speedway

In 2005, Save The Speedway group was founded aiming to bring races back to the Speedway. Although the owners agreed to sell the circuit for $12 million, the Speedway wasn't sold. The Speedway was reopened in 2010 and briefly played host to several Stock Car series before closing again in the spring of 2011. Since then, it remains empty. 

SEE ALSO: More abandoned sport facilities around the world // More abandoned places in North Carolina // More abandoned places in the United States // LIST OF ALL DESERTED PLACES
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Thursday, April 14, 2016

McBarge: An abandoned floating Mc Donald's restaurant in Canada

There was a time when floating McDonald's restaurants were a thing. McBarge -officially known as Friendship 500- was built for the Expo '86 in Vancouver, British Columbia. It was basically a 57-metre-long (187 ft) barge that was converted into a McDonald's restaurant during the 1986 World Exposition. It was designed by Robert Allan Ltd and it was one of the 5 McDonald's locations inside the Expo grounds with the intention to showcase future technology and architecture.

The McBarge was initially supposed to be used as a restaurant after the Expo but it remained empty in the Expo grounds until 1991 when the owner forced McDonald's to remove it. Since then, it had been anchored derelict in Burrard Inlet, north of Burnaby, British Columbia. In 1991, the barge's new owner proposed a plan for a waterfront development on the Fraser River, with the former McBarge as the centrepiece. The plan however was rejected by the local government for environmental reasons.

In December 2015, the owner announced that the barge would soon be leaving Burrard Inlet after nearly 30 years. It was moved to Maple Ridge, British Columbia on December 22 where it is scheduled for a $4.5-million refit, before being relocated to an undisclosed location.

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Monday, April 11, 2016

The abandoned human zoo of Paris

Human zoos are a shameful chapter in the history of the western world. During the 19th and the 20th century indigenous people from societies Europeans and Americans considered primitive were often displayed in cities of the west emphasizing the cultural differences between them and the western civilization. Human zoos -or ethnological expositions- existed in many cities (Paris, Hamburg, Antwerp, Barcelona, London, Milan, New York, and Warsaw) attracting 200,000 to 300,000 visitors for each exhibition.

The ruins of the Paris Human Zoo can be found outside the city, in the region of Vincennes. It was built in 1907 as part of the Jardin d’Agronomie Tropicale and included six different villages, representing all the corners of the French colonial empire: Madagascar, Indochina, Sudan, Congo, Tunisia and Morocco

Over one million visitors visited the human zoo from May until October 1907 when the exhibition ended. For most of the 20th century the site has been kept locked from the outside world and the buildings, where humans were treated like animals, have been left to decay. Starting in 2006, the ruins of the Paris Human Zoo opened to the public.

SEE ALSO: More abandoned places in France // LIST OF ALL DESERTED PLACES 
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Monday, April 4, 2016

The abandoned ruins of Gary, Indiana

Gary, Indiana is about 25 miles (40 kilometres) from downtown Chicago. The city was founded in 1906 by the United States Steel Corporation as the home for the world's largest steel plant, Gary Works. Its name came from lawyer Elbert Henry Gary, the founding chairman of the United States Steel Corporation. As with many cities of the Rust Belt, Gary's rise and fall is reflective of the steel industry.

The steel industry provided Gary with a very rapid growth and a diverse population during the first half of the 20th century. In 1920, 29.7% of Gary's population at the time was classified as foreign-born, mostly from eastern European countries, with another 30.8% classified as native-born with at least one foreign-born parent. In 1960, the city reached its peak population of 178,320.

The growth of the steel industry brought prosperity to the community. From the 1960s though, Gary followed the fate of the so-called Rust Belt. Growing overseas competitiveness in the steel industry caused U.S. Steel to lay off many workers from the Gary area. As the city declined, crime increased while more and more buildings were abandoned.

Today, it is estimated that one-third of all homes in Gary are unoccupied and/or abandoned. Less than 80,000 people live in the city today, 55% less compared to 1960. While U.S. Steel remains a major steel producer, it employs a small number of workers compared to the past. The city faces large levels of unemployment, decaying infrastructure, and low literacy and educational attainment levels.

SEE ALSO: More ghost towns around the world // More abandoned places in the United States // LIST OF ALL DESERTED PLACES 
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Monday, March 28, 2016

The legendary TWA Flight Center terminal of JFK airport

It's perhaps New York JFK's airport most famous terminal but it remains empty during the last 15 years. The TWA Flight Center terminal was designed by the famous Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen exclusively for Trans World Airlines and opened in 1962 when JFK airport was known as Idlewild Airport.

Saarinen envisioned a design that would speed up processes as well as reference to TWA’s corporate identity and convey the company’s image through a bird-shaped, emblematic construction featuring a harmoniously coordinated interior. The terminal was built to span a space with a minimum of material. 

Saarinen's original design featured a prominent wing-shaped thin shell roof over the headhouse (or main terminal); unusual tube-shaped departure-arrival corridors, originally wrapped in red carpet; and tall windows enabling expansive views departing and arriving jets. The design straddles Futurism, Googie and Fantastic architecture. Both the interior and the exterior were declared a New York City Landmark in 1994. In 2005, the terminal was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The terminal was one of the first with enclosed passenger jetways, closed circuit television, a central public address system, baggage carousels, electronic schedule board and baggage scales, and the satellite clustering of gates away from the main terminal. Food and beverage services included the Constellation Club, Lisbon Lounge, and Paris Café.

As revolutionary as the design was, it was difficult to update over time to cater for the arrival of jumbo jets and the increase of passenger traffic. Moreover, terminal gates close to the street made centralized ticketing and security checkpoints difficult. Following TWA's financial deterioration during the 1990s and the eventual sale of its assets to American Airlines, the terminal ended operations in October 2001.

After its closure, there were proposals to convert the terminal into a restaurant or conference center. In September 2015, New York State governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the Saarinen building will be converted into a new on-site hotel for the airport's passengers, putting an end to the site's abandonment.

Ironically, another airport terminal designed by Eero Saarinen, that of Athens Elliniko airport, remains abandoned to this day. 

SEE ALSO: More abandoned airports around the world // More abandoned places in New York // More abandoned places in the United States // LIST OF ALL DESERTED PLACES 

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Monday, March 21, 2016

The abandoned Devils Nest ski resort in Nebraska

The abandoned Devils Nest ski resort can be found in Knox County of northeast Nebraska. It opened in 1972 and it was supposed to become part of a $100 luxury development which included a 25-story hotel and luxury homes. It met some success at first with skiers flocking from as far away as Omaha and Lincoln to try the dozen slopes. By that time, eight houses plus an equestrian center and a yacht club had been built.

Just two years later though the Devils Nest Development Co. was dissolved by the Nebraska Secretary of State for nonpayment of corporate occupation taxes. The developers blamed poor lot sales and the declining economic climate and banks foreclosed the property in 1975. In 1977 the property was sold at auction to satisfy judgments.

Today, just rusty cables and decaying chairs remain amongst the cottonwoods and evergreens in the land where Jesse James and other wild west outlaws used to hide from the law.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

An abandoned church by the sea in Vietnam

The abandoned Heart church (Trai Tim) can be found on the coast of Xuong Dien (Xương Điền) in the Hai Ly commune and near the town of Nam Dinh, about 120 km from Hanoi in Vietnam

The Heart church, designed by French architects, was completed in 1943. It was one of many small and big churches in the sprawling beachside community. Most of them though had to relocate do to damage caused by coastal erosion. The Heart Church was abandoned in 1996 after it was heavily damaged during a storm. 

Today, the deserted church has become a tourist attraction as well as a background for many wedding photos and TV dramas. 

SEE ALSO: More abandoned churches around the world // LIST OF ALL DESERTED PLACES 
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