Wednesday, August 29, 2012

China's Abandoned Wonderland

"Wonderland" was supposed to be the Chinese version of Disneyworld. The ruins of what would be the biggest theme park in Asia are situated just 45 minutes outside the center of Beijing, on a 100-acre plot of land. Construction begun in 1998 by the Reignwood Group (a Thai-owned property developer) but it stopped around the year 2000 after disagreements with the local government and farmers over property prices.

Developers briefly tried to restart construction in 2008, but without success. Property prices in China have risen 140% since 1998. Reuters photographer David Grey says 'Wonderland' is “another sad example of property development in China involving wasted money, wasted resources and the uprooting of farmers and their families.”

Today, the abandoned theme park lies surrounded by fields of corn while signs warn visitors to proceed at their own risk.

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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Inside an Abandoned All-Girls School, Part 2

When Bennett College moved to its final home at Millbrook, Dutchess County, New York in 1907, it had an enrollment of 120 students and a faculty of 29. The course of study was six years: four years of high school and two years of higher study. Later, the high school courses were discontinued, while the junior college's two-year curriculum continued through the 1970s. 

Majors of the junior college included art, fashion design, interior design, music, modern languages, literature, history, dance, drama, child development, equine studies, and domestic science. Activities at Bennett included gymnastics, golf, tennis, horseback riding and skiing. The school was home to a full time teaching Nursery School for 3 and 4 year olds, as well, as a riding stable. At the time of its closing, enrollment was around 300 students.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Inside an Abandoned All-Girls School, Part 1

Bennett College, originally named Bennett School for Girls, was an all-girls boarding school and college, founded in New York, in 1890. In 1907, the school moved to its final home in Millbrook, Dutchess County, New York. The school's 200-room main building, Halcyon Hall, was originally built as a luxury hotel. It has five stories, a basement and sub-basement. The school also included a chapel, stables, dormitories, an outdoor theater and a state of the art science building. 

With the growing popularity of coeducation in the 1970's, the school's trustees tried to convert it into a coed college, but the school was led in financial distress. In 1977 the school declared bankruptcy and shut down. Bennett College's library was transferred to The Hayes Memorial Library, along with other school artifacts and the building was left abandoned. Several attempts made in the 1980s to develop the property failed. The building is now scheduled to be demolished in 2012. 

Photographer Steven Bley, visited the building a while back and captured these photos.

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Haunted Hotel at Tequendama Falls

Tequendama Falls (or Salto del Tequendama) is a major tourist attraction about 30 km (19 miles) southwest of Bogotá, the capital city of Colombia. The thousands of tourists who visit the area to admire the 157 metre (515 feet) tall waterfall and the surrounding nature, make a stop at another nearby landmark as well, the abandoned Hotel del Salto.

The luxurious Hotel del Salto opened in 1928 to welcome wealthy travelers visiting the Tequendama Falls area. Situated just opposite to the waterfall and on the edge of the cliff, it provided a breathtaking view to its guests. During the next decades though, Bogotá river was contaminated and tourists gradually lost their interest to the area. The hotel finally closed down in the early 90's and was left abandoned ever since. The fact that many people in the past chose that spot to commit suicide, made others believe that the hotel is haunted. 

More recently, Hotel del Salto was turned into a museum of biodiversity and culture (Casa Museo del Salto del Tequendama). 

SEE ALSO: More abandoned hotels // LIST OF ALL DESERTED PLACES 
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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Inside a Russian Space Capsule Cemetery

Russian blogger Saoirse took photos of space capsules and other mechanical equipment found abandoned inside an old hangar. Some of them manned and some unmanned, space capsules are mostly used as landers for astronauts and cosmonauts. As their exterior faces extreme temperatures and pressure during atmospheric reentry, most of them are non-reusable.

SEE ALSO: More abandoned space exploration facilities around the world // More abandoned military sites // More abandoned places in Russia // LIST OF ALL DESERTED PLACES 
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Space capsules come in different types and sizes accoring to the type of the main spacecraft to which they are attached

Detail of a space capsule's interior

An unmaned Soyuz capsule from Progress spacecraft

Friday, August 3, 2012

The abandoned Harlem Renaissance Ballroom

A vital piece of Harlem's history, the Harlem Renaissance Ballroom and Casino was built between 1920 and 1923 and was a black owned and operated center of culture, the only upscale reception hall available to African Americans at the time. The two-story entertainment complex included a 900-seat movie theater, a ballroom, a space for basketball games, dances and meetings. In 1923 its ballroom became the home court of the New York Renaissance: an all-black professional basketball team and one of the dominant basketball teams of the 1920s and 1930s.

Following each game, a dance took place where the crowd would dance in the rhythms of the Lindy Hop, Charleston and Jive. The 900-seat theater first showed silent movies, apparently with stage acts, but was soon converted to talkies.Renaissance, was the "setting for all of Harlem’s most important parties," according to author Michael Henry Adams, but by 1979 the complex had closed down and "by the 1990s it had so deteriorated that it was used as a setting for Spike Lee’s crack den from hell in the movie Jungle Fever."

The Renaissance closed in 1979, and the Abyssinian Development Corporation bought it in 1991. There were plans for restoration of the ballroom but they never went forward. The building was left abandoned and fell in decay. In 2007 the nonprofit development company which owns the building decided to demolish the theatre structure and built a 13-story apartment house, saving the casino’s exterior and expanding the casino and its ballroom into a larger community space. Currently investors for the project are pursued while the building remains in a poor condition.

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The Renaissance Theater and Casino in 1936 and today.