Monday, December 4, 2017

Koga Family Land: An abandoned amusement park in Japan

Koga Family Land was a small amusement park on the Shiga perfecture of Japan. Built on the shores of Biwa lake, the park shut down sometime in the 90s and was left to decay for the next 20 years.

What was left from the amusement park, including a restaurant and a cart ride, was finally torn down in 2008. The only thing standing today is its enormous ferris wheel.

SEE ALSO: More abandoned amusement parks and abandoned theme parks around the world // More abandoned places in Japan // LIST OF ALL DESERTED PLACES
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Monday, November 20, 2017

The abandoned 'Western Village' theme park in Japan

Western Village or Western Mura (ウェスタン村) was an American west themed amusement park which opened in the early 1970's at Nikko, in Japan's Tochigi prefecture, a couple of hours away from Tokyo. 

Its first name was Kinugawa Family Ranch and it was run as a family business. At first it was basically an American west style ranch with a few horses and a fishing pond. Over the years though, it kept expanding to include more buildings such as a sheriffs office, a barber shop, a bank, a hotel and many other buildings. 

In the late 1970's it was named 'Western Village' and it kept expanding. It now had ghost houses, amusement arcades, a restaurant and even a replica of Rushmore mountain was added during the 1990's. Staff would dress up as cowboys and put on shows for visitors.

Western World finally closed in 2006. For the next several years the park remained abandoned attracting mainly lovers of haikyo - the Japanese word for abandoned places.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Inside an abandoned 'Disneyland' in the Philippines

It was supposed to bring some of the 'Disneyland' magic in the Philippines but it's construction was never completed and today it sits abandoned. Fantasy World is a theme park located in Lemery, in the province of Batangas, Philippines. 

Owned by a Japanese businessman, construction started in 2001. His plans were very ambitious. A large theme park, the largest in the Philippines, modeled after Disneyland with a medieval castle and a large central fountain. 

Construction was never finished due to financial reasons and the park never officially opened. However, the homeowners association maintains and cleans the abandoned park and visitors can enter inside and look around for a fee. 

Monday, November 6, 2017

Inside Amsterdam's abandoned 'humane' prison

The Bijlmerbajes prison complex in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, was built as a 'humane prison' and opened in 1978. Situated close to the Amsterdam Amstel railway station, it consists of six high-rise buildings, each operating as a separate prison. The buildings are joined by a 260-meter (850-foot) long tunnel called the ''Kalverstraat'.

Besides the six towers there are also six external areas (one for each tower), three gymnasiums or sport-centres, a small religious building functioning as church and mosque. A central front building houses some central functions such as the kitchen, visitor reception rooms, the entry processing department and the offices.

Being a 'humane prison' the windows didn't have bars at first. However, it turns out the glass wasn't unbreakable, so bars were retroactively fitted. On each tower, measuring 14 stories high, each two floors operate as a different department, connected via open stairs. Two large lifts were used by the prisoners only and a special small lift was available for staff. Each prison department would accommodate different types of prisoners: repeated offenders, drug addicts, prisoners with psychological problems, prisoners for light crimes etc. 

The Bijlmerbajes prison shut down in June 2016. It was one of the several prisons that have closed in the Netherlands during the last years due to the country's low crime rate and short prison sentences. The prison however remained empty only for a short time. As of 2017 it is being used to house refugees seeking asylum while it also operates as a cultural hub for locals. Meanwhile, there are already plans to transform the former prison to a new neighborhood powered by renewable energy and built largely from recycled materials.

SEE ALSO: More abandoned prisons around the world // More abandoned places in the Netherlands // LIST OF ALL DESERTED PLACES
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Monday, October 30, 2017

A forgotten Flintstones theme park in Arizona

Back in the 1970's and 1980's there are many Flintstones-inspired theme parks around the US. The last one remaining is a forgotten and derelict theme park in Arizona. 

Located at the corner of Arizona State Route 64 and U.S. Route 180, Bedrock City is mainly visited by tourists who are on their way to Grand Canyon, some 30 miles away. It opened in 1972 after its owner found success with a similar theme park in South Dakota, that one near Mount Rushmore

The park has licensed the likenesses of the Flintstones characters, and features statues, rides, a diner and a gift shop based on that theme. 

In 2015 it was reported that the park's owner wanted to retire and was looking to sell the park for $2 million. On the same year the South Dakota location shut down as well.

Monday, October 23, 2017

The abandoned 'Duke of Lancaster' ship in Wales

TSS Duke of Lancaster was one of the last passenger-only steamers built for British Railways back when the company was also a ferry operator. Built at Harland & Wolff, Belfast and completed in 1956, it replaced another ship of the same name, RMS Duke of Lancaster

She primarily operated as a passenger ferry on the Heysham - Belfast route, but as she was also designed to be a cruise ship, she traveled to the Scottish islands and further to Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Norway and Spain. 

From the mid-1960 passenger-only ships were starting to being replaced by car ferries and British Railways decided to gradually convert its ships. In 1970 Duke of Lancaster went back to service after her main deck was rebuilt to accommodate vehicles via a door at her stern. Now, the ship had space for 1,200 single-class passengers and 105 cars, with a total cabin accommodation for 400 passengers.

For the next 9 years, Duke of Lancaster served the Heysham - Belfast route, the Fishguard - Rosslare crossing and the the HolyheadDún Laoghaire service. In 1979 it came out of service and was laid up at Holywell, Wales.

That was when Duke of Lancaster started her second life as 'The Fun Ship', a floating leisure complex. Although the local government was at first in favour of the project, it later became reluctant, refusing to provide numerous licenses on safety concerns. During the 1980's, a series of legal battles took place and The Fun Ship was served by 13 separate Enforcement Notices. In 1990 the local government lost on their actions at the hands of the Secretary of State for Wales and were ordered to pay unprecedented costs.

This wasn't the end though. In 1994 local government struck once more claiming monopoly
rights and taking the case to the High Court. This forced The Fun Ship to shut down while proceedings were taking place. Finally in 2004, sick by decades of attacks, the owners decided to permanently shut the ship down. 

Since then there has been a lot of discussion about what needs to be done with the abandoned ship. Although its interior is said to be in good condition, the exterior is rusty as it's been left exposed to the elements. In 2012 a graffiti artist decided to create the largest outdoor graffiti gallery by starting painting on the sides of the ship. Today though most of the art has either faded or painted over. 

SEE ALSO: More abandoned ships around the world // More abandoned places in the United Kingdom // LIST OF ALL DESERTED PLACES
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Monday, October 16, 2017

An abandoned (literally) underground music hall in Boston

Boston's Piano Row is a historic district known for its piano showrooms built in the late 19th century. There, piano dealers M. Steinert & Sons own the building standing at No162 Boylston Street. The six-story building was designed by architects Winslow & Wetherell  and it was erected in 1896 by company employee Alexander Steinert.

Four stories below the ground, the building features Steinert Hall, a now abandoned concert auditorium designed in the Adam-style with fluted Corinthian pilasters separating round arches. In the early 20th century, the 'Little Jewel' as Steinart Hall was called, was considered headquarters for the musical and artistic world of cultured Boston. Among those who performed there, 40 feet below ground, were Josef Lhévinne, Josef Hofmann, Harold Bauer, Fritz KreislerIgnacy Jan Paderewski and Sergei Rachmaninoff.

The last performance was given in 1942 as the hall closed due to new stricter fire code restrictions enforced after the 1942 Cocoanut Grove Nightclub fire and a prohibitive cost of updating the hall.

In 2015, it was reported that the new owners of the building were hoping to restore Steinart Hall and open it again as a concert hall. 

Monday, October 9, 2017

The abandoned Hagedorn Psychiatric Hospital in New Jersey

New Jersey's Hagedorn Psychiatric Hospital is a recently abandoned hospital, since the state of New Jersey shut it down in 2011. The hospital has a history dating back to 1907 when the state opened its first sanatorium near Glen Gardner, in rural New Jersey. 

Back then, it was a modern facility able to treat 500 tuberculosis patients annually. Between 1907 and 1929 more than 10,000 people were treated in the sanatorium. Although at first the hospital would accept only "curable" patients, by the 1920's it accepted all cases, regardless of severity. In 1950, after new TB treatments had emerged, the sanatorium broaden its scope of treatments to include all chest diseases. The hospital finally shut down in the 1970's and was left to fall apart.

In 1977, a new gero-psychiatric hospital, named after Senator Garrett W. Hagedorn in 1986, was built next to the old abandoned sanatorium. The new hospital was a a state nursing home and a 288-bed psychiatric hospital. In 2011, New Jersey governor Chis Christie announced that the hospital would shut down as part of an effort to save $9 million a year in expenses.

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Monday, October 2, 2017

An airplane graveyard in Bangkok

Between car repair shops and apartment buildings, a small airplane graveyard has appeared in Bangkok, Thailand. The first fuselage parts, the nose sections of two Boeing 747s appeared sometime around January 2010. By 2014, two MD-82 jetliners formerly operated by Orient Thai Airlines were added. One of them had been involved in a fatal 89 person crash at Phuket International Airport in 2007.

The planes have been slowly stripped of some parts like seats, interior paneling, TV sets, and overhead compartments and it is said that the yard's owner is selling different parts for scrap. It has also been reported that a businessman wanted to convert the interior of a plane into a bar but these plans failed. 

From time to time homeless families have used the abandoned planes as shelter. Today, the yard's owner allows those curious to look around the planes for a small fee.

SEE ALSO: More abandoned airplanes and airports around the world // More abandoned places in Thailand // LIST OF ALL DESERTED PLACES
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Monday, September 25, 2017

Herschel Island: The abandoned island of the Arctic

In the north of Canada, 5 km (3 miles) away from the shore, there's an abandoned island with long history but no population. Herschel Island, known as Qikiqtaruk ("island") in the Inuvialuktun language, had been inhabited by Thule people for at least 1,000 years according to archaeological excavations. The first European who set foot on the island was Sir John Franklin on 15 July, 1826. At that time the island was a base for whaling, fishing and hunting and was inhabited by 200 to 2000 people.

In the late 19th century, Herschel Island became a whaling base after whalers discovered that the Beaufort Sea was one of the last refuges of the depleted bowhead whale. At the height of the Beaufort Sea whaling period (1893–94) the number of residents on the island was estimated at 1,500, making it the largest Yukon community at that time. That was also when a number of buildings still standing today were built on the island. The most prominent of those was Community House built in 1893. It included a recreation room, an office for the manager and storekeeper, and storage facilities. Today it is well preserved and it's the island's visitor center. Another building, known as the Bonehouse which was built in the mid-1890s as a storehouse for baleen (whalebone) was were the first court case in the Arctic took place in 1924. 

Whaling subsided after the first decades of the 20th century but Herschel island saw some renewed activity in the 1970s when it became a temporary safe harbour for oil-drilling ships. The last family permanently living there left the island in 1987. From that year, Qikiqtaruk Territorial Park was established, encompassing the whole island. It is jointly managed by The Government of Yukon and the Inuvialuit. The park is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, protected as a cultural and also natural site.

SEE ALSO: More abandoned islands around the world // More abandoned places in Canada // LIST OF ALL DESERTED PLACES
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