Monday, May 29, 2017

A deserted hotel in the Brazilian tropical jungle

It is now known as Esqueleto Hotel or 'Skeleton Hotel' because of its eerie appearance but its original name was supposed to be Gavea Tourist Hotel. Its construction began in 1953 in a wooded area between the neighborhoods of Gavea and São Conrado in Rio de Janeiro

The hotel had reached a height of 16 floors when the construction was halted 19 years later because of a bankruptcy. The massive building was left abandoned and the thick tropical jungle reclaimed much of the area around it. 

Eventually, the Skeleton Hotel became home to the moradores na rua (street dwellers) and later, a shelter for criminals who used it to hide weapons stolen from the army. Today, many adventurous locals visit the hotel through a secret path to explore its remains or climb to the top to enjoy the stunning view of the ocean.

Monday, May 22, 2017

A Russian space shuttle, left abandoned at a Moscow car park

Back in the 1970's the Soviet Union began their own reusable spacecraft program, in response to NASA's space shuttle program. Soviet space shuttles, called Buran, had unsurprisingly a similar appearance to NASA's space shuttles. The Soviets built about 13 space shuttles, most of them only partially, and some only for testing purposes. Only one Buran was flight-worthy. The expensive Buran program was soon suspended due to lack of funding, and finally cancelled by Russia in 1993. 

The Buran spacecraft with the designation OK-2K1 (or 2.01) was the third spacecraft to be produced for the program, scheduled to take its first flight in 1994. Although it was never named, it is known by the nickname 'Baikal', after the large Russian lake. When the Buran program was cancelled, Baikal was only 30%-50% finished, practically an empty cell.

Since the collapse of Soviet Union, Russia hasn't done a good job maintaining its Buran shuttles and celebrating their history, probably considering the Buran programme a failure that isn't worth remembering. After residing for about a decade in the Tushino factory were it was constructed, the Baikal orbiter was left in 2004 under open sky on a car park in Moscow, near Khimki Reservoir. 

On June 22nd 2011 the orbiter was put on a barge to be moved via the Moskva river to the MAKS 2011 international air show, which took place from 16 to 21 August in Zhukovsky. As of November 2013, it remained at the Ramenskoye–Zhukovsky Airport.

Monday, May 8, 2017

The ruins of San Haven Sanatorium in North Dakota

San Haven sanatorium was built was built in the early 20th century on Turtle mountain, close to the North Dakota and Canada borders. It was founded in 1909 after the state legislature put aside $10,000 for such an institution to treat TB patients of the state. Its location was ideal as it was far away from big cities were the population felt threatened from the disease. The sanatorium attracted patients and medical staff from all over the country until the tuberculosis epidemic died down in the 1940's thanks to antibiotics. 

Unlike other TB campuses, San Haven allowed (by a 1913 state Act) social organizations, like the Freemasons, to build cottages on the property. The same Act also forbade the sharing of drinking cups. San Haven was operating as a satellite hospital for the North Dakota Institution for the Feeble-Minded at Grafton, but as the hospital expanded it gained more autonomy.

In the 1950's, San Haven was converted into a sanatorium for the developmentally disabled, as most TB patients were now treated at home. Like with many similar institutions at the time, there were rumors for mistreatment of patients and other abuses at San Haven as well. The sanatorium was finally shut down in the 1980's. The closure of the hospital by government mandate became an issue that created a lot of anger and resentment in the area (which was named San Haven, after the sanatorium) as it brought a lot of money in the region. 

Since then, the results of abandonment are visible, while nature has reclaimed parts of the buildings. 

(Click here for the full post)

Jessica Mae Olson/

Monday, May 1, 2017

Penn Hills Resort: An abandoned honeymoon resort in Pennsylvania

Penn Hills Resort was founed in 1944 in Pennsylvania's Pocono mountains, outside Stroudsburg and near a small town called Analomink. A tavern at first, it expanded to over 100 rooms, becoming a popular honeymoon resort. 

In the 1960's the 500-acre Penn Hills grew to include a ski resort and a golf course. Guest villas featured floor-to-ceiling carpeting, round beds, and heart-shaped bathtubs. An ice rink and a wedding bell shaped outdoor swimming pool were also installed. Billed "Paradise of Pocono Pleasure", the resort catered to young couples who enjoyed archery and tennis and danced at modestly lavish New Year's Eve parties where the motto was "No balloon goes unpopped."

During the next decades though the decline came gradually, and by 2009 when the 102-year old owner of Penn Hills died, the business owned more than a million dollars in back taxes. The resort closed 2 months later, with Monroe country taking over the property. 

Already in serious disrepair, flooding and copper thieves damaged the buildings further, and the resort was abandoned. Small pieces of the property were sold and in January 2016, a group of New York investors purchased what remained of Penn Hills for $400,000.