Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Inside the abandoned Whitchurch mental health hospital

When Whitchurch Hospital opened in 1908, it was Cardiff's largest mental health hospital. As the population of the city had expanded greatly during the late 19th century, there was need for a large psychiatric hospital to treat patients that were until then held in other institutions around Wales. Named 'Cardiff City Asylum' it was built over a period of 10 years and with a cost of £350,000.

The main hospital covered 5 acres and consisted of 10 wards, 5 for men and 5 women, that could accommodate 750 patients. Like many Victorian institutes, it was designed as a self-contained facility, with its own farm, were patients could work, water tower and power house which contained two steam engines powering electric generators and was decommissioned only in the mid-1980s. 

During wartime, the hospital was converted into a military facility. It was called Welsh Metropolitan War Hospital during World War I and in World War II it became an emergency service hospital treating British, US Army and German personnel, while also offering early treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder

As Whitchurch Hospital had been constructed over a century ago, it wasn't suitable for the needs of modern psychiatric care. In the 2000s an ongoing programme to phase out and replace the old building took place. Some facilities were moved to other hospitals while other wards were replaced by community-based services. 

Whitchurch Hospital finally closed its doors in April 2016. Now a residential development with of 150 houses and 180 flats is being designed for the site of the former hospital. 

SEE ALSO: More abandoned hospitals and health institutions // More abandoned places in the United Kingdom // LIST OF ALL DESERTED PLACES
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Monday, June 19, 2017

The ruins of a Chinese city, turned into a museum after the Great Sichuan Earthquake

On May 12th, 2008, a magnitude 8.0 earthquake hit a mountainous region in southwestern Sichuan province of China. Over 70,000 people lost their lives while hundreds of thousands were injured and 5 million remained homeless. 

In Beichuan county 3,000 to 5,000 people were killed and 80% of buildings were destroyed. Qushan Town which was until then Beichuan's county seat was abandoned but instead of pulling them town, authorities decided to stabilize and preserve the ruins as part of the Beichuan Earthquake Museum. There were hydraulic engineering projects to help preserve the site and an underground museum was built at the site of of the old Beichuan High School. 

The Earthquake Museum site also includes Tangjiashan Lake which was formed during the earthquake.  

Monday, June 12, 2017

Inside the abandoned Cottontail Ranch brothel of Nevada

Two and a half hours outside Las Vegas, near the intersection of U.S. Route 95 and State Route 266, stands a small abandoned building that used to host the legendary Cottontail Ranch brothel. The brothel opened in 1967 on leased federal land from the Bureau of Land Management by madam Beverly Harrell, a Jewish girl from Brooklyn and former dancer. 

In its early days one of the most faithful customers was billionaire aviator Howard Hughes who would make several visits while he was living in nearby Las Vegas. He would fly there are a small airstrip exists next to the brothel. 

While Cottontail Ranch was licensed as prostitution is legal in the state of Nevada, the bureau of Land Management evicted her in the 1970's when word leaked of the government's role. In 1974, Harrell attempted to run for a Nevada Assembly seat in 1974 gaining national attention. 

The madam died in 1995 and the brothel finally closed in 2004. Since then it remains abandoned. 

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Monday, June 5, 2017

The deserted Boblo Island Amusement Park of Ontario

For almost 100 years, Boblo Island Amusement Park was known as Michigan's Coney Island, even though it was built on Canadian land. The amusement park opened in 1898 in Ontario's Bois Blanc island, above the mouth of the Detroit River. Its name, Boblo, is an abbreviation of 'Bois Blanc'. 

The island was accessible by boats departing from from Amherstburg, Ontario as well as from Detroit. SS Ste. Clair and the SS Columbia excursion boats, two steamers known as Bob-Lo Boats, served the island for more than 85 years. 

On the island, the most popular attractions were The Nightmare, Falling Star, Wild Mouse, Sky Streak, and Screamer rides, a Ferris wheel, a zoo, and a carousel. Visitors would move between different rides via a railway that the park constructed. Henry Ford financed a dance hall which at the time was the second largest in the world, holding 5,000 dancers at full capacity. 

Boblo Island Amusement Park closed down in 1993 after 95 years of operation. Most of its old fashioned structures were torn down and the island was renovated for luxury homes. A few remains bring back memories from when Boblo was an island of joy.