Monday, August 28, 2017

West Virginia's amusement park of death

Haunted or not, the Lake Shawnee Amusement Park in Lake Shawnee, West Virginia, has seen its fair share of death and suffering, which begun even before the small amusement park was built. 

Formerly, it was the site of the Clay family massacre. Until 1783, Mercer County was home to a Native American tribe. When a European family attempted to settle the land, a turf war began. One day, while the family's patriarch, farmer Mitchel Clay was away hunting, the natives murdered his family, including his youngest son Bartley, while his daughter Tabitha was knifed to death in the struggle and his eldest son Ezekial was kidnapped and burned at the stake. After burying his family, Mitchel Clay assembled a group of white settlers and took revenge by murdering several Native Americans. 

Centuries later, the tragic history of the site didn't stop a businessman named Conley T. Snidow from buying the site of the Clay farm in order to turn it into an amusement park. The park included a swing set, a Ferris wheel, and a pond for swimming. Then, more deaths followed. 

A little girl in a pink dress was killed after climbing into the circling swing set. Another time, a little drowned in the amusement park’s swimming pond. In total, 6 people died inside the amusement park. In 1966, Lake Shawnee Amusement Park was abandoned.

Its new owner claims that the amusement park is haunted and you can hear the wooden swings creak even if they don't move, while sometimes the seats start moving when you get near them. He says that he's even seen a little girl covered in blood. Unsurprisingly, he offers paid tours of the "haunted" amusement park. 

Monday, August 21, 2017

An abandoned brewery in Berlin

It used to make one of the most loved beers in Germany but today it is abandoned. The Bärenquell Brewery, first called Borrusia Brewery, was founded in 1882 in the Berlin borough of Treptow-Köpenick. In 1898 it was bought by brewer Schultheiss-Brauerei AG, which expanded it adding more buildings and equipment. Only two of the original buildings remain today: the official residence and the administrative building, built in neo-Renaissance style.

After World War II, the brewery was nationalized and became part of Volkseigener Betrieb, the large publicly owned corporation of East Germany. The harder times came when Bärenquell Brewery was privatized, after the Fall of the Berlin Wall. East Germany turned its back to its local products, delighted by what the west had to offer. The eastern beers could not compete anymore to the trendy ones available from the west. That was the time that many breweries closed and Bärenquell was one of them, shutting its doors in 1994. 

Even though several of its buildings have been listed as protected since decades ago, the brewery has fallen in disrepair and have been heavily looted and vandalized. Around 2013, several buildings were de-listed in order to be demolished and make way for redevelopment. However, no action has been taken yet.

SEE ALSO: More abandoned industrial sites around the world // More abandoned places in Germany // LIST OF ALL DESERTED PLACES
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Monday, August 14, 2017

The abandoned Miranda Castle of Belgium

Miranda Castle (Château Miranda), in the Namur province of Belgium was built in 1866. It was commissioned by the Liedekerke-De Beaufort family, who had left their previous home, Vêves Castle, during the French Revolution. Its architect, Edward Milner, died before the Gothic castle was completed. Construction finished only in 1907 after the clock tower was erected.

Descendants of the Liedekerke-De Beaufort family stayed in the castle until World War II. During the war, a portion of the Battle of the Bulge  took place around Miranda Castle and the property was occupied by German forces. 

In 1950, the National Railway Company of Belgium took over the castle and renamed it to Château de Noisy. It was then turned into an orphanage and a camp for children and remained so until the late 1970's. 

Château de Noisy was abandoned in 1991 as the costs to maintain it were too high, and a search for investors in the property failed. Although the municipality of Celles had offered to take it over, the family has refused, hoping to find a buyer. Meanwhile, Château was often visited by urban explorers and it was also used as a filming location by the US tv series Hannibal.

In October 2016, it was reported that the demolition of the castle had began by tearing down its towers. However, as of 2017 the largest part of the castle is still standing.

Monday, August 7, 2017

A secret abandoned apartment inside New York's Hunts Point Library

In 1902, Andrew Carnegie, one of the richest men of the modern time, donated $5.2 million to New York City to be used for the construction of 39 public libraries. The Carnegie libraries were heated by coal, and maintaining them was a 24/7 job. That's why every one of them included a large apartment where a live-in custodian and his family could live while also getting paid for their job. Although coal is a thing of a past, some of these secret apartments were occupied until fairly recently. 

For example, Hunts Point Library in the Bronx includes an apartment that was occupied until 2001. Today, it is one of the 13 Carnegie apartments that haven't been renovated yet. Built in the architectural style of 14th-century Florence, Hunts Point Library was one of the last Carnegie libraries to be completed, opening in 1929. 

Located on the second and third floor of the building, the huge 8-room apartment was occupied by the library's custodian and his family until 2001. One of the perks of the job was that the residents could read books after hours and have parties in the library when it was closed. 

The custodian program ended towards the end of last century as a 24/7 presence in the library wasn't needed anymore after coal furnaces were removed. During the last years the abandoned library apartments are being converted into usable space for the libraries. 

SEE ALSO: More abandoned places in the state of New York // More abandoned places in the United States // LIST OF ALL DESERTED PLACES
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