Abandoned buildings to explore in the U. S. mid Atlantic



What are some cool abandoned places to explore and photograph in Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, or not too far from those states? Bonus points if you can explore without getting arrested! :slight_smile:


The abandoned town of Centralia in PA is the first thing that comes to my mind -

This was added to AO this year and I would love to check it out:

I was trying to research which abandoned DC school is in the photo below, and our DC Chapter Head thinks it might be Joel Elias Spingarn Senior High School - not sure about the legality or any other details, so explore at your own risk :slight_smile:


Oh! And how could I forget Mallows Bay? The Atlas Obscura DC Chapter leads kayaking tours of the site in warmer weather.

Speaking of the Atlas Obscura DC events chapter, there’s an upcoming hike to local ruins scheduled for tomorrow. It’s unfortunately sold out, but if you add yourself to the waitlist, you should be notified if a repeat event is able to be scheduled.

Happy travels!


Larissa: Queen of the Abandoned World


I’ve yet to make the trip, but there are tours of the abandoned Carrie Furnace blast furnace here in Pittsburgh.


@anodyne33 Oh man that looks really good. I’ve only been to Pittsburgh once, but I really loved it. This isn’t an abandoned place but have you been to the Troy Hill Art Houses in Pittsburgh? One of the coolest places (really it’s two seperate houses managed by the same curator) I have ever been. (https://www.troyhillarthouses.com/)


Very much on my bucket list, too! I am deeply inspired by the industrial history in PA. If you ever get to see the Steel Stacks in Bethlehem, PA, it’s also an incredible landmark. They are now used by a nonprofit which promotes local music and theater as well as teaching about the industrial history of the region.


There are 11 watch towers in Delaware and southern New Jersey. During the early ‘40’s, the United States Army was commissioned to build the towers. Known as ‘fire towers’, these simple statuesque buildings range in size from 50-feet to 64-feet high.

Currently, only one tower is open to the public. The Cape Henlopen tower was opened to the public through a partnership between the Delaware Seashore Preservation Foundation and The Fort Miles Historical Association.


New on to me. I’ll bookmark that one. Obscure fact about Troy Hill, Wayne Coyne (Flaming Lips) was born there. Once in a while some people will crawl out of the woodwork and start debating exactly where. It’s a great moment to grab the popcorn. If you make it back try to check out the Maxo Vanka murals. http://vankamurals.org/


Centralia is not what most visitors expect. The town is gone. What remains isn’t abandoned. The couple remaining houses have people living in them. The church, which is actually outside of Centralia, is still in use. The cemeteries are maintained. Bottom line? If you go there poking about in what little is left, you are trespassing and intruding on people’s lives. The grafitti highway is sometimes patrolled by the PSP. If they catch you there, you will be fined. Centralia isn’t Silent Hill.


I visited in 2017 and it was surreal. They have taken away any sign that a town existed. No sidewalks, no signs, no benches, absolutely nothing other than the cemetery and the last two or three standing homes left. I did not venture to the graffiti road, only because I didn’t want trouble from cops. Though I am glad that I visited, I wouldn’t recommend for a traveler to go out of their way to see it, because there’s nothing left to see.


I took many photos in Delaware a few weeks ago and then also down the road in Kennett Square, PA. Here is one posted on flickr this last week:
Falling Down Arrested
but the weird thing is: when I was leaving I saw a very tiny lightbulb inside the home in the dining room and one at a doorway on the other side. I thought this home was abandoned! I was there maybe 1/2 hour or so and was the only one there for a while, judging by the snow. Mine were the only footprints. There are a LOT of abandoned old stone homes in this area.