Abandoned

Thurmond, West Virginia
4 must see New River ghost towns

Ghost towns along the New River in West Virginia are aplenty. What makes these three unique is that they lay within the New River Gorge National River. Prior to the creation of the national park in the late 1970’s, much of the land was used for the production of coal and coke. Small, company-owned towns were developed for the miners and their families, and when those mines closed out – so did the boroughs. Go explore Kay Moor, Nuttallburg, Fayette and Thurmond this weekend while the weather is still warm!

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Buck Hill Inn by Jonathan Haeber
Don’t explore this Pennsylvania resort right now

Canadensis, Pa. – Eric Frein, charged with killing Cpl. Bryon Dickson and wounding Trooper Alex Douglass outside a state police barrack in Blooming Grove, Pennsylvania, may be hiding out in an abandoned resort in the Pocono Mountains in the northeast part of the state.

Multiple teams of armed searchers have been spotted at the former Buck Hill Inn resort near Canadensis. Frein, 31, had visited the hotel on multiple occasions when it was in operation. Investigators also discovered soiled diapers, the type that are worn by snipers, and packs of empty cigarettes nearby.

The resort boasted more than 400 rooms, an indoor swimming pool with a retractable roof, fine dining facilities, and other recreational amenities at its peak in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. After a prolonged decline, Buck Hill Inn closed in 1991.

Photo credit: Buck Hill Inn. Photograph by Jonathan Haeber. Source, CC BY-NC 2.0.

Vintage Electric Streetcar Company
Vintage Electric Streetcars

I’ve been sworn to secrecy about the location of these vintage electric streetcars. But I cannot resist my excitement about these old trolleys that were once transportation staples in the United States and elsewhere.

Located in rural Pennsylvania, the these mothballed streetcars comprise a collection of over fifty, some in stages of rehabilitation, others in a state of decay. Founded in 1986, the Vintage Electric Streetcar Company began salvaging old trolleys with the eventual goal of restoration and reuse as tourist attractions and pubic transportation. Read More

Hazel Green Academy
Hazel Green Academy

Susan Orlean, of the New Yorker, once said that living in a rural region exposes the body and mind to marvelous things: the natural world, the “particular texture” of small-town life and the “exhilarating experience” of open space.

It’s not difficult to argue that.

Hazel Green Academy was located in a remote small town in the hills of eastern Kentucky. The private school, set amongst the hardwoods and abutting flowing pastures, was an ideal location when it opened to students in 1880. It’s purpose was to offer low tuition rates, offer a good education to the underserved and offer its students a stepping stone to college and “a higher sphere in life” and hope. Read More

Cannel City Union Church
Cannel City Union Church

"What if everything you are being told about the demise of rural living is wrong? What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail to bring all these folks who say they might want a more rural life into the fold?"
-Robin Rather, Collective Strength

While the demise of rural life in many areas is overstated, there are many areas that are in long-term decline, brought about by sustained job losses and single-focus economies. In Cannel City, Kentucky’s case, it was coal and timber. The city was founded by the Kentucky Block Cannel Coal Company in 1905 as a company town for its nearby coal mines. At its height, three coal companies provided more than 500 jobs for a town that boasted a train depot for the Ohio & Kentucky Railway, several churches, stores, hotels and banks.

Cannel City’s Union Church was a multi-denominational church that was constructed in 1905. Read More

shank14anniversary-oval_4_smaller
Shawshank Redemption’s 20th Anniversary

The Ohio State Reformatory, also referred to as the Mansfield Reformatory, is a historic prison located in Mansfield, Ohio. Constructed between 1886 and 1896, it remained in operation until a 1990 federal court order required it to be closed. The facility is best known for its role in the Shawshank Redemption.

The 20th anniversary of Shawshank Redemption’s debut is planned for this weekend, from August 29 until the 31, with events and tours taking place in Mansfield, Ashland and Upper Sandusky, Ohio! Read More

Frenchburg Presbyterian College
A Place to Stay

Six years in a foreign state will change a person. After living in Cincinnati, Ohio and experiencing the urban life, I had to move back out to Kentucky and reestablish my roots. I packed up my belongings, sold my house and moved into an old factory in the heart of Lexington.

I had become too accustomed to the land of the Buckeyes and cornfields. Ohio was a large state to explore but it never felt like home, despite living just across the Ohio River from Kentucky. It was an amazing state to wander about in, as it boasts an amazing amount of rust belt cities and abandoned buildings. There was an endless stream of explorations.

Moving to Kentucky was a huge change on all fronts. The topography was more hilly and considerably more raw. The abandonments were more scattered and far smaller in size. Exploring anything took significantly more legwork and persistence.

For nearly a decade, I had been attempting to photograph the inside of the Frenchburg Presbyterian College in Frenchburg, Kentucky. Read More