10 Eerie, Awesome or Abandoned Places You Can LEGALLY Visit in the US

Something I am often asked is how to go about visiting some of these abandoned places, and while I can’t give information on certain locations as permission has previously been granted, there are a few scenarios where the location actually happens to be a publicly visitable place. I have compiled a short list here of some of my favorite places to explore that are either eerie, interesting or abandoned, as well as legal. If you’re one who loves abandoned relics of the Americana years, then you may also love this recent book/project I am working on. Check it out HERE 🙂

NOTE: I am NOT saying that all of these places are 100% safe to visit. Just legal.

#1 Spectre from the film Big Fish

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Located on Jackson Lake Island in Millbrook, Alabama, Spectre is a beautiful, quiet and friendly community fishing and camping location. They have an event coming up October 29, 2016. Entrance fee is minimal for camping/fishing year round – between 3-10 dollars. Enjoy some beautiful scenery! You can check out their Facebook page here – https://www.facebook.com/JacksonLakeIsland/

#2 Hillandale Park – Euclid, OH

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One of the more eerie, quiet and odd places that I love to visit. Hillandale Park is a beautiful, broken and forgotten park at the end of Hillandale Drive in Euclid, Ohio. Originally, the park was meant to be a sort of community spot where events could be held until the project was abandoned in the early/mid 1900s. The bridge now sits being taken over by nature and the passing of time, covered in a bunch of awful and tasteless graffiti, but I love it here.

#3 Mansfield Reformatory – Mansfield, Ohio

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Located in Mansfield, Ohio, the Mansfield Reformatory has quite an amazing history.

In 1885 it was decided that this site would be the official placement of the new Intermediate, and with the help of architect Levi T. Scofield from Cleveland, the project began under the laboring and construction work of F.F. Schnitzer, bringing this beauty to life during the years of 1886 through 1910. From its great Romanesque exterior walls to its interior filled with massive cellblocks, this incredible space remains a cold and dark reminder of the past lives lived out within it. A list of offenders turned to prisoners illustrates a vibrant history of crime during the late 1800s through the early 1900s, showcasing a very strange comparison to that of today.

Read my entire written post and see full photo gallery here – https://architecturalafterlife.com/2014/08/17/spirits-held-prisoner/

Tours are available for a fee, and more information can be found via their website at – https://www.mrps.org/

#4 Sidaway Bridge – Cleveland, Ohio


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Built in 1930, Sidaway Bridge is a former foot bridge in Cleveland, that was built to connect the separate Polish and Hungarian neighborhoods of Cleveland, until feuding began and both neighborhoods protested by discontinuing any further use of the bridge in 1966 during the Hough Riots.

#5 Stonewall Jackson Youth Development Center 

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While entrance to buildings is not permitted, you are allowed to marvel at the beauty and history of this abandoned development center. The grounds still remain half active with the newer center working directly behind, coming in and out of the driveway. The center is definitely something interesting to see and learn about! Learn a bit more here: https://architecturalafterlife.com/2016/05/25/stonewall-jackson-youth-development-center/

#6 Cuervo, New Mexico

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One of my favorite ghost towns I have ever visited across the United States, situated in New Mexico just off Route 66. You can read and learn a bit about Cuervo here: https://architecturalafterlife.com/2015/07/18/cuervo-new-mexico-no-lodgingbut-plenty-of-vacancies/

#7 Neosho Falls, Kansas

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A beautiful, quiet, close-knit town full of awesome people and a beautiful campground. The town has quite an amazing history.

#8 Windsor, Ohio

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Windsor, Ohio is a quiet little town sat along Route 322. It’s one of those amazing towns where you’ll see the Amish community passing through, and if you happen to visit the bar in the middle of town, you’re sure to meet some of the friendliest of faces. Much of the town sits empty and quiet.

#9 The Land of Oz

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Open normally once, but sometimes more than once a year, the Land of Oz is a beautiful place to see, bringing childhood imagination to life for many. You can read more about it, and see more photos here: https://architecturalafterlife.com/2015/09/26/the-eerie-and-abandoned-land-of-oz/

#10 Route 66

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Personally, I have not had as much exploration down Route 66 as I would like to have had. The small amount of time I spent driving along Route 66 however, was full of sights to see in both the world of abandoned as well as odd and unique/historic. From what I have heard as well, there are MANY sights to see along the entire stretch of highway. If you have some photos, I would love to see them!