No doubt, Detroit takes the trophy for urban abandonment. Some 70,000 properties are vacant and in various states of decay. The crumbling, burnt-out buildings intrigue artists and photographers worldwide to venture into these gutted landmarks. But ruins are not confined to only the big city. They can be found in abandoned mining towns, rural, historic bridges and elsewhere and they are not all tragic. Here’s a rundown of abandoned places in Michigan that are slowly returning to nature.
11) Bay Shore Road Bridge
Just chunks of the derelict Bay Shore Road Bridge, built in 1911, remain in the Escanaba River, but its presence is still breathtaking.
Michigan Central Station
10) Michigan Central Station in Detroit is perhaps the state’s most iconic symbol of urban decay. On a clear day, one can see straight through the cavernous structure’s windows right to Canada. Though long shuttered, locals and visitors alike still flock to ghostly monument in hopes that it will one day reclaim its former glory.
9) Belle Isle Zoo
Hidden underneath a thick layer of vegetation sit what’s left of the Belle Isle Zoo. The wooden walkways are badly weathered and parts are only accessible by drone. Still, it’s hard not to imagine what this place once was.
8) Southwest Michigan Tuberculosis Sanitarium
The former Southwest Michigan Tuberculosis Sanitarium in Kalamazoo sits upon a hill, not unlike so many Hollywood haunted houses. Locals swear they can hear the cries of eternally infirmed within the walls of this abandoned property.
7) Keystone Bridge
The 1890s-era Keystone Bridge in the Michigan mining town of Ramsey has since become enveloped under lush greenery, but its stone arch remains remarkably in-tact.
6) Northville Psychiatric Hospital
When the Northville Psychiatric Hospital closed for good in 2003, it left behind a wonderland of ruinous delight. A graffiti-covered, empty swimming pool, a warped gymnasium floor and, creepily, rooms with desks still lined up in perfect order, as if the former occupants just got up and left one day with every intention of returning. It’s closed off to the public but that hasn’t stopped many a suburban delinquent from venturing into the property for a haunt fest.
5) Prehistoric Forest
Prehistoric Forest was built in the Irish Hills during Cold War-era 1960s. The park offered visitors train tours that featured life-sized, fiberglass dinosaurs and other prehistoric critters. The tourist trap became abandoned sometime between the late 1990s and early aughts and has since become a spooky place where the dinosaurs are now surrounded by moss and such and are visited by the occasional trespasser.
4) Fayette, Mich
The long-abandoned, Upper Peninsula former mining town of Fayette was an iron-smelting powerhouse following the Civil War right up until 1891. The site had many reincarnations over the years, including a fishing village, resort and the Escanaba Paper Company, until settling as a state park. Now visitors can marvel at the still-standing 1890s buildings.
3) Packard Automotive Plant
When the massively sprawling, 3.5 million-square-foot Packard Automotive Plant, designed by famed Detroit architect Albert Kahn opened in 1903, it was considered a modern wonder of 20th century industry. Today, it's home to squatters, "urban explorers" and a canopy of leafy trees and bushes that shadow the piles upon piles of discarded concrete, twisted metal and broken glass.
2) St. Agnes Catholic Church
One of the most recognized abandoned churches in Detroit, St. Agnes Catholic Church was built in the 1920s, but has sat vacant and deteriorating since 2006.
1) The United Artists Theatre Building
The United Artists Theatre Building in downtown Detroit is a favorite ruin among fans of ruin porn. Built in 1928, the theater inside renaissance revival architectural style building designed by C. Howard Crane, played films until the mid-70s. The building closed in 1984.
The list of Detroit abandonment alone could fill books, but this is a sampling that encompasses much of Michigan. What are some forgotten places in your hometown? Let us know!