Abandoned sites are hauntingly beautiful. There’s nothing quite as chilling as looking up at a once-grand building and imagining its bustling heyday as it sits in ruin, overtaken by wayward plants and graffiti. Michigan is home to some incredible abandoned places, some of which are more haunting than others. If you’re an urban explorer or simply curious about some of our state’s long-defunct sites, here’s a tour that will fascinate you.
For the sake of travel time, we've split this route into two mini-road trips for the spots listed below, one in the Upper Peninsula and the other in the Lower Peninsula. Take one -- or both -- to check out some of Michigan's most incredible abandoned places.
1. Michigan Central Station (2001 15th St, Detroit)
Opened in 1913, Detroit’s Michigan Central Station was once the tallest rail station in the world. It served as bustling hub for people moving in and around the city. As the automobile grew in popularity and the Great Depression set in, the station began to lose its economic prowess. After decades of ownership turnovers and attempted renovations, the building was abandoned in 2004.
2. Eloise (30712 Michigan Avenue, Westland)
This large complex in Wayne County opened in 1839 as a farm and poor house and was eventually turned into a sanitarium and psychiatric hospital. Most of the buildings were closed by the late 1970s, and only 4 of the original 78 buildings in the complex remain, in addition to a small cemetery.
3. Northville Regional Psychiatric Hospital (41001 W Seven Mile Rd, Northville)
Often cited as one of Michigan’s most haunted locations, the Northville Psychiatric Hospital is certainly an eerie sight to behold. It operated for 50 years beginning in 1952 and now attracts urban explorers from across the state.
4. Prehistoric Forest (8203 US-12, Onsted)
As far as abandoned attractions go, the Prehistoric Forest is certainly one-of-a-kind. Opened in the mid-1960s, it housed 70 fiberglass dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures. It closed in 1999, leaving the forest’s remaining structures to gather moss.
5. The Southwest Michigan Tuberculosis Sanitarium (1500 Blakeslee Avenue, Kalamazoo)
Situated on a hillside overlooking the city of Kalamazoo, this abandoned tuberculosis asylum served as a highly successful treatment center during the 1950s. Ultimately, its success led to its decline, as patients who were treated and cured no longer needed to stay at the sanitarium. The building remained part of the Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital until its closure in 1990.
6. Holy Family Orphanage (600 Altamont Street, Marquette)
Holy Family in Marquette was the Upper Peninsula’s first orphanage, established in 1915. The orphanage has a sad history: its initial purpose was to house Native American children who had been torn from their families by government officials. The orphanage remained in use until 1967, and the building was completely abandoned by 1987.
7. Bay Shore Road Bridge (Old US-41 and US-2, Escanaba)
This partially collapsed bridge over the Escanaba River was constructed in 1911 by the Delta County Road Commission. The bridge was built in an unusual way for concrete structures of its kind, using a more “bare bones” approach and employing fewer laborers. This likely contributed to its demise.
8. Fayette Historic Townsite (4785 II Rd, Garden)
This ghost town in the Upper Peninsula was once a successful iron ore hub that housed the Jackson Iron Company. It was most bustling during the late 19th century, but as the iron industry declined, the area quickly lost its residents and economic success. Today, visitors can explore the abandoned homes of former residents and check out buildings that once aided in iron ore production.
If you choose to visit any of these abandon places, enter at your own risk. Use caution and be aware of trespassing laws. If you have any amazing photos from your explorations of abandoned Michigan buildings, share them on our page!