Minnesota November 14, 2016
We Dare You To Take This Road Trip To Minnesota’s Most Abandoned Places
We know by now that there are more than a few
abandoned places scattered across Minnesota. Mill ruins, ghost towns, and forgotten buildings dot our land, and in many cases, nature is slowly reclaiming them. This abandoned road trip will get you up close with some of the most interesting abandoned spots in Minnesota before they’re gone completely.
This road trip is not exactly short. It spans 804 miles from the southwest to the northeast - and then some. But these are some of Minnesota's coolest ruins. Any portion of the road trip that you do - or all of it - will be a trip through the state's forgotten history. Find the entire route
1. Hadley Bank
Hadley, Minnesota, was founded in 1879 and incorporated in 1903. At its peak, the population of this little town was 161. Since then, that number has dwindled to just 61 as of the last census. The abandonment shows in this old bank building, now covered in vines and left for nature to reclaim.
2. Abandoned Store in Northfield
This abandoned building is located on I-35 and MN-19 near Northfield. According to one source, it was once an antique store and barber shop. Today, however, it remains as an abandoned building that looks like something out of the Old West.
3. UMore Park
UMore Park, once known as Gopher Ordinance Works, is an abandoned factory that once produced gunpowder in the 1940s. But it closed just a few months after it opened, after the end of World War II. Today, the eerie ruins serve as a reminder of a time long gone. Learn more about the park
4. Mill Ruins Park
While it may not be completely abandoned, a visit to Mill Ruins park brings you on a trip through the history of Minneapolis. Featuring the remains of several flour mills, you'll learn about the industry that Minnesota became known for in its early history. The park now features walking paths and other amenities that wind through the crumbled remains.
5. Banning State Park
Banning State Park is a beautiful place to visit even if you don't see any abandoned places. It features a rushing river and a stunning waterfall, not to mention many gorgeous nature hikes. But if you
are interested in abandoned places, there are few better than the park's abandoned quarry ruins. The Banning Sandstone Quarry began operations in the 1800s and continued until 1905. Many fires swept the area, wiping out the nearby town of Banning. All that remains today are the crumbled ruins of the once-bustling quarry ruins.
6. Taconite Harbor
Taconite Harbor is one of Minnesota's most eerie ghost towns, which is why we thought it was the perfect one to include on this trip. The town grew up around taconite mining in the area, with the mining company building dozens of homes and stores to serve its employees. But when the demand for taconite ceased, the town all but disappeared. Today, all that remains are a few paved sections of road already half overgrown with weeds. Still, a visit is a powerful reminder that what's here today can easily vanish tomorrow.
7. Tanner Hospital
The old Tanner Hospital in Ely is a 100-year-old building located on the corner of 2nd Avenue and Camp Street. Many refer to it as the Castle, a reference to its impressive architecture that is a rarity in northern Minnesota. The building was last used as apartment housing before it was abandoned. In recent years, there has been increased interest in restoring the building to its former beauty, but for now, it remains abandoned.
8. Rouchleau Mine
It's no surprise that Minnesota's Mesabi Range has experienced its share of decay. But one of the most impressive abandoned sites is the Rouchleau Mine in Virginia. This large open-pit mine began operations in 1893 and ceased in 1977, leaving a glaring scar on the Minnesota landscape. There are plans to continue expansion of another mine in the area, which may well affect the abandoned Rouchleau pit. For now, though, it remains as a reminder of Minnesota's mining history.
9. Fergus Falls Regional Treatment Center
Fergus Falls Regional Treatment Center, once known as Fergus Falls State Hospital, is a series of buildings built through the late 1800s and early 1900s and opened in 1890. The hospital was originally used to treat mentally ill patients. But in 1971 after medical advances, it became a multi-purpose hospital, often used to treat those with chemical dependencies or developmental disabilities. The hospital closed in 2005, with many of the buildings now remaining abandoned.
Have you ever explored any of these – or other – abandoned places? Let us know your experience! Also, check out the grim reality of these
11 ghost towns in Minnesota.