Last Updated on April 18, 2022 by Urbex Underground
Hunting for abandoned places in Minnesota? You’re in the right place. Below are 14 of my favorite abandoned places throughout the state.
Last Updated on April 18, 2022 by Urbex Underground
Abandoned Places In Minnesota
1. Four Seasons Mall
Four Seasons Mall, which first opened its doors in 1978, quickly became a favorite destination for Plymouth locals. The mall was constructed on 22 acres of land that was bordered by wetlands and was not zoned for a large-scale commercial facility. In 1988, an arts and crafts store debuted, and in 2002, a Christmas-themed store opened. In 2007, a guy attempted to rob a U.S. Bank in the mall and committed suicide after being followed into the adjacent area. In 1999, the mall was still used as a park and ride for the Holidazzle Parade.
The mall was only about half-filled with tenants in 2010, with a natural foods store, a Thai restaurant, and an Italian restaurant among them. Despite hosting various arts and crafts fairs on a regular basis over the years, the mall’s vacancy rates have progressively climbed year after year. Walmart paid $10.6 million to buy the entire mall on November 30, 2010 and announced the sales of the shopping mall in January 2015.
Due to the Dominium group’s financial difficulties, the city council of Plymouth voted in May 2021 to purchase the land for $6.7 million and demolish the structure. Residents of Plymouth, on the other hand, are still “overwhelmingly opposed” to the demolition of Four Seasons Mall.
Like many abandoned places in Minnesota, the Four Seasons is still at risk of demolition, so be sure to sneak a peak when you can.
2. Hadley Bank
Hadley is a city in Murray County, Minnesota, United States. It was incorporated in 1903 after being founded in 1879. This small town had a population of 161 people at its peak. Since then, the population has shrunk gradually.
In 1916, the State Bank of Hadley opened with $16,000 in stock. The Hadley Bank was the scene of Murray County’s first bank heist on December 20, 1923. Three guys were arrested in Mankato, although they were eventually found not guilty. The bank remained open until 1932, when it, along with other banks and companies, succumbed to the Great Depression.
The population of the town was 61 in 2010 and dwindled to 58 people, according to the most recent census in 2018. The abandoned old bank building is now covered in vines and left for nature to reclaim. It’s currently considered one of Minnesota’s creepiest locations.
While there are certainly larger abandoned places in Minnesota, Hadley Bank serves as a great example of early 1900s architecture.
3. Mill Ruins Park
Mill Ruins Park is a park on the west side of Saint Anthony Falls in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States. The park interprets Minneapolis’ flour milling history and displays the remnants of many abandoned flour mills. An archaeological examination of the Saint Anthony Falls Historic District led to the creation of the park.
In the 1980s, the first phase of archaeological studies was conducted to prevent the ruins from being destroyed because of road construction work. Mill Ruins Park’s excavations began in 1998 and lasted till 2001. Stabilizing the ruins of the Washburn “A” Mill, which had burned down in 1991, was also part of the operation. The Mill City Museum acquired the Washburn “A” Mill.
Of all the abandoned places in Minnesota, Mills Ruin Park is one of the best legal places to explore.
The park has two stone piers and six iron girder piers that held a trestle for the Minneapolis Eastern Railroad and the remains of roughly 20 flour mills and other industrial buildings. The ruins and the history of the area are explained through signs placed along the paths.
4. Banning State Park Power House
East-central Minnesota is home to Banning State Park. Situated On I-35, it’s about 90 miles north of the Twin Cities. The town of Banning was laid out in 1896 because of the booming business. The rushing Kettle River, which runs through the park’s borders, is noted for its magnificent, natural environment. Kayakers have traditionally flocked to this location. There are numerous of trails that offer beautiful views of the river for those who prefer to stay on land.
The Quarry Loop Trail takes visitors on a journey through the park’s past. It’s a 1.7-mile loop that goes to a collection of historic structures that were previously part of the Banning Sandstone Quarry. The quarry first opened in the late 1800s and employed around 500 people. Sandstone was crushed into blocks to be sold for construction.
The quarry’s business slowed, and by 1905, it had totally shut down. Even though the quarry and its buildings were closed more than a century ago, the quarry’s shell still exists today. The decaying structures serve as a chilling reminder of how easily a business — or a whole town — can go bankrupt. They bear witness to the hard effort that many Minnesotans put in during the state’s early years.
5. Taconite Harbor Ghost Town
Taconite Harbor, located just outside of Schroeder on the shores of Lake Superior, was a thriving little hamlet in the 1950s. The town grew rapidly after 1957. The convenience of living near the facility was initially a huge lure for many families. Families may live happily in the compact three- and four-bedroom homes for just $400 down and $100 per month.
Taconite Harbor was, in many ways, a utopia in 1950s. That is, until the 1970s, when the plant’s increasing taconite dust and noise pollution began to drive families away. The taconite industry then reached an all-time low in 1982. The workforce at Taconite harbor was decreased to only roughly 100 individuals.
The remaining people were warned in 1986 that the town would no longer be sustained and that they would have to relocate. Taconite Harbor became a ghost town in 1988 when the last resident fled. By 1990, all the remaining homes and structures had been packaged and loaded onto trucks for transport. The foundations, roadways, streetlights, and vestiges of the once-thriving community of Taconite Harbor were all that remained.
Nature has restored most of the area in less than 30 years. The two main streets may still be seen, albeit they are also being reclaimed. At the town’s entrance, a single corroded antique streetlight still stands. Where the sewer and water drainage system used to be, there are now holes. One can still discover a foundation or two if one goes off the usual path. Taconite Harbor, on the other hand, has reverted to nature, leaving only the memories of individuals who previously called it home.
6. Fergus Falls State Hospital
The Fergus Falls State Hospital is a historically noteworthy structure in the field of health and medicine because of its connection to the state’s long-standing commitment to providing compassionate treatment to its mentally ill inhabitants. It was the first state mental hospital to serve northern Minnesota’s rising population, and by 1970, it had treated over 40,000 patients.
Unlike previous state hospitals, the Fergus Falls State Hospital was given a legislative mandate to incorporate homeopathic medical concepts into its program, making it Minnesota’s first state mental institution to formally take a therapeutic approach to mental disease treatment.
The 120-acre property has a big complex of buildings that were built for the treatment of mentally ill people and are situated on beautiful grounds. The main hospital complex, an enormous, awe-inspiring structure based on the design ideas of nineteenth-century physician Dr. Thomas Story Kirkbride, dominates the property.
Specialized hospital buildings, staff housing, and even a hospital farm was constructed until the Kirkbride complex was surrounded by an eclectic mix of structures.
The structures are designed in a variety of architectural styles, including Romanesque, Tudor Revival, and Craftsman, as well as postwar modernism. The eight-acre hospital cemetery is also part of the nominated site. In 2005, the Fergus Falls Regional Treatment Center, as it was eventually renamed, shuttered its doors.
7. ADM Milling
A skyway connected the former Archer-Daniel-Midland (ADM) Delmar No. 1 Elevator’s abandoned grain elevator head building to the concrete silos. The majority of the elevators in Minneapolis were used to hold flour-processed grain. These were near St. Anthony Falls, near the flour mills on the Mississippi River. Other terminal elevators were placed north and east of the University of Minnesota East Bank Campus, away from the river.
Hundreds of elevators were built in that area, which was served by mainline railroads, beginning in the 1880s. Most of them were demolished, although a handful remains standing. Neighborhood organizations and the city of Minneapolis have collaborated to preserve what remains of the elevators.
Today, walls of the ADM mills are covered with spray paints from inside, but one can see these massive infrastructures still erect from far away, portraying an era of massive work driven piece of land with lives roaming and working around.
8. Anoka State Hospital
An act of the legislature established the Anoka State Hospital as the First State Asylum for the Insane in 1900. The hospital acted as a transfer asylum when it first opened, admitting patients who had been transferred from the state’s receiving facilities. It, too, became a receiving hospital in 1951.
The first residents, 100 male patients from St. Peter State Hospital, were considered “chronic, incurables” when they arrived. By 1906, 115 female patients had been transferred from a facility in St. Peter to the hospital. The hospital served as a tuberculosis treatment center for the mentally ill from 1948 to 1967.
With the development of community-based outpatient and transitional treatment, the population at Anoka decreased from 1,085 to 476 patients between 1960 and 1970. Anoka began providing outpatient treatment for adults and adolescents, as well as chemical dependency treatment.
In 1999, the remaining patients were transferred to a new, secure treatment facility. Three of the abandoned cottages were rebuilt into homes for veterans in 2017, and a fourth was renovated in 2019. As of 2020, the Anoka County department of corrections continues to use the remaining buildings.
Currently, It is said to be haunted by the spirits of people who passed away here. Like most psychiatric facilities, there were rumors of abuse and neglect at the hospital. Phantom footsteps, noises, laughter, whispers, and cold spots have been reported in both the tunnels and the building, according to reports.
9. Hollywood Theatre
The Hollywood Theater, located in the Audubon Park district of Northeast Minneapolis, first opened its doors on October 26, 1935. Liebenberg & Kaplan, an architectural firm, designed the theatre in the “Zigzag” Art Deco style. The theater’s exterior is made of Kasota limestone, with a dark rainbow granite base. A chimney tower, which once contained a vertical sign, lies atop the off-center main entrance.
In a 1949 restoration, the original marquee and vertical sign were removed, and the current marquee and green tiling were installed. There were around 925 seats available. The current plan for the property is to keep the theatre and convert it into a multi-use entertainment venue.
The theater’s peeling paint and dusty archways reflect the beauty and elegance of bygone periods as you enter. Curving French-style railings, ornate architectural features buried in the floorboards, and even a rusted-out vintage popcorn cart, all speak of dark secrets tinted with history, glamour, and glam.
10. Gopher Ordnance Works
The US War Department purchased around 12,000 acres of farmland in Dakota County in 1942 and 1943 to build the Gopher Ordnance Works (GOW). The GOW plant was built to produce smokeless gunpowder and related items, aiding the war effort by providing propellant for American military weapons. In January 1945, production began and ended in October 1945.
The University of Minnesota received title to 8,000 acres of the property in two stages: approximately 4,700 acres in August 1947 and another 3,320 acres in March 1948. The land south of 170th Street and the western part of the area north of 170th Street is included in the 1947 parcel. The eastern two-thirds of the area north of 170th Street is included in the 1948 parcel.
The area has been used for research and recreation, with the city owning a portion of the land. Walking through UMore Park, as it’s now known, is a one-of-a-kind experience. With all the overgrown flora and decaying concrete structures, the environment is hauntingly beautiful.
The GOW is one of my personal favorite abandoned places in Minnesota, so be sure to check it out if you’re in the area.
11. Broken Down Dam
The relics of the hydroelectric gravity dam built on the river in 1907 are hidden in plain sight throughout the Broken Down Dam Park along the Otter Tail River. The Fergus Falls City Light Station, a power plant, was in operation for just over a year, giving electricity to the city’s people. The dam then unexpectedly fell at 4:20 a.m. on September 24, 1909, sending a gigantic wall of water rushing downstream and causing the failure of four other dams farther down the river.
An inquiry into the dam’s structural fall uncovered a glaring engineering flaw: the station was built on top of a natural spring without realizing it. When the dam was finished, it blocked the spring, causing the water pressure to rise to the point where it burst.
Following the tragedy, city officials left the damaged structure standing, and its ruins can now be found along the river’s recreational water route. While there are more exciting abandoned places in Minnesota, Broken Down Dam is a great spot to explore history and nature at the same time.
12. Hamm’s Brewery
Hamm’s Brewery began modest, with only a few buildings, in the 1860s, when it was founded by a German immigrant A. F. Keller. Hamm inherited the modest brewery and flour mill in the east side wilderness of St. Paul, Minnesota, after Keller died. By 1964, it had grown to 33 acres, 54 buildings, and 1.3 million square feet of floor space, making it the eighth-largest brewery in the United States.
The Hamm family opted to sell the brewery at this point. Hamm’s career was unfortunately cut short at this point. Over the next 30 years, the brewery changed hands several times before closing as Stroh’s Brewery at the end of 1997.
Except for a little bit of renovation, a fire in one of the buildings, and the demolition of one of the storage tanks structures, Hamm’s Brewery has remained mostly intact since it closed. Hamm’s is unique because of this, as well as the huge number of structures to examine.
Hamm’s Brewery is one of the larger abandoned places in Minnesota, so be sure to explore it if you’re in the area.
13. Nike Missile Site MS-70
Around the Twin Cities metropolitan region, there are four historic surface-to-air Nike missile sites, thirty miles apart in each cardinal direction. Around the city center, they form a protective ring – or, I suppose, a crosshair.
In undulating farmlands around Farmington, Isanti-East Bethel, St. Bonifacius, and Roberts, Wisconsin, the US Army built these launch sites, as well as several barracks for the troops who manned the missiles, in October 1959. When the nation’s domestic missile defense plans relocated west to the Great Plains in 1971, they were all decommissioned.
The Nike missiles were housed underground and would be lifted out of the earth by a hydraulic elevator before being launched, so they didn’t loom large against the skyline, but the barracks and radar arrays were noticeable against the terrain.
The Nike missiles are no longer operational, but their successors Holy Terror, Womb Envy, Pluto’s Bayonet, and Planetary Slaughterhouse remain in silos beneath North Dakota and Montana.
14. Tanner Hospital
Tanner’s Hospital, subsequently Carpenter’s Hospital, is a former hospital in Ely, Minnesota. Due to the high sickness prevalence in the area, it was built in 1901 as a money-making venture. This was due to a lack of investment in sanitation facilities in the Iron Range mining boomtowns, where the long-term viability of any individual community was unknown.
Tanner’s Hospital was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980 for its architectural, commercial, and health/medicine significance. It was chosen as a symbol of the early days of entrepreneurial medicine when health and wellbeing were not considered public concerns.
From the 1950s through the 1980s, Tanners Hospital was turned into the “Lakeview” apartments. When Dr. Carroll Carpenter took over the administration, the structure became known as Carpenter’s Hospital. The historic structure is now just known as the “castle”.
Go out and explore!
That concludes our list of abandoned places in Minnesota, but that doesn’t mean that’s all there is to find. Take the back roads, follow train tracks, and find some places for yourself. There are plenty of places I kept off this list so get out there and explore.