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Hunting for abandoned places in Missouri? You’re in the right place. Below are 14 of my favorite abandoned places across the state.
Abandoned Places In Missouri
1. The Missouri State Penitentiary
The Missouri State Penitentiary (MSP) was first opened on the banks of the Missouri River in Jefferson City, Missouri, in 1836.
It was the west of the Mississippi River’s oldest continuously running prison. It was Missouri’s premier maximum security jail, and it was labeled the “bloodiest 47 acres in America” by Time Magazine in 1967. The Missouri State Penitentiary is almost 175 years old and is reputed to be filled with spirits due to its lengthy, dark, and terrible history.
The Missouri State Penitentiary became the Jefferson City Correctional Center in 1991. It was renamed back to Missouri State Penitentiary in 2003 so that the old prison and the new one that was being built would not be confused.
On October 14, 2004, the Missouri State Penitentiary was closed and the new Jefferson City Correctional Center was established.
The control center, upper yard, cellblocks in housing unit A (the oldest remaining cell block built in 1868) and other housing units, the dungeon cells, the industry area, the exercise yard, and the gas chamber where a total of 40 inmates (men and women) were executed may all be seen during your visit.
Due to the nature of the subject matter, no children under the age of ten are admitted. Photographs are permitted, but videotaping is not. Given it’s brutal history, MSP is considered one of the most haunted abandoned places in Missouri.
2. Ha Ha Tonka Castle Ruins
On the Niangua arm of the Lake of the Ozarks, Ha Ha Tonka State Park is a wonderful public leisure area. The term “ha ha tonka” derives from the Native Americans who lived in the region and means “laughing waters,” referring to the springs. The park is about 3,700 acres in size, with over 15 miles of hiking trails leading to caverns, natural bridges, and breathtaking landscapes.
Robert M. Snyder was a prosperous Kansas City businessman who bought the 5,000-acre Ha Ha Tonka Lake and spring in Camden County in 1904. He picked a spot on the rocky peak for his retirement house and planned to build a stone castle in the form of a European castle.
The house’s construction had begun in earnest, but Snyder was killed in one of Missouri’s first vehicle accidents in 1906. Snyder’s fantasy palace, on the other hand, would not perish with him. The structure was used as a hotel and lodge until 1942, when it was completely destroyed by fire.
The land and castle grounds were bought by the state of Missouri in 1978 and opened to the public as a state park in 1979. In 2004, the water tower was rebuilt and a new roof was constructed, as well as the castle walls being secured. Snyder’s castle’s stone skeleton now stands as a beautiful rock sculpture with a magnificent vista of the Lake of the Ozarks far below.
The Ha Ha Tonka Castle Ruins is a great spot for a casual explore, and one of the few abandoned places in Missouri that are legal to explore.
3. The Odd Fellows Home
The Odd Fellows Home Site is a national historic district in Liberty, Missouri, in Clay County. It is made up of three contributing buildings, one contributing site, and four contributing structures that are all connected to an institutional home and hospital. The International Institution of Odd Fellows (IOOF) was founded in 1819 in the United States, and it evolved from an 18th-century English order.
Its goal was to help the elderly, widows, and orphans by providing refuge and care. In 1835, the fraternal organization arrived in Missouri, and by the turn of the century, they had constructed the Odd Fellows Home, a 240-acre facility. There was also a hospital, an orphanage, a school, a nursing home, and a cemetery on the property.
The Odd Fellows Home has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1986, and it rests on 36 acres of land.
Except for ghost tours in the safer portions, the buildings are not exposed to the public. The grounds are open to the public during the winery’s working hours, and you are invited to stroll about.
4. Old Imperial Brewery
The Lemp Mansion, built in the 1860s, was home to the Lemp family and was located near to their family’s brewery, The Lemp Brewery. Lemp Brewery was St. Louis’ largest brewing firm by 1870. The Lemp family suffered the first of many tragedies when Frederick Lemp, William Sirs’ favorite son and heir presumptive, died at the age of 28 in 1901. Frederick died of heart failure, despite never being in very excellent health.
William, Jr. fell into a deep despair as the Lemp brewing dynasty came to an end. He became increasingly uneasy and unstable, avoiding public life and frequently complaining of illness, much like his father. William shot himself in the heart on December 29, 1922.
William’s brothers, Charles and Edwin, had long since departed the family firm, so it appeared that the Lemp Empire had come to an end with William Jr.’s departure. The brewery was in operation until 1919, when prohibition forced it to stop.
The moment you walk into the Lemp Brewery, you can sense the history. The complex is well over a century old, featuring gothic gates, archways, houses, and other features. As you approach the haunt’s entrance, you will be surprised to realize that there’s just one way in: a 100-year-old spiral staircase.
5. Moselle Ghost Town
Moselle is a town that was formed in 1849. There were large reserves of iron ore in the region, which, together with the presence of homesteaders, helped to bring Moselle to life. On terrible back roads, residents in the region had to travel six to ten miles by horse and buggy to come to church. As a result, in the 1880s, the St. Mary of Perpetual Help Church in Moselle was established.
Moselle survived for years because of the church. Moselle was the name of a post office that opened in 1860 and lasted until 1971. The collapse of the town’s bridge to its church, St. Mary’s, signaled the beginning of a long downfall.
Moselle, Missouri has a population of roughly ten people now. Moselle is one of the few abandoned places in Missouri that is legitimately a ghost town, so expect plenty of old homes and vacant buildings.
6. Old St. Mary’s Hospital
Before this 4-story brick hospital was constructed for them in 1907, the Sisters of St. Mary from St. Louis had worked as nurses at Kansas City’s German hospital for ten years.
The architects were Howe & Hoit, and the total cost, including ground, was $150,000. There were 250 beds available, with 72 of them being free. In 1916, a new wing was developed to the top level, which included an exquisite church. Later, a 3-story nurses’ house, training school power plant, and laundry were created.
St. Mary’s quickly gained a reputation as a hospital that pushed the bounds of technology and education at the time, with one of the country’s first Catholic nursing schools opening in 1907. Saint Mary’s was the second municipal hospital to admit African-American patients in 1933, and it was also the first in the city to have a racially mixed staff.
The five-story structure was decommissioned in 1979, while portions of it were utilized by various local entities until 1994. In 2007, Mary’s magnificent five-story structure was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
7. Wheatley-Provident Hospital
Wheatley-Provident Hospital, located at 1826 Forest Avenue in Kansas City’s 18th and Vine District, is a historic property. It was established in 1902 and was Kansas City’s first black hospital. It was one among the nation’s first hospitals to employ only African-American physicians, nurses, and administrators.
It was also one of the few hospitals in the early 1900s that trained African American doctors and nurses, as well as having the country’s first model children’s ward. Dr. Perry worked with civic associations to move to the former St. Joseph’s Parochial School, a limestone building built in 1902. As the community grew during the Prendergast era, Dr. Perry worked with civic associations to move to the former St. Joseph’s Parochial School, a limestone building built in 1902.
In 1925, a children’s wing was erected. By 1971, the facility had treated 50,000 patients and was closed in 1972. In 2007, it was included to the Kansas City Register of Historic Places, and in October 2020, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Today much of the hospital is covered in graffiti and fairly blown out. It’s worth checking out if you’re in the area, but I wouldn’t travel too far to see this location in particular.
8. Kessler Park Reservoir
The Kansas City Fire and Water Commission suggested creating a reservoir in the early 1900s to supply water to the area’s rising number of industrial companies. The Northeast Reservoir was built starting in 1919 and finished in 1920. George Edward Kessler designed 26 different park and boulevard systems, totaling 49 parks. His work spans more than a hundred cities and countries.
This park was part of the master plan he devised for the Kansas City area, and was renamed after him in 1971. Just west of the weedy pond, the park is home to some much more imposing flora, including Missouri’s biggest living tree. On Cliff Drive, near Lookout Point, there’s an eastern cottonwood.
Cracks appeared shortly after it was put into service because of the large amount of water pressure. The reservoir was emptied and left empty when other water sources and treatment units were built. City’s Kessler Park has been abandoned since 1931.
Since the site is located in a park, explorers are free to take photos and hang out nearby.
9. Cotton Belt Freight Depot
In 1911, the five-story freight station was built to manage SSW’s freight operations. It has remained empty since 1959. On January 1, 1913, the depot opened with two miles of house, team, and storage tracks. The structure is distinguished by its long, thin form.
The east and west elevations of the concrete structure are around 750 feet (230 meters), whereas the north and south elevations are just 30 feet (9.1 meters). There are no established tenants or functions for the structure. Inhabitants have set up camp in the building’s extreme north and south extremities, where they have constructed improvised dwellings out of found items such as pallets and tyres.
In 2004, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in the United States. The Riverfront Times, a weekly newspaper in St. Louis, has selected the Cotton Belt Freight Depot “Best Old Building.” Today, it is mostly used as a location for graffiti and graffiti art.
When I visited I ran into a few homeless guys who were pretty friendly. While this isn’t one of the most dangerous abandoned places in Missouri, there are holes in the floor and falling debris so use cation when visiting.
10. Kansas City Workhouse
The building’s architecture was inspired by the Romanesque Revival style of sixteenth-century Europe, which was popular among Kansas City’s upper crust at the time.
The towered stone stronghold on Vine Street was built in 1897 and was known as the “workhouse castle” at the time. Kansas City’s population grew from 700 in 1846 to 132,716 in 1890.
There was also a rise in crime as a result of this growth. Unemployment, homelessness, addictions, domestic violence, frauds, public intoxication, and unpaid bills were all considered “vagrancy” crimes. In 1885, the ancient workhouse housed 70 inmates and was regarded by personnel to be in such bad condition that it posed a significant fire threat, resulting in a terrible loss of life in the case of a fire.
The home was later turned into a funeral home. Today, the funeral home is still owned by the Wards.
The home was later turned into a funeral home. Today, the funeral home is still owned by the Wards. In 2007, the structure was listed to the Kansas City Register of Historic Places, keeping it from being destroyed but leaving it in a dangerous state.
11. Pruitt-Igoe Site
Wendell O. Pruitt Homes and William Igoe Apartments, together known as Pruitt–Igoe were joint urban housing complexes first inhabited in 1954 in St. Louis, Missouri, United States. It was a 57-acre (23 ha) complex on St. Louis’s lower north side that was finished in 1955 and comprised of 33 11-story residential towers.
The complex had a total of 2,870 units, making it one of the country’s largest. The flats were designed to be compact, with tiny kitchen appliances. In order to reduce elevator congestion, “skip-stop” elevators only stopped at the first, fourth, seventh, and tenth levels, forcing many inhabitants to take the stairs. Large community halls, laundry rooms, communal spaces, and garbage chutes were all located on the same “anchor floors.”
Pruitt–living Igoe’s conditions began to deteriorate immediately after it was completed in 1956. The complex’s 11-story high rises were nearly entirely occupied by African-Americans. In the mid-1970s, all 33 buildings were demolished using explosives. The old Pruitt–Igoe property is still completely undeveloped as of 2020s news.
Addmidely, there isn’t a whole lot to see at this location, and there are certainly more exciting abandoned places in Missouri to photograph. However, the Pruitt-Igoe site still scars the land and reminds us how far we’ve come, and how much farther we need to go.
Cementland, an unfinished 54-acre industry-amusement park on the site of a former cement plant, was envisioned by the late Bob Cassilly as a place where you could “do all the things you’re not permitted to do.” With the City Museum, a vast playhouse made from discarded industrial and architectural artifacts, Bob Cassilly had already placed St. Louis on the quirky art park map.
He quickly transformed the old factory into a castle, complete with a courtyard of sculpted sculptures made of cement, rock, metal, and ancient machinery. Cassilly died tragically in 2011 when the bulldozer he was driving allegedly went off an unsafe cliff and rolled over.
Till today there is no sign of any kind of security. The area is currently deemed insecure, and anybody who chooses to explore it should do so at their own risk. The Mississippi Greenway Trailhead is accessible through a wide gap in the barrier.
13. Renz Women’s Penitentiary
Renz Women’s Penitentiary first opened its doors in 1926 as a prison farm, where convicts raised poultry and grew vegetables. It was a medium-sized institution with a capacity of 500-550 female offenders, and it was located directly in the Missouri River’s floodplain.
The penitentiary was a victim of the “Great Flood of 1993,” when the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers both surged to disastrous heights, 20 feet over flood level in some areas, causing $15 billion in losses across the Midwest.
It appears too enormous and in too central of a place to have been ignored for so long, as proven by greenery springing from smashed-out windows and water stains creeping down the exterior.
The prison is a common stomping ground for local paranormal groups, photographers, and curious kids. The prison is on private property so proceed with caution.
The circle of marooned ships’ origin tale holds that BoatHenge “sprouted from the soil or dropped from the sky on the first day of spring,” according to the official website. The numerous ravages of floods that have emerged since its arrival have done nothing to weaken BoatHenge, instead adding to its impressiveness.
According to local mythology, Boathenge, an anonymous artist’s project, arrived along the Katy Trail a few years after the devastating floods of 1993 and 1995. Six boats are included in the intriguing art project, which has a measurement that resembles Stonehenge. The circumference of both Boathenge and Stonehenge, for example, is 108 feet.
A series of myths, tongue-in-cheek references to renowned explorers Lewis and Clark give the mystery a more American taste. Remember to bring your camera or smartphone with you. The mystery treasure is appealing at any time of day, but it’s most beautiful around sunrise.
Go out and explore!
That concludes our list of abandoned places in Alabama, 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.