Last Updated on June 19, 2021 by Urbex Underground
Looking to scope out some abandoned places in Pennsylvania? We got you covered. Below are over 35 of our favorite abandoned locations throughout the state.
Last Updated on June 19, 2021 by Urbex Underground
Abandoned Places In Pennsylvania
1. Yellow Dog Village
Tucked away in the hills on Pennsylvania is an abandoned town, with rows of houses that sit eerily vacant. This is one of the best preserved examples of a company town, constructed to provide convenient and close living quarters for the industry workers of the Pennsylvania Limestone Company.
The housing was built proactively throughout 1910-1920, to try and stop the workers from starting a union. This combined with increased wages was enough to sway the workers into signing a yellow dog contract, a promise they will never unionize. Thus, Yellow Dog Village was born. Like most mining towns, once the ore dried up, so did the town. In 1950 the mines closed, marking the beginning of the end of Yellow Dog.
Today the property only has one resident, current owner Joe Meyer. He purchased the property in homes to hope to build a community of builders, makers, and self sufficient men and women. His vision includes restoring the old homes and hosting workshops, where people can relearn the old trades and lost skills that built this country.
I had the opportunity to camp inside one of the vacant homes with Joe’s permission. We cooked eggs in the morning and got to ride one of their many horses on the property. If you’re in the area, see if Joe’s home. He might just show you around.
2. Abandoned PA Turnpike
Miles of two lane highway and tunnels now sit overgrown in western Pennsylvania, overgrown and mostly forgotten. But how did this happen? As more and more automobiles took to the streets, the tiny highway couldn’t support the traffic. The road became overwhelmed by daily congestion, and that started creating mile long backups and even accidents.
To combat this, the state built Route 76, the new modern turnpike that is still in use today. The wider highway meant more traffic could move much faster when traveling across the state. It didn’t take much time for everyone to start using the new Turnpike. To keep motorists safe, the old one was closed down.
Now, hikers and bikers can explore all 11 miles of this crumbling highway for themselves.
3. Camp Michaux
Believe it or not, the ruins of and old World War II POW camp can be found deep in the Michaux State Forest. During the 1940s, the camp operated in total secret, holding thousands of prisoners of war captive. While only a few ruins remain, if you look closely you can find old carvings in the cement from prisoners, and other concrete structures that have been swallowed by the surrounding forest.
Down the trail you can also find a concrete dam, completely constructed by German POWs. Many of the trails overlap throughout the property, so make sure you note your location as there is very little cell reception in this part of the state.
4. Bunkers of Alvira
Now part of State Game Land 252, the Alvira Bunkers are almost completely invisible to the untrained eye. These were munition bunkers, used as storage for bombs and ammunition during World War II. In the early 1940s the government needed some place safe to store highly explosive ordnance, they settled near the town of Alvira due to its spare population and accessibility.
Over 150 bunkers were quickly constructed, but ironically were never used. While the town of Alvira has almost completely faded away, these bunkers remain a permanent part of the surrounding land. I’d say this is likely the most explosive abandoned place in Pennsylvania, but sadly it never housed any boom sticks.
5. Brownsville, PA
Yep that’s right. The whole town. Brownsville is one of my all time favorite places to explore in Pennsylvania due to its sheer amount of history and numerous buildings. You’ll find the old and decaying Brownsville Hospital and with the nurses quarters to be the highlight of your trip. There are also a number of vacant houses hidden away in the woods if you can find them. If you look hard enough there is also a vacant bank and church nearby, making this a place you can spend all day exploring.
6. Carrie Blast Furnace
Right off the Monongahela River towers a massive rusting monolith that helped forge the metal that build the surrounding area. The factory offers a rare look into pre-World War II iron-making techniques. The furnaces is actually a national landmark, making this one of the most popular abandoned places in Pennsylvania.
Cool thing about this place is that you can visit and photograph it legally, making it a good place to get your feet wet if you’re new to the hobby of urban exploring.
7. Westinghouse Atom Smasher
The Westinghouse Atom Smasher was designed to kick start the development of nuclear technology, primarily for energy production. Constructed in the 1937, this 65 foot pear shaped structure operated as the first Van de Graaff generators in the world, helping us unlock the secrets of photofission and uranium fuel.
Unfortunately by the late 1950s the project had concluded, leaving the structure abandoned. As years went on decay had made the structure unsafe. Construction crews used a crane to place the smasher on its side so it wouldn’t collapse on its own. Today the atom smasher rests on its side, and can be explored freely.
The ghost town of Centralia is another one of the more famous abandoned places in Pennsylvania that you’ve probably already heard of. An underground fire was accidentally started that ignited a complex network of underground coal veins beneath the city.
The fire started in 1962 and nearly swallowed a child whole from a sinkhole that suddenly formed. As the fire spread underground it began to cause stability issues for homes, and breathing problems for the residents. Eventually the local government issued an eminent domain notice on the land, forcing homeowners to relocate.
Today only a handful of people still live in the area, and the fire still burn on beneath the town.
9. Neuweiler Brewery
Once upon a time this unassuming building was one of the most cutting edge breweries of it’s era. The Neuweiler Brewery opened in 1913 brewing (you guessed it) German Lagers and Ales.
As time went on, new trends in taste moved away from the traditional beers that Nuweiler brewed and the business closed its doors in 1968. It wasn’t until 1991 that the brand and its closely guarded recipes was purchased by the Lion Brewery in Wilkes-Barre. The classic taste would live on to earn a bronze in the Great American Beer Festival the following year.
The building however would continue to crumble, where it sits sealed on the edge of the city.
10. Eastern State Penitentiary
You can’t explore abandoned places in Pennsylvania without visiting Eastern State Penitentiary. This goliath of a prison first began construction in the late 1700s, and was one of the first prisons’ to ‘experiment’ with solitary confinement as a form of punishment.
Over it’s 180+ year life span the additional cell blocks and walls would be added as the prison population grew. Governments from around the world took notice and began to emulate this style of architecture, including it in their own prison designs.
In 1961 overcrowding reached a tipping point resulting in one of the worst prison riots in of its time. This riot furthered fueled the discussion to ultimately close Eastern State. By January of 1970 the penitentiary is finally closed.
11. Bethlehem Steel Stacks
The ‘SteelStacks’ as they’re locally known are a pair of massive early 1900 furnaces that helps produce thousands of tons of iron for steelmaking in the area. During its peak, 7 furnaces ran constantly to keep up the demand.
As the need for steel dwindled, the plant closed it’s doors in the Fall of 1195. Rather than let the plant rot, the city has turned much of the surrounding area into a vibrant community gathering area featuring a venue, restaurants, and numerous art installations.
12. Hunting Lodge in Linn Run State Park
Nearly a mile down the the Flat Rock Trail you’ll find the old ruins of a 1940s hunting lodge. While not a whole lot is known about this site, the ruins fun to explore during the summer and fall seasons.
13. Nike Missile Site PI-71
Throughout all of the country, encircling major cities, Nike missile bases protected key industries during the Cold War. While there are plenty more abandoned Nike missile sites in the state, this one has a few remnants left behind including the bay doors. Most of the land is considerably overgrown but it’s still weird thinking that these missile were so close to parks, schools, and homes.
14. Shenango China Company
The Shenango China Company manufactured thousands of pieces of dinnerware for Chinese restaurants across the country. The factory was well known for their decorative plates as well as their signature American Haviland design plate. It’s rumored the factory also provide specialty dinnerware for president Dwight D. Eisenhower.
The company was founded in 1901 and faced numerous financial struggles early on. Despite the challenges, the business grew to over 150 staff members. In 1979 Anchor Hocking purchased the company, only to sell it to Newell Company ten years later. The new owners forced all current employees to reapply for their jobs, many left and did not return.
The plant was abandoned in the early 90s and has suffered numerous fires and vandalism over the years.
15. Knox Coal Distribution Center
Rotting away in the tree line, the Knox Coal Distribution Center was a key stopping point for trains as they transferred loads of coal off their containers. This building, like so many also fell victim to the dwindling of the coal mining industry. The building is in rough shape, and has sustained numerous fires, collapses, and abuse from vandals.
16. Wehrum Ghost Town
Wehrum is just one of dozens of abandoned coal towns that sprouted up during the early 1900s to support coal miners. Over a million dollars was put into the town, which is nearly $31 million dollars today. During its operation there were serval fires that causes the population to dip. In 1909 a mining explosion nearby killed 21 miners, which was a common and unfortunate occurrence for that time.
The mines were all shut down unexpectedly in 1930, leave the town without a primary source of revenue. Much of the town was quickly cannibalized for its lumber and metal, only leaving a few buildings standing by 1934. Today, adventurous hikers can find ruins of this town in the wood along the Allegheny trail.
17. Penn Hills Resort
Built in the remote Pocono Mountains, Penn Hills Resort first opened in 1944 as a tavern, and eventually expanded into a massive 500 acre ski resort. During its prime, it was a lavish resort know for its wild and extravagant New Years Eve parties.
In 2009 the resort finally closed due to a decline in tourism combined with owing over 1 million dollars in back taxes. Unfortunately arson has now ravaged most of the buildings on the property.
18. Delaware River Viaduct
Time has had its way with this concrete, leaving it crumbling into the river below. The Delaware River Viaduct is just one of many abandoned bridges scattered across Pennsylvania. Built in 1910, the viaduct served the Lackawanna Cut Off rail line for 73 years. It was finally abandoned when Amtrak updated other lines in the area to provide a more efficient route.
19. Fricks Lock Village
Looming in the shadow of a nearby cooling tower, Fricks Lock Village was a hard village that survived by using the nearby canal for trading and commerce. The village still stood strong when the canal was abandoned in favor for the railroad. It wasn’t until the nuclear power plant moved in that the residents decided to move out. Now the power plant owns the land the village sits on.
While most abandoned places in Pennsylvania are nestled deep in the woods, Fricks Lock Village is positioned in a slight overgrown, with the cooling towers acting as the perfect backdrop
20. Cascade Park in New Castle
New Castle’s Cascade Park is quite the oddity, and actually completely open to the public. In the late 1800s Cascade Park opened as an amusement park featuring a ton of attractions including an indoor rollercoaster.
Sadly in 1927 two guests were killed one of the coasters, allegedly they were flung from their seats into the air. Termites would later ravage the coaster, requiring it to be torn down. Later another rollercoaster would takes place, but the park would continue to battle poor upkeep and vandalism. Someone even managed to steal 15 carousel horses in the 80s.
Today explorers can find remnants from the past scattered throughout the park and surrounding woodlands.
21. Mount Moriah Cemetery
Established in 1855, the Mount Moriah Cemetery is situated in the heart of Philadelphia, and was one of the largest abandoned cemeteries in the area sprawling nearly 400 acres with 150,000 buried inside. With limited funds and questions revolving around exacly who owns it, the cemetery as fallen into disrepair.
Nature and vandals have both had its way with the tombstones and statuses inside, giving it a post apocalyptic feel at times. A dedicated non-profit group has been working to clean up the grounds, but much of the land is still overgrown. This place is fun to visit, specially during the summer and fall seasons.
22. Marlton Missile Base
Tucked away behind an unassuming suburb is another Nike missile base that once patrolled the skies for invading Russian bombers. Isolated from the rest of the world, the base stands as a time capsule to mark an era of fear and uncertainty. This base is unique as the bay doors are still visible, and the there are a few structures that remain standing.
23. Helvetia Mine Building
Helvetia was a mining town founded in the late 1800s by the R&P company. It was one of the largest producers of coal in the region, and its town supported hundreds of workers and their families. Ownership had changed hands over the years, until finally being sold off to a salvage company in the late 40s. The mine, finally closed in 1954. Today not much remains of Helvetia outside of the large main office building that is slowly being reclaimed by nature.
24. Wilkes-Barre Train Station
Built in the 1860s, the Wilkes-Barre Train Station was among the first train station to be build in the area that supported the booming mining industry. As new more efficient rail route opened, the Wilkes-Barre Train Station was left behind.
At one time the station operated as a restaurant dubbed ‘The Station’, but that eventually went bust as well. The building has remained sealed for a number of years, but has recently caught the eye of some investors to fix the building up with the aim of restoring it to its original condition.
25. Adam Scheidt Plant
The old Adam Scheidt Plant was one of the few breweries of its time to survive prohibition by offering non-alcoholic beverages during the restriction of alcohol sales. The plant rode out prohibition, and eventually started producing beer again after 1926.
While this particular plant closed in the early 1900s, the company would its operations elsewhere and continue to operate until the mid 1970s.
26. Willow Steam Plant
The Willow Steam Plant operated until 1989 and provided steam power over a network of 30 miles worth of pipes. Talks of restoring the building has come up from time to time, but the chances of that happening are likely slim. Inside is quite dangerous with hazards ranging from asbestos exposure, to holes in the flooring.
27. Spring Garden School
Spring Grove Elementary has sat vacant since the late 80s, and is one of the more locally known areas to explore around Philly. It’s most notable feature is the enclosed rooftop basketball court that can be seen from satellite view as well as the street. Like many abandoned places in Pennsylvania this school closed due to lack of funding and dwindling attendance.
Plans were made to redevelop the building, but ultimately nothing was done.
28. Wilkes-Barre Powder Mills
Off an isolated stretch of abandoned railroad tracks, the Wilkes-Barre Powder Mill sit quietly in the woods alongside route 476. Unfortunately we don’t have much information into the history of this structure. The mill likely saw decline as the coal in the nearby community dried up in the later half of the 1900s. If you have more information about this abandoned place in Pennsylvania, let us know!
29. Abandoned Kilns in Canoe Creek Park
The heavy demand for iron and steel resulted in the need for another natural resource, lime. Lime was a key ingredient in the purification process for making iron, which in turn was used to make steel. To support the steel industry, the Blair Limestone Company was formed.
Limestone was quarried and then loaded into carts that moved down a rail track. One fully loaded they were positioned over the kiln and and dumped in. At high temperatures a chemical reaction would cause the kilns to produce lime. Today these massive kilns along with other scattered ruins can be found across Canoe Creek Park.
30. Scotia Ghost Town Ruins
The Scotia Barrens are now part of State Game Land 176 and has many trials crisscrossing through the woods. In the 1800s The town of Scotia was anything but barren, and was quite a lively mining town. Sadly, the resource rich iron deposits that gave rise to this town would also be its demise. This place is tough to find, and might make it come of the more difficult abandoned places in Pennsylvania to explore.
31. Hall’s Tower
Hovering over I-80 a mysterious tower looms over the small town of Mechanicsburg. The tower was constructed in the early 1980s by a man by the name of John Hall. He started work on his tower and other house, but construction was halted when he has caught embezzling money from his company to fund the project.
Police vigilantly patrol the area to keep explorers out. Years ago a kid who climbed the tower had slipped and fell to their death, raising awareness about the tower’s presence in the community.
32. Eckley Miners’ Village
Eckley Miners Village is one of the best preserved coal company towns in the entire United States. Founded in 1854 it supported the miners and their families by offering places to live and amenities that were only a stones throw from the mine that they worked in.
Since this place is a historic site, it is not illegal to take pictures here. Of all the abandoned places in Pennsylvania, Eckley Miners Village is incredibly well preserved.
33. Grimms Bridge Tunnel
In the early 1930s Pittsburgh Coal carved 1200 feet into the hillside to make way for the Youngstown/Southern Railroad. Like all things coal related, it boomed in it’s day, transporting 50 carloads of coal per day. Operation ceased in 1967 when a strip mine caused a landslide that filled the southern end. By this time the company had gone bankrupt, and received permission to abandon the tunnel.
34. Rockland (Woodhill) Tunnel
The Rockland (Woodhill) Tunnel was constructed in 1913 by a group of men working 12 hour days, six days a week. The tunnel was constructed to support the coal mining efforts in the area, and was subsequently abandoned years later. The state has turned this tunnel into a part of their rail rail, making it accessible to everyone.
35. Abandoned Train Cars
The Vintage Electric Street Car Company now sits overgrown with over 45 train cars on the property. Growing up, owner Ed Metka had a passion for old street cars, and envisioned he’d own one someday. As Ed got hold his passion became a reality as he began to collect old streetcars and fix them up for a profit. Of all the abandoned places in Pennsylvania to explore, this one has to be my all time favorite. Finding passenger trains silently parked in the middle of the woods is an awesome experience.
The cars you see today were trains that never sold. As Ed experienced some health issues the streetcar project had to remain on hold. Ten years ago I wouldn’t have shared this location, as all the train cars were completely untouched. Today, this location has made its round on the internet and the train are all sadly covered in graffiti.
Go out and explore!
That concludes our list of abandoned places in Pennsylvania, but that doesn’t mean that’s all there is to find. Take the back roads, follow train tracks, and discover some new places for yourself.