It’s like they say: ashes to ashes, dust to dust. While some great monuments have stood the test of time, other places and buildings get left behind in history and fall apart away from the public eye.
Here are photos of past buildings and locations in their prime vs. now that they have been abandoned or put out of use.
BEFORE: It Was The Central Subway Stop
Pictured here are city councilmen taking the subway in New York City for the first time in 1904, coming in to stop at City Hall Station, which has not been in use since 1945.
NOW: It’s Used For Tours And Events
Now, the abandoned City Hall Station can only be accessed for special tours or during special events, such as the historical celebration pictured here. It also has been used to film scenes in period pieces, including Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them.
BEFORE: Ohio State Reformatory In Its Prime
The Ohio State Reformatory was opened in 1896 in Mansfield. The prison held some of the country’s most dangerous criminals, and at its peak in 1955, it held 5,235 inmates.
NOW: It’s A Museum
The prison officially closed in 1990 and now is a museum. Visitors can take guided tours, one of which is led by a past prisoner. The facility has also been used as a film set and is most famously seen in The Shawshank Redemption.
BEFORE: The Astrodome Was The Stadium In Houston
The Houston Astrodome opened in 1965, and it was the first domed multi-purpose stadium in the USA. The stadium hosted sports games, conferences, and was the home field for the Houston Astros and Houston Oilers.
NOW: The Stadium Has Fallen Into Disrepair
When the Oilers and the Astros moved to newer stadiums, the Astrodome became irrelevant. The last event was hosted in 2002 before the stadium closed. Now, the space is only used as a shelter in emergency situations, like hurricanes.
BEFORE: Pripyat Was A Bustling City
Prior to the Chernobyl disaster in 1986, Pripyat was a growing city in Soviet-controlled Ukraine. The city, which was founded in 1970, was built to help staff the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.
NOW: The City Is A Ghostown
The entire city had to evacuate following the Chernobyl Disaster and is still in the “exclusion zone.” The threat of radiation poisoning is still too high for people to inhabit the area, and over the years, the city has been overgrown by nature.
BEFORE: It Was A Beautiful Landmark In The City
Michigan Central Station was opened in Detroit in 1913, and, at the time, it was the tallest railroad station in the world. The building was a testament to the thriving city which was growing with the auto industry.
NOW: It’s Worn Down And Overgrown
The station was last actually used in 1988, and in the years following, it turned into a site for vandalism and theft. The building was scheduled for demolition in 2009 but was saved due to its historical significance. Ford Motors has since proposed a plan to restore it to its former glory.
BEFORE: A Thriving Resort
Grossinger’s Catskill Resort Hotel was one of many hotels located in the Borscht Belt, an area filled with summer resorts in upstate New York. They were a popular destination for Jewish citizens in New York City from the 1920s to the 1960s.
NOW: Abandoned And Overgrown
The hotel closed in 1986, beginning an economic decline in the town of Liberty and surrounding Sullivan County, which the community has failed to reverse. The property, now in foreclosure, is considered abandoned.
BEFORE: It Was A Fairly Popular Location For Researchers
These photos of tourists were taken on Deception Island, which is located in Antarctica. It was fought over by many countries for years (including Norway and Chile) and has fascinated whalers and scientific researchers since it was first inhabited in 1820.
NOW: It’s Been Left To The Penguins
After the active volcano on the island erupted in 1967 and again in 1969, the island and the bases on it were abandoned. Now, the main inhabitants of the island are penguins.
BEFORE: They Were Military Forts During WWII
Pictured here are the Maunsell Forts at Shivering Sands, Kent, England. They were constructed in 1943 to defend shipping lines and the port of London from enemy aircraft and V1 rockets during World War II.
NOW: They’re Abandoned In The Water
While there were 265 men living in the forts at any given time during the war, they were fully abandoned in the 1950s, were used again as a radio headquarters in the ’60s, and have since been abandoned to erode in the water.
BEFORE: It Was One Of The Finest Prisons In The Country
The Eastern State Penitentiary located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was first opened in 1829. The institution used a radical (at the time) philosophy where prisoners were kept in strict isolation to encourage penitence. One famous inmate was Al Capone.
NOW: It’s Abandoned And Falling Apart
The building officially closed in 1971 and was completely abandoned. Now, it’s a national landmark and used as a museum. Visitors can see the cells and learn about the methods used to inhumanely torture prisoners.
BEFORE: The Islands Were Home For Some
St. Kilda is a small archipelago located off the west coast of Scotland. The islands had been inhabited from early prehistory but were declining in population in the early 1900s due to malnutrition, disease, and isolation that plagued the inhabitants.
NOW: Only Wildlife Inhabit The Islands
In 1930, the remaining survivors living on the islands of St. Kilda were evacuated and taken to resettle in mainland Scotland. To this day, no one lives there, but it is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site.