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Stately in Abandonment: Witley Court

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During its heyday Witley Court was one of Europe’s most lavish Victorian estates. An iconic portico and timeless fountain – both penned by famed designers – are hallmarks of this West Midlands treasure. Nearly one hundred were on staff, and for centuries it served as a residence for British Lords who often entertained royalty.

However an early twentieth-century fire ravaged the building, and a prohibitive cost to rebuild forced the owners to abandon the home. It wasn’t until decades later the derelict building was rescued by a preservation commission, and today it stands as the grandest Victorian manor in arrested decay.

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Relic From a Bygone Era: Pressmen’s Home, Tennessee

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Located in the hills of Eastern Tennessee, this abandoned complex was once home to the International Printing Pressmen and Assistants Union of North America. The bucolic setting was chosen for its remote location and proximity to a spring believed to offer health benefits.

The property was purchased in 1911, and for sixty-five years Pressmen’s Home offered training, healthcare, and leisure services to union members and their families.

But by the late 1960s union leadership decided the remote location was too far removed from the political eye, and in 1967 the headquarters was moved to Washington D.C. Pressmen’s Home spent the next two years winding down operations, and the buildings have been vacant ever since.

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World’s Oldest Space Launch Facility: The Baikonur Cosmodrome

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About 1,300 miles (2,100 km) southeast of Moscow in the desert steppe of Kazakhstan, the world’s oldest and largest operational space launch facility is still conducting launches. The Baikonur Cosmodrome was originally constructed by the Soviet Union in the late 1950s as the base of operations for its space program.

The Cosmodrome has been an important part of space exploration history, having been the launching site of earth’s first satellite and first man in space. Today operations have been scaled down, but it remains one of only a handful of active space launching facilities in the world.

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Derinkuyu & The Underground Cities of Cappadocia

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In 1963, a man in the Nevşehir Province of Turkey knocked down a wall of his home. Behind it, he discovered a mysterious room. The man continued digging and soon discovered an intricate tunnel system with additional cave-like rooms. What he had discovered was the ancient Derinkuyu underground city, part of the Cappadocia region in central Anatolia, Turkey.

The elaborate subterranean network included discrete entrances, ventilation shafts, wells, and connecting passageways. It was one of dozens of underground cities carved from the rock in Cappadocia thousands of years ago. Hidden for centuries, Derinkuyu‘s underground city is the deepest. Read more…

World’s Largest Old Car Junkyard: Old Car City U.S.A.

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Fifty miles north of Atlanta, a 34-acre compound houses one of the largest car collections in the world. But this collection doesn’t have polished Ferraris or Porsches under shining lights. There are no immaculate Mercedes or Bentleys proudly displayed behind velvet ropes.

A rusty sign out front of the site reads “The world’s oldest junkyard jungle, here 80 years.”

Most of this collection is unsalvageable midcentury American steel, and it lays strewn about a forested property in rural Georgia. Over 4,500 cars – most of which are model year 1972 or older – belong to a man who spent his life saving some of America’s classic cars from the crusher. Sometimes-Interesting teams up with a fellow blogger to explore the what and why behind Old Car City U.S.A.

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Categories: Americas, Explained, History

Abandoned Home for the Abandoned: Forest Haven Asylum

Welcome to Forest Haven, one of the most deadly institutions in the United States.

This asylum for the mentally ill was built not far the nation’s capital in 1925, hidden in forested acreage away from the busy city center. The campus was beautiful, however care and treatment would deteriorate rapidly as the city’s budget tightened. Understaffing issues were common, and for decades reports of resident abuse and neglect went ignored.

The District treated Forest Haven like a dark secret nobody wanted to discuss. A combination of budget cuts and lawsuits eventually forced the institution to close in 1991 after 80 years.

But before Forest Haven was shuttered, hundreds of residents died and thousands more deteriorated while enduring a horrific quality of life.

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