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Buried from the public: Hart Island, New York

September 20, 2014 47 comments

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At first glance this modest island in New York appears unremarkable. The 131-acre dark speck of land has crumbling buildings, is off-limits to the public, and has not been occupied for the last forty years. Area residents might know of Long Island Sound’s Hart Island, but few are familiar with its long-standing mission as the largest – and least visited – burial ground in the United States.

For one hundred and fifty years the island has also been home to a prisoner of war camp, an insane asylum, a quarantine facility, a tuberculosis sanatorium, a boy’s reformatory, a disciplinary barracks, a Nike Ajax missile base, and a narcotics rehabilitation center. Read more…

Abandoned Nuclear Project: Marble Hill, Indiana

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Thirty five miles northeast of Louisville, Kentucky on the Indiana side of the Ohio River, a 987-acre property with crumbling structures sits abandoned. The land is the former site of the Marble Hill Nuclear Power Station, an unfinished plant which would have been the only operational nuclear power-generating facility in Indiana.

But construction was halted – then completely abandoned – in 1984. Skyrocketing construction costs ultimately doomed the project. A change in social attitudes toward nuclear energy, increasing liabilities for the operator, and an internal scandal all helped contribute to the largest failed capital spending project in Indiana state history.

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The Domes of Cape Romano, Florida

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Five miles south of Marco Island near Naples, Florida, six igloo-shaped buildings appear to slowly march into the sea. The deteriorating domes of Cape Romano have been rumored to be the work of extra-terrestrials, a community home of a secret cult, or a clandestine research facility protected by guards with machine guns.

In truth it was a cutting edge home, designed and built by an enigmatic visionary with an eye for the eco-friendly and a goal of minimizing his carbon footprint.

Abandoned in the early 1990s, Cape Romano’s Dome Home has endured several hurricanes and tropical storms – but it has been unable to win the war against erosion. Read more…

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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