Abandoned Places in PA: Explore Pennsylvania’s Forgotten Relics

Abandoned Places in PA: Explore Pennsylvania’s Forgotten Relics


Pennsylvania, known for its rich history and industrial heritage, holds a secret world of forgotten relics—abandoned places that offer a unique blend of history, mystery, and eerie beauty. In this guide, we’ll delve into the allure of abandoned locations, discuss safety measures for exploring them, explore the historical context of abandonment in Pennsylvania, and unveil the top 10 abandoned places in the state.

The Appeal of Abandoned Places

Abandoned places have an inexplicable allure that draws adventurers, historians, and photographers alike. They offer a glimpse into the past, with crumbling architecture and decaying remnants telling stories of days gone by. The eerie yet captivating atmosphere of these places makes them a magnet for urban explorers and creatives seeking inspiration.

Safety Precautions for Exploring Abandoned Places

While abandoned places can be enchanting, safety should be paramount. Proper preparation includes wearing sturdy footwear, carrying essential safety gear like flashlights and first-aid kits, and informing someone about your location and estimated return time. Always respect posted signs and avoid trespassing on private property.

The History of Abandoned Places in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania’s history is deeply intertwined with industrialization, and this is mirrored in its many abandoned sites. The rise and fall of industries, economic shifts, and population changes have left a legacy of abandonment. Understanding this history adds depth to the exploration of these sites.

abandoned places in pa

Top 10 Abandoned Places in PA

1. Eastern State Penitentiary:

Hidden behind towering stone walls, Eastern State Penitentiary stands as a haunting relic of Pennsylvania’s penal history. This Gothic-inspired prison, which once housed notorious criminals like Al Capone, is renowned for its eerie architecture. Visitors can explore its crumbling cellblocks and solitary confinement chambers, a chilling reminder of the past.

2. Carrie Furnace:

The Carrie Furnace, nestled on the banks of the Monongahela River, is a testament to Pittsburgh’s industrial might. Towering blast furnaces and rusted machinery dominate the landscape, creating a post-apocalyptic atmosphere. This site provides a unique opportunity to witness the grandeur of America’s steel industry at its peak.

3. Centralia:

Centralia is a town that time forgot, its streets eerily deserted due to an underground mine fire that has been burning since 1962. Smoke drifts from fissures in the ground, and a web of cracked roads weaves through the empty lots where homes once stood. It’s a chilling, real-life ghost town with a tragic past.

4. Pennhurst State School and Hospital:

Pennhurst is a sprawling institution with a dark history of patient mistreatment. Abandoned for decades, its decaying buildings and overgrown grounds echo with the ghosts of the past. Exploring this site offers a glimpse into the dark chapter of America’s mental health care system.

5. Bethlehem Steel Plant:

The Bethlehem Steel Plant, once a symbol of American industrial prowess, now stands as a massive industrial graveyard. Enormous rusting structures loom over the landscape, casting shadows on the remnants of a once-thriving steel town. It’s a testament to the rise and fall of an industry that shaped the nation.

abandoned places in pa

6. Eckley Miners’ Village:

Eckley Miners’ Village is a perfectly preserved coal mining town that seems frozen in time. Its well-maintained buildings and streets offer a window into the lives of coal miners in the late 19th century. It’s a living museum of Pennsylvania’s mining heritage.

7. Letchworth Village:

Letchworth Village, once an institution for individuals with developmental disabilities, now sits in eerie silence. Nature has reclaimed much of the sprawling campus, and the decaying buildings tell a haunting story of abandonment and neglect.

8. Silo City:

Though technically just over the border in Buffalo, New York, Silo City is a must-visit for urban explorers in Pennsylvania. This industrial complex has been repurposed as an art and culture hub, with towering grain silos serving as canvas and stage. It’s a unique blend of history, art, and creativity.

9. Glen Onoko Falls Trail:

Glen Onoko Falls Trail offers a different kind of exploration. This hiking trail winds through a lush forest and reveals the remnants of an old resort, including stone staircases and the moss-covered remains of cottages. The trail culminates in breathtaking waterfalls, providing a serene contrast to the other abandoned places on this list.

10. Scranton Lace Company:

The Scranton Lace Company, an elegant lace manufacturing plant, reflects the industrial heritage of Scranton. Its ornate architecture and vast, empty spaces make it a paradise for photographers seeking beauty in decay. It’s a symbol of the city’s industrial past.

abandoned places in pa

How to Find Abandoned Places

Uncovering these hidden gems often requires joining online communities dedicated to urban exploration. Websites, forums, and social media groups provide valuable information about access, conditions, and the history of these sites. Always prioritize safety and ethical exploration.

Photography Tips

Photographing abandoned places can be a rewarding experience. Capture the contrast between decay and beauty, play with lighting, and focus on unique details. Remember to be respectful of the location and its history while snapping your shots.

Preserving Abandoned Places

Preservation efforts are vital to protect these historic sites from further decay or destruction. Many organizations and individuals work tirelessly to preserve the heritage of these places. Consider supporting their initiatives to ensure future generations can also appreciate these relics.


Pennsylvania’s abandoned places offer a captivating journey through time, a chance to witness the past through decaying structures, and a source of artistic inspiration. Whether you’re an urban explorer or a history enthusiast, these locations hold a unique charm. As you plan your visit, remember to prioritize safety and respect for these remnants of Pennsylvania’s past.

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