College · travel

Abandoned Ohio Road Trip

Hey y’all! I hope everyone is either having a good spring break or almost on spring break. I had a two week spring break and it was amazing. While laying around reading all day was relaxing, two weeks got me out of the mindset of school. Today was a rude awakening haha. Anyways, I’ve always had an odd obsession with abandoned places. When I was 8 years old, my parents took my sister and me on a trip around “Weird Ohio” based on the book. We went to Chippewa Lake amusement park, which had closed in 1978 due to lack of business from Cedar Point’s competition. I was fascinated with everything left behind. We saw the old turnstiles at the front gate and the rides that were left to decay. I could get super cheesy and poetic about the beauty of abandoned places; even at eight years old I was left speechless. So, thanks to my parents, I’ve had a desire to take my own road trip around abandoned Ohio. Eleven years later, I did just that.

STEP 1: The Planning

  • Location
  • Is the abandoned sight accessible? Demolished?
  • Possible address/directions

Y’all. The amount of research I did for this trip was intense. I took a couple of hours over the course of four days to feel like I had enough information. First, I knew I wanted this to be a day trip and to be efficient. So I found a starting point and made sure that all of the stops were on the way and that we weren’t driving back and forth. The only downside to this technique is that I could only manage to go around South Eastern Ohio. Anywhere else it would have required a two day trip. I’m planning another one around Northern Ohio, because that’s a gold mine for abandoned places. Okay, so I started a basic search of “abandoned places in Ohio”, now I’m familiar with the common sites that show up because like I said before, this is an obsession for me. Forgotten Ohio became my main source of information. The problem with a site like this is that, while it is super helpful, it’s extremely outdated. Like ten+ years outdated. This is why this process took so long. I’d find something interesting like The Ridges at Athens, Ohio, originally an asylum for the insane. Super interesting. Ohio University have converted every building into various classrooms and dorm buildings, except of course the Tuberculosis ward. I see this and boom I’m hooked, I’m ready to go and explore this building. Knowing that Forgotten Ohio is outdated, I do a Google search of The Ridges. I see a few articles written fairly recently, 2014 and 2015. I even see a few comments from 2016. So I’m thinking OK its a go. I figure out how to get to it, which isn’t hard because it’s a college campus. So I included this into my road trip. Well we get there, find the location pretty quickly, after talking to a student, she informed us that the TB ward had been torn down in 2013. Great. Awesome. I’m ecstatic. How could I have missed this? See, even after the extensive research I did, I still missed a very vital piece of information. Some other sites that I found helpful were Reddit Imaginary Wastelands, Reddit  Abandoned Porn, Ohio Exploration Society, Uncharted Ohio. NOTE; while using the Reddit sites, search “Ohio” and specify: limit my search to /r/AbandonedPorn. Also a simple Google search of whichever location is helpful, various articles are published on these places. These help to find addresses and locations. I also utilized Google Earth to try to locate the sight via satellite. This was super beneficial. I used Tumblr as well and even messaged a few people to try to locate an exact address/specifics of the location. Creating a bookmark folder on your browser specifically for abandoned locations helped me a lot.

STEP 2: Finding your road trip friends.

  • Are they interesting?
  • Are they funny?
  • Reckless?
  • Spontaneous?
  • Okay with breaking the law?

Ladies, as much as I hate saying this, I would recommend taking pepper spray, or other various items to defend yourselves. I also don’t recommend going in groups of two, try to find at least one more person. The more the merrier. Guys, while not necessary, could be helpful in certain situations, but ladies don’t doubt our own abilities.

STEP 3: Take amazing pictures.

Here’s the pictures of the locations I went to. I’ll also link a map of road trip to make visiting these locations easy for y’all!

MAP

Location 1:

 Fairfield County Poorhouse. Located in Lancaster Ohio, OES visited in 2014 so I’d hoped to be able to get in. It’s still standing and is pretty neat structure but every door to the building was locked. There was one “No Trespassing” sign but it was completely faded and hardly legible. The building was cool but overall it was average.

Location 2:

The Logan Round House: If you’ve ever been around the Hocking Hills area you’re probably familiar with this. It’s right passed the hocking hills canoeing building. Aparently it was a prototype for a hurricane resistant house but it was never finished and left abandoned in 1971. It’s a sweet building, but there isn’t much going on inside. The stairs have fallen apart and the inside is entirely collapsed. It’s cool to think about what could have been though.

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Taken by: Julia Bestor
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Taken by: Julia Bestor

Location 3:

The Nelsonville Trainyards: Demolished. If you can consider a trainyard demolished. We walked along the tracks in search of this large building, which should have been obviously pretty easy to spot. We found a historical Ohio sign that explained that the building, presumably the loading station, had been demolished in 2009. But, there are abandoned train cars all along that tracks and we were even able to get inside of one. I had actually never been inside of a train car before, and this one was a double-decker, so it was pretty freaking sweet.

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LOOK AT HOW COOL

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BONUS: While walking along these tracks we saw a couple of abandoned buildings, one was locked but the other was a burned down house. It was still standing and we went inside of one. The history, or to some, junk, that was left behind blew my mind. It’s creepy to think about everything whoever lived there left. I get that there was fire but I’ve always wondered if my house ever burnt down, if I’d leave all of my belongings there or not. It was cool to browse through that homes history.

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Look at that ATARI
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“The Blazing Affair” oh so that’s how this place burned down

Location 4:

The Ridges at Athens Ohio. As I mentioned earlier, this was demolished.

Location 5:

The Moonville Tunnel: Y’ALL. This is located in no mans land. No service. No bars. Nothing. The road, if you can even call it that, is located literally on the side of a cliff (without a guardrail). Now I know Ohio has some crazy hills and country areas. I just wasn’t prepared to drive on a gravel road on the side of a cliff. It was pretty stressful and we were kinda freaking out. We didn’t take the same route out of the area, we would have rather chanced getting lost than facing those steep hills again. I was not warned, because maybe the people I talked to who had visited didn’t go the same route we had, but holy crap, be careful. Anyways, this place was cool. We saw a man wearing a hard hat and carrying a pick axe while parking, but didn’t see him when we walked to the tunnel. So that was a bit unsettling. This used to be a tunnel that a train passed through and it’s said to be haunted. I didn’t read too much into that because I didn’t feel like freaking myself out. The echoes and graffiti inside the tunnel feels endless.

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DCIM100GOPRO
Taken by: Denita Saunders
DCIM100GOPRO
On our way to the Moonville Tunnel. We felt like we were on top of the world. Taken by: Denita Saunders
DCIM100GOPRO
Taken by: Denita Saunders
DCIM100GOPRO
Taken by: Denita Saunders

Location 6:

Ross County Retirement Home: I will be honest, I didn’t do as much research when it came to this location. If you click on the link, you’ll see there is very limited knowledge on this house. We’re unsure what the building was actually used for and I couldn’t locate any info. I managed to find this place pretty easily, the instructions on the site are pretty clear. So we got to the house and it had been raining off and on all day and we see this older man gardening in his underwear. Like full on laying down in his garden, only dressed in his underwear. We were super confused because, hello this place is supposed to be abandoned, so why is there man outside. We pulled to the side of the ride a little passed the place and start looking online through pictures to make sure we were at the right place. We were at the right place so we decided to leave and head to the next street over because a different house looked abandoned. We start to drive passed the retirement home and this mangy dog starts jumping in front of my car barking and stuff. I couldn’t move without hitting the dog, who belongs to the underwear gardening man, so I do this weird brake gas thing and it probably looks funny. But the man is just standing there watching, not yelling at his dog??? Like your dog is two seconds from getting ran over and you’re just standing there in your underwear while its raining? We got out of there as soon as we could.

Location 7:

Unknown Abandoned House: We were curious what this large house was so we parked at the cemetery that I have marked on the map and walked over through the woods. It was really weird and it looked like it used to house animals. We saw a book from the 1970’s so we’re guessing that’s when the place was left to decay. There was something about this place that felt a little more creepy than the previous locations. The other locations, I knew had been visited multiple times, but I had never heard of this place. It was freaky knowing we could be some of the only people to find it. I still got that feeling I always do at abandoned places, but a small part of me was a little scared.

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Taken by: Julia Bestor
Processed with VSCOcam with q1 preset
Taken by: Julia Bestor
Processed with VSCOcam with q1 preset
Taken by: Julia Bestor

I didn’t take pictures at every location we went to, but thankfully my friends did. I’m not a photographer and I don’t try to be. Sometimes I visit places, forget to take pictures, and later regret that decision. I go to these places because I like seeing how nature takes back over. Man can build and build and build but it will collapse. Seeing this buildings, houses, and trains really emphasized the fleetingness of our mark on this world. I’m curious about what once was and what will be. While exploring the past we get an idea of what the future will look like.

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