From coast to coast, the United States is blanketed by a rich tapestry of abandoned buildings—stately homes left to crumble, churches ravaged by the elements, entire towns lost to time. And while many of these structures eventually find themselves at the mercy of a bulldozer, others are left standing as little more than husks, eerie reminders of what once was.
If you’re eager for a really, really eerie adventure, we’ve rounded up the creepiest abandoned building in every state, from decaying mental institutions to spooky schoolhouses that haven’t seen students in a century.
Alabama: St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Cahaba
Once a thriving antebellum town—and the former capital of Alabama from 1820 to 1826—Cahaba served as a primary distribution point for the cotton trade and then as the location of a prison for Union soldiers during the Civil War. However, after a major flood in 1865, a large number of the town’s occupants fled, leaving many of Cahaba’s former landmarks unoccupied.
Today, several buildings still stand as reminders of this little town’s former glory. One such structure is St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, erected in 1854. This diminutive house of worship was such a pillar in the community that when Cahaba was effectively abandoned, the church was deconstructed and moved to a nearby town, where it remained until 2006. That year, it was once again dismantled and brought back to Cahaba. Visit the town today and, in addition to St. Luke’s, you’ll find numerous abandoned homes, cemeteries, and maybe even a ghost or two.
Alaska: The Kennecott Mines in Kennecott
This abandoned mining camp, located in the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve in Kennecott (the mines make up the entirety of the “town” of Kennecott), produced millions of dollars worth of copper back when it was operational from 1911 to 1938.
The Kennecott Mines were declared a National Historic Landmark in 1986, and the National Park Service has begun to restore the abandoned buildings to make them safe for visitors. However, that won’t do much to change Kennecott’s creepy history—from 1939 until 1952, the town was entirely deserted, except for one family of three who served as its watchmen.
Arizona: The Vulture Mine in Maricopa County
Arizona’s Vulture Mine, which began operating in 1863, produced some 260,000 ounces of silver and established itself as the most productive gold mine in the state’s history. However, upon being deemed “non-essential” by the War Production Board during World War II, the Maricopa County mine was shuttered in 1942. Residents fled Vulture City, leaving a ghost of a town, and mine, behind them.
The abandoned site gained notoriety when it was featured on the Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures in 2010—and though it is privately owned, there are regular tours of the eerie estate. And for more on the architectural history of your home state, check out The Most Popular House Style in Every State.