Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Help Anna get a kidney transplant


Our co-blogger and friend Anna needs our help. Although she was diagnosed with kidney disease a long time ago, during the last months kidney disease took a turn for the worse. She now has to undergo dialysis three times a week, while her symptoms don't allow her to work.

Undergoing kidney transplant would allow her to improve her quality of life and get back to work. It is however one expensive medical procedure and that is why Anna needs our help.

You can read more about Anna and make a donation on gogetfunding.com

Any amount, even $10, would help and go towards her medical treatment.

Thank you a lot for your help and generosity. 

If you donate, make sure you email me at alexanderlrs@gmail.com so I can thank you personally. You can also email me if you have any questions.

- Alex

Monday, October 23, 2017

The abandoned 'Duke of Lancaster' ship in Wales


TSS Duke of Lancaster was one of the last passenger-only steamers built for British Railways back when the company was also a ferry operator. Built at Harland & Wolff, Belfast and completed in 1956, it replaced another ship of the same name, RMS Duke of Lancaster

She primarily operated as a passenger ferry on the Heysham - Belfast route, but as she was also designed to be a cruise ship, she traveled to the Scottish islands and further to Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Norway and Spain. 

From the mid-1960 passenger-only ships were starting to being replaced by car ferries and British Railways decided to gradually convert its ships. In 1970 Duke of Lancaster went back to service after her main deck was rebuilt to accommodate vehicles via a door at her stern. Now, the ship had space for 1,200 single-class passengers and 105 cars, with a total cabin accommodation for 400 passengers.

For the next 9 years, Duke of Lancaster served the Heysham - Belfast route, the Fishguard - Rosslare crossing and the the HolyheadDún Laoghaire service. In 1979 it came out of service and was laid up at Holywell, Wales.

That was when Duke of Lancaster started her second life as 'The Fun Ship', a floating leisure complex. Although the local government was at first in favour of the project, it later became reluctant, refusing to provide numerous licenses on safety concerns. During the 1980's, a series of legal battles took place and The Fun Ship was served by 13 separate Enforcement Notices. In 1990 the local government lost on their actions at the hands of the Secretary of State for Wales and were ordered to pay unprecedented costs.

This wasn't the end though. In 1994 local government struck once more claiming monopoly
rights and taking the case to the High Court. This forced The Fun Ship to shut down while proceedings were taking place. Finally in 2004, sick by decades of attacks, the owners decided to permanently shut the ship down. 

Since then there has been a lot of discussion about what needs to be done with the abandoned ship. Although its interior is said to be in good condition, the exterior is rusty as it's been left exposed to the elements. In 2012 a graffiti artist decided to create the largest outdoor graffiti gallery by starting painting on the sides of the ship. Today though most of the art has either faded or painted over. 


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Monday, October 16, 2017

An abandoned (literally) underground music hall in Boston


Boston's Piano Row is a historic district known for its piano showrooms built in the late 19th century. There, piano dealers M. Steinert & Sons own the building standing at No162 Boylston Street. The six-story building was designed by architects Winslow & Wetherell  and it was erected in 1896 by company employee Alexander Steinert.

Four stories below the ground, the building features Steinert Hall, a now abandoned concert auditorium designed in the Adam-style with fluted Corinthian pilasters separating round arches. In the early 20th century, the 'Little Jewel' as Steinart Hall was called, was considered headquarters for the musical and artistic world of cultured Boston. Among those who performed there, 40 feet below ground, were Josef Lhévinne, Josef Hofmann, Harold Bauer, Fritz KreislerIgnacy Jan Paderewski and Sergei Rachmaninoff.

The last performance was given in 1942 as the hall closed due to new stricter fire code restrictions enforced after the 1942 Cocoanut Grove Nightclub fire and a prohibitive cost of updating the hall.

In 2015, it was reported that the new owners of the building were hoping to restore Steinart Hall and open it again as a concert hall. 







Monday, October 9, 2017

The abandoned Hagedorn Psychiatric Hospital in New Jersey

New Jersey's Hagedorn Psychiatric Hospital is a recently abandoned hospital, since the state of New Jersey shut it down in 2011. The hospital has a history dating back to 1907 when the state opened its first sanatorium near Glen Gardner, in rural New Jersey. 

Back then, it was a modern facility able to treat 500 tuberculosis patients annually. Between 1907 and 1929 more than 10,000 people were treated in the sanatorium. Although at first the hospital would accept only "curable" patients, by the 1920's it accepted all cases, regardless of severity. In 1950, after new TB treatments had emerged, the sanatorium broaden its scope of treatments to include all chest diseases. The hospital finally shut down in the 1970's and was left to fall apart.

In 1977, a new gero-psychiatric hospital, named after Senator Garrett W. Hagedorn in 1986, was built next to the old abandoned sanatorium. The new hospital was a a state nursing home and a 288-bed psychiatric hospital. In 2011, New Jersey governor Chis Christie announced that the hospital would shut down as part of an effort to save $9 million a year in expenses.





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Monday, October 2, 2017

An airplane graveyard in Bangkok


Between car repair shops and apartment buildings, a small airplane graveyard has appeared in Bangkok, Thailand. The first fuselage parts, the nose sections of two Boeing 747s appeared sometime around January 2010. By 2014, two MD-82 jetliners formerly operated by Orient Thai Airlines were added. One of them had been involved in a fatal 89 person crash at Phuket International Airport in 2007.

The planes have been slowly stripped of some parts like seats, interior paneling, TV sets, and overhead compartments and it is said that the yard's owner is selling different parts for scrap. It has also been reported that a businessman wanted to convert the interior of a plane into a bar but these plans failed. 

From time to time homeless families have used the abandoned planes as shelter. Today, the yard's owner allows those curious to look around the planes for a small fee.



SEE ALSO: More abandoned airplanes and airports around the world // More abandoned places in Thailand // LIST OF ALL DESERTED PLACES
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Monday, September 25, 2017

Herschel Island: The abandoned island of the Arctic


In the north of Canada, 5 km (3 miles) away from the shore, there's an abandoned island with long history but no population. Herschel Island, known as Qikiqtaruk ("island") in the Inuvialuktun language, had been inhabited by Thule people for at least 1,000 years according to archaeological excavations. The first European who set foot on the island was Sir John Franklin on 15 July, 1826. At that time the island was a base for whaling, fishing and hunting and was inhabited by 200 to 2000 people.

In the late 19th century, Herschel Island became a whaling base after whalers discovered that the Beaufort Sea was one of the last refuges of the depleted bowhead whale. At the height of the Beaufort Sea whaling period (1893–94) the number of residents on the island was estimated at 1,500, making it the largest Yukon community at that time. That was also when a number of buildings still standing today were built on the island. The most prominent of those was Community House built in 1893. It included a recreation room, an office for the manager and storekeeper, and storage facilities. Today it is well preserved and it's the island's visitor center. Another building, known as the Bonehouse which was built in the mid-1890s as a storehouse for baleen (whalebone) was were the first court case in the Arctic took place in 1924. 

Whaling subsided after the first decades of the 20th century but Herschel island saw some renewed activity in the 1970s when it became a temporary safe harbour for oil-drilling ships. The last family permanently living there left the island in 1987. From that year, Qikiqtaruk Territorial Park was established, encompassing the whole island. It is jointly managed by The Government of Yukon and the Inuvialuit. The park is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, protected as a cultural and also natural site.





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Monday, September 18, 2017

The abandoned trains of an old British railway station in Brazil


A few miles outside Sao Paulo, sits the picturesque village of Paranapiacaba. It was established in the middle of the 19th century by the British-owned São Paulo Railway Company. Designed by Jeremy Bentham according to a prison model style, it was the operational headquarters of the British railway company.

The British had built the zig-zag railway line in the hilly terrain to export coffee beans from the area through the port Santos. For 30 years Paranapiacaba prospered and at one time about 4,000 workers, mostly British citizens, lived there. When automated machines replaced the funicular, the population declined and many buildings were abandoned. The last steam train was decommissioned in 1982. 

Even though only about 1,000 people live in Paranapiacaba today, the village's abandoned buildings have been well preserved as the government of Brazil has declared it a historic district and has promoted tourism.  

Monday, September 11, 2017

Europe's largest abandoned underground military air base


It used to be one of the largest military complexes in Europe but it was destructed to keep it from falling into the enemy's hands. Željava Air Base was built by Yugoslavia's communist government starting in 1948 just on the border between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina

Known by the code name 'Objekat 505', construction took about 20 years and cost approximately $6 billion, making it one of the largest and most expensive military construction projects in Europe. Yugoslavia's communist government chose the site, below Mount Pljesevica, for its strategic location. The role of the facility was to establish, integrate, and coordinate a nationwide early warning radar network for Yugoslavia, similar to the American NORAD. With radars on top of the mountain, the base was built in an ideal location.

The facility had 5 runways and within the immediate vicinity of the base, there were numerous short-range mobile tracking and targeting radars, surface to air missile sites, mobile surface-to-air missile interceptor systems, and various other supporting facilities. 

What made this base special though were its underground facilities. The tunnels ran a total length of 3.5 kilometers (2.2 miles) and the bunker had four entrances protected by 100-ton pressurized doors, three of which were customized for use by fixed-wing aircraft. The complex included an underground water source, power generators, crew quarters and other strategic military facilities. It also housed a mess hall that could feed 1,000 people simultaneously, along with enough food, fuel, and arms to last 30 days without resupply. Fuel was supplied by a 20-kilometer (12.4 mile) underground pipe network.

The airbase was last used extensively during the Yugoslav Wars. In 1991, the Yugoslav People's Army destroyed the runways during its withdrawal by filling pre-built spaces for this purpose with explosives and detonating them. The destruction was completed the following year by the forces of the Military of Serbian Krajina which detonated an additional 56 tons of explosives, to make the facilities unusable by the enemies.

The destruction of the base caused serious environmental damage in the area. It is said that there are still undetonated explosives in the vicinity of the base and accidents have occurred periodically. Today the former military base serves as a waypoint for illegal immigrants while the local government has launched an initiative to use one of the runways as an airport.




Monday, September 4, 2017

Inside North Korea's abandoned 'Hotel of Doom'


It was supposed to become the world's tallest hotel. Instead, it became the world's tallest abandoned building. The pyramid-shaped Ryugyong Hotel is 330 metres (1,080 ft) tall and one of the most prominent features of Pyongyang's skyline. The structure consists of 105 floors and it was originally intended to house five revolving restaurants, and between 3,000 to 7,665 guest rooms

Construction began in 1987 and it was North Korea's response to other high-rise development taking place in cities around the West and Asia during the Cold War. For North Korean leadership, it was also an attempt to bring western investors into the marketplace. The hotel was scheduled to open in June 1989 for the 13th World Festival of Youth and Students, but problems with building methods and materials delayed completion.

In 1992, after it reached its architectural height, construction halted due to the economic crisis and famine in North Korea following the collapse of the Soviet bloc. By then, the hotel's construction cost $750 million, consuming 2% of North Korea's GDP. For over a decade, the unfinished building sat vacant and without windows, fixtures, or fittings, appearing as a massive concrete shell while A rusting construction crane remained at the top.

In 2008, construction resumed by the Egyptian Orascom company. The company had also made a deal to operate North Korea's telecommunications network and installed antennas on top of the building. By 2011 work had finished. Ryogyong Hotel was fitted with windows but not much work had taken place in the hotel's interior. Since then, there have been many rumors of the hotel finally opening but until today it remains unoccupied. 





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Monday, August 28, 2017

West Virginia's amusement park of death


Haunted or not, the Lake Shawnee Amusement Park in Lake Shawnee, West Virginia, has seen its fair share of death and suffering, which begun even before the small amusement park was built. 

Formerly, it was the site of the Clay family massacre. Until 1783, Mercer County was home to a Native American tribe. When a European family attempted to settle the land, a turf war began. One day, while the family's patriarch, farmer Mitchel Clay was away hunting, the natives murdered his family, including his youngest son Bartley, while his daughter Tabitha was knifed to death in the struggle and his eldest son Ezekial was kidnapped and burned at the stake. After burying his family, Mitchel Clay assembled a group of white settlers and took revenge by murdering several Native Americans. 

Centuries later, the tragic history of the site didn't stop a businessman named Conley T. Snidow from buying the site of the Clay farm in order to turn it into an amusement park. The park included a swing set, a Ferris wheel, and a pond for swimming. Then, more deaths followed. 

A little girl in a pink dress was killed after climbing into the circling swing set. Another time, a little drowned in the amusement park’s swimming pond. In total, 6 people died inside the amusement park. In 1966, Lake Shawnee Amusement Park was abandoned.

Its new owner claims that the amusement park is haunted and you can hear the wooden swings creak even if they don't move, while sometimes the seats start moving when you get near them. He says that he's even seen a little girl covered in blood. Unsurprisingly, he offers paid tours of the "haunted" amusement park.