Abandoned Mount Umunhum Cube (Defunct CA Radar Base Opens to Public)

The abandoned Mount Umunhum Cube radar tower near Los Gatos, California, is now part of a tourist attraction.(Image: Jason Hickey. The abandoned Mount Umunhum Cube near )

As we move towards the third decade of the 21st century, the West Coast of the Continental United States seems a world away from the threat of air strikes that hung like a dark cloud over Europe during the decades of the Cold War. But the long-abandoned Mount Umunhum Cube serves as a reminder of just how seriously such threats were taken.

Mount Umunhum Cube was part of a Cold War early warning station built around 1957 and abandoned in 1980.(Image: Dawn Ellner)

Dominating the summit of California’s Mount Umunhum, the fourth highest peak in the Santa Cruz Mountains, the stark concrete “Cube” is actually a disused radar tower that once formed part of Almaden Air Force Station, a Cold War early warning base that operated between 1957 and 1980.

The Mount Um Cube (or Mount Umunhum Cube Box) once supported a large radar that scanned the Bay Area skies for hostile Soviet aircraft.(Image: Rairden)

Also known as “the Box”, the five-storey Mount Umunhum Cube cuts a foreboding shadow over the mountain, and according to Atlas Obscura has become a well-known Bay Area landmark. The Cube was built in 1962 as part of the General Surveillance Radar station, six miles southeast of Los Gatos, California.

Example of a Avco AN/FPS-24 Radar.(Image: USAF. Example of an AN/FPS-24 Radar.)

Tasked with monitoring the skies for hostile Soviet aircraft during the tense days of the Cold War, the abandoned concrete structure once supported a long range AN/FPS-24 Search Radar. The early warning station was one of many built by the West in the decades after World War Two.

(Image: Derek Wolfgram)

But the Mount Umunhum Cube was left to fall into ruin when Almaden Air Force Station was eventually closed down in 1980. In the years since, this unmistakable local landmark has been boarded up, its eerie concrete form becoming increasingly neglected and off-limits to curious members of the public.

(Image: Don DeBold)

After years of decay, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors voted in May 2016 to add the Mount Umunhum Box to the County Heritage Resource Inventory, protecting it from demolition and ridding the area around it of hazardous materials and the crumbling vestiges of the mountain’s military past.

(Image: Thomson20192)

The summit of Mount Umunhum (Mount Um to locals) reopened to the public on September 18th for the first time in decades. As Atlas Obscura writes, visitors can now “drive to the summit and park near the Cube, as well as enjoy new trails and a ceremonial space honoring the site’s Native American history.”

(Image: rulenumberone2)

Related: Cold Warning: The Abandoned Radar Stations of the Arctic Circle

The post Abandoned Mount Umunhum Cube (Defunct CA Radar Base Opens to Public) appeared first on Urban Ghosts Media.

Winston Churchill’s Half-Smoked Cigar Sells for $12,000

Winston Churchill's half-smoked cigar has sold for $12,000(Image: German Federal Archives. Winston Churchill’s half-smoked cigar has sold for $12,000)

A half-finished cigar might not seem like the most likely lot to sell for more than $12,000 (£9,000) at auction. But this cigar was smoked by UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill on a visit to Paris in 1947.

The personalised La Corona cigar from Havana, Cuba, was found at Le Bourget Airport by a British airman named Corporal William Alan Turner. Cpl Turner kept the cigar, which is boasts Churchill’s name on the label.

The Independent reported: “Also included in the online auction was a photo signed by the prime minister that shows him with the cigar in his hand at the airport.”

Winston Churchill was a well-known cigar aficionado and was rarely seen without one during the Second World War. He was also an enthusiastic drinker, once rounding off a 21 hour marathon debate in the House of Commons with a breakfast of sausage, eggs and bacon, followed by a whisky and soda “and the inevitable cigar.”

He was 76-years-old at the time.

The post Winston Churchill’s Half-Smoked Cigar Sells for $12,000 appeared first on Urban Ghosts Media.

Winston Churchill’s Half-Smoked Cigar Sells for $12,000

Winston Churchill's half-smoked cigar has sold for $12,000(Image: German Federal Archives. Winston Churchill’s half-smoked cigar has sold for $12,000)

A half-finished cigar might not seem like the most likely lot to sell for more than $12,000 (£9,000) at auction. But this cigar was smoked by UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill on a visit to Paris in 1947.

The personalised La Corona cigar from Havana, Cuba, was found at Le Bourget Airport by a British airman named Corporal William Alan Turner. Cpl Turner kept the cigar, which is boasts Churchill’s name on the label.

The Independent reported: “Also included in the online auction was a photo signed by the prime minister that shows him with the cigar in his hand at the airport.”

Winston Churchill was a well-known cigar aficionado and was rarely seen without one during the Second World War. He was also an enthusiastic drinker, once rounding off a 21 hour marathon debate in the House of Commons with a breakfast of sausage, eggs and bacon, followed by a whisky and soda “and the inevitable cigar.”

He was 76-years-old at the time.

The post Winston Churchill’s Half-Smoked Cigar Sells for $12,000 appeared first on Urban Ghosts Media.

Silent Amphitheatre in Dovinė River Park, Lithuania

The silent amphitheatre in Dovinė River Park, Lithuania.(Image: Vilensija. Silent amphitheatre in Dovinė River Park, Lithuania)

In the woodland of Dovinė River Park in Lithania’s Marijampolė Municipality, this neglected open-air theatre makes for a surprisingly pleasant scene amid the trees and foliage. Unkempt grass has consumed the ground between the amphitheatre’s simple wooden benches, and the scene is blanketed by a layer of autumn leaves. The stage itself boasts a liberal coating of graffiti. Or perhaps it’s a scenic hangover from the last performance held here. It may not be as grand as the ruined amphitheatres of Ancient Rome (which we’ve explored previously). Abandoned or simply closed for the winter, it makes for an interesting landmark in the park.

Animal statue in Dovinė River Park, Marijampolė Municipality, Lithuania.(Image: Vilensija)

Marijampolė is one of 60 municipalities that make up Lithuania. Its territory spans the town of Marijampolė itself, and six surrounding communities. Other attractions in Dovinė River Park include the statue above.

The post Silent Amphitheatre in Dovinė River Park, Lithuania appeared first on Urban Ghosts Media.

Silent Amphitheatre in Dovinė River Park, Lithuania

The silent amphitheatre in Dovinė River Park, Lithuania.(Image: Vilensija. Silent amphitheatre in Dovinė River Park, Lithuania)

In the woodland of Dovinė River Park in Lithania’s Marijampolė Municipality, this neglected open-air theatre makes for a surprisingly pleasant scene amid the trees and foliage. Unkempt grass has consumed the ground between the amphitheatre’s simple wooden benches, and the scene is blanketed by a layer of autumn leaves. The stage itself boasts a liberal coating of graffiti. Or perhaps it’s a scenic hangover from the last performance held here. It may not be as grand as the ruined amphitheatres of Ancient Rome (which we’ve explored previously). Abandoned or simply closed for the winter, it makes for an interesting landmark in the park.

Animal statue in Dovinė River Park, Marijampolė Municipality, Lithuania.(Image: Vilensija)

Marijampolė is one of 60 municipalities that make up Lithuania. Its territory spans the town of Marijampolė itself, and six surrounding communities. Other attractions in Dovinė River Park include the statue above.

The post Silent Amphitheatre in Dovinė River Park, Lithuania appeared first on Urban Ghosts Media.

Gate to Arakül: Near Ghost Village in Azerbaijan’s Khojavend District

The gate to Arakül (also known as Arakel) ghost town in Azerbaijan, which was occupied by the Armenian Army in 1993 during the Nagorno-Karabakh War.(Image: Unface-Photography Holger Diedrich. Arakül ghost town in Azerbaijan)

This haunting image featured on Wikimedia Commons (by Holger Diedrich) shows the neglected approach to a village that has is described as “almost abandoned”. The lonely gate itself, which is devoid of life and straddles an apparently deserted roadway, could be the stuff of a Hollywood back lot. But this is actually the entrance to Arakül, a near deserted settlement in the Khojavend District of Azerbaijan.

The district is also known as the Hadrut Region of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, an unrecognised state in the South Caucasus on the border of Europe and Asia. Arakül (also known as Arakel) was reportedly occupied by the Armenian Army in 1993, as the bloody Nagorno-Karabakh War neared its end game.

The ruined church at Arakel St. Mariam Astvatsatsin(Image: Unface-Photography Holger Diedrich)

Hundreds of thousands of civilians were displayed on both sides during the violent territorial dispute, and today villages like Arakül are near ghost towns amid the aftermath of one of several frozen conflicts in the former Soviet Union. The above photograph shows the ruined church at Arakel St. Mariam Astvatsatsin.

Local folklore holds that Arakül (or Arakel) was named after Thaddeus, patron saint of the Armenian Apostolic Church, stayed there while preaching to the Armenians. Thaddeus is also identified as Judas Thaddeus, and better known in the Roman Catholic Church as St Jude, the patron saint of lost causes.

Related: Ghost Towns: 20 Haunting Abandoned Villages of the World

The post Gate to Arakül: Near Ghost Village in Azerbaijan’s Khojavend District appeared first on Urban Ghosts Media.

Gate to Arakül: Near Ghost Village in Azerbaijan’s Khojavend District

The gate to Arakül (also known as Arakel) ghost town in Azerbaijan, which was occupied by the Armenian Army in 1993 during the Nagorno-Karabakh War.(Image: Unface-Photography Holger Diedrich. Arakül ghost town in Azerbaijan)

This haunting image featured on Wikimedia Commons (by Holger Diedrich) shows the neglected approach to a village that has is described as “almost abandoned”. The lonely gate itself, which is devoid of life and straddles an apparently deserted roadway, could be the stuff of a Hollywood back lot. But this is actually the entrance to Arakül, a near deserted settlement in the Khojavend District of Azerbaijan.

The district is also known as the Hadrut Region of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, an unrecognised state in the South Caucasus on the border of Europe and Asia. Arakül (also known as Arakel) was reportedly occupied by the Armenian Army in 1993, as the bloody Nagorno-Karabakh War neared its end game.

The ruined church at Arakel St. Mariam Astvatsatsin(Image: Unface-Photography Holger Diedrich)

Hundreds of thousands of civilians were displayed on both sides during the violent territorial dispute, and today villages like Arakül are near ghost towns amid the aftermath of one of several frozen conflicts in the former Soviet Union. The above photograph shows the ruined church at Arakel St. Mariam Astvatsatsin.

Local folklore holds that Arakül (or Arakel) was named after Thaddeus, patron saint of the Armenian Apostolic Church, stayed there while preaching to the Armenians. Thaddeus is also identified as Judas Thaddeus, and better known in the Roman Catholic Church as St Jude, the patron saint of lost causes.

Related: Ghost Towns: 20 Haunting Abandoned Villages of the World

The post Gate to Arakül: Near Ghost Village in Azerbaijan’s Khojavend District appeared first on Urban Ghosts Media.

Navagio: Abandoned MV Panagiotis on Shipwreck Beach

"Navagio" (Shipwreck) Beach is home to the wreck of MV Panagiotis(Image: Walkerssk. “Navagio” is home to the wreck of MV Panagiotis)

According to Adventurous Travels, this isolated cove boasts one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Navagio, or Shipwreck Beach, is nestled in a remote location amid the sheer white cliffs of Zakynthos, in the Ionian Islands of Greece. And true to its name, Navagio is home to the twisted wreck of MV Panagiotis, a 1930s Scots-built coaster that was abandoned after running aground in 1980.

Abandoned MV Panagiotis in Navagio (Shipwreck) Bay(Image: Badgernet. Abandoned MV Panagiotis in Navagio (Shipwreck) Bay)

The only way to reach Shipwreck Beach is by boat (though there is a viewing platform on the clifftop above), which is all well and good. The water is a clear blue that matches the sky, and the white sand is wonderfully pristine. What could possibly spoil it, other than the hoards of tourists visiting the beach that took its name from the rusting remains that have laid there for almost 40 years.

(Image: KatarzynaTyl)

MV Panagoitis was launched in 1937 by Scott & Sons of Bowling, on the north bank of Scotland’s Firth of Clyde. Originally named MV Saint Bedan, the 157-ft-long coastal trading vessel weighed in at 452 gross register tons and was fitted with a fitted with a 500 bhp diesel engine manufactured by British Auxiliaries Ltd.

Navagio (Shipwreck) Beach on the Greek island of Zakynthos(Image: kristijan_meh)

The Panagiotis passed through several owners over the decades, and was ultimately registered at the Greek port of Piraeus. Her service life came to an end on October 1, 1980 when she ran aground on Zakynthos in a storm. Just how the ship ended up on what soon became known as Navagio Beach has until recently been a source of speculation.

(Image: Skyscraper. Map of Zakynthos showing the location of Navagio)

One version of events claims the Panagiotis ran aground while being chased by the Greek authorities, who suspected the ship of carrying a cargo of contraband cigarettes and alcohol. When MV Panagiotis struck the seabed, the smugglers were allegedly brought to justice, and the vessel was abandoned on ‘Shipwreck Beach’.

(Image: Steve N)

But this story was debunked last year by the Greek Reporter, which said that its former captain had explained what really happened amid news the historic landmark is set to undergo conservation work.

The website wrote: “Signage will be constructed to give greater insight into the history of the wreck that many mistakenly believe belonged to a ship smuggling contraband, cigarettes, wine, and women. Captain Charalambos Kompothekras-Kotsoris, however, recently came out with the real story of how his ship ran into disaster due to bad weather conditions and mechanical failure on October 2, 1980, while traveling from the isle of Kefalonia to Albania.”

(Image: nistorarmin)

The Panagiotis was initially seen as an environmental hazard before its locals noted its tourist appeal. Interestingly, Bowling Harbour in West Dunbartonshire, where the coaster originally called MV Saint Bedan was built, is itself now home to myriad abandoned vessels from decades past, beached and rotting away on the banks of the Clyde.

The post Navagio: Abandoned MV Panagiotis on Shipwreck Beach appeared first on Urban Ghosts Media.

Abandoned Fort Ord: Once “America’s Most Beautiful Army Base”

The now largely abandoned Fort Ord military base in 1941(Image: USAAC. The now largely abandoned Fort Ord military base in 1941)

Atlas Obscura called it “America’s most beautiful Army base”, and it’s easy to see why. Fort Ord was established in 1917 and occupies 45 acres of land along Monterey Bay, on the California coast. In its heyday, it was home to more than 50,000 active duty troops at a time.

Soldiers training in abandoned Fort Ord buildings(Image: DirectorG. Soldiers training in abandoned Fort Ord buildings)

The now largely-abandoned army base was initially dedicated to field artillery training. The facility was originally named Camp Ord for the Union Army Major General Edward Otho Cresap Ord. Horse cavalry continued to be trained there until the army made the shift to mechanised warfare. By the time the menacing spectre of World War Two loomed on the horizon, Camp Ord became Fort Ord and home to the 7th Infantry Division.

(Image: Torml)

Over the decades, Fort Ord remained am important part of the US military’s infrastructure. It was a staging ground for troops being deployed to combat in the Korean and Vietnam wars, as well as peacetime deployments to Japan, Thailand, South Korea, and the Philippines.

(Image: Bureau of Land Management)

The storied military base only approached the end of its operational lifespan in 1988, when President George W. Bush approved the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) legislation that would ultimately see Fort Ord shut down in 1994.

(Image: Torml. A line of disused barrack blocks)

Part of the reason for its record-breaking closure – it was the largest military base to close down at the time – was a discovery made by the Environmental Protection Agency. Underground storage tanks that were used to store waste materials from the base and the surrounding areas were leaking into the groundwater. Rectifying the spillage became a national priority.

The surviving Fort Ord Station Veterinary Hospital(Image: Chrismcelwain. The surviving veterinary hospital)

Atlas Obscura estimates that around 20 percent of the mostly abandoned Fort Ord’s original buildings still standing. Fortunately, these include some important pieces of history, such as the Fort Ord Station Veterinary Hospital, which was built in 1941 to oversee the care of the 1,400 horses belonging to the 76th Field Artillery Regiment.

Fort Ord National Monument by Monterey Bay in California.(Image: Bureau of Land Management. Fort Ord National Monument)

It remains the only World War Two-era medical facility dedicated to the care of the military’s horses still in existence, although some of the nearby stables were demolished in 2011. Tours are occasionally given and, nearby, a strip of land was designated Fort Ord Dunes States Park. In 2012, President Barack Obama established the Fort Ord National Monument, forever preserving this important relic of American military history.

Read Next: 10 Historic Border Fortifications & Military Defences of Wartime Europe

The post Abandoned Fort Ord: Once “America’s Most Beautiful Army Base” appeared first on Urban Ghosts Media.

Abandoned Fort Ord: Once “America’s Most Beautiful Army Base”

The now largely abandoned Fort Ord military base in 1941(Image: USAAC. The now largely abandoned Fort Ord military base in 1941)

Atlas Obscura called it “America’s most beautiful Army base”, and it’s easy to see why. Fort Ord was established in 1917 and occupies 45 acres of land along Monterey Bay, on the California coast. In its heyday, it was home to more than 50,000 active duty troops at a time.

Soldiers training in abandoned Fort Ord buildings(Image: DirectorG. Soldiers training in abandoned Fort Ord buildings)

The now largely-abandoned army base was initially dedicated to field artillery training. The facility was originally named Camp Ord for the Union Army Major General Edward Otho Cresap Ord. Horse cavalry continued to be trained there until the army made the shift to mechanised warfare. By the time the menacing spectre of World War Two loomed on the horizon, Camp Ord became Fort Ord and home to the 7th Infantry Division.

(Image: Torml)

Over the decades, Fort Ord remained am important part of the US military’s infrastructure. It was a staging ground for troops being deployed to combat in the Korean and Vietnam wars, as well as peacetime deployments to Japan, Thailand, South Korea, and the Philippines.

(Image: Bureau of Land Management)

The storied military base only approached the end of its operational lifespan in 1988, when President George W. Bush approved the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) legislation that would ultimately see Fort Ord shut down in 1994.

(Image: Torml. A line of disused barrack blocks)

Part of the reason for its record-breaking closure – it was the largest military base to close down at the time – was a discovery made by the Environmental Protection Agency. Underground storage tanks that were used to store waste materials from the base and the surrounding areas were leaking into the groundwater. Rectifying the spillage became a national priority.

The surviving Fort Ord Station Veterinary Hospital(Image: Chrismcelwain. The surviving veterinary hospital)

Atlas Obscura estimates that around 20 percent of the mostly abandoned Fort Ord’s original buildings still standing. Fortunately, these include some important pieces of history, such as the Fort Ord Station Veterinary Hospital, which was built in 1941 to oversee the care of the 1,400 horses belonging to the 76th Field Artillery Regiment.

Fort Ord National Monument by Monterey Bay in California.(Image: Bureau of Land Management. Fort Ord National Monument)

It remains the only World War Two-era medical facility dedicated to the care of the military’s horses still in existence, although some of the nearby stables were demolished in 2011. Tours are occasionally given and, nearby, a strip of land was designated Fort Ord Dunes States Park. In 2012, President Barack Obama established the Fort Ord National Monument, forever preserving this important relic of American military history.

Read Next: 10 Historic Border Fortifications & Military Defences of Wartime Europe

The post Abandoned Fort Ord: Once “America’s Most Beautiful Army Base” appeared first on Urban Ghosts Media.