The Deserted Ghost Town of Flat, Alaska

Now a deserted ghost town, Flat, Alaska is pictured here back in 1911 when the settlement was a vibrant mining community. (Image: Lomen Bros. Flat, Alaska pictured in 1911)

The post office in Flat, Alaska closed in 2004, and the 2010 census recorded the Otter Creek ghost town’s population as zero. But though Flat’s population may have disappeared, the world-changing discoveries associated with the Alaskan ghost town remain should keep its history alive for years to come.

Gold was discovered in Otter Creek in 1908, and by 1914 some 6,000 people had moved in to seek their fortune. They built schools and stores, restaurants and hotels, as well as a pool hall. After some dispute over whether or not the town �“ which was never platted, and instead just built on mining claims �“ was really a town, the US Post Office would acknowledge its existence and serve the community for decades.

Preserved: Wiley Post's Lockheed Vega aircraft Winnie Mae in 2008. (Image: Jarek Tuszy�„ski. Preserved: Wiley Post’s Winnie Mae in 2008)

But Flat, Alaska (which lies within the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area) was destined to fade like so many other mining boom-towns of the day. A single family of five remained there until 2000, maintaining the mining equipment and the land throughout the winter months.

One notable person to settle in Flat early in the town’s history was Peter Miscovich, an inventor from Croatia. Before his death in 1950 (Miscovich had settled in Alaska), he would invent the steam-powered washing machine and make great improvements to the steam bath.

His son, John Miscovich, was also an inventor. Not only did John live in Flat, he also helped repair the aircraft that crashed there in 1933. Pioneering American aviator Wiley Post was flying a single-engine Lockheed Vega called the Winnie Mae at the time of the accident. After Miscovich and other locals helped him repair his craft, Post went on to complete the first solo flight around the world in less than eight days.

Flat Airport is seen to the east of the Alaska ghost town of the same name. (Image: Google Earth. Flat Airport is seen to the east of the ghost town)

John Miscovich continued to follow in his father’s footsteps, developing the intelligiant – the standard water cannon used in fire fighting and hydraulic gold mining. He also developed a fire-fighting system specific to airport runaways, no doubt indirectly saving countless lives over the decades.

Today, the former mining community of Flat, Alaska is a ghost town, nestled at the side of the railroad that once connected it to Iditarod, now on a national historic trail with its roots in the mail and supply route. Flat Airport (FLT), meanwhile, with its turf/gravel runway, lies alongside Golden Horn Mine Road (more info here).

Read Next: 10 Lesser-Known National Parks of the United States

Project Habakkuk: The Wartime Plan to Build Ships From Ice

Sea Hurricane fighters aboard escort carrier HMS Avenger (D14) during the Second World War. (Image: Royal Navy. Sea Hurricane fighters aboard escort carrier (D14) HMS Avenger)

World War Two was a desperate time, and desperate times call for desperate measures. There were a whole host of bizarre plans put forward on Allied and Axis sides alike. Project Habakkuk came from the UK War Office’s Combined Operations Headquarters.

The secret programme was the brainchild of English journalist and inventor Geoffrey Pyke, who sought a way to counter German U-boat activity in the Mid-Atlantic, an area beyond the range of land-based planes where conditions were often cold and inhospitable.

Project Habakkuk investigated the possibility of building an aircraft carrier from pykrete - a mixture of ice and wood pulp. (Image: Jerzy Strzelecki. Project Habakkuk investigated the possibility of building an aircraft carrier from pykrete – a mixture of ice and wood pulp)

These challenges were made even more difficult by the shortage of materials like aluminium and steel for shipbuilding. As a result, the visionary Pyke proposed using something that was readily available: ice. Icebergs, it was suggested, could be adapted as de facto aircraft carriers. And to ensure these floating airfields didn’t simply melt, Pyke suggested using pykrete – a mixture of ice and wood pulp.

Not only was pykrete stronger than plain ice, it also melted incredibly slowly. The UK Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, was enthusiastic, and asked Lord Mountbatten to demonstrate Project Habakkuk’s potential for the admirals.

A Sea Hurricane takes off from an aircraft carrier during WW2. (Image: Royal Navy)

Mountbatten (a long-time friend of Pyke’s) produced a block of ice and a block of pykrete and fired at both with his service revolver. The ice shattered as the round pulverised it, but the second bullet ricocheted off the pykrete block and grazed the trouser leg of Admiral Ernest King, Commander in Chief of the US Fleet during World War Two. Pyke and Mountbatten had got their point across.

Though steering remained an unresolved problem, scale model tests on a lake in Alberta, Canada, proved promising.

Fairey Swordfish on the deck of HMS Tracker (Image: Oulds, D C (Royal Navy). Fairey Swordfish on the deck of HMS Tracker)

Had it been built, the “HMS Habbakuk” would have been 2,000 feet long with a beam of 300 feet and a depth of 200 feet. The War Illustrated suggests that it would have had hangar capacity for 200 Spitfires or 100 Mosquitos, including work shops and everything else required to keep the aircraft operational. The ice carrier would accommodate 3,620 officers and men. (Visit io9 for an artist’s impression of what such a ‘vessel’ might look like.)

But rising costs, the development of longer-range aircraft and the use of airfields in the Azores, from which to hunt U-boats, all conspired to forever shelve Project Habakkuk, leaving little more than some scale test articles and classified documents to melt into history.

Read Next: Abandoned Warships: 10 Decaying Aircraft Carriers, Submarines & Other Military Vessels

Doors Open Day at Derelict St Peter’s Seminary

Tickets are available to explore the ruins of St Peter's Seminary, Cardross, before the Scots building is transformed into a public arts venue.(Image: Mad4brutalism. The ruins of St Peter’s Seminary, Cardross)

It’s one of the best known abandoned buildings in Scotland. The concrete form of St Peter’s Seminary near Cardross, Argyll and Bute, has been described by Docomomo International as a “building of world significance”.

Built between 1961 and 1966, the brutalist structure closed as a Roman Catholic seminary in 1980 and in recent years has fallen into neglect. But its stark architecture has led many to campaign for its preservation and restoration efforts have ensued. As a result, St Peter’s Seminary is now considered one of Scotland’s most important modern buildings, and is now set to be transformed into a public arts venue by NVA.

Those who wish to explore the abandoned seminary building can now do so, thanks to an upcoming open weekend that will guide curious visitors through the ruin. Tickets for the event, which will take place on Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 September, are available here.

Abandoned St Peter's Seminary, Cardross, Scotland(Image: Mad4brutalism)

From the Eventbrite page:

Walk through the abandoned chapel, find yourself in a graffiti artists’ paradise and try to imagine what life might have been like for the young men who lived here during the 1960s. This is a rare opportunity to visit Scotland’s most iconic modernist building in its raw and ruined state.

Built as a college to train Catholic priests in the 1960s, the Seminary was only in use for 14 years and has been abandoned for decades. It is celebrated worldwide as a masterpiece of modernist architecture and its decay has only added to its otherworldly charm.

About to be reclaimed by public art organisation NVA as an arts venue and visitor attraction, this is your chance to visit St Peter’s before construction begins.

The abandoned Roman Catholic seminary is considered one of Scotland's most important modern buildings.(Image: Mad4brutalism)

The post Doors Open Day at Derelict St Peter’s Seminary appeared first on Urban Ghosts Media.

Doors Open Day at Derelict St Peter’s Seminary

Tickets are available to explore the ruins of St Peter's Seminary, Cardross, before the Scots building is transformed into a public arts venue. (Image: Mad4brutalism. The ruins of St Peter’s Seminary, Cardross)

It’s one of the best known abandoned buildings in Scotland. The concrete form of St Peter’s Seminary near Cardross, Argyll and Bute, has been described by Docomomo International as a “building of world significance”.

Built between 1961 and 1966, the brutalist structure closed as a Roman Catholic seminary in 1980 and in recent years has fallen into neglect. But its stark architecture has led many to campaign for its preservation and restoration efforts have ensued. As a result, St Peter’s Seminary is now considered one of Scotland’s most important modern buildings, and is now set to be transformed into a public arts venue by NVA.

Those who wish to explore the abandoned seminary building can now do so, thanks to an upcoming open weekend that will guide curious visitors through the ruin. Tickets for the event, which will take place on Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 September, are available here.

Abandoned St Peter's Seminary, Cardross, Scotland (Image: Mad4brutalism)

From the Eventbrite page:

Walk through the abandoned chapel, find yourself in a graffiti artists�™ paradise and try to imagine what life might have been like for the young men who lived here during the 1960s. This is a rare opportunity to visit Scotland�™s most iconic modernist building in its raw and ruined state.

Built as a college to train Catholic priests in the 1960s, the Seminary was only in use for 14 years and has been abandoned for decades. It is celebrated worldwide as a masterpiece of modernist architecture and its decay has only added to its otherworldly charm.

About to be reclaimed by public art organisation NVA as an arts venue and visitor attraction, this is your chance to visit St Peter�™s before construction begins.

The abandoned Roman Catholic seminary is considered one of Scotland's most important modern buildings. (Image: Mad4brutalism)

Westchester Avenue: Ruined Railroad Station in the Bronx

The long-abandoned Westchester Avenue station in the Bronx, New York City. (Image: Peter Greenberg. The long-abandoned Westchester Avenue station in the Bronx)

The New York Times called it a place �œWhere Ghost Passengers Await Very Late Trains”, and it’s not hard to envision ghostly figures dressed in turn-of-the-century clothes, clutching their luggage and waiting for trains that will never pull into the station.

The disused Westchester Avenue station in New York City‘s Bronx was built in 1908, and today, it’s one of four surviving stations designed by Cass Gilbert. Each one was completed in very different styles, but it’s the Westchester Avenue building that’s particularly beautiful even in its advanced state of decay.

Approaching Westchester Avenue ghost station in the Bronx. (Image: John)

The elevated station seems to float above the tracks. Even though it’s overgrown and crumbling now, you can still see traces of the glazed cream terracotta detailing, decorated with elegant flourishes befitting the financier who commissioned its construction: none other than JP Morgan.

(Image: Peter Greenberg)

The Westchester Avenue station was built by the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad and also served local commuter trains operated by the New York, Westchester and Boston Railroad. But in 1931 the station was closed to passenger trains.

(Image: Peter Greenberg)

By 1937 the New York, Westchester and Boston Railroad had ceased operating, leaving many of its local stations abandoned. Eight decades later, Westchester Avenue station is a haunting shell.

(Image: Jim Henderson)

A catalyst for the railway’s downfall was the New York Subway and its five-cent fare. Unable to compete, the writing was on the wall for the New York, Westchester and Boston Railroad. While some of Gilbert’s other stations have found new use �“ like Morris Park’s transformation into a gun club �“ Westchester Avenue has sat neglected for years.

Birdseye view of the abandoned Westchester Avenue station in the Bronx, NYC. (Image: via Bing Maps)

Though the station is now owned by Amtrak, and a series of proposals have been put forward on how to save the decaying structure, none have yet come to fruition. There’s been talk of incorporating the ghost station’s waiting room into the Concrete Plant Park and the Bronx River Greenway, should the usual funding hurdle be cleared.

Read Next: 10 Disused Subway Stations & Platforms of New York City

Ropoto: A Sinking Ghost Town in Greece

The sinking ghost town of Ropoto, Greece (Image: Greek Reporter/YouTube. The sinking ghost town of Ropoto, Greece)

The area around what’s left of Ropoto, Greece is breathtakingly beautiful. It’s not hard to see why the 300 or so families who once lived in the small town would have chosen to spend their lives in that place. But in 2012, it all changed.

The Greek Reporter aired a documentary on Ropoto four years after the tragedy that changed its landscape forever. It all began on April 12, 2012, with a landslide of epic proportions. The cataclysm wiped out many of the town’s buildings, leaving others completely uninhabitable.

For those that lived there, it had been only a matter of time. Cracks in the land had been appearing since the 1960s, but the building permits kept coming. New structures were built, and families kept moving there.

The first landslide was followed by others, and the remaining buildings have continued to sink. Those who remember the now ghost town of Ropoto in its heyday �“ and those who were forced to flee �“ still hold on to hope that their town can be rebuilt, but lament that aid has been scarce since the natural disaster.

The ruins of Ropoto in Greece. (Image: Greek Reporter/YouTube)

For now, though, the abandoned village that was home to some 300 families continues to sink into the surrounding earth. According to the video, those who had been displaced by the landslide were still required to pay property taxes, though the prospect of ever returning to their homes is a slim one.

Read Next: Ghost Towns: 20 Haunting Abandoned Villages of the World

Shoes on the Danube: Budapest’s Moving Holocaust Memorial

Shoes on the Danube in Budapest, Hungary(Image: Dennis Jarvis. Shoes on the Danube in Budapest, Hungary)

Few places in Europe were left untouched by the events of World War Two. Sitting along the shores of the River Danube in Budapest is one of the most haunting memorials to the events of those dark times. In 1944 and 1945, the Hungarian government was run by the fascist Arrow Cross Party. The party was briefly suppressed by the Hungarian prime minister at the outset of the war, but ultimately rose to power with the support of Nazi Germany.

Shoes on the Danube(Image: Dennis Jarvis)

In the winter of 1944 and 1945, thousands of Jewish civilians – and those people who were simply suspected of collaboration – were executed on the banks of the Danube. The Arrow Cross Party forced their victims to kneel at the edge of the river, letting the water wash the bodies away after countless victims were gunned down.

(Image: Dennis Jarvis)

In 2005, sculptors and artists Gyula Pauer and Can Togay crafted a memorial to these innocents on the banks of the Danube in Budapest. The website Visit Budapest paid a visit to this most moving of tributes.

Shoes on the Danube: a haunting and poignant holocaust memorial in Budapest, Hungary.(Image: Dennis Jarvis)

Sixty pairs of 1940s-era shoes of all styles were cast out of iron, facing the river where so many died at the hands of the Arrow Cross Party.

(Image: Dennis Jarvis)

Flowers and wreaths are occasionally laid in remembrance of those who died there. Haunting and powerful, the Shoes on the Danube are a poignant and chilling reminder of those dark times.

(Image: Dennis Jarvis)

Read Next: Unusual Monuments: 10 Poignant Memorials Around the World

The post Shoes on the Danube: Budapest’s Moving Holocaust Memorial appeared first on Urban Ghosts Media.

Shoes on the Danube: Budapest’s Moving Holocaust Memorial

Shoes on the Danube in Budapest, Hungary (Image: Dennis Jarvis. Shoes on the Danube in Budapest, Hungary)

Few places in Europe were left untouched by the events of World War Two. Sitting along the shores of the River Danube in Budapest is one of the most haunting memorials to the events of those dark times. In 1944 and 1945, the Hungarian government was run by the fascist Arrow Cross Party. The party was briefly suppressed by the Hungarian prime minister at the outset of the war, but ultimately rose to power with the support of Nazi Germany.

Shoes on the Danube (Image: Dennis Jarvis)

In the winter of 1944 and 1945, thousands of Jewish civilians �“ and those people who were simply suspected of collaboration �“ were executed on the banks of the Danube. The Arrow Cross Party forced their victims to kneel at the edge of the river, letting the water wash the bodies away after countless victims were gunned down.

(Image: Dennis Jarvis)

In 2005, sculptors and artists Gyula Pauer and Can Togay crafted a memorial to these innocents on the banks of the Danube in Budapest. The website Visit Budapest paid a visit to this most moving of tributes.

Shoes on the Danube: a haunting and poignant holocaust memorial in Budapest, Hungary. (Image: Dennis Jarvis)

Sixty pairs of 1940s-era shoes of all styles were cast out of iron, facing the river where so many died at the hands of the Arrow Cross Party.

(Image: Dennis Jarvis)

Flowers and wreaths are occasionally laid in remembrance of those who died there. Haunting and powerful, the Shoes on the Danube are a poignant and chilling reminder of those dark times.

(Image: Dennis Jarvis)

Read Next: Unusual Monuments: 10 Poignant Memorials Around the World

Phantom Menace: Visit Anakin Skywalker’s Podracer at Wings Over the Rockies

Phantom Menace: Visit Anakin Skywalker's Podracer at Wings Over the Rockies(Images: Urban Ghosts. Star Wars podracer movie prop from The Phantom Menace)

For many, the first instalment of the Star Wars prequel trilogy might not have been George Lucas’ finest offering, but that doesn’t mean that Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace wasn’t without its visual high points. One stand-out sequence was the podrace, in which the young Anakin Skywalker takes his already-impressive talents to the desert arena.

Podracer prop from Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace

From Wikipedia: “To research for the podrace vehicles, the visual effects crew visited a jet aircraft junkyard outside Phoenix, Arizona and scavenged four Boeing 747 engines. Life-sized replicas of the engines were built and sent to Tunisia to provide reference in the film. Except for Jake Lloyd inside a hydraulically controlled cockpit and a few practical podracer models, the entire podracing scene—which the effects crew designed to be as “out of this world” as possible—is computer-generated.”

The craft shown in these images is one of those practical podracer models, a full-scale example that presumably appeared in the movie. It’s on display at Wings Over the Rockies aviation museum in Denver, Colorado, whose other rare exhibits include a B-1A Lancer bomber (of which only four were built and only two survive).

In addition to the podracer, a 3/4 scale replica of Luke Skywalker’s X-Wing fighter from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope stands nearby. The “real” New Hope X-Wing is, unfortunately, understood to have been scrapped after filming wrapped.

Read Also:

7 Full-Scale Aircraft Replicas Used as Movie Props

10 Iconic Movie Prop Cars and Motorcycles of Film & Television

The post Phantom Menace: Visit Anakin Skywalker’s Podracer at Wings Over the Rockies appeared first on Urban Ghosts Media.

Phantom Menace: Visit Anakin Skywalker’s Podracer at Wings Over the Rockies

Phantom Menace: Visit Anakin Skywalker's Podracer at Wings Over the Rockies (Images: Urban Ghosts. Star Wars podracer movie prop from The Phantom Menace)

For many, the first instalment of the Star Wars prequel trilogy might not have been George Lucas’ finest offering, but that doesn’t mean that Star Wars: Episode I �“ The Phantom Menace wasn’t without its visual high points. One stand-out sequence was the podrace, in which the young Anakin Skywalker takes his already-impressive talents to the desert arena.

Podracer prop from Star Wars: Episode I �“ The Phantom Menace

From Wikipedia: “To research for the podrace vehicles, the visual effects crew visited a jet aircraft junkyard outside Phoenix, Arizona and scavenged four Boeing 747 engines. Life-sized replicas of the engines were built and sent to Tunisia to provide reference in the film. Except for Jake Lloyd inside a hydraulically controlled cockpit and a few practical podracer models, the entire podracing scene�”which the effects crew designed to be as “out of this world” as possible�”is computer-generated.”

The craft shown in these images is one of those practical podracer models, a full-scale example that presumably appeared in the movie. It’s on display at Wings Over the Rockies aviation museum in Denver, Colorado, whose other rare exhibits include a B-1A Lancer bomber (of which only four were built and only two survive).

In addition to the podracer, a 3/4 scale replica of Luke Skywalker’s X-Wing fighter from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope stands nearby. The “real” New Hope X-Wing is, unfortunately, understood to have been scrapped after filming wrapped.

Read Also:

7 Full-Scale Aircraft Replicas Used as Movie Props

10 Iconic Movie Prop Cars and Motorcycles of Film & Television