THEN AND NOW: What 10 abandoned places in the US looked like before they became ruins

Grossinger’s Resort in the Catskills, then and now. Courtesy of Marisa Scheinfeld
  • Borscht Belt” resorts in the Catskills went out of style and have sat abandoned for decades.
  • Houston’s Astrodome used to host sports games and concerts, but is now empty except for when it’s used for shelter during natural disasters.
  • The Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield, Ohio, is now a museum and features a tour led by a former prisoner.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

From once-glamorous summer resorts to eerie sanatoriums, abandoned buildings (and even whole cities) across the US remain shells of their former selves. But what were these eerily empty structures like in their prime?

Here’s what 10 abandoned places looked like before they were deserted and how they have since decayed.

The Pines Hotel in South Fallsburg, New York, was part of the “Borscht Belt,” a collection of resorts popular with New York City Jews in the 1950s and 1960s.

The Pines Hotel’s ice skating rink in its glory days. Courtesy of Marisa Scheinfeld

New York-based photographer Marisa Scheinfeld grew up in the Borscht Belt. She set out to capture the crumbling glamour of the once well-known destinations in a photography book called “The Borscht Belt.”

The ice skating rink at the Pines Hotel has seen better days.

What the ice skating rink looks like now. Courtesy of Marisa Scheinfeld

In the 1960s, cheap air travel allowed a new generation to visit more exotic and warmer destinations, and the Borscht Belt was no longer the place to be.

Grossinger’s Resort, another Borscht Belt hotspot, was once known as the “Waldorf in the Catskills.”

Actress Debbie Reynolds and singer Eddie Fisher cut their towering wedding cake after they were married at Grossinger’s Resort. Bettmann/Contributor/Getty Images

At its peak, Grossinger’s had 150,000 visitors every year and hosted entertainers such as Jerry Lewis and Milton Berle, according to Atlas Obscura. Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher held their wedding there in 1955.

According to The New York Times, it served as the inspiration for the setting of “Dirty Dancing.”

It closed in 1986 and its once-glamorous swimming pools and gazebos are being overtaken by the surrounding woods.

The windows of Grossinger’s indoor pool area. Courtesy of Marisa Scheinfeld

The resort’s owner died in 1972 and the property was sold to a hotel developer, but nothing ever came of it.

From the 1880s to 1943, people with contagious diseases were quarantined on North Brother Island near New York City.

The bungalow where ‘Typhoid Mary’ Mallon lived on North Brother Island shown in 1948. AP

“Typhoid Mary” Mallon, an early 20th century cook who infected dozens with typhoid fever, was one of the island’s most infamous inhabitants. After World War II, North Brother Island was used to house veterans and later as a camp for troubled teens.

Today, most of its structures are on the verge of collapse.

An abandoned building on North Brother Island. Dave Mosher/Business Insider

The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation maintains the island as a bird sanctuary, and access to its crumbling remains of a morgue, boiler room, and dormitories is restricted.

The Ohio State Reformatory opened in 1896.

The west cell block of the Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield. Courtesy of the Ohio State Reformatory

At its peak in 1955, the facility held 5,235 prisoners.

It closed in 1990 and is now a museum.

A row of cells inside the reformatory. Tony Dejak/AP

The site now offers tours (including one led by a former prisoner). It has also been featured in many film and TV productions, most famously “The Shawshank Redemption.”

New York City’s first subway station, City Hall, opened in 1904.

Financiers, city officials, and policemen ride New York City’s first subway in 1904. Bettmann/Contributor/Getty Images

The station was designed by Spanish engineer Rafael Guastavino, who was part of the City Beautiful design movement in the late 19th century and early 1900s. Guastavino in particular was known for his arches.

The abandoned City Hall subway station is only accessible via a special tour.

The now-abandoned subway station. Felix Lipov/ Shutterstock

The station closed in 1945, but the the New York Transit Museum offers tours to members.

Nearly $US200 million worth of copper was processed at Kennecott Mines in Alaska between 1911 and 1938.

Kennecott by moonlight. National Park Service

At its biggest, 300 people worked in the mill and 200 to 300 people worked in the mines, according to the National Park Service.

The mines closed in 1938 when the supply of high-grade ore ran out and has been empty ever since.

Kennecott abandoned. cybercrisi/Shutterstock

The National Park Service is working on restoring buildings that can be saved, such as the store and post office.

When the Houston Astrodome opened in 1965, it was the first domed multi-purpose stadium in the US.

Baseball players line up for the National Anthem at the Houston Astrodome in 1998. David J. Phillip/AP

The stadium hosted sports games, conventions, and concerts with a capacity of 70,000 people. Some called it the “Eighth Wonder of the World.”

These days, it’s used as a shelter during natural disasters.

Rows of dirty, tattered seats in the Astrodome. Pat Sullivan/AP

The Houston Astros baseball team and the Hoston Oilers football team moved on to new stadiums, and the last event there took place in 2002.

Michigan Central Station opened in 1913 and was the tallest railroad station in the world at the time.

Michigan Central Station circa 1913 in Detroit, Michigan. Donaldson Collection/Getty Images

It was known as “Detroit’s Ellis Island” with 54-foot ceilings, chandeliers and 68-foot Corinthian columns.

The last train left the station in 1988.

The former transportation hub. PsychoMafia/ Shutterstock

Michigan Central Station became a site of vandalism and theft until the city built a barbed wire fence in 1995. The station was set to be demolished in 2009, but the historic building was saved. Ford Motors is currently working to refurbish it back to its former glory with a $US350 million renovation expected to be completed in 2022.

Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Kentucky was built in 1910 as a sanatorium for tuberculosis patients.

Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Louisville, Kentucky. Courtesy of the Waverly Hills Historical Society

As many as 64,000 people may have died there, according to Mental Floss.

It closed in 1961, and many visitors think it’s haunted.

Waverly Hills Sanatorium today. Dylan Lovan/AP

Reports of paranormal activity inspired the horror movie “Death Tunnel” set in the underground passageways used by staff to remove bodies from the building. The Waverly Hills Historical Society currently offers guided tours and paranormal investigations.

Eastern State Penitentiary opened in 1829 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Number Eight Cell Block, known also as Bad Block, in the Eastern State Penitentiary. Bettmann/Contributor/Getty Images

Eastern State Penitentiary opened in 1829. The prison’s philosophy was radical at the time – inmates were kept in strict isolation that was supposed to encourage penitence, hence the name. Famous inmates included Al Capone and “Slick Willie” Sutton.

Prisoners’ punishments at the penitentiary were torturous: water baths in winter until ice formed on their skin, an “iron gag” where a prisoner’s bound hands were strapped to an iron collar in their mouth which caused the tongue to bleed with any movement, and a “mad chair” where they were tied so tightly that their limbs had to be amputated.

By 1971, it was closed and totally abandoned.

What the Eastern State Penitentiary looks like today. Frank Olito/ INSIDER

Today, it’s a National Historic Landmark and museum.