With it’s 230+ year old history, there are many abandoned places in Maryland. From creepy amusement parks to insane asylums to ship graveyards, there is no shortage of history or creepy places to explore. This makes Maryland the perfect place for history buffs and “urban explorers”.
10. Mallows Bay, Charles County Maryland
- Mallows bay is the largest ship graveyard in the western hemisphere. It is the watery resting place of ships dating back to the revolutionary war and more than 230 steamships from World War 1. These steamships are now known as “The Ghost Fleet of Mallows Bay”. Located on the Potomac River about 40 miles south of DC, the site was recently listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
9. Forest Haven Asylum, Laurel Maryland
- Opening their doors in 1925, The Forest Haven facility was seen as a progressive institution and provided live-in care for people with intellectual disabilities. It was also a farm colony and they taught their patients usable skills such as milking cows and how to grow crops. The facility started out with good intentions but the population grew far beyond its means. Staff members were unqualified and many patients spent their days pacing empty, padded rooms. Finally, in 1991, the remaining residents were relocated to more suitable facilities and the 200 acre, 22 building compound shut its doors for good.
8. Fort Carroll, Baltimore, Maryland
- Built in the 1850’s, Fort Carroll was intended to work hand in hand with Fort McHenry to defend the Baltimore harbor. When the Civil War broke out, all construction on the fort halted and never resumed. The fort was manned during the Civil War, the Spanish American War and World War I and the Army officially abandoned the fort in 1921. Many uses for the fort have been proposed from turning it into a jail to installing a giant “Welcome to Baltimore” sign on the small island to building a large casino on the island. Today, the fort is home to thousands of migratory birds.
7. Holland Island, Chesapeake Bay
- Holland Island used to be the home of over 360 watermen and farmers and at it’s peak the island had a school, shops and nearly 70 buildings. Do to erosion and rising water levels, the island has slowly washed away and the last residence abandoned it in 1922. The last home standing was built 1888 and has fought erosion for well over a century. In 2010, the last remaining home on Holland Island finally collapsed.
6. The Enchanted Forest, Ellicott City, Maryland
- The Enchanted Forest opened its doors August 15, 1955, just one month after Disneyland opened theirs. The theme park revolved around common nursery rhymes and fairytales. Although the park originally was successful with the baby boomer generation, it ultimately struggled to remain relevant in the 80’s and 90’s. The park was ultimately abandoned in the 1990’s and left to fade away.
5.National Park Seminary, Silver Spring, Maryland
- Beginning as a tobacco plantation, it was converted into a wealthy summer resort for DC residents in 1887. It was later converted to an all-girls finishing school which attracted students from the wealthiest families in the area. During World War 2, the grounds were purchased by the military and used to house wounded soldiers all the way up until the Vietnam War. Today, some of the campuses buildings have been restored and are open for tours.
4. Glenn Dale Hospital, Prince George County, Maryland
- Glenn Dale Hospital opened its doors in 1934 at the peak of the Tuberculosis epidemic. This was where the overflow of patients from DC where shuttled to. At the time, the vaccine had not yet been discovered and TB was seen as a death sentence. The leading treatment when it was constructed was simply fresh air and sunshine and the 23 building campus was designed with that in mind. After the TB vaccine was discovered, the need for Glenn Dale Hospital quickly diminished. It was ultimately converted into a nursing home and eventually was abandoned in 1982.
3. Springfield State Hospital, Sykesville, Maryland
- Originally established as a working farm in 1778, it was sold to the state of Maryland in 1894 and converted into a hospital. Farming continued and provided a source of inexpensive food to the patients. From the start, the hospital was over-crowded, with reaching a peak of 3,000 patients at one point. After a scathing article in the Baltimore Sun exposing the terrible conditions of the hospital was released, the majority of the patients were transferred to more suitable facilities and most of the buildings were abandoned in the 1980’s.
2. Jacob Tome School for Boys, Cecil County
- Opening its doors in 1894, this prep school consisted of 3 boarding houses, an indoor swimming pool, gymnasium, a theater and more. The school originally flourished and earned a prestigious reputation but soon ran into financial hardships and closed 1941. It was soon after purchased by the US Navy and used to train Sailors up until 1976. Today, many of the original buildings and much of the compound remain abandoned.
1. St. Mary’s College, Ellicott City, Maryland
- What is known to locals as the “Hell House Altar” or “Creepy College”, is actually the ruins of St. Mary’s College. Built in 1868 to train young men in religious duties, the school abandoned the compound in the 1950’s. The building soon became subject to local legends involving satanic cults and restless souls. The old building slowly decayed until a mysterious fire burnt down what was left in 1997. In 2006, the remains of the original college were torn down and today only a few architectural features remain such as the abandoned altar in the woods.
With its large numbers of abandoned places to explore, Maryland is the perfect destination for history buffs and adventurers. Next time you are looking for something to do and are feeling adventurous, try exploring some of these hidden gems in Maryland.