There’s no need to travel far to see abandoned settlements and industrial ruins. We have plenty of amazing sites right here in the Keystone State. Explore some off-the-beaten paths, now uninhabited places that are guaranteed to ignite your imagination.
1. Abandoned Trolley Graveyard
No gravestones here, but the privately owned Abandoned Trolley Graveyard (officially named the Vintage Electric Streetcar Company) has 40 or so vintage — albeit heavily damaged — trolleys just waiting to be restored to their former glory. Curious explorers can sign up to join one of the tours, which cost $30, by emailing the Vintage Electric Streetcar Co. at [email protected]
Grab your hiking boots to visit Pennsylvania’s very own Fountain of Youth. Yup. Those very words are etched into the stone archway leading into the Roman-style cavern that harbors the natural spring, making it official! You’ll get Moria vibes as you explore this springhouse, which dates back to the 1930s and is a fun site to visit on a warm summer day!
You can almost hear the voices of Peter Armstrong and his religious followers as you stroll along the streets of Celestia and the banks of nearby Celestial Lake. While the building foundations are all that remain of the small, abandoned settlement, it’s easy to see why the site fulfilled the settlers’ vision of a peace-filled utopia!
4. Abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike
Once a critical section of the Pennsylvania Turnpike linking the eastern and western portions of the state, the 13-mile stretch of road known as the Abandoned PA Turnpike is a bit creepy, a bit fascinating, and a fun place to explore! Complete with not just one but two abandoned tunnels, please heed the signs cautioning you to proceed with care and respect the wildlife that now call this home.
5. Lackawanna Coal Mine
Descend 300 feet into the deep, dark recesses of the now-retired Lackawanna Coal Mine where you’re sure to gain a newfound appreciation of the men and children who worked in the mine starting when it first opened in 1860. Travel with a miner through the winding underground gangways and rock tunnel past three veins of hard coal, the mule boy and the nipper, the monkey vein, and the dead chute.
6. Bethlehem SteelStacks
For decades, Bethlehem SteelStacks was home to Bethlehem Steel and the nation’s second-largest steelmaking plant. Now a premier destination for art, music, culture and community events, the plant’s steel towers remain as a testament to the site’s industrial heritage and the workers who churned out upwards of 3,000 tons of iron each day from the plant’s seven blast furnaces.
7. Bunkers of Alvira
Villagers from the tiny town of Alvira in northcentral Pennsylvania are some of World War II’s unsung heroes. They abandoned their homes when the U.S. government needed the land to build 149 concrete igloo-style bunkers to house its rapidly expanding stockpile of explosives. You can still see several of the bunkers — less the explosives — on what is now State Game Lands 252, along with the cemeteries and remains of the buildings that once housed the villagers of Alvira.
8. Fieldstone Farm Preserve
You can’t help but wonder who built the massive stone farmhouse and outbuildings in what is now the beautiful Fieldstone Farm Nature Preserve. Close your eyes, and you can almost picture the family members going about their daily farm chores and wonder why they abandoned this peaceful place. Now, only the buildings’ ruins and man-made ponds remain as nature rapidly is reclaiming the deserted farm.
9. Oak Knoll
You just might think you’re in a fairy tale when you walk among the ruins of the estate known as Lytlecote and renamed Oak Knoll. Nestled among the trees of Crum Woods, remnants of a stunning Italian water garden are all that remain of the formerly beautiful estate — testament to those who lovingly cared for the property once upon a time.
10. Coplay Cement Company Kilns
They were used for just 11 years from 1893 to 1904, but the nine vertical kilns of the Coplay Cement Company marked a major technological revolution that enabled the United States to become the world’s leading producer of cement — four times its nearest competitor. The 90-foot Coplay Cement Company Kilns now stand as sentinels, bearing witness to the creativity and ingenuity of the company and its brilliant founder.
To learn about more Pennsylvania ruins, check out the visitPA website. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram to stay up-to-date on even more great ideas and places to visit around our state. Don't forget to never miss an update and sign up for our monthly Happy Thoughts e-newsletter.