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#1 Historic houses are allowed to rot and decay
Across the United States, neglected ruins of spectacular old mansions can be found in the undergrowth. These estates, once the playgrounds of high society, are now decaying shadows of their former selves, with some fairly compelling stories to tell. We unveil the strange former lives of some of America’s most interesting abandoned stately mansions, from heartbreaking tales of sorrow and haunting to a prince from outer space.
#2 Milledgeville, Georgia’s Rockwell House
This large pre-Civil War residence was once a prominent property in Milledgeville, Georgia, dating back to 1838. Colonel Samuel Rockwell, an attorney and slaveholder, commissioned the construction of the magnificent home. These stunning photographs, captured by Leland Kent of Abandoned Southeast, reveal the home’s terrible fall after it was abandoned in 1969.
#3 Milledgeville, Georgia’s Rockwell House
No cost was wasted in creating the property’s imposing style, with each piece of wood hand-cut with exceptional expertise. The cost of the wrought-iron fence alone is estimated to be over $2,600 (£1.9k). The strange abandoned home is also full of interesting stories, and rumor has it that gold is hidden somewhere on the property.
#4 Milledgeville, Georgia’s Rockwell House
Colonel Rockwell’s estate went through several hands after his death in 1841, including that of Georgia Governor Herschel Vespasian Johnson. The mansion is claimed to have been a centre for Midgeville’s high society over the years, and gazing at the majestic entryway, it’s easy to envision its glorious previous life.
#5 Milledgeville, Georgia’s Rockwell House
While years of neglect have plainly taken their toll, the bottom floor of the enormous building has withstood the test of time amazingly well. With its beautiful fireplace and lovely sash windows, this light-filled sitting room is especially attractive. Dr. Robert Watson, a local dentist, acquired the mansion in 1962 and stayed there until one terrible day…
#6 Milledgeville, Georgia’s Rockwell House
Workers accidently set fire to an upper bedroom in 1969 while attempting to remove paint with a blowtorch as part of an ambitious restoration effort. While the damage was repaired, evidence of the devastation remained, and the property was soon deserted. The historic Rockwell House has just been purchased by a group of investors who intend to restore it.
#7 Ossining, New York’s Elda Castle
This massive abandoned castle in New York’s Westchester County is set within over 50 acres of lush woods. David Thomas Abercombie, co-founder of apparel company Abercrombie and Fitch, and his wife, Lucy Abbott Cate, constructed and designed the massive stone home in the late 1920s.
#8 Ossining, New York’s Elda Castle
The title of the property, Elda Castle, is made up of the first letter of each of the couple’s four children’s names in birth order. The property has long been abandoned and has lost its battle with Mother Nature, yet the 4,337-square-foot estate remains unquestionably lovely. This secluded, lovely property must have been the ideal rural hideaway for the Abercrombie family once upon a time.
#9 Ossining, New York’s Elda Castle
With its lovely gardens and huge sweeping driveway, this aged mansion was undoubtedly an impressive estate in the late 1920s. Unfortunately, David Thomas Abercrombie’s stay at the castle was cut short when he died in 1931, just a few years after it was finished.
#10 Ossining, New York’s Elda Castle
The three-story mansion has arched doors, a cast-iron spiral staircase, handmade leaded windows, and an outside fireplace. There are a total of 25 rooms, which is plenty of space for a large family to spread out.
#11 Ossining, New York’s Elda Castle
While various successive owners attempted to save the collapsing castle over the years, none were successful, establishing a legend around the supposedly irreparable structure. The estate has been on the market since 2017, and it is now advertised for $3.2 million (£2.4 million). Let us hope that this fairytale estate receives the happy ending it deserves.
#12 Memphis, Tennessee’s Mongo’s Castle
Originally named as Ashlar Hall after the Ashlar stone used in its construction, this historically opulent residence was built in 1896 by property tycoon Robert Brinkley Snowden. The 11,000-square-foot castle was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983 and in the 1990s it gained the moniker of Mongo’s Castle when a very eccentric new owner bought the estate up.
#13 Memphis, Tennessee’s Mongo’s Castle
Robert Hodges, popularly known as the self-proclaimed Prince Mongo, bought the 19th-century mansion and turned it into a nightclub. Hodges, a millionaire, claims to be a 333-year-old extraterrestrial envoy from the planet Zambodia. Inside, the abandoned American castle exhibits indications of his otherworldly operation, with martini glasses still remaining on the bar.
#14 Memphis, Tennessee’s Mongo’s Castle
Mongo maintained his hugely popular Memphis nightclub, The Castle, for years before it was closed down by the police owing to overpopulation. In response, he allegedly relocated partygoers to the venue’s parking lot and carted in 800 tons of sand to turn it into a beach. Soon later, the eccentric property was permanently abandoned.
#15 Memphis, Tennessee’s Mongo’s Castle
The castle, once an intriguing structure with sweeping staircases and beautiful glass windows, is now a shell of its former glory. Graffiti covers the walls, and the rooms are littered with dusty possessions. Flyers from Prince Mongo’s failed run for Memphis City Council cover the floor of this abandoned office.
#16 Memphis, Tennessee’s Mongo’s Castle
We can easily envision late-night parties pouring out onto the terrace here, with a swimming pool at the rear of the house. Still deserted, the estate was purchased in 2017 by a new owner, Juan Montoya, who intends to repair it in the near future. Until then, the old party pad is lifeless.
#17 Rougemont, North Carolina’s Castle Mont Rouge
Construction of this spectacular castle on Red Mountain near Rougemont, North Carolina began in 2000, straight out of a Brothers Grimm fairytale. The whimsical edifice was erected by its designer, architect and sculptor Robert Mihaly, to serve as his studio and house.
#18 Rougemont, North Carolina’s Castle Mont Rouge
Though Mihaly completed most of the outside, including towers and complex pinnacles, construction was halted a few years later, and the promising self-build project fell into ruin.
#19 Rougemont, North Carolina’s Castle Mont Rouge
The contemporary castle was reduced to rubble due to incomplete internal areas, but Mihaly just chose to raise it from the ashes. The castle has been vandalized and trespassed on throughout the years, so the artist has his job cut out for him.
#20 Rougemont, North Carolina’s Castle Mont Rouge
With the roof leaking and the windows shattered and destroyed, the desolate edifice need a thorough restoration. According to the Charlotte Observer, Mihaly believes the project will cost roughly $200,000 (£150k) while it is still under construction.
#21 Rougemont, North Carolina’s Castle Mont Rouge
Despite the difficulty and expense, the determined architect has refused to give up. He hopes to rehabilitate the previously abandoned castle and open it to the public in 2021, maybe as a unique events venue.
#22 Bannerman’s Castle, Pollepel Island, New York
The stunning ruins of a castle, one of the last things you’d expect to see in Upstate New York, can be discovered on Pollepel Island, an islet in the Hudson River not far from the town of Newburgh.
#23 Bannerman’s Castle is located on Pollepel Island in New York
Francis Bannerman VI, a Scottish immigrant, bought the islet in 1900 to create an armory for his military surplus company. A year later, work on his fabled castle began.
#24 Bannerman’s Castle, Pollepel Island, New York
Bannerman built the warehouse himself, adding medieval features such as ramparts, stained glass windows, and beautiful towers. The plan was to construct a fortified structure that would serve as a massive advertisement for his company
#25 Bannerman’s Castle is located on Pollepel Island in New York
The military surplus merchant built a smaller castle-like structure next to the sophisticated warehouse, where he lived for several years. However, when he died in 1918, the stately residence was not yet completed.