Abandoned Places in Illinois

Each state in the US has a number of abandoned places that are just waiting to be explored. Even the most experienced urban explorer is sure to be interested in the places on this list, whether they are haunted, full of history, or just plain weird.

Peoria State Hospital

Abandoned Places in Illinois
Photo Credit: Kimberly Koppen / Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

In the United States, many psychiatric hospitals were built in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Peoria State Hospital in Bartonville was one of them. The hospital was open from 1902 to 1973. It had 63 buildings, and the National Register of Historic Places now lists the area as a historic district.

Peoria State Hospital is the place to go if you want to have a supernatural adventure. Local ghost stories say that the ghost of Manuel A. Bookbinder, who was known as “Old Book,” walks the grounds. Before he died, he was a hospital patient who helped with funerals.

Damen Silos

Abandoned Places in Illinois
Photo Credit: darius norvalis / Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad built the 15-story Damen Silos in Chicago in 1906. Before an explosion in the 1970s made the silos useless, they could hold about 400,000 bushels of grain. After the explosion, it was decided that work would stop.

The Damen Silos have been a reminder of the area’s history ever since they stopped being used. They have also become the place where urban explorers go to check out the tunnels that are still open to the public.

Also, if you walk through the center of the complex, you can see graffiti art with bright colors.

School for the children of soldiers and sailors in Illinois

Abandoned Places in Illinois
Photo Credit: Jon Roanhaus / Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0

The Illinois Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Children’s School was in Normal. It was a home for children who had lost their parents during the American Civil War. From 1865 to 1979, the complex worked like a village, with Tudor Revival-style homes, an electric power plant, and many administrative buildings.

Since the orphanage closed in 1979, the building has been left empty. The Illinois Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Children’s School used to be a busy and thriving place, but now it has broken windows and other signs of age.

Those who worry about its future, on the other hand, don’t need to. The National Register of Historic Places has put it on its list.

Freight Tunnels in Chicago

Abandoned Places in Illinois
Photo Credit: WBEZ / Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

Under the streets of Chicago is a huge network of tunnels that used to bring coal to many downtown buildings. Electric trains, which were run by the Chicago Tunnel Company, took people to places like the Federal Reserve Bank, the Civic Opera House, and the Chicago Tribune.

After the Chicago Tunnel Company went out of business, the tunnels were still used, but they were closed off for good after “The Great Chicago Flood” in April 1992. Urban explorers, on the other hand, haven’t let that stop them from trying to get in.

The Joliet Correctional Center

Abandoned Places in Illinois
Photo Credit: Joseph Gage / Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 2.0

The Old Joliet Prison, which is now the Joliet Correctional Center, was open for almost 150 years. It will close in 2022. Since then, it has appeared in TV shows like Prison Break, and right now, people are working to keep its history alive so that it can be passed down to future generations.

Over the years, the Joliet Correctional Center has had a number of famous inmates, such as Lester Joseph “Baby Face Nelson” Gillis and Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, who were convicted of kidnapping and killing Robert Franks, the “crime of the century.”

The two actually did some good while they were in jail. They led the way in getting a high school curriculum for prisoners.

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Prairie Observatory

Abandoned Places in Illinois
Photo Credit: Robert W Porter / Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 3.0

Placed in the middle of nowhere—well, not the middle of nowhere… The Prairie Observatory is near Walnut Point State Park. From the 1960s to the early 1980s, astronomers from the University of Illinois used it as a place to look at the sky.

Today, tall grass and weeds have grown up around the observatory, and graffiti artists use its rusting exterior as a blank canvas for their art. The telescope that used to be there was moved to the Mount Laguna Observatory at San Diego University in 1981, where it is still in use.

Theater of Gem

Abandoned Places in Illinois
Photo Credit: Mobilus in Mobili / Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 2.0

Bad luck seems to follow the Gem Theatre around. Just 19 years after it opened, a fire destroyed it. The same thing happened again after a new building was built on the same land.

In the 1940s, the building became the Lincoln Theater, which stayed open until 1978. After that, part of it was used as a video store.

The land was given to the city of Cairo in 1995, and plans were made to turn it into a theater and arts center. The restoration work stopped in the middle of the 2000s and hasn’t been done since, so the inside is in a pretty bad shape. If you decide to go there, you should be very careful.

Ashmore Estates

Abandoned Places in Illinois
Photo Credit: Mikefall2 / Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 3.0

As part of the Coles County Poor Farm, which was built in 1916, Ashmore Estates is a historic building. After 1959, it was a private care facility for people with mental disabilities. After 30 years, it closed because of money problems. After it stopped being used, the building became known as one of the most haunted places in Illinois.

The grand building was left empty until it was bought in 2006 to be used as a haunted house. Since then, it has changed hands, and the building’s new owner wants to let paranormal investigations happen there once the building’s structure has been fixed.

Read another article from us: Scariest Abandoned Homes in the World

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