The Top 10 Abandonments in North Texas
Throughout the past few decades, Urban Exploration has increasingly become a popular niche hobby. There's a sense of adventure that can still be found in the world around us, whether it be in abandoned buildings, steam tunnels, or on the top of towers. Pictures of urban decay are scattered across social media websites, such as this popular subreddit: http://www.reddit.com/r/abandonedporn
North Texas has many awesome abandonments, from a massive 14 story abandoned hotel, to a huge power plant over 100 years old. This list will not reveal location details of the more secretive, lesser known locations. This protects those locations from scrappers and unscrupulous folk who will damage the buildings, rather than explore them.
Here is the list of the Top 10 Abandonments in North Texas. Each of these abandoned locations has a rich history, is aesthetically pleasing, fun to explore, and/or is interesting in an unique way. They are all also near the DFW metroplex. Remember: take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints. This list is sorted with #10 being my favorite location.
West Dickson Grain Silos
The West Dickson Grain Silos are a set of two silo rows located in South Fort Worth. The silos have been abandoned for decades, although due to the difficulty of demolishing silos, they still loom ominously over the nearby neighborhood. This location is super easy to access, with the stairwell door wide open. Be careful not to fall off the edge or into one of the square holes on the top of the silos. The location isn't in the best part of town either, so be extra aware of your surroundings.
Smashed windows, worn down concrete, and rusty old metal give this location a very heavy industrial feel.
The TXU Water Treatment Plant
Located next to a State Park near the metroplex, this old Water Treatment Plant has seen better days. It's also one of the few locations on this list that has decayed because of nature rather than human intervention. Very little graffiti can be found here, partly due to this location's isolation.
The structure itself is about 3 stories, and has a couple massive water treatment pools, both of which are now completely empty. The roof and floor is falling apart in a few spots, but some old pipes and machinery remain, making the location great for photoshoots.
Texas & Pacific Warehouse
A landmark of Fort Worth, the Texas & Pacific Warehouse has been standing since 1931. It's also one of the last remaining art deco buildings in the city. Wyatt C. Hendricks and Herman P. Koeppe, now deceased Fort Worth architects, built the 580,000 square foot warehouse. The warehouse contained space for storage, distribution, and refrigeration of produce and other goods. The eastern section of the building also housed space for offices and showrooms. The warehouse and nearby train station shut down in 1967, and while the station was renovated in 1999, the warehouse still remains abandoned.
Up until the past decade, the warehouse served a few purposes before full abandonment, once as a haunted house and another time as a paintball arena. Today, it's a shell of its former self, with many walls smashed, machinery removed, and etc. The location is still a fun one to explore, and the basement levels are incredibly creepy. The best part is the roof, which shows off some fantastic art deco architecture.
Echo Lake Incinerator
Built in the 1950s, this waste incinerator operated for only a few years before new EPA regulations shut it down in the 60s, leaving it abandoned for the past half century. The place served as a hotspot for drug activity in the 80s and 90s, up until a woman was murdered during a drug deal. Since then, the place has served as one giant canvas for graffit artists, which makes it one of the most tagged locations on this list.
The multiple levels, red brick architecture, natural decay, and the two massive smoke stacks make this location wonderful for phortos. It's also a great first location for those starting out with Urban Exploring.
Swift & Armour
Built in the early 20th century, these ruins served as a meat packing facility in Fort Worth's massive stockyards. Although they fully shut down in 1971, followed by demolition of most of the facility, a dozen or so heavily decayed structures still remain on the premises. The huge facility is perhaps the most well known abandonment in all of the city. There's always somebody there, whether it be another group of explorers, a graffiti artist, some people throwing a party, homeless, drug dealers, etc. Despite the occasional "NO TRESPASSING" sign, the local law enforcement seems to give little care to those in the facility.
Swift & Armour is incredibly photogenic. The crumbling red brick structures surrounded by large amounts of foliage make this place beautiful year around. It's also a good starter location.
South Main Grain Silos
These Grain Silos are similar to #10 on this list, except about 6 times larger and 1.5 times taller, making them the tallest abandonment in North Texas. One must climb a very tall ladder in order to ascend the mills, followed by crossing multiple sky bridges in order to travel between all 3 massive sets of silos. Falling means certain death, but the exhilaration and adrenaline felt from topping this structure is unlike any other.
Due to the difficulty of demolition and the proximity to downtown Fort Worth, these mills are here to stay for a long time. Use extreme caution, since there are plenty of holes leading down into the silos. These mills have the grungiest, heaviest industrial feel to them out of all 10 abandonments on this list.
North Main Power Plant
Built from 1911 to 1913, this massive power plant used to serve as the main power source for Fort Worth. Abandoned fully in the early 2000s, this coal power plant has been stripped of machinery, and surrounding structures plus the smoke stacks have been demolished. The building is currently owned by TCC, and is heavily watched by a police station across the nearby Trinity River. All ground level entrances have been boarded over and welded, making climbing the only method of entry into this location. Enter at your own physical and legal risk.
The interior is well worth the risk, though. Massive glass windows facing the east and west make dawn and dusk perfect for photos, and the seemingly endless labyrinthine nature of the lower floors make this place a wonderful adventure. The sub basement is pitch black and rather cold, giving off a very creepy vibe. The structure does flood though, so don't enter after a long storm.
Cardox / NIPAK
Chemetron Cardox / NIPAK is the remains of a huge carbon dioxide and ammonia manufacturing facility. The plant's construction in 1964 brought a lot of hope to the area, with the plant dedication day of April 2nd, 1965 being described as "Nipak Day" by the two local towns of Trinidad and Malakoff. On this day, the local community, mayor, many businesses, and even the Texas Governor at the time expressed thanks to Nipak, Inc for choosing the plant location west of the Trinity, and for bringing future hope to the community. All of this was documented in a 16 page special in the Malakoff News, found here: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=2_cyAAAAIBAJ&sjid=yxEGAAAAIBAJ&pg=2300%2C1272471
Unfortunately, the facility only remained open for 13 years. It has seen multiple uses since then, but became fully abandoned after a fire in the 90s. The presence of ammonia and fertilizer in the soil causes this place to turn into a jungle during the Summer months. The local residents also recently erected a fence around this location, so driving into the facility is no longer an option.
The place is wonderful for exploring, especially since tons of old documents, blueprints, papers, journals, and so forth from the 70s have been left behind by the previous owners. Only half of the facility is pictured above. Huge dilapidated warehouses cover most of this location.
The Beach Army Hospital
Built in the 1950s, this large military hospital served as the main medical institution at the now decommissioned Fort Wolters military base. Closed in 1973, this large 3 story 2 basement structure has seen a few uses throughout the years, but it lies abandoned and in decay today.
A morgue can be found in the basement, along with tons of machinery and pipes. A few operating rooms can be found on the second floor, along with large rotatable overhead operating lights. Old technology is scattered everywhere, from typewriters to large bulbous televisions. The place is filled with relics from the past.
The Baker Hotel
The 14 story Baker Hotel is the holy grail of Urban Exploring for all of Texas. It is undoubtedly the state's number one abandonment, located in Mineral Wells. Construction was completed in 1929 shortly before the stock market crashed, and it continued to operate on and off until 1972, when it finally shutdown for public use. Over the next few decades, it saw minor private use for events, but became fully abandoned around 2002 when nature and vandals took over. Some features of the hotel that were unprecedented for the 1930s:
- Advanced hydraulic system that circulated ice water to all 450 guest rooms.
- Lighting and fans controlled by the door locks that shut off and on automatically when the guest left or arrived in their rooms.
- A valet compartment where guests could deposit soiled laundry that was accessible by hotel staff without them ever even having to enter the guest's room.
By the 1940s, the hotel had full air conditioning. It also served as a convention center for over 2,500 attendees, even though the city of Mineral Wells only had a little over twice that amount in population. Even during the great depression, the Baker Hotel saw great success, mostly due to its reputation as a top spa destination. Famous past celebrities and figures visited the Baker Hotel, such as Glenn Miller, Lawrence Welk, Clark Gable, Judy Garland, and future U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson.
Although it lies in a state of heavy decay today, plans for renovation finally succeeded in May 2014. The renovation project will start in 2015, and is expected to complete by 2018, so the Baker Hotel will live once again.
While many more abandonments are scattered around North Texas, these are some of the best. The Baker Hotel is undoubtedly the best out of this list, but it doesn't diminish the quality of the other structures and locations featured here. If you've ever been interested in exploring and feeling a sense of adventure, then Urban Exploring is for you. There's always something abandoned nearby, regardless of where you live. Get out and start exploring.