If your travels take you through the southeast in 2022, be sure to make some time for the abundance of fascinating vacant sites in the “Empire State of the South.” Below, we’ve reviewed the 15 best abandoned places in Georgia for you to add to your itinerary for 2022 exploring.
Killer Urbex Note: It is important to note that many of these locations are in an extremely delicate state. Specifics on the locations are not given purposefully to ensure the abandoned places in Georgia stay as vandalism and destruction-free as possible. Take only photos, leave only footprints.
Interested in venturing outside Georgia? Here are a few guides to surrounding states that will be helpful in your explorations outside of the wonderful abandoned places in Georgia:
- Our List of the 20 Best Abandoned Places in Florida
- Discovering The Best 14 Abandoned Places In North Carolina
- Most Amazing Abandoned Places in Alabama: Top 10 Choices
- Our Guide to the 9 Best Abandoned Places In South Carolina
If you have a specific location from the list below that you would like to immediately get more information about, click the links in the list to snap straight to that abandoned places in Georgia location.
- The Atlanta Prison Farm
- Central State Hospital
- The Dungeness Ruins of Cumberland Island
- New Manchester Manufacturing Company
- Georgia Nuclear Aircraft Laboratory
- Pullman Yard
- The Cartersville Abandoned Plane
- Corpsewood Manor
- Hancock County Hospital (The Bad Debt Hospital)
- Alonzo Herndon Stadium
- Georgia Girl Drive-In (Woodbine)
- Macon Coaling Tower (Macon)
- Antioch Baptist Church (Crawfordville)
- Hodgson House (Atlanta)
- Middle Georgia Raceway (Byron)
It is important when considering abandoned places in Georgia to know the basics of Georgia trespassing laws. Luckily, we have developed a massive guide to trespassing laws in all 50 states. For laws that specifically relate to Georgia, please click here.
The Best Abandoned Places in Georgia
The Atlanta Prison Farm
For a half-century, this 400-acre site in DeKalb County served as a correctional facility for nonviolent criminals. The Atlanta Prison Farm opened in 1940s to provide vocational training and rehabilitation to as many as 1,000 inmates through its massive working farm operation.
Prisoners operated the dairy, raised livestock and harvested produce, selling their surplus goods on the open market. Inmates also operated the commissary and barbershop on the premises.
When the facility shut down in 1995, the property was abandoned, and the remaining facilities were soon covered in graffiti and thick kudzu vines. In 2009, a fire consumed most of the main facility, with the fire department opting to let the fire burn itself out rather than risk the safety of its firefighters on the derelict property.
Proposals for future uses of the property have been complicated by the fact that while the City of Atlanta and Fulton County own the site, it’s actually located in DeKalb County, and the agencies have not yet come to an agreement on what to do with the land.
A plan for a 500-acre regional park remains in limbo, with DeKalb County considerably less enthusiastic about the proposal than the city. Meanwhile, the burned-out building is still occasionally used for fire department training sessions.
Visitors to the site should use extreme caution, as many of the structures are dangerously unstable. Despite this, it remains one of the most sought-after abandoned places in Georgia.
Central State Hospital
At one time holding the record as the world’s largest mental health facility, Central State Hospital first opened in 1842 as the Georgia State Lunatic, Idiot and Epileptic Asylum. Despite the insulting moniker, the facility treated its patients with unusual compassion and dignity.
The chief medical officer banned the use of chains and ropes as restraints, and patients contributed to the operation of the asylum by helping maintain the building and care for the property.
However, as the years went by, overcrowding became a problem at the hospital, with more than 12,000 patients living in cramped, inhumane conditions by the 1960s. With a doctor-patient ratio of 1 to 100, quality of care plummeted, and reports of abuse ran rampant.
Electroshock therapy, insulin shock treatment, ice baths and prolonged use of straitjackets and other restraints were common treatment methods, and a 1959 investigation showed that none of the doctors on staff were trained as psychiatrists.
Following the trend of deinstitutionalization in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the population of Central State Hospital declined rapidly, finally closing permanently in 2010. The buildings on the vast campus were simply abandoned, and through on-site security prevents visitors from accessing the interiors of the decaying structures, it is possible to drive through the property to view them from the outside.
The site also includes a peaceful pecan orchard and a large cemetery that holds as many as 25,000 mostly unmarked graves. A museum on the property has collected items from the hospital to provide visitors with additional insight into life at the hospital over the decades.
The Dungeness Ruins of Cumberland Island
Over the centuries, the historic Dungeness property on Cumberland Island has provided the foundation for multiple residences of the same name. First established as a hunting lodge by James Oglethorpe in 1736, the next iteration of the property was built by the widow of Nathanael Greene, a hero of the American Revolution.
The four-story tabby mansion was constructed on a Timucuan shell mound in 1803, and the British commandeered the home as a headquarters during the War of 1812. After being passed down through the Greene family, the home was abandoned during the Civil War and burned not long after the Union victory.
The site’s next resurrection took place in the 1880s, when Thomas Carnegie—brother of steel magnate Andrew Carnegie—bought the land and commissioned a luxurious new mansion on the property. Sadly, he died just a year after the 1885 completion of the 59-room Queen Anne-style residence.
His widow, Lucy, continued to occupy the residence and later built similar mansions for her children, as the Carnegie family ultimately acquired roughly 90 percent of the island’s total acreage.
The Carnegies departed the mansion in 1925, and the historic home was consumed in a suspected arson in 1959. The ruins were acquired by the National Park Service in 1972 and incorporated into the Cumberland Island National Seashore.
The skeletons of the stately brick buildings remain partially intact, as well as fountains, cisterns and other features on the vast property. This remains one of the most easily accessible abandoned places in Georgia.
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New Manchester Manufacturing Company
When it opened for business in 1849, the five-story New Manchester Manufacturing Company textile mill stood taller than any building in the nearby state capital of Atlanta.
This marvel of modern engineering was constructed primarily by slave labor and powered by a 45,000-pound wheel churning water from the adjacent Sweetwater Creek. The mill employed around 100 workers, most of whom lived on the company property and shopped at the company store.
Though the mill turned a handsome profit from the start, the onset of the Civil War was a boon for business, as the company received orders totaling nearly $25,000 from the Confederate Army.
However, the war eventually claimed the mill as one of its many casualties: Sherman’s troops burned it along with most of metro Atlanta in 1864, and many of its employees were arrested and relocated first to Marietta and later to Louisville, Kentucky.
The partial ruins of the burned-out facility drew millions of visitors over the next century and a half, and its walls are riddled with bullet holes left by locals who used the structure for target practice. The ruins were incorporated into Sweetwater Creek State Park upon its founding in 1976 and have subsequently been used as a filming location for several major films, including the popular Hunger Games series.
In 2017, a massive preservation effort was launched to stabilize the ruins and protect them for future generations. The $375,000 project included installation of steel rods, new mortar and concrete caps to reinforce the historic brick structure.
Georgia Nuclear Aircraft Laboratory
Tucked away in the dense pine forests of Dawsonville, the Georgia Nuclear Aircraft Laboratory—also known as Air Force Plant 67—was a joint venture between the weapons manufacturer Lockheed and the U.S. Air Force.
The ultimate goal was to engineer a nuclear-powered aircraft, and starting in the 1950s, the facility’s nuclear reactor was used to irradiate various prototypes to discover whether they could withstand the destructive forces of nuclear energy.
Though most of the activity that took place on site remains highly classified, reports at the time indicated that the unshielded reactor released massive quantities of residual radiation into the remote forest, resulting in many of the trees losing all of their leaves. Fortunately, underground bunkers protected lab staff from the effects of the poisonous rays.
After years of unsuccessful attempts at developing a nuclear-powered aircraft, the facility was shut down and mostly dismantled in 1971. Today, only the concrete foundations and a single building from the original campus remain visible on the site, although some areas of it are still restricted by fencing.
Urban explorers and people hunting abandoned places in Georgia continue to search for the hidden entrance to the underground bunkers where lab workers waited anxiously to learn the outcome of their latest experiment.
For more than a century, the Pratt-Pullman yard has been a mainstay of the industrial area of Atlanta known as Kirkwood. First opened in 1904 by Pratt Engineering and Machinery Company, the 27-acre complex was used to test chemical processing equipment.
In 1926, the campus was acquired by railcar manufacturer Pullman Company and was transformed into a rail yard for building and maintaining luxury passenger railcars.
The property changed hands again in 1955, when the Second American Iron and Metal Company took ownership but continued its use as a railcar manufacturing and repair facility until it shut down and abandoned the site and the adjoining rail line in the late 1980s.
The Georgia Building Authority took over the 12-building campus in 1990 but left it vacant and unused, leading to its precipitous deterioration and its placement on the Atlanta Preservation Center’s most endangered places list in 2001.
The state finally began soliciting bids for redevelopment of the property in 2016 but refused to include any requirements for preserving the historic structures, prompting protests from community preservation groups. The following year, film production company Atomic Entertainment purchased the site at 225 Rogers Street with plans to redevelop it as an entertainment district while also preserving the site’s historic roots.
The company has pursued historic tax credits as well as federal, state and local funding for environmental remediation efforts and other improvements for the “Pratt-Pullman District,” which is ultimately expected to include restaurants, office space, a boutique hotel, an outdoor concert venue sound stages and film production facilities.
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The Cartersville Abandoned Plane
Despite rampant rumors, the graffiti-covered G-159 Gulfstream aircraft sitting in the middle of a wooded area in Cartersville didn’t crash there. Instead, the twin-turboprop was simply abandoned at the site by Phoenix Air in the early 2000s.
Since then, street artists have covered the exterior in boldly-colored spray paint, and salvagers have removed all items of potential scrap value, including the wings, tail, instrument panels, and wiring.
However, the plane’s fuselage and leather seats are still present and relatively intact, and the out-of-place aircraft is now a popular destination for hikers, teenagers, and other curiosity-seekers in the area.
The plane is located on land owned by the City of Cartersville and is relatively easy to access via gravel service roads and hiking trails, with parking available at a nearby kayak launch site. If you go, be sure to wear sturdy shoes and long pants, as you are likely to encounter snakes or ticks during the warmer months.
Nestled deep in the heart of the Chattahoochee National Forest, this crumbling brick mansion began as a couple’s dream home, but ended up being the site of their gruesome and untimely deaths.
The estate was painstakingly hand-built by retired Loyola University professor Dr. Charles L. Scudder in 1977, and for five years, he lived there happily with his partner, Joseph Odom. Sadly, Scudder, Odom and their two dogs were brutally murdered in December 1982 during a robbery attempt by two acquaintances.
The investigation and trial that followed quickly devolved into a local media circus, with leaked information about the victims leading to the creation of an ugly mythology around the doomed couple.
Due to the pair’s open homosexuality and Dr. Scudder’s interest in the occult, the two were accused of being “devil worshippers,” and because they were no longer around to defend themselves, the allegations became accepted fact by many.
Today, the site of the dilapidated mansion is referred to as “Devil Worshipper’s Mountain” by area residents, and local legend claims that stealing a brick from the site will result in a lifelong curse for the thief.
A massive fire in the mid-1980s destroyed most of the main residence except for the masonry, but most of the out-buildings—including a well room and gazebo—remain relatively intact.
Despite being private property, the site off Black Springs Road just outside Summerville is popular with urban explorers, thanks largely to local law enforcement’s willingness to allow access to visitors as long as they act respectfully and responsibly.
Hancock County Hospital (The Bad Debt Hospital)
Nicknamed “Bad Debt Hospital” for its decades of well-publicized financial woes, Hancock County Hospital was built in 1968 to serve the residents of this rural region of eastern Georgia. With 52 beds, an emergency room and intensive care unit, the county-operated facility employed roughly 150 doctors, nurses and other staff.
Not long after it opened, corruption and financial mismanagement in the county government led to the closure of the hospital in 1974. Members of the community rallied to form the Hospital Corporation, a nonprofit organization that sought to lease the hospital from the county and manage its day-to-day operations.
After several long years without an adequate medical facility to serve the region, the hospital reopened, but the financial issues that plagued it soon returned.
By the early 1990s, the Hospital Corporation found itself nearly $1 million in debt and had to ask the county for a $1.7 million bailout to keep it afloat in the short term. The group hired hospital management firm Quorum to assist it with restructuring the facility’s debt and streamlining its operations, which resulted in the layoff of nearly a third of the hospital’s staff.
Disputes about finances once again bubbled to the surface in 1995, when the County Hospital Authority was shut out of board meetings with Quorum and began to suspect financial mismanagement. A subsequent investigation revealed that the hospital did not have sufficient insurance coverage for its emergency room physicians, and the county successfully demanded the resignation of the Hospital Company’s CEO in 1998.
The following year saw massive cuts to the hospital’s Medicaid funding, ultimately leading to the facility’s permanent demise. Hospital staff were gradually laid off until its closure in 2001.
Vandals soon broke into the shuttered facility looking for leftover medication, but instead left with copper wiring to sell for scrap. The building remains vacant and filled with abandoned patient records, medical equipment and obsolete electronics.
Meanwhile, county residents must travel 90 minutes to the nearest hospital, and the county’s death rate due to heart attacks has skyrocketed by 40 percent. The county still hopes to one day reopen the ill-fated facility, but for now it sits as yet another example of the incredible abandoned places in Georgia.
Alonzo Herndon Stadium
Despite its starring role in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, the 15,000-seat Alonzo Herndon Stadium is now a decaying eyesore on the campus of Morris Brown College. The two-sided stadium hosted field hockey matches during the 1996 Summer Games and was also used by the former Georgia Mustangs and the former Atlanta Beat team that played in the WUSA women’s soccer league.
The stadium also served as a stand-in for the demolished Fairfield Stadium in Huntington, West Virginia in the popular 2006 film We Are Marshall.
Due to extreme financial challenges, the college has been unable to maintain the facility, and its condition quickly deteriorated after regular play on its field ceased. The concrete bleachers are cracked and crumbling; its interior corridors are covered with graffiti and littered with trash; its yellowing field is overgrown with weeds; and street artists have tagged nearly every exterior wall on the property.
The stadium provides a sad visual reflection of the institution’s current financial state: After operating for nearly 130 years, the private, historically Black Morris Brown College has lost its accreditation, posting an enrollment of just 42 students in 2020.
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Georgia Girl Drive-In (Woodbine)
Almost hidden in a thicket of overgrown brush along U.S. 17, this kitschy temple of 1960s nostalgia clings tenuously to survival.
The diminutive diner was owned and operated by Davis and Lillian White, a true mom-and-pop shop tucked along the back roads of rural east Georgia. Its eye-catching neon sign beckoned hungry travelers and locals alike, promising a filling meal served with a hearty helping of Southern hospitality.
Though it’s unclear precisely when the neon lights went out at Georgia Girl, the extension of I-95 through south Georgia in the 1970s hastened the demise of dozens of small businesses that had the misfortune of being located too far from the new highway.
The diner has obviously been abandoned for several decades, and vandals and natural forces have taken their toll on the small structure. All of its windows are either broken or boarded up, and the roof over the kitchen has disappeared altogether.
A tangle of vines snakes up the pole that supports the iconic neon sign, and weeds and small trees almost completely obscure the sides of the building. A pair of precariously-placed makeshift beams wedged against chunks of broken concrete appear to have been placed under the front awning to prevent it from collapsing.
Though the building itself is probably past the point of rescue, one can only hope that someone decides to preserve the photogenic sign with its retro styling and welcoming hostess—a worthy symbol of the small diner that offered a hot meal and a smile to every visitor who took the time to stop by.
Macon Coaling Tower (Macon)
When it was constructed in 1910, the Macon Coaling Tower was designed to provide coal to fuel the bustling railyard operated by the Central of Georgia Railway. Also known as a “tipple,” the coal chute was last used in 1965. The defunct structure sits on a 22-acre property in Macon’s industrial district that is now owned by Transco Railway, which primarily uses the site for rail car repair work.
After more than a half-century of neglect, the tower is in precarious condition and faces the specter of demolition. The massive body of the tower is largely covered in vines, and its connection to the long chute that once carried coal to ground level is tenuous at best.
The nonprofit group Historic Macon, in conjunction with the Macon-Bibb Mayor and County Commission, has launched an effort to establish a conservation easement with Transco to preserve the historic tower as an invaluable piece of the region’s industrial heritage, but its future remains uncertain.
Antioch Baptist Church (Crawfordville)
This local landmark was built near the end of the 19th century when the adult children of former slaves united to found the Antioch Baptist Church in rural Taliaferro County. The church started as an offshoot of the well-established Powelton New Hope Baptist Church, with three deacons—Abe Frazier, Philie Jones and Willie Peak—managing to acquire four acres of land on which to construct a sanctuary for the new church.
The original building was destroyed by fire in 1921, with its reconstruction completed in 1923. The modestly-sized congregation met there for the next seven decades, although its membership dwindled in its latter years. When Deacon George Turner died in 1992, the church’s regular services were indefinitely suspended, and the building began to deteriorate due to age and lack of maintenance.
Over the past century, the Antioch Baptist Church building has earned the status of being the most-photographed church in Georgia. Stylistically, its design is markedly different from most Southern Baptist churches, with its distinctive Gothic Revival-style towers and arched windows.
Though descendants of the congregation’s original founders return to the building for an annual August worship service and reunion, this historic structure is in danger of collapse or demolition without concerted efforts to stabilize and restore it. Its white wooden siding is in dire need of paint, and the floorboards of the exterior entryway are showing advanced signs of decay.
Water has seeped inside and damaged its walls and flooring, and the restrooms are no longer accessible. The church has been named to the list of “Places in Peril” by the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation, which notes that community investment is critical to the structure’s survival.
In addition to the iconic church building, the property also contains a small cemetery, with 71 documented internments as well as a few dozen unmarked graves. The oldest marked plot is identified as the final resting place of Reverend William Darden, who died in 1898.
Hodgson House (Atlanta)
This historic mansion is tucked away in the dense brush of Fernbank Forest, an unusual urban treasure in the heart of Atlanta. The home, known as “Wildwoods,” was built by Dr. Frederick Grady Hodgson in 1916 for his wife and seven children. He purchased the property from Colonel Zadock Harrison, who owned dozens of acres in Fernbank Forest.
When Harrison died in 1935, his daughter Emily purchased the land rights of her fellow heirs in an effort to prevent the subdivision and subsequent sale of the forest. She partnered with friends at nearby Emory University to form Fernbank, Inc., raising funds to maintain and preserve the property well into the future.
In the 1950s, several of the group’s board members partnered with the DeKalb County Board of Education on a plan to establish a science center on a parcel of forest land. Bankrolled by a combination of federal funds and private donations, the Fernbank Museum opened its doors to the public in 1967. In the years since, the museum has added new land and buildings to its property, including the long-vacant Hodgson House.
For several years, Hodgson House served as a location for Fernbank’s archives as well as a handful of special exhibits and workshops, but the residence is currently designated “Staff Only” on the museum’s visitors’ map.
Recent photos of the home’s interior show significant deterioration, including damaged wood floors, cracked walls and other structural concerns, but the residence’s original grandeur is still evident in its rich wood banisters, high ceilings, exposed brick walls and stately fireplaces.
Middle Georgia Raceway (Byron)
This half-mile paved track opened to much fanfare in 1966, when NASCAR icon Richard Petty broke the speed record for tracks of that size during the Speedy Morelock 200. In front of a cheering crowd of 7,500 fans, Petty’s 1966 Plymouth topped out at 82 miles per hour, carrying him to victory in the 100-mile race.
The following year, the track courted controversy when federal agents uncovered an illegal moonshine distillery buried underground just outside the track. The subterranean operation was accessible via a trap door inside a ticket booth, and it contained a pair of fermenting tanks with a total capacity of 3,700 gallons as well as an electric exhaust system, lighting and insect repellent devices.
Property owner Lamar Brown Jr. was arrested, and the agents opted to use acetylene torches to destroy the distillery to avoid damaging the track, allowing the race scheduled the next day to proceed without a hitch. Despite a strong case by the local prosecutor that included an invoice for 24 pounds of yeast, the jury deliberated less than two hours before returning a not guilty verdict.
Though NASCAR stopped holding events at the Middle Georgia Raceway after the 1971 Georgia 500, the track continued to be used for amateur races that often featured up-and-coming stars like Rusty Wallace, Mark Martin and Davey Allison. By the mid-1980s, however, the track was essentially dormant.
It has been reopened periodically for events, reunions and even the filming of a Dodge Durango commercial in 2011, but for the most part, the venue has been abandoned. On the track, tufts of weeds and grass peek up through cracks in the surface, and vines and brush are beginning to take over the concrete bleachers, which have also been tagged with graffiti.
What remains of the infield grass is brown and mostly dead, and the faded corporate logos painted on the cinder block walls surrounding the facility are barely legible.
Our Final Thoughts on Abandoned Places in Georgia
Those who are into urban exploration in the Georgia state area, and wanting to explore abandoned places in Georgia, should get comfortable with Georgia trespassing laws. Luckily, in the state of Georgia, the laws are easy to understand and are pretty cut and dry.
For more about obtaining permission to explore abandoned places in Georgia, check out our guide Explore Abandoned Buildings: How To Get Permission.