Nestled in the heartland of America, Missouri is a realm of contrasts, where the bustling vibes of Kansas City and St. Louis are juxtaposed with vast stretches of tranquil countryside. Beyond its industrious cities and agricultural abundance, the Show-Me State whispers tales of days gone by through its abandoned places in Missouri. These sites, remnants of the past, hold stories waiting to be uncovered by the curious traveler.
From the towering, now silent, factories in the east to forgotten rural homesteads in the west, Missouri’s abandoned treasures beckon urban explorers and history aficionados alike. Each structure stands as a testament to dreams once pursued, lives once led, and epochs since passed, painting a vivid picture of abandoned Missouri.
As you journey through these dormant relics of time, bear in mind the responsibility that comes with exploration. Respect the spaces, understanding their significance to local heritage. With caution in your steps and reverence in your heart, set forth to discover the haunting allure of ten of Missouri’s most captivating abandoned locales.
Note: Many of these locations are in an extremely delicate state. Specifics on locations, such as coordinates or maps, are not given. This is done so purposefully as a barrier to entry to those who may mean harm to these spots. I want to ensure that these abandoned places in Illinois are known about, but stay as vandalism and destruction free as possible. Remember: Take only photos, leave only footprints.
Our Top 10 Abandoned Missouri Locations
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 Missouri location.
- The Odd Fellows Home (Liberty)
- Cementland (St. Louis)
- Imperial Brewery (Kansas City)
- Wheatley Provident Hospital (Kansas City)
- Kansas City Workhouse (Kansas City)
- Cotton Belt Freight Depot (St. Louis)
- Kessler Park Reservoir (Kansas City)
- Celebration City (Branson)
- Missouri State Penitentiary (Jefferson City)
- St. Mary’s Infirmary (St. Louis)
Broaden Your Horizons Beyond Missouri
Are you interested in venturing outside the state of Missouri? Maybe you live close to the state line, or maybe you’re just looking for adventures outside your home state. Whatever the case may be, here are some guides to bordering states that may be helpful in effective urban exploration:
Don’t Forget About Trespassing Laws
It is important when considering abandoned places in Missouri to know the basics of Missouri trespassing laws. Luckily, we have developed a massive guide to trespassing laws in all 50 states. For laws that specifically relate to Missouri, please click here.
Without any further ado, let’s hop into the list of abandoned places!
The Best Abandoned Places in Missouri
The Odd Fellows Home (Liberty)
Missouri’s rich history features captivating abandoned sites. The Odd Fellows Home in Liberty is a striking example. This establishment was founded by the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF), which began its journey before innovations like Social Security. Originating from a British counterpart, IOOF entered the U.S. in 1819, marking its presence in the state by 1835.
Close to Kansas City, this site emerged in the late 19th century. Covering 240 acres, it was more than a mere shelter. It had a hospital, nursing home, orphanage, school, cemetery, and farm. In exchange for shelter, members worked on the site, ensuring its upkeep.
The institution’s hallmark was its unique educational approach. In an era with restricted education, it was a beacon. It offered music, high school, and even college courses. Yet, 1951 witnessed the Old School building’s unfortunate demolition.
Remaining fragments of this majestic site echo its profound history. Three architectural marvels, reflecting the Jacobean Revival style, persist. The influence of St. Louis architect William B. Ittner shines, especially in the Administration Building, a testament to abandoned places in Missouri.
How Things Look Today
From its original 240 acres, it now stretches across 36 acres. Its historical value earned it a spot on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986. Time has left its marks with visible decay and damage. However, part of the Administration Building now thrives as the Belvoir Winery and Inn’s tasting room. Visitors eager to relive Missouri’s mesmerizing past are welcome during winery hours.
Cementland (St. Louis)
St. Louis’s Riverview Drive once bustled with a cement factory. When operations halted, it became a dumping site for unwanted construction materials. But Bob Cassilly, a local sculptor, saw potential. In this site, he envisioned an artful blend of installation and amusement park, celebrating St. Louis’s cement industry’s legacy.
Bob Cassilly was no stranger to transforming spaces. He breathed life into the City Museum, a century-old 600,000 square-foot warehouse in St. Louis’s heart. Turning it from a dormant structure to an adventure-filled indoor-outdoor playground, he demonstrated a knack for abandoned Missouri locations. The museum, boasting a roof-mounted school bus, a giant indoor slide, and a jungle gym crafted from salvaged materials, stands as a testament to Cassilly’s creativity.
For Cementland, Cassilly had grand plans. He welcomed construction waste, seeing it as building material. The old factory morphed into a castle-like marvel with bridges across rugged moats. Whimsical sculptures, statues, and attractions crafted from cement and scrap began filling the site. Locals eagerly anticipated this new attraction.
Yet, fate had other plans. Cassilly’s life was tragically cut short in 2011, while working at Cementland. Although officially reported as a bulldozer accident, some believe foul play was involved. With his demise, the park’s construction halted, leaving it in a state of general abandonedment and neglect.
Vandalism and a 2016 fire further marred the site. Security now guards this unfinished gem, but for those seeking an off-beat Missouri adventure, Cementland beckons.
How Things Look Today
Cementland stands as a poignant tribute to Cassilly’s unfinished vision. Though halted by tragedy, remnants of his creativity scatter the 55-acre park. Time, trespassers, and elements have scarred the site, with graffiti marking its walls and a fire-ravaged roof. Yet, whispers of Cassilly’s dream echo, making it a compelling, albeit haunting, Missouri exploration. Venture with caution if you’re intrigued.
Imperial Brewery (Kansas City)
From St. Louis’s bustling east to Kansas City’s vibrant west, Missouri boasts a legacy of breweries, rooted in the post-Civil War brewing zenith. While some giants like Anheuser-Busch in St. Louis thrived, many succumbed to Prohibition’s grip. These sites, often forgotten, now stand as abandoned places in Missouri.
In 1902, Kansas City witnessed the rise of Imperial Brewing Company. It introduced two lagers – Imperial Seal and Mayflower. With a robust capacity, it produced over 50,000 barrels annually. Strategic advantages, like a nearby cave for cold storage and new rail lines, further bolstered its operations. However, in a short span of three years, the Kansas City Breweries Company acquired it, adding the Old Fashioned Lager to its lineup. At its zenith, the facility boasted an impressive 300,000 barrels per year.
Prohibition’s onset in 1920 spelled doom for many, including the Kansas City Breweries conglomerate. By 1933, with Prohibition’s repeal, the facility had a new avatar – a flour mill. For over five decades, it produced a staggering 1,200 barrels of flour daily. Yet, the 1980s saw its closure, adding it to the list of “abandoned Missouri” landmarks.
How Things Look Today
Decades of neglect have left the mill in decay. The old power house, a vestige from its brewing days, stands repurposed as a storage unit. Inside, remnants of milling equipment bear silent testimony to its past. An old barn, once housing draft horses, remains erect.
Certified by the National Historical Society in 2011, this landmark off I-35 is in private hands. Its future remains uncertain, but its allure for those seeking abandoned Missouri tales is undeniable.
Wheatley Provident Hospital (Kansas City)
In Kansas City’s heart lies a testament to a drive for equality: Wheatley-Provident Hospital. Established in 1916 by Dr. John Edward Perry, this institution stands as the city’s first Black-owned hospital. Until 1972, it offered vital medical care to nonwhite residents, addressing gaps in the healthcare landscape.
Dr. Perry, originally from Texas and driven by a mission to bridge healthcare disparities, shifted to Kansas City in 1903. This hospital, now a historical landmark, paints a rich chapter in abandoned Missouri tales.
Initially opening as a sanitarium and nursing school, its vision expanded through partnerships. With the backing of the Phyllis Wheatley Club and the New Movement Association, it transformed into the Wheatley-Provident Hospital. For decades, Dr. Perry not only healed but also mentored budding medical professionals until his passing in 1962.
By the 1970s, the old building struggled to serve the community. In 1972, it bowed out, transferring patients to the newly built Martin Luther King Jr. Hospital. Though it mostly lay vacant, some remember its brief stints as a haunted attraction in the 1980s and 1990s. After two fires in 2012 almost reduced it to ashes, it became a contender for Missouri’s “most endangered buildings.”
But, in a twist, a 2018 purchase by a developer saved it from potential demolition. Their vision? An office complex. Yet, the state of disrepair persists, inviting those keen on exploring abandoned places in Missouri.
How Things Look Today
Despite intentions of restoration, the hospital remains suspended in time. It stands as a silent sentinel to its storied past. Though ravaged by time and elements, its resilience is evident. To many, it’s not just another building in decay but a beacon of hope and change. Its walls, though weary, continue to echo the commitment of pioneers like Dr. Perry to create a more equitable world.
Kansas City Workhouse (Kansas City)
Deep in Kansas City lies a structure reminiscent of a medieval castle. The Kansas City Workhouse, constructed in 1897, stands as a witness to the city’s history. Made from limestone blocks hand-quarried by inmates of the preceding jail, this iconic building showcases the Romanesque Revival style.
Its yellow stone walls and grand towers once echoed with the stories of drunks, beggars, and minor offenders. However, like many abandoned places in Missouri, it has since faded into the backdrop.
The inmates weren’t just confined; they were employed. Many found themselves working for the city public works department as a part of their sentences. Yet, despite its imposing architecture and its role in the justice system, the jail was operational for a mere 30 years, closing its doors in 1924.
Its journey thereafter was dotted with multiple roles – from a city storage hub to a military training center and even a canine euthanasia facility. But by 1974, it was relegated to history, another of the many abandoned Missouri sites.
Years saw the grandeur of the castle deteriorate. Graffiti marred its walls, nature reclaimed its grounds, and time eroded its interiors. The state of neglect it lay in mirrored many abandoned places in Missouri.
How Things Look Today
Hope briefly dawned in 2014 when Daniel and Ebony Edwards took charge. Their community-driven mission removed 62 tons of trash, giving the place a facelift. So transformed was it that they even celebrated their wedding on its grounds.
Dreams of rejuvenating the castle into a community center were vibrant, but realities were harsher. In a short span, the site, sitting on Vine Street, once again wore its cloak of decay, with graffiti and vandalism marking its aging walls.
Cotton Belt Freight Depot (St. Louis)
In the heart of St. Louis stands the Cotton Belt Freight Depot, an architectural marvel that once played a crucial role in Missouri’s rich rail history. Established in 1913 for the St. Louis Southwestern Railway, its unique structure spans an impressive 750 feet in length, yet remains a mere 30 feet wide. Though it might resemble a wall more than a conventional industrial building, its importance to the “Cotton Belt Route” is undeniable.
Serving as a primary artery from Missouri to parts of Arkansas and Texas, the Cotton Belt Route, beginning in 1891, underlined St. Louis’s stature as a pivotal hub for the cotton industry. However, the early 20th-century boom was followed by a slow ebb, resulting in the depot’s decommissioning in 1959.
Today, after over six decades of abandonment, the depot still stands tall, a testament to the bygone era of rail supremacy. Its recognition in the National Register of Historic Places in 2004 ensured its survival against potential demolition for a proposed sports stadium. With its intact loading dock doors, shaded by awnings, and upper-floor windows hinting at the former railroad company offices, it exudes a sense of nostalgia.
How Things Look Today
The depot’s significance hasn’t gone unnoticed. Voted as the “Best Old Building” in 2011 by Riverfront Times readers, this freight depot, adorned with vibrant graffiti, has emerged as a symbol of St. Louis’s industrial heritage.
Further enhancing its legacy, artists in 2014 emblazoned it with a mural, welcoming those entering the city over the Mississippi River. Despite these gestures of honor, the Cotton Belt Freight Depot remains one of the most evocative abandoned places in Missouri.
Kessler Park Reservoir (Kansas City)
Amidst Kansas City’s urban expanse lies the remnants of Kessler Park Reservoir, a historical testament to a visionary urban planner whose innovations spanned across two continents. George Edward Kessler, renowned for his expansive urban planning achievements in 23 states, Mexico, and China, was the driving force behind numerous park and boulevard systems, parks, private estates, and educational institutions during his illustrious four-decade career.
At the cusp of the 20th century, Kessler Park (formerly known as North Terrace Park until its renaming in 1971 to honor Kessler) stood as a beacon of his master plan for the Kansas City metropolitan area. However, with the rising industrial vigor of the era, the city’s Fire and Water Commission foresaw a pressing need for a reservoir to meet the water demands. Thus, in 1920, the Kessler Park Reservoir came to fruition.
But, the triumph was short-lived. The reservoir’s concrete structure soon betrayed signs of weakness, with cracks burgeoning under the sheer weight of 16 million gallons of water it contained. Forced to seek alternative water provisions, the city drained and eventually abandoned the reservoir.
How Things Look Today
Today, nature and time have left their marks. Weeds and saplings emerge defiantly from the cracks, and graffiti cloaks the reservoir’s expansive concrete walls. Dominating the barren basin are two once-mighty water towers, now corroded remnants of a bygone era.
Surrounding it all, a weathered chain-link fence stands, a silent sentinel to deter trespassers and protect the reservoir’s legacy as a poignant abandoned site in Kansas City.
Celebration City (Branson)
At the cusp of the millennium in 1999, Branson unveiled Celebration City, conceptualized as a thematic continuation of its iconic counterpart, Silver Dollar City. While the latter bathed in the nostalgia of the 19th century, Celebration City (initially christened Branson USA) was a bridge to the 20th century.
Its attractions echoed the heartbeats of small-town America, from the lively vibes of a beachside boardwalk to the adventurous allure of Route 66 road trips. May through September, the park would come alive with various rides, entertainment shows, and a signature nightly fireworks spectacle. However, the shimmering promise of Celebration City soon dimmed in the overwhelming shadow of Silver Dollar City, leading to its temporary closure after a mere three seasons.
Hope flickered anew in 2003 when, after extensive redesigning and augmentations—including the additions of a wooden roller coaster, a log flume ride, and an even more splendid laser, water, and fireworks show—the park reopened its doors. Yet, even with its new appeal, Celebration City couldn’t cement its place in the hearts of tourists. In 2008, it drew its curtains once more, this time for good.
How Things Look Today
Time has rendered parts of Celebration City to memories. While some rides found new homes in various amusement parks across the nation, others, like the Electric Star Ferris wheel, the expansive go-kart track, the exhilarating Fireball swinging claw ride, a nostalgic carousel, and the log flume, remain. They stand as silent reminders of the park’s once-vibrant legacy.
The reins of both Silver Dollar City and Celebration City rest with the Herschend Family Entertainment Corporation. While they have hinted at “exploring new concepts” for Celebration City’s future, the park still awaits its next chapter.
Side Note: For enthusiasts who relish the mysteries of abandoned theme parks, the stories don’t just end in Missouri. From the haunting allure of Six Flags New Orleans to the tales of Lake Shawnee Amusement Park, delve into our extensive exploration of the most captivating abandoned amusement parks in the US.
Missouri State Penitentiary (Jefferson City)
The Missouri State Penitentiary in Jefferson City is a haunting relic of history spanning over 168 years. Established in 1836, it held its reputation as one of the oldest prisons west of the Mississippi River until its closure in 2004. Time Magazine once dubbed it the “bloodiest 47 acres in America” due to its violent past. As one of the most intriguing abandoned places in Missouri, it housed some of the nation’s most notorious criminals, including James Earl Ray, who was convicted of assassinating Martin Luther King Jr.
Within the towering walls of this prison, stories of hope, despair, redemption, and tragedy intertwine. It operated through various eras, witnessing the Civil War, World Wars, and the Civil Rights Movement.
Apart from its infamous inmates, the penitentiary was also home to several notable escape attempts, riots, and reformative programs. Despite its grim reputation, it played a pivotal role in the evolution of the correctional system in abandoned Missouri.
How Things Look Today
The imposing structures of the Missouri State Penitentiary stand in silence today, echoing tales of its turbulent past. Guided tours offer visitors a glimpse into the life behind bars, walking them through underground dungeons, the chilling gas chamber, and old housing units.
The aged, weathered stone walls and watchtowers are a magnet for history enthusiasts and those interested in the paranormal. Many claim to have experienced supernatural occurrences, contributing to its reputation as a haunted locale in the annals of abandoned places in Missouri.
St. Mary’s Infirmary (St. Louis)
Nestled in St. Louis, the decaying facade of St. Mary’s Infirmary tells tales of medical triumphs and heartbreaks spanning over a century. The infirmary opened its doors in 1889, extending care to countless patients across Missouri.
A beacon of hope and healing, this hospital was a monumental achievement, especially considering the limited medical knowledge and technologies of its early days. As one of the more captivating abandoned places in Missouri, it thrived as a prominent healthcare center before financial hardships led to its closure in 1978.
Within its corridors, one can imagine the hustle and bustle of doctors, nurses, and patients, each with their own stories. Over the years, St. Mary’s underwent several expansions and renovations, symbolizing its importance in the local community. However, as modern medicine advanced and newer facilities arose, the aged structure struggled to keep pace. This historical gem ultimately faded into the background of abandoned Missouri, awaiting rediscovery.
How Things Look Today
Today, St. Mary’s Infirmary stands as a shadow of its former self, with nature steadily reclaiming its territory. Broken windows, chipped paint, and overgrowth mark the once-pristine building, but its majestic architecture remains evident.
Urban explorers and history enthusiasts venture to the site, eager to capture its eerie beauty and sense the echoes of the past. The juxtaposition of decay and the infirmary’s historical significance makes it a poignant and evocative entry on the list of abandoned places in Missouri.
Our Final Thoughts on Abandoned Places in Missouri
Those who are into urban exploration in the Missouri area should get comfortable with Missouri trespassing laws. Luckily, we have developed a massive guide to trespassing laws in all 50 states. For laws that specifically relate to Missouri, please click here.
For more about obtaining permission to explore abandoned places, check out our guide Explore Abandoned Buildings: How To Get Permission. Finally, if you are wanting to find more abandoned places in Missouri, check out my resource How To Find Abandoned Places With Google Maps.
- John Bourscheid, Killer Urbex