From Bridges to Stadiums: 13 U.S. Icons That Are Falling Apart

America is a veritable treasure trove of famous bridges, lighthouses, stadiums, and other architectural wonders that are as historically and culturally significant as they are artful. Yet the triple threats of vandalism, neglect, and harsh weather have reduced some of these stalwart structures to crumbling ruins. Here's a selection of great American landmarks that have, for various reasons, lost their looks yet retained their importance.

  1. Catskill Game Farm in Catskill, New York

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    Catskill game farm

    Flickr.com via Cory Seamer

    Once a vibrant zoo filled with exotic animals, the 206-acre Catskill Game Farm is now little more than a collection of dilapidated animal pens, weathered signs, and overgrown brush. The zoo closed in 2007, and a campground now occupies the site where nostalgic tourists can hike and play outdoor games on the old grounds, or even meet April the Giraffe, a four-legged resident of the former zoo.

    Related: 7 Camping Favorites Destined for Your Home

  2. Six Flags New Orleans in New Orleans, Louisiana

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    Six flags new orleans

    Flickr.com via Erik Jorgensen

    Eighty percent of this 140-acre amusement park was submerged underwater during Hurricane Katrina, yet even the few rides that escaped the flooding remain nonoperational due to safety concerns. Although prior attempts to reopen the abandoned park have failed, it has found a semblance of life as a film location for hit movies like "Jurassic World" and "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes."

    Related: After Disaster: 8 U.S. Cities That Went from Ruin to Rebirth

  3. Westlake Theater in Los Angeles, California

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    Westlake theater

    Wikimedia Commons via Visitor7

    L.A.'s Westlake Theater, recently purchased for $2 million, has undergone multiple conversions, from a popular vaudeville venue in the 1920s, to a Spanish-language cinema in the '80s, to a swap meet destination and National Historic Landmark in the early '90s. By then, the Renaissance-style murals bore major signs of wear, though restoration efforts have improved their appearance as well as the looks of other original elements of the theater.

    Related: The Most Famous Houses in Every State

  4. The New York State Pavilion in Queens, New York

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    New york world fair

    Flickr.com via Dave Addey, Erwin Bernal, and slgckgc 

    Built for the New York World's Fair of 1964, the New York State Pavilion consisted of three structures: an elliptical Tent of Tomorrow, three concrete Observation Towers, and the drum-shaped Theaterama. While the Theaterama now houses the Queens Museum, the towers and the Tent of Tomorrow have slowly fallen victim to deterioration and vandalism. While its terrazzo floors have faded and its roof and red ceiling tiles are gone, the pavilion's artful architecture and cultural significance earned it a National Treasure designation from the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 2014.

    Related: 15 Places Every American Should Visit at Least Once

  5. Michigan Central Station in Detroit, Michigan

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    Michigan central station

    Flickr.com via Johnathan Nightingale and Thomas Hawk

    The decline in train travel in post-World War II America heralded the demise of this Beaux-Arts-inspired rail depot, which was finally closed in 1988 after 75 years of service. Though the building has since decayed, proposals for renovation and redevelopment are still in play. In the meantime, the ramshackle roof has been repaired, the flooded basement drained, and minor structural repairs performed—and an imposing barbed-wire fence now surrounds the depot to ward off vandals.

    Related: You’ll Never Believe What These 6 Amazing Homes Used to Be

  6. The Palladium in St. Louis, Missouri

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    The palladium

    Flickr.com via Paul Sableman

    Threats to bulldoze this important building led the National Trust for Historic Preservation to label it one of the most endangered historic places in 2014. But in its heyday in the 1940s and '50s, the Palladium served as a popular dance club featuring acts by Nat King Cole, Dizzy Gillespie, and other African-American musical icons.

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  7. Historic Wintersburg in Huntington Beach, California

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    Historic wintersburg

    Flickr.com via Chris Jespen

    While the owners of this property are reportedly in talks to sell Historic Wintersburg for use as a self-storage facility, preservationists believe its historic past is worth protecting. Its shabby state aside, the cluster of six paint-chipped buildings on an abandoned 4.3-acre lot remains a symbol of Japanese-American life in the American West.

    Related: 25 Tiny Towns to Visit for a Glimpse at How We Used to Live

  8. Frank Lloyd Wright Spring House in Tallahassee, Florida

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    Frank lloyd wright spring house

    Flickr.com via Artie White

    One look at the rotted wood and deteriorating facade of this 64-year-old dwelling and it's plain to see that it's lost its original grandeur. The Spring House, however, also known as the Lewis House, still holds the honor of being the only private residence in Florida to be built by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

    Related: The Secret Histories of 15 Grand Old American Mansions

  9. Old Mint in San Francisco, California

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    Old mint san francisco

    Flickr.com via James Carnes

    Remarkably, the San Francisco Mint survived the 7.9-magnitude earthquake and fire that rocked the City by the Bay in 1906. The building stopped producing coins way back in 1937, and the intervening years have not been kind to the weathered sandstone structure. For preservationists and architecture buffs, however, "The Granite Lady" represents the city's transformation from a shanty town to a Gold Rush hub to a modern-day leader of technology.

    Related: America's Most Indestructible Buildings

  10. Hinchliffe Stadium in Paterson, New Jersey

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    Hinchliffe field

    Wikimedia Commons via KForce

    Since its closure in 1997, vandalism and neglect have transformed this concrete stadium into the overgrown and graffiti-covered wasteland it is today. But for most of its history, the 10,000-seat venue, one of few remaining ballparks with a Negro League pedigree, was filled with spectators eager to attend must-see events ranging from ball games to rock concerts.

    Related: Would You Recognize These 9 Iconic Streets Way Back When?

  11. Miami Marine Stadium in Miami, Florida

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    Miami marine stadium

    Flickr.com via Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    Hurricane Andrew caused the closure of this unique 6,566-seat stadium, built in 1963 for viewing powerboat races. More than 25 years of disuse have resulted in the graffitied seats, rotted platforms, and pot-hole-ridden walkways that plague the site today. Despite the stadium's chaotic condition, plans to raze it in 2006 were met with public furor, leading to its designation as a local landmark in 2008 and sparking a $45 million investment in its renovation.

    Related: 15 Classic Roadside Motels You Can Visit Along America's Highways

  12. Montauk Point Light in Montauk, New York

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    Montauk lighthouse

    Wikimedia Commons via Flr9003

    This postcard-worthy lighthouse in the picturesque Hamptons hamlet of Montauk is at risk of sinking if the rapidly eroding cliff on which it stands is not reinforced, or if the structure itself isn't permanently moved to higher ground. Its designation as a National Historic Landmark in 2012, however, gives locals hope that the 110-foot tower will have a future.

    Related: The Best Tiny Beach Towns from East to West

  13. Arlington Memorial Bridge in Washington, D.C.

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    Arlington memorial bridge

    Wikimedia Commons via National Park Service

    The draw span of this neoclassical bridge was permanently closed in 1961, but the bridge still managed to earn a spot on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. While the bridge, built in 1932, has been repaired over the years, its beauty, utility, and historical significance have inspired a $22 million rehab, slated for completion in 2021.  

    Related: The 12 Most Infamous Goofs in Architecture History

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