Thursday, August 9, 2007

Concrete City

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EDIT: Concrete City has apparently changed hands within the local government, and it seems to be patrolled more heavily these days. We've heard a few reports of urbexers being fined there, so proceed at your own risk.

When most people think of PA's ghost towns, they think Centralia, Cashtown or maybe Frick's Lock. For some reason, few people talk about Concrete City.

The name is only half true: every part of every building is made of concrete, but there are only about 16 of them.

Concrete City was built in 1911 by Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Coal to house some of its workers. Two main problems left the town abandoned in 1924: the company did not want to install a sewer system, and the concrete held in cold and dampness. They tried demolishing one of the buildings, but dynamite had little effect on the poured concrete.

The central courtyard used to have a playground, tennis courts, even a baseball field. Now it has paintball accoutrements.

Granted, it's not the ideal ghost town: the locals frequently use it for paintball games, and kids take beers up there once in a while and get drunk (and you'll see plenty of paint balls and beer cans throughout the city). But if you time your trip right -- a Sunday, weekday, or some time in winter is best -- you can have hours of fun at Concrete City.

Once Brian and I finally found our way through Nanticoke, we headed off on the gravel path to Concrete City. There were a few dead ends along the way, but it was so serene and pretty that we didn't mind.

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Naturally, this was everyone's favorite when this post hit Digg's front page, haha.

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There's more info on Concrete City, including a few pics of the town before it was abandoned. Check out Web Urbanist for an excellent article on ghost towns around the world.

66 comments:

Urbanist said...

Great image set and narrative - my only disagreement is that I find the graffiti gives the place even more life, but to each his own ;) Thanks for sharing these great photos!

Al Ebaster said...

Hehe, I just meant that particular "boobies are cool" bit. There was some pretty impressive stuff there, and what better place for it?

Dan said...

You could slightly crop the picture to just read "boo.. a.. co.." and then it doesn't say anything specific, but rather is just 'graffiti'

Anonymous said...

but boobies are cool......

Anonymous said...

Hey there,
Surfed in through Digg. Where is this place? I grew up in NE PA, Schuylkill Co. and I've never heard of it.

Anonymous said...

I grew up in Scranton, which is 1/2 hour or so north of Nanticoke, and I've never heard of this place either.

Anonymous said...

Yes, boobies are indeed cool.

Damned kids with their spray paint and free time and love of boobies.

Anonymous said...

haha i like all the exclamation points you used.

Alex said...

Nice set of pictures. It's interesting to see abandoned places like this.

Dur said...

hey anonymous, who doesn't know where Scranton is? Seriously?

Instant TV said...

Imagine being there at night. Now that's creepy, especially if a record player clicked on and started playing old timey music

Anonymous said...

i think the graffiti is the only thing making the last picture from being a boring picture

Phoosh said...

where exactly is this place?

Brian - The other half :D said...

It's just a few minutes outside of Wilkes-Barre. You'll find a dead end of a road that was, then go on a nice hike through some quad trails to find it. I must say, this was my favorite site until today. More on that to come later!

Shanna Lynn said...

This was great, nice images. I'd love to photograph someone there.

Anonymous said...

great presentation.i dugg
Weird picture interesting video articles

CrownOfAshes said...

This is a great place... i'm from the area and I play paintball here every few weeks... Its the best place that I have played paintball at.

Mike said...

Great pictures. Concrete city looks a lot better in the summer.

Just to let you know, there were actually 22 buildings when it was first created. Now there are 20.

Concrete city is an amazing place.

alex said...

I was just there earlier today. Used to play paintball there a couple years ago. It was good to go back and see it again. Its nice in the summer but you can see more in the winter when all the plants are dead.

Anonymous said...

As I kid living in Nanticoke I my Dad took my bro and I with a metal detector around the area, before most of the graffiti and garbage was around. Found some cool stuff, too! My Grandfather actually helped build the tennis courts in the middle of the buildings as a kid. Used to be a very cool place from what I can remember.

Al Ebaster said...

Anon (Jan 15), thanks so much for the comment. This is my favorite part of running this blog -- hearing from people who are connected to these places as you are. Concrete City must've been a gem before all the trash and vandalism.

Anonymous said...

the way i found it was, go to google earth, or mapquest. put in Phillip Street Nanticoke, Pa. closer to the top right corner u will notice what looks like a dotted square thats it

Anonymous said...

My friends and I go here a lot to take really nice scenery pictures. We tend to climb up to the roof of one specific building that's still pretty stable to take most of them. (We're all photography majors) I love this place. And I must say, it's so much prettier in the winter.

skippy71189 said...

+It is actually very easy to find.. although you must walk through the woods to get to it. If you want to find it from wilkes barre i suggest you search bliss st. of hanover section of nanticoke. if you turn onto bliss street and drive straight untill you hit the woods, you can just park right there and walk to it. The neighbors are used to people parking there to go to concrete city, so thats a plus. The only thing is you can't see it from any of it's ways of getting there from civilization. So if you see a kid or adult around, you should probably ask for directions from a main road or street. theres only 2 turns to make in the woods so its not that ahrd to find =]

ps if you cant tell Concrete City is my playground <33

polisian said...

concrete city is huge with many of the kids and paintball fans in the area, I live about an hour 1/2 away from concrete city but make regular trips to paintball there, its always a favorite spot for air soft teams as well. The place is amazing. Thanks for that bit of history about city. tourists be ready to dodge small colored projectiles while visiting, enjoy!

Samantha said...

I just visited concrete city yesterday...I think the best part is the awkward feeling you get after walking into a slanted building..I love to look at the actual artistic graffiti not the random words...Its a great place to explore. My friends got caught playing paintball up there like two months ago and they were arrested for trespassing and terroristic training though the second charges were dropped...Its was up for sale I'm not so sure if anyone bought it yet.

Al Ebaster said...

Trespassing? Seriously? I thought for sure that it was open to the public, and it sounds (and looks) like people play paintball there all the time. I've never heard of anyone having any legal trouble going there, weird.

Al Ebaster said...

...But, now that I read some more recent stuff, I see it's passed to control of the Nanticoke General Municipal Authority, meaning visitors are probably screwed now.

I really do get pissed at PA, and the nation in general at times. Millions get dumped into all sorts of worthless programs, billions into needless military equipment, while our history gets parceled off and sold to developers. This used to be a worry-free place to visit. Who knows what's next?

Dan said...

I just want to say, this is an amazing site. Thanks for your work Brian and Al.

I run a local investigation group in Lima Ohio, and we have an ancient TB Hospital thats been abandoned for nearly 40 years.

Keep up the amazing work!

Joey said...

i live 10 minets away from here. this place is amazing for paintball or airsoft, house to house tactic is a very fun game ( just have 1 team in each house next to eachother than have a war) and there is a speedball place there in the center mainly for paintball. airsoft isnt as common as paintball there. i perfer airsoft.

Anonymous said...

wat days do they play paintball and wat seasons?

Anonymous said...

i live right by here...its nothing big...its not a set day they play airsoft...its just a bunch of friends who decide they want to go shoot each other for the day...its kinda dirty...well...its really dirty.. and falling apart...but i guess its our towns little landmark..and its fun..:)

Anonymous said...

Concrete City is privately owned by an Airsoft team, I've been invited down there to play a few times. Haven't been there yet, but no supprise its set for Airsoft, considering its used as a field

Anonymous said...

This place is not the greatest place to play paintball. I heard it about and went down there with six buddies and was not impressed at all with the paintball play. Much better local places around Scranton. I wouldnt suggest anyone to go here to play paintball

Dan AKA BDATV president said...

This is not owner privately by a Airsoft team or a Paintball team. The township owns it I believe and it might have been sold. Eventually it will be torn down and developed from what I remember in the paper last year. A shame that will be. It is really an interesting place and some of the graffiti is amazing!! Alot of people play paintball here tho. It also looks like a war went on here once. ALOT of bullet holes everywhere.

Samantha said...

no it was actually up for sale last year but the historical society is bound to take hold of it...and we use it for airsoft maybe once or twice a week.

Anonymous said...

My Name is Lenny. I grew up in Hanover Section, lived on Wells St. My friends and I hung out down there all the time in the 70's and early 80's. It was like a second home. The National Guard used to train down there and so did the fire department. When we used to take a building and clean up a room and made it our clubhouse. We used to play tag down there and we'd jump from rooftop to rooftop if there was a tree in the middle. We'd jump into the tree and swing onto the rooftop. We used to party down there all the time. Sometimes strange things happeded at night. I now live in OK, and one day I'll take my kids to see it. It was a good thing to have growing up. Lot's of memories.

Lola said...

I've live in WB my entire life and only just learned of Concrete City in the past year. Still haven't gotten a chance to visit - from the looks of things I may have to soon!

Anonymous said...

Rumor has it Concrete City has now been Bulldozed. Can anyone confirm this?

Samantha said...

Doubt that it has been bulldozed I drive by there all the time and the path is still blocked. Haven't seen any machines either. Plus, something like that would have made the newspaper.

Anonymous said...

Is concrete city still standing? Also I noticed the bullet holes, do I need I need to carry?

Samantha said...

I really don't think you would need to carry..most of the bullet holes are probably from when the army made a visit.

Anonymous said...

just there yesterday, it hasn't been bulldozed.

Anonymous said...

just played a game of paintball today really muddy and grown in but good as usuall

Anonymous said...

Awesome. I'm planning on visiting soon and I really hope I don't get arrested or shot! J.k. this looks like an awesome place to visit. It's sad to hear it's (possibly?) getting torn down. Hopefully only rumor has it, but I'd like to see Concrete City before it's gone!

Ria said...

There used to be a legend about a little girl who drowned in the pool.
They claim that its haunted and that is why in the 1980's they had so many Satanic rituals there. It was a huge problem that I do remember made the papers.
Too bad we couldn't get one of those Ghost shows to come here and investigate it.
Even if its not haunted atleast it will gain some recognition and maybe be saved from whatever ill fate may come to it.
There has to be some history with the ppl who did live there for that short time.

Anonymous said...

My grandparents lived in concrete city back in the 1920's when my grandfather worked for the mining co. I live in NJ but spent my summers in Pa visiting my grandparents in the 70's and 80's... They lived in the house on Phillip st and the corner of the highway. I spent my childhood playing in concrete city, it was like our backyard have lots of photos from the 80's that I have to upload sometime. I too remember a story about a girl drowning in that mirky pool in the center of the "city". That place was great and I hope sometime I can get my 2 kids up there.

Ria said...

I would LOVE to see those old pictures. I also wonder where I can find out if that story is true about that little girl.
Hmm....

Anonymous said...

I know a Band that is going to shoot a video there.

Resie rat

Anonymous said...

Concrete city is awesome! I went yesterday with my boyfriend and we climbed on the roof of one of them through a hole. Only 1 building had the hole thats easily accesible. The most scariest thing is the basements though...they were freezing and dark even though it was 82 degrees out. Paintballs never dry fast so dont lean against the walls =) haha

Anonymous said...

Concrete city is awesome! I went yesterday with my boyfriend and we climbed on the roof of one of them through a hole. Only 1 building had the hole thats easily accesible. The most scariest thing is the basements though...they were freezing and dark even though it was 82 degrees out. Paintballs never dry fast so dont lean against the walls =) haha

Anonymous said...

I pass by Concrete City every time I'm out on my ATV,which is once or twice a week.It does offer a certain eeriness, especially at night, it's too bad the area can't or doesn't want to capitalize on relic's from the past. Concrete City is not the only attraction from the mining era, there's alot to see if you know where to find it. A group tried in the past to get permitted ATV use in that area and it was nixed. Organized tours would have been a winner. After reading everyones comments and seeing the old pictures I will certainly see Concrete City in a different way. Now if we could only stop people from littering. Thanks all. Muddywaters

Anonymous said...

man looking through these pictures brought back some memories that justin tag was gone by my cousin who is gone now but seeing that brought back all these memories of our time chilling there

Muddywaters said...

Recently found another seldom visited mine opening while ATVing the Blue coal corridor.I'm sure there's many more out there. Like I said before, organized tours to our history of the mining era would have been a winner. Too bad this area is so behind the times, probably because the powers that be want to keep it that way.

Anonymous said...

I grew up around there and spent tons of time there as a kid. (Maybe '80-'85) There wasn't as many people who knew about it then except for locals and motorcycle riders (before quads opened up all the trails wide enough to allow cars).

We used to have brick fights and BB gun fights there. It was like our own playground and wasn't all grown in. The local fire and police hadn't start using the place regularly. Only the outer boundary and some of the infield was grown in. There was little graffiti and you could only get on the roof of a few buildings. Most of the buildings were intact but had holes in the first floor ceilings.

As it began to grow in, it began to get a little creepy, especially if you were there alone. Basements were dark and had a blind corner when going down so sometimes they required a little courage.

There was a concrete drainage system about a car lane wide, with a half-pipe outer edge which ran up the mountain across the street from CC. It ran from the reservoir (still there near the street) up the mountain and through two tunnels. Before it went to hell, we could ride our bikes from top to bottom through both tunnels.

Tunnel #1 was a round concrete pipe with a blind turn (which meant no light until you rounded the corner).

Tunnel #2 was a cobble stone tunnel which looked like a train tunnel but about 6-7 ft w x 8-10 ft h. There was a thin curb on the sides which you could walk on to avoid the water but was only wide enough so that you had to walk sideways, with your back to the wall. There was a quick, steep pitch in the middle. I was in there once with a friend and some rocks started tumbling in from one side. Needless to say we ran so fast I think we ran on the surface of the water right up the middle.

I know for a fact the 2nd tunnel is collapsed in the middle and my last visit (2003) showed signs of local bear activity. The concrete ended about 20ft from the top of the 2nd tunnel (where it narrows to about 4-5ft with a 4-5ft wall before opening up again) at a place known to locals as "Cool Cave" due to cold air coming out (with a mist above it on hot days.)

"Cool Cave" sits the top-right of the drainage system which meets a natural spring coming down from Trusdale (sp?) Terrace. If following the system up the mntn., there is an old path on semi rocky ridge which runs along the left. The drainage system is pretty much a mess now and can only be traveled in small parts.

Anonymous said...

My grandmother lived on Espy Street just to the left of the firehouse. Visited about every other year as a kid (1963+) but never did get taken to see Concrete City... do remember the hikes up the "mountain" to the Hanover Reservoir, though. Eating (black?) berries along the way! And walking down front street to the candy stores (Peecil? Peeless? Something like that!)

Muddywaters said...

You got most of it correct, Cool Caves, Truesdale Flume and the rest. One thing was incorrect though, Full size vehicles lead the way for ATV's (Quads) not the other way around. We dirt biked and Jeeped that area years before ATV's appeared. ATV enthusiasts are always demonized some of that is deserved but for those of us who only enjoy the freedom and don't raise hell it's a great pastime.

Muddywaters said...

Just an opinion, but Earth Conservancy cares about the land they aquired from distressed Blue Coal as much as the Coal co's did. The timbering operation on E/C held land doesn't show much concern for the flora and fauna.

Anonymous said...

I lived in one of the closest homes to Concrete city '55-'59. There was no graffiti, It was one of our favorite places to play, shoot with BB guns and Bow and Arrows. Muddywaters has it correct but there were no ATV's or roads of any kind in the 50's. Trusedale was still oprating until it burned. We watched it burn for days.

Muddywaters said...

There is still a lot of Mining history to be seen if you know where to find it. Interest in ATV's and interest in Mining history would have been a great combination. If we could only get folks not to trash/dump/litter our wooded area's maybe landowners would see things differently on the use of their land.Liability is a big issue in this area.

Anonymous said...

Took a stroll through Concrete City yesterday morning....very interesting place...why losers have to mar the place with grafitti is a mystery to me.

Anonymous said...

I was raised in Nuangola, over the mountain, I used to sight my rifles in at the city. I also small game hunted in those parts. there is a bit more history in the whole area. Swimming in the Millie,swimming at the Powder Hole, the resivour across the Joe Palooka Monument. The way they pulled coal and freight cars up the mountain along Rt 309.
Since I moved to the Harrisburg area a few years back, seeing this on the sight bought back some memories....
Anyonr else remember the Bear Creek Drag Lodge ,or Evanstown Raceway?

Muddywaters said...

Yeah, I remember, I'm old and I'm still riding the Boondocks.

Muddywaters said...

The Concrete City area is colorful this time of year, must be because of the water table. I'll be enjoying it tomorrow.

Nancy G said...

Len..yes we has soooo much fun there growing up..greatest memories ever! Do you remember when I broke my arm playing tag. .I fell through the hole in the floor? Had to tell my mom I did it at the plsyground so she wouldnt be mad lol

ian mac said...

CC looks like a great spot for post-apocalyptic/zombieland type photo shoots. I remember 'drilling' there when I was in the National Guard. I think I'll have to look into who owns it. Liability could be a concern.

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