In June, CNN Money postulated that Texas has the best state economy in the nation. More people moved to Texas in the past year than any other state in the country, and the heart of Texas is alive and thriving.
However, not every city is feeling economic growth, and even within living cities you will still find areas of decay. Some areas have fallen into disrepair simply from no longer having the population to sustain maintenance. Some abandoned Texas buildings have been deserted due to financial corruption, and some areas have just been left alone because of the terribly sad stories they hold.
Every state has abandoned places. Here are 15 places that have been left abandoned in Texas.
This movie theatre in Premont, Texas has sat empty on Main Street since 1980. The theatre opened in 1950 and had 500 seats to accommodate the small South Texas town.
While the Terrell State Hospital is still a functioning mental health facility, there are several buildings that used to house patients that have now been deserted. The hospital has been embroiled in several scandals over the years, most recently that psychiatrists at the hospital took hundreds of thousands of dollars from pharmaceutical companies to promote certain drugs.
The once bustling streets of Toya Texas have become silent as the town sits vacant. The 2000 census recorded around 100 residents, and that number has clearly dwindled in the ensuing years. The town sits on I-20 in West Texas and most of the rest of it is in a similar state of disrepair.
Opened in 1929, the lavish Baker Hotel housed visitors of the North Texas town of Mineral Wells, famous for its mineral waters and their purported restorative powers. In 1967, the hotel’s founder, Theodore Baker, died of a heart attack in the Baker Suite. The hotel closed for good five years later. Recently there has been word that the hotel may be restored.
This imposing edifice in Gonzales, Texas was designed by Texan architect J. Riely Gordon for James Francis Miller in 1901. Miller was a United States Representative from Texas from 1883-1886.
This auditorium once sat adjacent to the abandoned Premont Primary School which was closed down over a decade ago due to the presence of the flame retardant asbestos. Repairs would have been too costly so the school simply shut down.
Commissioned by George Sealy Jr. in 1926, the abandoned relic now known as the Stewart Mansion was purchased by Marco Stewart in 1944. The mansion is filled with murals of the pirates who once terrorized the Gulf of Mexico, and in fact, there is a Texas historical marker on the grounds that states the land on which the residence rests was once the headquarters of the famous pirate Jean Lafitte. The property was purchased earlier this year and the new owners have plans to restore the mansion as a community center, and turn the surrounding acreage into a luxury housing development.
It was greed and deceit that brought down this once beautiful housing development in San Antonio. Developer Mauro Padilla is currently serving a 12-year prison sentence for his role in the bank fraud that it took to build Tundra Village.
Padilla used funds for the housing development to pay for a mansion for himself, fund his son’s wedding and to finance his brother’s car dealership. According to the San Antonio Express News, Padilla allegedly employed undocumented workers to keep costs low, and rather than paying them, he threatened to turn them in to Immigration Services.
The residence now known as the Hearne-Gidden House in Kosse, Texas started out as a salt box style home on a cotton farm in 1873. The house was remodeled in its current Victorian style in 1894, and has had several owners in its lifetime. Its last resident left in the 1960’s, and it stood vacant until 1989 when it was purchased with the intention of restoring it. Even the best intentions sometimes fail, however, and the house was once again abandoned until 2014 when it was sold to the Kosse Heritage Society, who is currently restoring the house.
Though images of this property have often been circulated as the old Southwestern Insane Asylum (now known as the San Antonio State Hospital), the facility was actually the old Bexar County Juvenile Home for Boys. Built in 1915, the home was abandoned in 1990 due to the presence of asbestos. The current facility sits next door to this abandoned property.
In North Texas in a small town named for the famous Comanche chief Quanah Parker, there sits an abandoned drive-in movie theatre. Opened in 1955, the Chief drive-in operated until about 1987 when it finally closed for the last time.
There is little left of the small town that once was Cleo, Texas. The town was founded in 1880 by Texas pioneer Raleigh Gentry. Not far outside of Junction, Texas on Farm Road 2291, the settlement of Cleo didn’t last for long before it was abandoned, only to be resettled again in 1915, and abandoned once more in 1974.
Opened in the early 1940’s by a prominent El Paso mechanic, Jim Durnal’s Standard Station serviced automobiles in Pecos, Texas for years before being abandoned with an old Pontiac still in the parking lot.
Still bearing a sign advertising “refrigerated air”, the abandoned Hotel Ozona in Ozona, Texas no longer features such a luxury. Located out I-10 southwest of San Angelo, Ozona has newer hotels for its guests these days, but the old relic still stands as a reminder of the small town’s past.
This haunting concrete structure is all that is left of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas. In 1993, the compound underwent a 51-day standoff with the FBI after its leader, David Koresh, was suspected of amassing an arsenal of weaponry. The standoff came to a tragic end when 76 members of the Branch Davidian sect were killed in a firefight with authorities and the whole compound burned, save this concrete swimming pool.