The 8 Strangest Abandoned Places in Illinois


1. Chanute Air Force Base – Rantoul


When the military leaves a place, they often don’t find the need to demolish anything for quite awhile. Chanute Air Force Base has been sitting around for quite a few years now, and rumors have been flying around about the place being haunted these days. Some say they hear phantom plane engines, while others claim to see ghostly airmen.

chanuteCredit: Dave Jordano

Whether or not there are ghosts within doesn’t really matter. This place is definitely creepy. Old memorabilia and posters still rests on the floors and wall, and dust is coating everything. Definitely proceed with caution if you decide you want to try to explore. The dust can do a number on your lungs.

2. Abandoned Train Car – Danville

subCredit: Destroyed and AbandonedA�

This one is definitely strange. A lone train car sits in the middle of nowhere, collecting rust as it ages over time. It’s surprising that it hasn’t been the target of a lot of graffiti, but nature still has its way of taken back what it wants. Today, plants and trees are sticking out from all of its windows, and you can hardly recognize that it was even a rail car at one time.

trainsCredit: Rick Decorie

This one isn’t closed off to the public at all, so feel free to explore if you want. There’s not much to say about it history-wise, but it’s still a piece of history, regardless. It’s still pretty weird that it ended up in this random spot, though.

3. Ashland St. Caves – Chicago

caveCredit: Matt Tuteur

Abandoned urban sites are usually susceptible to graffiti, and the Ashland St. Caves has been adorned with street art of all types. It takes a little bit of exploring to find this place, but it’s unforgettable once you reach it. It’s a little weird, delving down into the darkness at this spot, so if you’re easily unnerved, you may not want to visit it.

caveCredit: Matt Tuteur

So, pretty much, we’re saying that this one isn’t for the faint at heart. You never really know what’s down there or what you may stumble across, but it’ll definitely be a little hair-raising. Nothing like a little claustrophobia in the darkness to get the heart racing.


4. Abandoned Synagogue – Chicago

synCredit: Huffington Post

There’s something extra strange about walking into a giant structure of worship and seeing it abandoned. Perhaps it’s just thinking about how much life should be in it, or maybe it’s just the true emptiness of a large space. When you walk in, everything echoes, and the only thing that occupies the space are the echoes of your footsteps.

postCredit: Huffington Post

That haunting nature isn’t to say that the place isn’t gorgeous, though. The stained glass windows are some of the most impressive we’ve ever seen. The colors shining in through the dusty room is eerie in a way, and you really have to see it in person. We can only hope that this synagogue is granted new life sometime soon.


5. Entire Streets – Cairo


Cairo may not be completely abandoned, but there are entire streets that are boarded up in this tiny town that resides next to the Mississippi. A victim of the loss of industry and hard economic times, Cairo’s streets look more like a post-apocalyptic movie set than an actual town these days.


Credit: 1Mississippi

Where the population used to be at over 15,000 back in 1920, fewer than 3,000 still remain, and it’s apparent just walking around. It’s hard to believe that whole streets could become extinct from habitation, but that’s definitely the case. It may be depressing to some, but it’s a sight to behold.

6. Joliet State Prison – Joliet


Okay, to be fair, this place isn’t completely abandoned, but it’s definitely free of prisoners these days. It’s too interesting of a structure to just let it waste away, anyway. You can walk the same catwalks, and go into the same cells, where the prisoners used to a little over a decade ago. The tower in the middle is definitely interesting, too.

jolietCredit: Mlive

What’s even more interesting about Joliet is the fact that many people claim that it’s haunted. With a lot of dangerous prisoners having been killed there, it’s no wonder why people would believe this. It’s been the subject of multiple investigations, so, if you get the chance, make sure to take a tour.


7. An Abandoned Train Line – Poseyville

poseyCredit: Omnibus Bobanna

It’s no secret that a ton of rail lines were abandoned once the train industry declined. With that being said, you’ll find tons of abandoned stretches of rail line around Illinois. The one that caught our attention most, however, was the line that once spanned between Poseyville and Grayville. Although it was abandoned less than two decades ago, it shows some pretty obvious signs of wear.

railsCredit: Omnibus Bobanna

The warped wood from the tracks now lays dormant, never to be touched again, aside from a few urban explorers. We will say that there are “No Trespassing” signs scattered along the way, so proceed with caution, especially if you’re planning to traverse the bridges that span over some of the small rivers and creeks. No one wants to fall into that water on a cold day.

8. Vishnu Springs Remnants

vishnuCredit: Mysterious Heartland

If you like an abandoned place with a story, this is a spot for you. In its heyday, Vishnu was a thriving resort community, and even had its own carousel. These days, all that remains is the skeleton of what was once a large, three-story hotel. It’s been the subject of vandalism and ghost lore for decades, which is why the police now patrol it on a regular basis.

vishnuCredit: Stearman Driver

Unfortunately, as is with most things, all good things had to come to an end. Vishnu was troubled by violent incidences all over the place, which all led up to the pinnacle, at which point the inheritor of the land killed himself. One thing’s for sure, if you venture here, you’ll notice an immediate air of uneasiness that has settled over the place. It isn’t hard to believe that the ghost stories are real. Then again, you’ll just have to check it out yourself.

Have any other favorite abandoned places in Illinois? Show us by posting your pictures and telling us your stories in the comment box below!

Featured Image Credit: BobDucca