Old ruins, new finds

One of the joys of researching some of my favourite ruins is coming across other people who have the same passion for the abandoned that I do. I am working on a fairly good-sized post or two on Ellis Island, which I discovered in Grade 8 in a movie that probably bored 75% of the rest of the class to tears.

In looking for images, I ran across Phillip Buehler’s Modern Ruins site. I won’t reproduce his Ellis Island photos here, but I highly recommend taking a look.

I will, however, link to one gallery, because there is a story that goes with it.

(2019 note:  I can no longer link directly to the photo, so here’s one from Wikipedia that’ll do).


My husband and I were touring the SS Olympia in Philadelphia (fascinating transitional period warship; Admiral Dewey’s flagship in the Spanish-American War). We looked south and saw the unmistakable shape of steamship funnels seemingly parked right there in the Delaware River. “What on earth is that?” we wondered.

It was–and is–the SS United States, one of the last great classical era passenger liners, the largest ever built in the US, completed in 1952. To this day, it still holds the Blue Riband (westbound), given to the passenger liner with the speed record for crossing the Atlantic. It was taken out of service in 1969 and stripped of its finishings in 1984. Asbestos was removed in 1992 as part of a plan to return it to service It is currently derelict and docked permanently across from an IKEA. It’s owned by a cruise line, and periodically rumours that it will be restored surface, but other rumours also circulate that it will be sold for scrap.

A number of groups are fighting to save it, including the SS United States Conservancy. I hope they are successful. There are so few actual ships left from this era, an era that began with the great luxury liners such as Titanic. Most are either at the bottom of the ocean or have long since been scrapped.

2019 Update:  I popped in to see if I could restore the lost photo from this ten year old post, and of course had to find out what had happened.  Update will likely follow soon.