There's nothing eerier than exploring a place that has been totally abandoned, and there are some very creepy places right here in the Midwest! The website Love Exploring outlines 95 abandoned sites in the U.S., and although there aren't any Iowa places on their list, we know of a couple of good ones.

Squirrel Cage Jail in Council Bluffs was built in 1885 and was in use until 1969, when it was abandoned. In 1977, it was saved by the Historical Society, and it is now open for public tours. The website says that the one-of-a-kind structure the only three-story rotating jail to ever be built. And yes, it is rumored to be haunted!

The other abandoned Iowa site is called Edinburgh Manor, and it is located in Scotch Grove. According to the official website, "Edinburgh Manor was constructed from 1910-1911 to house the incurably insane, the poor and the elderly. Edinburgh Manor, also referred to as The Manor, was in operation until November 2010." You can learn all about the building's history during both day tours and overnight tours, which you can get more information on HERE.

Here are some of the other abandoned places in the Midwest that you can legally tour, courtesy of the website Love Exploring:

Rose Island - Charlestown, Indiana

Rose Island in an abandoned amusement park that was built in 1923. Wikipedia reports that it was home to a rollercoaster, a ferris wheel, caged animals, and a dance hall/roller skating rink. The park closed in 1937 and is now part of Charlestown State Park. There is now a footbridge that allows park visitors to explore the island.

Charlestown State Park, Facebook
Charlestown State Park, Facebook
Charlestown State Park, Facebook
Charlestown State Park, Facebook

Old Joliet Prison - Joliet, Illinois

Joliet Prison got its start back in 1858 and was actually built by some of the prisoners it housed. The website says that, by 1878, the prison was "well over capacity with nearly 2,000 inmates," and that's when reports of unsanitary and dangerous conditions began to formulate. Despite the complaints, the facility continued to house prisoners until 2002. The Old Joliet Prison sat vacant for years, but is now run by the Joliet Area Historical Museum and the City of Joliet. It's now open for self-guided tours.

Ardmore - Fall River County, South Dakota

Ardmore, South Dakota was once a bustling frontier town, but that is no longer the case. Founded in 1889, Atlas Obscura reports that it was a stopping point for the New Burlington Railroad, but was "slowly abandoned over the years," when steam locomotives no longer needed to stop there for water. By 1980, only 16 people lived there. Now it's a ghost town, filled with rusted cars and empty homes and businesses.

Construction of the Ha Ha Tonka Castle began in 1905 by a Kansas City businessman named Robert McClure Snyder Sr. After he passed away just a year later, his sons took over, finishing it in the early 1920s. According to Wikipedia, a fire destroyed the castle in 1942. The page says that "the state purchased the castle and grounds in 1978, adapting them for use as a state park and opening them to the public." Visitors can check out the ruins inside Ha Ha Tonka State Park.

Missouri State Penitentiary - Jefferson City, Missouri

The Missouri State Penitentiary opened in 1836 and housed inmates for 168 years, eventually being decommissioned in 2004. According to the official website, plenty of notable inmates have called the prison home throughout history, including "a former Union General, the first train robber, 1930s gangsters, world champion athletes, and the assassin that killed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr." The facility not only hosts history tours, but paranormal tours, as well!

The Quincy copper mines were founded in 1846 and were in operation until 1945. According to Wikipedia, Quincy was the leading copper-producing mine in the U.S. from 1863 through 1867! The mine has since been abandoned, but visitors can now take guided tours of the Number 2 Hoist House and take the Cog Tram to the 7th level of the mine.

You can check out the rest of the list from Love Exploring HERE!

The Elkader Jail House Inn

Did you know that Eastern Iowa is home to an inn that used to be a jail? Take a peek inside the Elkader Jail House Inn!

Gallery Credit: Courtlin

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