29 Abandoned Music Halls, Ballrooms, Theatres and Movie Palaces

abandoned-theatre (Image: Mad Dawg S.O.L. (website), cc-nc-sa-4.0)

In our quest to chronicle the most impressive abandoned buildings and places, Urban Ghosts has been fortunate enough to feature a selection of spectacular abandoned theatres, cinemas, ballrooms and concert venues.  In this article we bring many of those spaces together – plus some “new” ones – in a definitive collection that documents various generations of lost music and entertainment venues.

Henry and Edsel Ford Memorial Auditorium, Detroit

(Images: Detroit Urbex, reproduced with permission)

Financed by the Ford Motor Company, the Henry and Edsel Ford Memorial Auditorium in Detroit was the innovative modern home of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra when it opened in 1956.  But notorously poor acoustics that defied improvement returned the DSO to its historic home Orchestra Hall in 1989.  Now slated for demolition, Detroit Urbex writes that the Ford Auditorium is one of the city’s biggest white elephants, while people under 30 barely know it exists.

Abandoned Concert Hall, Netherlands

(Images: Vincent Jansen, reproduced with permission)

Like the Ford Auditorium, this abandoned concert hall is a modernist structure that appears to be in reasonable condition despite certain neglect.  Photographer Vincent Jansen captured the intricate levels of the auditorium and empty seats of the public areas in this 2009 Flickr set.  The bland, utilitarian architecture is a far cry from the ornate styling of earlier music halls.

City Methodist Church Auditorium, Gary, Indiana

(Image: slworking2, cc-nc-sa-3.0)

Constructed in 1925, the City Methodist Church in Gary, Indiana, boasted not only a large nave but also a 1,000 seat auditorium.  Seen here in all its crumbling glory, the impressive structure has been empty since the 1980s and suffered significant damage in an arson attack in 1997.  Well known to urban explorers, it’s future remains unclear.  (We’ll explore another of Gary’s landmark modern ruins on page two – the Palace Theater.)

Abandoned Ballrooms

(Images: Greg Neate, cc-3.0 ; Andrew Borgen, cc-nd-3.0)

Ballrooms, especially pier ballrooms, are symbols of a bygone era.  While some remain intact or repurposed, many have either been demolished or stand neglected.  West Pier, Brighton (now destroyed) harks back to a time when Britain’s seaside towns were thriving Victorian resorts.  Ballrooms were also once popular at pleasure parks, like the abandoned building at Geauga Lake Amusement Park above.

Vanity Ballroom and Grande Ballroom, Detroit

(Images: Detroit Urbex, reproduced with permission)

Returning to Detroit, the Vanity and Grande ballrooms that served the east and west of the city respectively were models of elegance and notoriety.  Both designed by architect Charles Agree in the late 1920s, the Vanity Ballroom enjoyed the reputation of “Detroit’s most beautiful dance rendezvous” while the Grande became a famous countercultural hub before closing in 1972.  Read our Grande Ballroom feature here.

Abandoned Ballroom, Germany

(Images: Rococolosi, cc-sa-3.0)

Despite retaining many of its features, this abandoned ballroom in Germany has clearly been derelict for some time.  Another victim of changing musical tastes, the photographer tagged the images with “opera”, suggesting it may once have been home to the local operatic society.  Today its peeling grandeur and sombre atmosphere are testament to its past elegance and the speed at which urban decay takes hold of abandoned places.

Part Two: Abandoned Theatres and Movie Palaces


About the author: Tom


Website: https://www.urbanghostsmedia.com



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