Thursday, October 22, 2015

Old NC288

As a continuation of a previous post showcasing the Road and Tunnel to Nowhere, I now show you the western end of the Road to Nowhere.

When Fontana Dam was constructed, NC288 was submerged as the reservoir filled. Much of the old road ran alongside the small river that Fontana Dam brought under control. But some of the road was on higher ground.  A plan to replace the road fell through, and only short parts of the replacement road were built, hence the "Road to Nowhere" and "Tunnel to Nowhere".

Most of NC288 was a rugged single lane dirt road, winding around the mountains with no guardrails. If oncoming traffic came from the other way, one may have to reverse for a mile or more until the road widened enough to allow the two cars to pass each other. There were many foolish attempts at passing on the one lane sections, resulting in a high number of crashes. Hike several miles along this rugged trail into the mountains to discover what remains from over 60 years ago.

Old NC288

This vehicle rolled off the edge, coming to rest sideways against a tree. Intentional, or accidental?

Off the Edge


Left Behind

Extreme Growth

A very large tree now grows through what was once the engine of this vehicle.

Decades of Neglect

Rear End

Wishing for Older Times

How are You?

The hike begins at Fontana Dam. The view from atop the dam.

Fontana Dam View

If you look up, you may spot a glider.


Another interesting tidbit from the trip... Another dam downstream from Fontana is undergoing repairs for a leak. To do this, the lake had to be drained. What was revealed when the lake was pulled down is quite a sight. The old road that was flooded by the lake after the dam was built is still visible and intact. The hundred year old bridge looks like it would still support traffic! The remains of an old railroad bridge can be seen as well, from the days when trains were needed to ferry supplies for dam construction.

Empty Lake


Monday, July 27, 2015

The Tunnel to Nowhere

After the TVA built a large dam downstream, one of the main roads that connected a remote town to the rest of the world was submerged. Four other villages were submerged as the reservoir formed, and the road that was used to access many remote cemeteries was flooded. A replacement road was under construction, but after many delays and years of debate, the plan was abandoned in 1971 after construction workers unearthed a type of rock that releases sulfuric acid when exposed to the atmosphere.

As of 2010, all hope of completing the road was lost when the Department of the Interior granted a cash lump sum to the county as a settlement to the debate that has raged since 1943. Today, the tunnel and the road leading to it remain, waiting patiently for the promise of completion and relevancy.


Urban Formations

Reflective Ceiling

Runny Drips

The Tunnel

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Empire Building

The Empire Building features a terra-cotta fascade, and was erected in 1909. After the completion of the building, the corner it stands on became known as the "Heaviest corner on Earth", due to the corner featuring the four tallest buildings in the South, at the time. In 1964, City National Bank purchased the building, and it was used as a bank building until 2009, when Colonial Bank closed. The building is currently being stripped for renovations into a 117 room luxury hotel. As a result, every floor features a stripped, empty room.

Empire Building

The View

The Rooms

Dump Shaft

Parking Lines





No Pull

The Staircase







The Vent

All These Lights

Heat Sinker

The Top

Lonely Chair

Carrier Has Arrived


Tools of the Trade


Elevator Motor

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Memorial Mound

This location was a real surprise. We expected an abandoned, empty funeral home. Turns out it was much, much worse than that.

The owner, Clyde Booth, dreamed of a place of rest that would never be forgotten, and never fall into disrepair, like so many cemeteries do. His business model was based off of low cost burial and perpetual care, under the promise that the mound would continue to expand and never fall to decay and neglect. Obviously, very few people bought into the idea, and the mound was forced to close due to lack of funds. Everything about the place is off. The way the "mausoleum" section was designed, as an open room with racks, the way the caskets were simply placed onto the racks. At the time of Mr. Booth's passing, the mound was sealed and in good condition. The government took ownership of the property after his passing, due to lapsed tax payments. It seems they never bothered to go inspect their new property.

Today, the Mound has been broken into and scrapped. It appears that human remains were left behind when the building was abandoned. When we discovered the caskets with human remains, we got out of there pretty quick and filed an anonymous tip with the police. According to others in the exploration community, many others have also filed reports to police and new outlets. Despite this, nothing has been done.

Update : According to a friend in the exploration community, the FBI is now involved in this case, though that may not be true. One would hope that efforts to clean up the place, or at least secure it, are under way.
Update two : The Bessemer Police have sealed this location, and an investigation has begun. A skull was stolen from one of the coffins
Update three : The remains left behind have been identified and relocated. Who knows how many more years the remains would have been left behind, were it not for the efforts of explorers who exposed this location.

Memorial Mound

Enter the Forgotten

Priced to Sit

Open Casket


Imbalm Me