Incredible Panoramas of Abandoned Places

Posted on: April 19th, 2012 by David Garber 10 Comments

Photographer Matthew Christopher has been documenting old, abandoned, and endangered buildings for the past eight years on his website, Abandoned America, in an effort to create a living memory of places that might not survive otherwise.

But he doesn't take only conventional photos. Matthew also creates stunning 360-degree panoramas, effectively placing the viewer inside the buildings themselves. Check them out for yourself by clicking and dragging on the images below to explore the rooms.

The Richmond Generating Station - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

From Abandoned America: "Built in 1915 and opened in 1925, the Richmond Generating Station in Philadelphia is a neoclassical cathedral to the might of industry. The vaulted, crumbling roof of the main turbine hall soars 130 feet over what were once the largest turbines in the world. This coal burning power plant has festered in its own corrosive chemical stew since 1985, the year it was abandoned. Nonetheless, it is perhaps the most amazing and awe-inspiring building i have ever seen." 

Unfortunately, the generating station is currently in limbo. Although it's likely that the building will be torn down when there are funds available to do so, it survives today because it is considered too expensive to save, and too expensive to demolish.

The J.W. Cooper School - Shenandoah, Pennsylvania

From Preservation Pennsylvania: "Originally scheduled to open in 1918, the 3-story stone school building [...] was commandeered and used as a temporary hospital and morgue during the flu epidemic of 1918, when the local hospital was unable to accommodate the large number of victims. In May 1919 the building was dedicated as the "New Shenandoah High School". It was later renamed the J.W. Cooper High School in memory of the school's first principal. The school remained in use until 1986 when it was replaced with a new facility."

The J.W. Cooper School as it appears today. (Photo: Matthew Christopher)

Although the school building was abandoned for decades, it was recently purchased by a private buyer interested in rehabbing it as a community center. So far, most of the preservation efforts have been focused on the exterior of the building, and a vintage clothing and jewelry store is located inside as a stopgap while more funding and volunteer labor is pursued.

For more 360-degree panoramas inside these and other buildings, see the full list on Abandoned America.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Civic, General

10 Responses

  1. Grace Mullen

    April 19, 2012

    This photography is stunning.

  2. kein Jayroe

    April 19, 2012

    really cool! This is so interesting!

  3. Kevin Jayroe

    April 19, 2012

    What a great project!

  4. Nick Knight

    April 19, 2012

    PA, is full of beautiful buildings. Sad, that America, is letting so many nice buildings rot, well building so many cookie cutter strip mall garbage. It says a lot about the country.

  5. Troy Larson

    April 19, 2012

    shared at’s Facebook page.

  6. annalee allen

    April 19, 2012

    sublime is one word that comes to mind.

  7. Kent Steinmetz

    April 19, 2012

    Thank you, Matt, for your great photography and interest in historic sites that have been abandoned. It’s a privilege to be a part of the group restoring the J.W. Cooper High School in Shenandoah, PA and are glad you decided to feature it on Abandoned America. Our goal is to utilize the building as a Community Center without altering its original design. Thanks again for your help!

  8. Theresa Robel Price

    April 20, 2012

    Matthew, I can’t thank you enough for taking an interest in the J.W. Cooper Community Center. Not only has the Class of ’76 taken over the restoration of the food pantry located in the building but some members have now taken over other areas. We are blessed with community members who are now taking part also. Your photography is as one person said…stunning!!!

  9. Mary Ellen Hartzell

    April 20, 2012

    Dear Matthew…much is appreciated in showing the Cooper building and its many variations of being refurbished. As a member of the Class of ’76 it becomes a passion to do our very best to keep a landmark such as the Cooper not only a viable building but also a part of our memories and in our hearts forever. Too many memories there to let them literally crumbleto the ground…thanks once again for showcasing the Cooper.

  10. Bagala Window Works | Incredible Panoramas of Abandoned Places

    April 26, 2012

    […] and eloquent argument for historic preservation. Read more about Christopher’s work at the Preservation Nation blog, and view the photos at Christopher’s website, […]