Once Luxurious, These Pieces of Real Estate Are Now in Ruin

All over the world, incredible pieces of property are being left to rot.

March 12, 2018 5:00 am
The Kopice Palace in its current state (Wojciech Kuźma/Into The Shadows)
The Kopice Palace in its current state (Wojciech Kuźma/Into The Shadows)

A once pristine piece of property designed with excellence in mind is currently rotting in your state. It’s in the next town over, and the neighboring countryside as well. The United States is peppered with once-illustrious shells of formerly magnificent mansions and resplendent hotels, their extravagant entry halls now only glimpsed by hungry brokers or trespassers in the night. We’ve included a few notable properties from abroad as well. Take a look.

Mudhouse Mansion, Lancaster, Ohio

This mansion had the quintessential elements necessary to make the perfect haunted house. The imposing property was constructed into a hillside sometime just before 1875 when it began to surface on county survey maps, and one local expert estimates it was abandoned sometime in the early to mid-20th century.

“Inside I found books from the ’60s, but I also found canceled checks from 1931,” Andy Henderson of  Forgotten Ohio writes. “Maybe the books were brought in later. It’s been suggested to me that traveling hippies may have shacked up here for a while, and it doesn’t sound like an unreasonable possibility.”

It was flattened by the city in September 2015,  but before it crumbled, it was notoriously difficult to photograph due to an overzealous property owner known to prosecute trespassers to the full extent of the law. You can witness its demolition in the video below.

Mudhouse Mansion when it was still standing in Lancaster, Ohio, 2008. (Christopher M/Wikipedia)

Kimball Castle, Gilford, New Hampshire

This castle’s history is a decorated one, and for $650,000, it can be yours. Perched above “The Broads” of Lake Winnipesaukee, the grounds offer unparalleled views of the White Mountains in New Hampshire. Built in 1895 by the wealthy railroad baron Benjamin A. Kimball, the once pristine structure has fallen into disrepair over the decades for a multitude of reasons, including a lack of funds and family left to carry on its prestige.

Today, the castle is fenced in and for sale, with multiple assets on the 20-acre property, but buyers beware: The 3-bedroom home and barn may hold steady, but the castle is in a serious state of disrepair. It’s not hard to imagine investing more than initially allocated after seeing the castle up close.

Kimball Castle, Gilford, New Hampshire. (Photo by Ken Gallager, February 15, 2010.)


Kopice Palace, Poland

The Kopice Castle, or the “Palace on the Lake,” has a dark history entwined with myth and lore that stretches back centuries. RealClearLife spoke to Wojciech Kuźma, a photographer and amateur historian based in Poland, to shed some light on what it’s really like to be in the palace’s midst.

“Well, the whole palace is huge and very impressive, but for me, it was a very sad journey, because I know the history of the place,” Kuźma told RealClearLife. “Not many people know that the palace is connected with a story like from the Cinderella fairytale. A little girl called Joanna Schaffgotsch was born in a poor Silesian family in 1842, and her parents worked for Karol Godula, one of the richest people in Silesia.”

Kuźma explained the legend like this: Schaffgotsch’s father died soon after she was born, forcing her mother to bring her along to work. Godula enjoyed the way Schaffgotsch spoke freely and without respect in front of such a noble man, and decided to care for her, educating her as she grew. As he died, he left his fortune to her, with the press dubbing her a “Silesian Cinderella.”

Though Schaffagotsch went on to live a fulfilled life, dying just after her husband in 1910, multiple reports say that by the end of World War II, the Red Army arrived and ripped she and her husband from their resting places in the mausoleum, burying them in a mass grave on the property.

The quality has declined since then, Kuźma said. “After that, there was practically nothing left of the palace and it’s getting worse and worse. There were several attempts to save the palace, but they came to nothing.”

An undated depiction of the Kopice Palace in its glory (Wojciech Kuźma/Into The Shadows)
The Kopice Palace in its current state (Wojciech Kuźma/Into The Shadows)

The Los Feliz Murder Mansion, Los Angeles

This gorgeous piece of Southern California real estate was abandoned in 1959 when its owner, Dr. Harold Perelson, savagely beat his wife to death with a ball-peen hammer before attacking his 18-year-old daughter, then promptly killed himself by gulping down a glass of acid with tranquilizer pills. Aptly dubbed the “murder mansion,” its interior was ignored by its new property owners for decades, with Atlas Obscura reporting that its neighbors have actually had to help pitch in to maintain the property.

Luckily for the land, that may be about to change. Zillow.com reported that it was sold for $2.2 million in a probate sale in 2016, and estimates its asking price today hovers somewhere around $4.2 million after upgrades. It used to be that any passersby could reportedly still see remnants of the life the Perelsons left behind: A 1950s-style television set, a Christmas tree, dust-covered furniture. The new owners have likely moved around the furniture.

A Los Angeles Times report of the story. (LA Times)


The exterior of the Los Feliz Murder House (Zillow.com)

Billionaire’s Row in London

Nicknamed “Billionaire’s Row,” some of the world’s wealthiest people —plus various royal families — have deeds to homes lining  The Bishops Avenue in London. While these photos aren’t direct before and after snapshots of the same property, they were taken just a few short years apart on the second most expensive street in the city and illustrate what local journalists have revealed to be an insidious issue.

An investigation by the Guardian found wealthy buyers parking their cash in the properties, then letting them age and rot for decades, sometimes more.  The thought process behind this move is simple: Properties purchased in the 1980s or 1990s, for example, are worth many more millions today. The buyers get the best of both worlds — an investment they don’t have to keep a watchful eye on, but one that provides them with exorbitant returns.

The Buxmead development on Bishops Avenue, also known as ‘Billionaires Row’ in London which has residents including, royalty, oligarchs and celebrities.
(Fortitude Press/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
Barcroft Media via Getty Images


A general view of the GBP3 million property “Longdrive” on The Bishops Avenue which has been taken over by squatters on July 15, 2009 in London, England. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
Getty Images

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