Lonely Texas: Abandoned Buildings and What Value They May Yet Hold

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Tony Maples Photography


The fascination we have with abandoned buildings in Texas is a rather cruel irony. We know at one time, each of these places flourished with life and perhaps played a valuable role in the development of their part of Texas. However, they now sit empty and silent, dinosaurs from the Lone Star State’s past. We drive by them each day, wondering when they’re going to be torn down, what people may have done there decades ago, and what ghosts may still remain – real or imagined. What value do they yet hold? For whatever reason, locals and tourists alike are drawn to these relics and whatever stories they may whisper. The possibility of touring a few of them to see why they’re now part of a lonely version of Texas has become a revenue-generator for some towns. Here are three such buildings that are veritable gold mines in terms of touring Texas history.

1. Cottle Hotel, Paducah

Lonely Texas: Abandoned Buildings and What Value They May Yet Hold

Photo: Facebook/Mark Burrows

When they look at Paducah, some have said, “The only thing growing here is the cemetery.” Although this may seem true (the town hasn’t flourished since the 1970s), its residents are surrounded by derelicts that many wish to tour. One such place is the Cottle Hotel. When you think of the activity that must have gone on here, on a seemingly regular basis, and see it now as it stands lifeless, it makes you wonder what stories those walls could tell.

2. Swift Armor Meat Packing Plant, Fort Worth

Lonely Texas: Abandoned Buildings and What Value They May Yet Hold

Photo: Facebook/Zach Smith to Native Texans on Facebook

If spooky is what you’re aiming for, the Swift Armor Meat Packing Plant in Fort Worth has it in spades. Not only are its walls lined with graffiti, but its operations have stood lifeless for more than forty years. Add to that the fact its entire line of work centered around the processing of meat, and you have the makings of an epic horror film (no, not really…but the thought probably crossed your mind at least once!) It remains a part of the historic Stockyards District and is home to a lot of Fort Worth history which deserves to be explored.

3. Wurzbach House, Medina

Lonely Texas: Abandoned Buildings and What Value They May Yet Hold

Photo: Facebook/Ghost Towns: Yesterday & Today Via Sandra Knytych

The Wurzbach House in Medina was home to some of the area’s early settlers. Therefore, you can make an educated guess as to the amount of history that’s been left behind following their passing. There’s an overgrowth that appears to guard the house (and perhaps its secrets). You might feel a bit of heaviness while touring the property, but that may simply be the effect that such an abandoned building has on tour-goers.