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Abandoned mansions of the world’s billionaires

by Mysterious Times
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Haunting abandoned homes of the super-rich

Steve Ronin / YouTubeEven the most expensive homes can fall into a state of disrepair. These mansions were once worth a fortune yet today they sit in varying states of decay, open to the elements and taken over by nature. From a marble mansion whose owner fled to the extravagant wastelands of Billionaires’ Row, take a look inside these abandoned mansions once owned by the world’s super-rich…

Billionaires’ Row

Beyond the Point

The Bishops Avenue in north London is one of the capital’s most expensive stretches of real estate. A third of the mansions along here have been left standing empty and abandoned, many of them left to fall into ruin. Owned by foreign investors who leave the home uninhabited, around 20 of the homes stand entirely derelict.

Billionaires’ Row

Beyond the Point

Many of the homes were built in the late 1970s and have been left in varying states of decay. This empty hallway, captured by explorers Beyond the Point, is falling apart, with a caved-in ceiling that has let in the elements. However, it’s easy to see elements of faded grandeur still in place, such as the gold bannister and stained-glass windows within this cavernous hallway. 

Billionaires’ Row

Beyond the Point

As unbelievable as it may seem, some of the homes have been left untouched for over 25 years. This conservatory looks like the owners have just upped and left, with an ashtray still on the rattan table and faded magazines stacked high. The Bishops Avenue has been dubbed “one of the most expensive wastelands in the world” by developer Anil Varma, who owns a property on this notorious street.

Billionaires’ Row

Beyond the Point

The furniture appears unchanged, with the contents behind the locked doors having been preserved like a time warp. What was once the ultimate place to live in London has become an entire street of wasteful ruins and decaying buildings, that are said to be collectively worth £350 million ($449m).

Billionaires’ Row

Beyond the Point

Is there anything creepier than an empty swimming pool? This room has been left with hanging wires and grime at the bottom of the pool. The mirror and huge skylight show what it once could have been, a sad metaphor for this abandoned Billionaires’ Row.

Steve Jobs’ Jackling House

Jonathan Haeber / Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

The Jackling House was built in 1925 by famed architect George Washington Smith. The Spanish Revival-style home was purchased by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs in 1984, who lived there until 1994 when it was left abandoned. 

Steve Jobs’ Jackling House

Jonathan Haeber / Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

In fact, Jobs hated the house so much that he spent the last years of his life petitioning to get the mansion demolished so that he could build a smaller home for his family. He eventually won the battle and the mansion was demolished in 2011, just eight months before he passed away from pancreatic cancer.

Steve Jobs’ Jackling House

Jonathan Haeber / Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

While Jobs’ request for demolition was being processed, the home started to fall into a state of disrepair. With no one to look after it, the opulent decor began to be taken over by nature. Although the paint is peeling and the plaster crumbling, it’s not hard to see the past splendour of the 35-room mansion. Spread over 15,000 square feet, it even had a massive pipe organ that was retrieved before demolition.

Steve Jobs’ Jackling House

Jonathan Haeber / Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Located in the affluent town of Woodside in California, the abandoned mansion offered open-air balconies, a games room, marble bathrooms, and a grand staircase complete with a chandelier when it was in its prime. It even had a tunnel underneath the house to get around! 

Steve Jobs’ Jackling House

Jonathan Haeber / Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Before the demolition, the property was covered in vines, with mould creeping across the ceilings and old appliances left to decay. The local town collected a number of artefacts from the home before it was destroyed, including door handles, a chandelier and a toilet.

Genshiro Kawamoto’s abandoned mansion

Exploring with Fighters / YouTube

Once belonging to billionaire Japanese businessman Genshiro Kawamoto, this mansion in Japan was discovered by urban explorer Dan of Exploring with Fighters. It doesn’t look like much from the road, but just wait until you see what’s inside. Kawamoto spent his life buying luxury properties in Japan and Hawaii only to leave them uninhabited until they began to slowly fall apart. In 2013 he was arrested for tax evasion, leaving his very own mega-mansion to decay. 

Genshiro Kawamoto’s abandoned mansion

Steve Ronin / YouTube

Urban explorer Steve Ronin found that the house was once home to Kawamoto’s art collection. In fact, the property mogul has left many of his marble and bronze statues dotted around the home, with over 100 of them sitting in the basement. Long left abandoned, the stairs leading upstairs were once lined with plush red carpet. Today, however, they are littered with rubbish and dirt, maybe from Kawamoto’s rush to leave. 

Genshiro Kawamoto’s abandoned mansion

Steve Ronin / YouTube

Captured by Ronin, the huge dining area almost doesn’t look abandoned. With its shiny marble floors, statues and gold chandeliers, it looks like the ultimate place to host a dinner party. It’s only the half-full whisky bottle and dirty glasses on the dining table that make it seem as if time has stood still.

Genshiro Kawamoto’s abandoned mansion

Steve Ronin / YouTube

The mansion sits on the edge of a bluff, with panoramic views out to the ocean and beyond. You can see the living space is rundown, with only a ruined sofa and coffee table sitting among the grand marble and bronze statues.

Genshiro Kawamoto’s abandoned mansion

Steve Ronin / YouTube

The bedroom is perhaps the most opulent space in the mansion. A tired-looking mattress sits on top of a red fabric platform, while a tiger-skin rug lays just out of shot. The chandelier has crashed to the floor and a lonely pair of shoes still sits neatly on the side. It’s hard to accept that these incredible properties are standing empty!

Lynnewood Hall

FMS57 / Shutterstock

This spectacular Neo-classical Revival masterpiece known as Lynnewood Hall is considered one of the greatest surviving Gilded Age mansions in America. Built between 1897 and 1900 for businessman Peter Arrell Browne Widener, now considered one of the 100 richest Americans in history. The build is said to have cost $8 million (the equivalent of $211 million in today’s money) and has 110 rooms, of which 55 are bedrooms and 20 are bathrooms, as well as an art gallery and a ballroom large enough to accommodate 1,000 guests.

Lynnewood Hall

svvvk / YouTube

At the height of its former glory Lynnewood Hall employed 37 full-time staff to run it and a further 60 employees to look after the extensive garden. When Peter Widener died in 1915 the house was left to his youngest son Joseph, who was the last surviving heir after the eldest son George died on the Titanic.

Lynnewood Hall

@lynnewood_hall / Instagram

This photo shows the old art gallery, with the fine old skylights still intact. Joseph spent much of his $60 million (£48m) inheritance on the property and particularly it’s renowned art collection, considered the most important private collection of Gilded Age European masterpieces in the world. Paintings by Raphael, El Greco, Rembrandt, Donatello and Van Dyck were among works that once lined these now dilapidated walls.

Lynnewood Hall

svvvk / YouTube

Filmed in July 2018 by urban explorers svvvk, this lavish ballroom would once have held dances attended by the cream of Philadelphia society. The gold leaf mouldings and central painted ceiling panel give a taste of how impressive this space was in its heyday. When Joseph died in 1943, the house was abandoned as none of his children wanted to take on the huge responsibility of running the estate. A canny developer bought the pile in 1948 for the meagre sum of $130,000 (roughly $1.4m in today’s money).

Lynnewood Hall

svvvk / YouTubeThis fine old house still has all the markings of luxury, with marble bathrooms still intact. The estate was bought by the Faith Theological Seminary, a branch of evangelical Christians in 1952 who sold off Lynnewood’s valuable assets, including its carved mantels, walnut panelling and rare landscape ornaments plus more than 350 acres of land. The house now has only 33 acres.

Lynnewood Hall

svvvk / YouTube

The now decrepit swimming pool would once have been enclosed with squash courts and changing rooms and was filled with water from the estate’s very own reservoir. In 2003, Lynnewood Hall was added to a list of endangered historic properties in the region and fans of the estate are running an ongoing campaign to save the house for posterity.

The Mellon mansion

Abandoned Southeast

This 19th-century Eastlake-style home in Palatka, Florida, was once the beloved summer home of Pennsylvania banking mogul James Ross Mellon. Vacated years ago, it has since been left to the elements and hides costly antiques inside its decaying walls.

The Mellon mansion

Abandoned Southeast

Once the Mellon family’s winter retreat, the home, which was recently captured by urban explorer Leland Kent for Abandoned Southeast, has passed through various owners since the family sold it in the late 1930s. While the entrance hall has crumbling paintwork and signs of damp, it must have been a hub of activity in its heyday.  

The Mellon mansion

Abandoned Southeast

The once-grand living room has been left to wrack and ruin with flaking plasterwork and debris scattered on the floor. Mattresses also litter the floor, which may indicate that squatters have been staying in the property. This room was once a place for socialising, with the Mellons hosting the likes of Billy Sunday, a former National League baseball player, later turned evangelist.

The Mellon mansion

Abandoned Southeast

Upstairs, the bedrooms still show signs of the home’s former life. Several vintage radios, as well as a miniature child’s piano, surround the wooden fireplace, which has been well used. While the wallpaper is peeling away and debris litters the floor, the space still has a certain charm.

The Mellon mansion

Abandoned Southeast

The ensuite bathroom probably used to be a grand space, but now needs a complete overhaul. The fixtures and fittings are grubby and old, while the vivid green paint has worn away over time. It’s hard to believe that this once grand house has been reduced to this derelict state. Wouldn’t you love to renovate it?

Abercrombie’s castle

Zillow

This crumbling castle was designed and built by David Thomas Abercrombie of fashion chain Abercrombie & Fitch. Built in 1929, it sits in Ossining, New York, and was a project he worked on together with his architect wife, Lucy Abbott Cate. Called Elda Castle, it was named using the first letter of each of his children’s names, in birth order.

Abercrombie’s castle

Zillow

After his death in 1931, the home was left to the rest of the family until it was sold in the early 1940s. After the Second World War, the building was empty for more than a decade and has since had a number of owners, with none of them taking the time to restore the castle to its former glory. At 4,337 square feet, it once boasted 25 rooms that were spread over two floors.

Abercrombie’s castle

Zillow

The home is still full of many of its original features, including arched doorways, a cast-iron spiral staircase and courtyards that sit among the ruins. The entrance is accessed by a flight of curved stone steps, overgrown with weeds, which lead to a glass conservatory where Mr Abercrombie kept his plants.

Abercrombie’s castle

Zillow

Sitting on just under 50 acres of land, the house features a number of arched and square doorways and windows, curved stone and iron circular staircases, exposed stone chimneys, and vaulted masonry porches. The romance of this amazing mansion has charmed many a prospective renovator but as yet, no one has succeeded in restoring the property to its former beauty. 

Abercrombie’s castle

Zillow

The inside may have been vandalised and left to be taken over by nature, but the exterior is still standing strong, with a steel body and a façade of granite and fieldstone, most of which was sourced from within the grounds. But there may still yet be a happy ending for Elda Castle; it’s on the market for $3.2 million (£2.6m) so watch this space!

The forgotten Italian palace

Steve Ronin / YouTube

Captured by urban explorer Steve Ronin, this mansion dates back to the 1900s and belonged to a wealthy Italian family who made their fortune through farming. When the parents passed away, the children inherited the huge home but didn’t keep up the maintenance. Eventually, they moved away and left the palace to be forgotten and now large sections of it are collapsing. This drawing room, for example, is scattered with bricks that have fallen from the ceiling.

The forgotten Italian palace

Steve Ronin / YouTube

Exploring the precarious lower floor of the mansion unveils a wealth of surprising treasure. It looks like the family just up and left, as everything has been left in its place, including these early portraits of what we presume is the family on the living room wall. 

The forgotten Italian palace

Steve Ronin / YouTube

The family left behind all their personal belongings, with the kitchen looking like it could almost still be in use. The kitchen table is set with plates and cutlery, while the cupboards are fully stocked with crockery. It’s only the dust and dirt that gives away the fact it’s been abandoned. 

The forgotten Italian palace

Steve Ronin / YouTube

The first floor is dark and dingy, with five huge bedrooms. What could have been the master suite has almost been left untouched. The bed is still made with white sheets and the chest of drawers is packed full of framed old family photos and trinkets. An empty double wardrobe with a full-length mirror sits on the other side and the bedroom has views out to what would have once been a manicured lawn.

The forgotten Italian palace

Steve Ronin / YouTube

One of the bedrooms even has a miniature town set up in it! We can only imagine one of the children would have stayed in here and that they would have had hours of fun with their traditional toys that have now been left scattered with debris and dust. 

The havelis of India

Cheryl Ramalho / Shutterstock

The region of Shekhawati, in the north-east part of Rajasthan, India, is famous for its rows of abandoned mansions. The area, which was found in the 1400s and developed at the beginning of the 19th century, was once home to India’s billionaires. However, today many of the grand mansions, known as havelis, are crumbling.

The havelis of India

Globetrotter Museum / Shutterstock

The havelis blossomed until the early 20th century, when the rich business tycoons living there left for better opportunities in areas such as Mumbai and Calcutta. With the trade moving elsewhere, development stopped in Shekhawati and the artwork-covered marvels were abandoned for good.

The havelis of India

Christophe Cappelli / Shutterstock

The havelis were all built in a similar style. Spread over two floors, they often have four courtyards – two reserved for socialising and the other two reserved for cooking and animal stables. The entrances are made up of ornately carved wood, with mirror work and detailed paintings running throughout.

The havelis of India

Christophe Cappelli / Shutterstock

These days, most of the havelis have fallen into disrepair. Authorities in the region will only allow the mansions to be sold to people who will maintain their heritage and to restore the mansions to their former glory. 

The havelis of India

Stefano Barzellotti / Shutterstock

Now a ghost town, many of the mansions of Shekhawati still retain their air of glamour despite their state of disrepair, reminiscent of the abandoned palaces of Europe. This haveli still has an old 1930s gramophone in one of its rooms. 

Harley Clarke Mansion

Eddie J. Rodriquez / Shutterstock

This French Eclectic-style spooky mansion was built in 1927 for mega-wealthy magnate Harley Clarke, who went on to become the president of the Fox Film movie studio. Located in Lighthouse Beach in Evanston, Illinois, the house was probably one of the last great houses built in the area before the Wall Street Crash. 

Harley Clarke Mansion

Paul R. Burley / Wikimedia [CC BY-SA 4.0]

The limestone mansion, which backs on to Lake Michigan, had no expense spared on the design. Clarke lived in the property with his family until 1949 when his fortune fell victim to the Great Depression. He was eventually forced to sell his opulent mansion to the Sigma Chi fraternity.

Harley Clarke Mansion

Paul R. Burley / Wikimedia [CC BY-SA 4.0]

The three-storey, 16-room mansion has seven bedrooms, a spacious glass conservatory, a ballroom, basement and six towering chimneys, and was once the perfect entertaining space until it was left abandoned in 2015 by the Evanston Art Center.

Harley Clarke Mansion

Paul R. Burley / Wikimedia [CC BY-SA 4.0]

During the Evanston Art Center’s occupancy of the mansion, the main-floor rooms were converted into exhibition galleries, and the second-floor bedrooms and third-floor ballroom were utilised as classroom space. The basement was also converted into a pottery studio, featuring both electric and gas-fired kilns, as well as a pottery wheel room and glazing room. However, the house’s wood-panelled entry hall and library were retained.

Harley Clarke Mansion

Paul R. Burley / Wikimedia [CC BY-SA 4.0]

The mansion narrowly escaped demolition last year when the Evanston Preservation Commission voted unanimously to deny the council permission to raze it to the ground. Thanks to community campaigns, the City of Evanston has issued a Request for Proposals for long-term restoration and reuse of the historic Harley Clarke Mansion. This great house will now be saved and used by the public!

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