Incredible American tourist attractions lost forever


America is packed with incredible tourist attractions, but some sadly haven’t been preserved for posterity. Over the centuries, both mankind and Mother Nature have wreaked havoc on the USA’s landmarks, from natural wonders to opulent theaters and monuments. Here we take a look at the greatest American attractions that have been lost forever.




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Arches National Park unfolds across eastern Utah, all rocky red terrain and striking natural arches. There are 2,000 of them, in fact, ranging from craggy, thick curves to delicate bows that soar across the hot earth below. The landscape was formed more than 65 million years, but we were reminded of its fragility in 2008 when Wall Arch, a rugged curve spanning a 71-foot (22m) gap, collapsed in the night.




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Experts put the collapse down to “erosion and gravity” – that is, years of rain, groundwater and ice chipped away at the “natural calcium ‘cement’” that had kept the sandstone arch intact since ancient times. The remains of the arch scattered themselves across the Devils Garden hiking trail and today visitors can see the still-impressive rock formation that once held up the perished structure.




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The Aloha State is known for its stunning black-sand strands and Kaimu Beach, on the Island of Hawaii, was one of the finest. Spreading over an eastern corner of the isle, its inky powder was hemmed in by palms and it drew tourists from across the country. This photo from 1985 shows the beach in all its glory. But, in the 1990s, this natural wonder was destroyed.




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Lava swallowed the beach and nearby Kalapana village in the early 1990s after the Kilauea Volcano erupted. Luckily, no lives were lost but hundreds of people were displaced as property was destroyed. The original, beautiful Kaimu Beach was lost beneath the lava, but today a new black-sand beach has formed above it. Locals have been planting coconut palms in the hope that this young strand (pictured) will one day be as beautiful as its predecessor.




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Mother Nature saw to the demise of this New Orleans theme park too. The park first opened in 2000 as Jazzland, a loud, proud tribute to the Big Easy with an entire area themed around Mardi Gras. Six Flags began its reign of the park in 2003, adding further thrill rides and attractions, but it was short-lived. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina ripped through the beautiful city of New Orleans, devastating the theme park and much more.




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This giant sequoia tree could once have been found tucked away in Mariposa Grove in the Golden State’s Yosemite National Park. Mighty impressive in its own right, the ancient tree had a tunnel carved into its base in 1881, drawing tourists who delighted in driving and walking through its trunk. Park-goers are pictured here enjoying the attraction in the early 20th century.




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The tree had been standing for around 2,300 years when it finally toppled in 1969. Experts put the event down to natural factors including heavy snowfall and damp soil – their effects were exacerbated by the man-made tunnel which weakened the tree’s trunk. The fallen tree is still marked with a sign. It’s pictured here in 2012.




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Another of Yosemite’s great natural wonders, this Jeffrey pine once stood atop the Sentinel Dome, south of Yosemite Valley. The tree was bent into a graceful bow by the wind, and though it was killed off by drought in the 1970s, it remained standing for many decades following. It was also famous as the subject of a black-and-white photograph by American landscape photographer Ansel Adams.




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Sin City has constantly reinvented itself over the years and many once-iconic hotels have eventually fallen by the wayside. One of them is the Stardust Hotel and Casino, which opened in the late 1950s and was a favored stomping ground for Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack. When it opened it was considered the height of luxury but, after its glittering heyday, the hotel found itself overshadowed by bigger, flashier resorts and struggled to keep profits steady.




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The Stardust closed its doors at the end of 2006 but it went out with a bang. This shot shows fireworks glittering over the hotel as it is imploded in 2007 to make way for a new development. Resorts World Las Vegas is currently being constructed on the site and is slated to be finished by 2021.




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San Francisco is stuffed full of tourist attractions today and back in the 19th and 20th centuries, the city had one more under its belt. The Sutro Baths stretched out in the city’s Lands End area from 1894, when they were developed by millionaire Adolph Sutro. The complex encompassed a glittering bathhouse complete with artworks and artifacts from around the world, restaurants, performance areas, and, of course, a series of swimming pools. They’re pictured here in their heyday circa 1896.




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Adolph Sutro died at the end of the 19th century and in the 20th century, the Great Depression meant that his beloved baths saw a decline in visitors. The then-owners converted the baths into a skating rink, but this didn’t succeed in raising profits. The complex was bought by developers in the 1960s and demolition began soon after, with a fire ripping through what was left. It’s still possible to visit the ruins today at their dramatic location on the coast (pictured).




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Oregon does some spectacular things with rock – the state’s coastline is studded with sea stacks, caves, rugged cliffs and formations, and the Duckbill Rock was one of them. This dramatic hoodoo could have been found in the Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area, a beachfront preserve in northwest Oregon popular with surfers and hang-gliders. But, sadly, Duckbill Rock met its fate in 2016.




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The rock, named for its distinctive shape, towered at around seven feet (2.1m) tall before, in 2016, it was pushed over by a group of vandals who were caught on camera. Despite the footage, the culprits were never found or punished. Although Oregon’s shores remain peppered with other dramatic formations, Duckbill is gone forever.




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Jump-Off Joe is another natural Oregon landmark that didn’t stand the test of time. The arching sea stack rose just off the shore at Newport’s Nye Beach on Oregon’s Central Coast and was a popular attraction in the 19th century. It’s pictured here in 1910, a mere six years before it crumbled into the sea.




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Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


The park’s glory days ended in the 1970s, mainly because the local community objected to the disruption caused by crowds pouring into the park. The land was sold off to developers who used the site to build a complex of luxury apartments (pictured).




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The creepy remains of Disney’s River County still exist in Florida’s Bay Lake (pictured here in 1977). Walt Disney World Resort’s earliest water park opened in 1976, drawing visitors in their thousands with its slides rushing over rocks and its large swimming hole. The park was well-loved over the decades, but a handful of tragedies were linked to the site: two children died from drowning in the 1980s and another from a fatal amoebic infection contracted from the water.




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The site stayed in operation right up until 2001 when the park closed for the season never to be reopened again. The reasons floated included flailing demand for River Country as Disney’s bigger, better water parks hogged visitors. Rusted slides and wooden picnic benches still lurk in the overgrowth at the abandoned site today.




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This dramatic cliff ledge in New Hampshire’s White Mountains was known as the Old Man of the Mountain, and it’s easy to see why. The rugged rocks formed the profile of an old man, with a pointy chin, hooked nose and strong brow. It’s thought that the enigmatic old man attracted visitors for hundreds of years, before he crumbled into the night in 2003.




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Now affectionately nicknamed “the old Met”, New York’s original Metropolitan Opera House was built on Broadway in the 1880s. It hosted music-lovers in the Big Apple for the best part of the century, though it was divisive from early on, with critics lamenting its “industrial” exterior. It’s pictured here during a recital in 1937.




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The Big Apple has more than its fair share of opulent theaters and the Hippodrome Theatre was no exception. It was the vision of architect Frederick Thompson and showman Elmer Dundy (the dream team behind Coney Island’s dazzling Luna Park) and was finished in 1905. It was a behemoth among theaters too, with capacity for 5,000-plus people and a vast stage playing host to greats including Harry Houdini and plenty of circus animals.




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Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.




Microsoft and partners may be compensated if you purchase something through recommended links in this article.


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