Antarctic spirits have an abundance of residences to choose from thanks to the huge number of ghost towns, deserted islands and other such haunts. For obvious reasons, Antarctica is a very popular place to abandon.
The most famous and disturbingly well-preserved of these places is the camp built by Robert Scott (pictured above) and his party on Ross Island in 1911. The seaweed-insulated wooden cabin and its outbuildings were supposed to be the team’s shelter when they returned from their attempt to be the first people to visit the South Pole. Scott and four others set out from the base to reach the pole. They reached it in January 1912 only to find that the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen had gotten there weeks before them. All five men died trying to get back to the base camp. The final three – Scott, Wilson and Bowers – were just 11 miles from it when they died.
South Georgia is another Antarctic island that people rushed to abandon. At least seven whaling communities existed there during the first half of the 20th century. When all were up and running, the island was estimated to have 2,000 people living on it. Most of the towns are in the process of returning to a state of wilderness.
It is worth noting that these frozen islands have been the subject of heated arguments over who actually owns them – mostly by the UK and Argentina. South Georgia and the South Shetland islands are still possessed by the UK. The dispute over ownership of South Georgia was a contributing factor in The Falklands War described by Argentine writer Jorge Louis Borges as “two bald men fighting over a comb.”
This here is the remnant of the Van Cortlandt Park station on the New York Central’s Putnam Line or “Old Put” as it was known back in the day. The last passenger train ran through here circa 1958. I do remember freight trains lumbering past this in the 70’s. First the ill-fated Penn Central and then Conrail until 1982 when freight operations ceased forever. Now it is a dirt path used by bikers, joggers, etc., connecting to the South County Trailway in Yonkers- a paved bike path that can be ridden all the way to Brewster, NY