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Bannack, Montana by Kathy Alexander
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Quarai Church, New Mexico by the National Park Service.
Ancient Cities of Native Americans
What is a Ghost Town?
Cemeteries – Outdoor Museums of the Forgotten Past
Emerging Ghost Towns of the Plains
Forts Across the American West
Ghost Town Code of Ethics
Ghost Town Photo Gallery
Ghost Towns In The East
Ghost Towns Facebook Page
Ghost Towns Reveal Hidden Tales of Old West
Route 66 Ghost Towns
The Sadness of Old Buildings
Stay Out of That Old Mine!
The past belongs to the future…
But only the present, can preserve it., — unknown.
Elkhorn, Montana Buildings by Kathy Alexander.
THIS OLD TOWN
I was born here. In a long-ago land of shadows and muted sounds I brushed against the pages of my days, Partially separated the shadows and sounds. The world was hot and cold against my cheeks
Within these small structured walls, I learned While my fancies found wings And sailed far beyond these walls.
I worshipped here. The soaring sounds touched God And He made me a sinner.
I loved here, And became immortal For a moment.
Gascoyne, North Dakota School by Kathy Alexander.
I heard the music of life And I carried the music within me.
In the melted minutes of larger shadows and louder sounds I sweat cold sweat I smelled the odors of life Tasted dirt Felt pain And slowly died.
I was buried here Under the cold clay of a faraway field. A few unheard words gave my entire life meaning. Stirring my silent screams even more than before.
The town is gone now And the treasure of my life is spent Upon the night winds and the weeds, And on eternity.
— Perry Eberhart, Ghosts of the Colorado Plains , Swallow Press Books, Athens, Ohio, 1986.
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© Kathy Alexander / Legends of America , updated November 2022.
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Definition of ghost town
Examples of ghost town in a sentence.
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ghost town.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
1894, in the meaning defined above
Dictionary Entries Near ghost town
Cite this Entry
“Ghost town.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary , Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ghost%20town. Accessed 19 Oct. 2023.
Kids definition of ghost town, more from merriam-webster on ghost town.
Nglish: Translation of ghost town for Spanish Speakers
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25 Ghost Towns In America And The History Behind Them
Of all the historic sites to see and tourist attractions to visit in America , ghost towns may be the most enthralling. They are a haunting — and sometimes haunted — reminder of a past nearly forgotten .[slideshow:104730]
While many ghost towns came to be after the Gold Rush ended and mining camps were abandoned, others were forced to dissipate as larger cities sprang up nearby.
During the 19th-century hundreds of small towns were quickly formed around lucrative mining sites across the country, but particularly in the west. When the mines were tapped out or local companies went bankrupt during the First or Second World War, the residents of these towns left to find opportunity elsewhere. This narrative is true to many, but there are a substantial number of ghost towns in America that came before the Gold Rush or years later. Towns that became abandoned islands , like North Brother Island in New York, and towns that became obsolete once highways were built that bypassed them, like Glenrio on the border of Texas and New Mexico.
Over the years, these neglected towns have disappeared into dense forests while others have been well preserved by neighboring communities. However, some of the most interesting towns may be the ones still home to a handful of stragglers, the ones that were given a second chance in the early 1900s, or the one now completely submerged underwater .
Click here for 25 ghost towns around the U.S. and the history behind them
Ghost towns: once thriving communities that have dwindled over the decades. Some vanished entirely or were absorbed into newer settlements, but many of these towns still stand, at least in part, allowing us glimpses of what these now-abandoned places once were.
Where are America’s ghost towns, and how do they look today? Scroll down to find out.
We’ve researched over 3,800 ghost towns to show their spread across the country and within each state.
Professor of American Studies
Nearby ghost towns
Ione, NV Broken Hills, NV
Key West, FL
Coloma, MT Bearmouth, MT Pioneer, MT
Aurora, NV Dogtown, CA Masonic, CA
Buena Vista, CO
Tincup, CO Turret, CO
Picacho, CA Jaeger City, CA Tumco, CA
St. George, UT
Adventure, UT Duncan's Retreat, UT Grafton, UT
Lion City, MT Pioneer, MT Trapper City, MT
55 ghost towns Talladega County contains the most, with 6. There are 11 ghost towns within 50 miles of Hoover.
Arcola, Hale County
32 ghost towns Nome contains the most, with 7. There are 4 ghost towns within 50 miles of Anchorage.
131 ghost towns Yavapai County contains the most, with 24. There are 24 ghost towns within 25 miles of Prescott Valley.
Fairbank, Cochise County The Bureau of Land Management / CC BY 2.0
20 ghost towns Marion County contains the most, with 3. There are 15 ghost towns within 50 miles of Fort Smith.
Rush, Marion County
346 ghost towns Kern County contains the most, with 113. There are 71 ghost towns within 25 miles of Bakersfield.
Bodie, Mono County
99 ghost towns El Paso County contains the most, with 14. There are 14 ghost towns within 25 miles of Colorado Springs.
St. Elmo, Chaffee County
4 ghost towns
6 ghost towns Sussex County contains the most, with 5. There are 6 ghost towns within 50 miles of Wilmington.
257 ghost towns Polk County contains the most, with 17. There are 20 ghost towns within 25 miles of Saint Petersburg.
Fort Jefferson, Monroe County
16 ghost towns There are 9 ghost towns within 50 miles of Augusta.
Auraria, Lumpkin County Hellohowareyoudoing / CC BY-SA 3.0
21 ghost towns Honolulu County contains the most, with 6. There are 6 ghost towns within 50 miles of Honolulu.
Kapoho, East Puna Bob Linsdell / CC BY-SA 3.0
26 ghost towns Lemhi County contains the most, with 4. There are 7 ghost towns within 50 miles of Boise City.
Rocky Bar, Elmore County J.Day Photography / CC BY-SA 3.0
82 ghost towns Macoupin County contains the most, with 12. There are 11 ghost towns within 25 miles of Waukegan.
Benjaminville, McLean County A McMurray / CC BY-SA 3.0
42 ghost towns Warren County contains the most, with 11. There are 12 ghost towns within 25 miles of West Lafayette.
Corwin, Tippecanoe County
26 ghost towns Buchanan County and Clayton County each contain 3. There are 22 ghost towns within 50 miles of Dubuque.
Donnan, Fayette County Firsfron / CC BY-SA 3.0
308 ghost towns Shawnee County contains the most, with 10. There are 20 ghost towns within 25 miles of Lawrence.
Dunlap, Morris County Patrick Emerson / CC BY-ND 2.0
13 ghost towns There are 9 ghost towns within 50 miles of Covington.
Creelsboro, Russell County
17 ghost towns Pointe Coupee Parish contains the most, with 9. There are 13 ghost towns within 50 miles of Baton Rouge.
La Balize, Plaquemines Parish
5 ghost towns Somerset County contains the most, with 3.
Perkins Township (Swan Island), Lincoln County Timothy Krause / CC BY 2.0
15 ghost towns Garrett County contains the most, with 9. There are 10 ghost towns within 50 miles of Gaithersburg.
Daniels, Baltimore County Timothy Krause / CC BY 2.0
11 ghost towns Worcester contains the most, with 3. There are 5 ghost towns within 25 miles of Holyoke.
Whitewash Village, Barnstable County Zachary Cava / CC BY 2.0
128 ghost towns Grand Traverse County contains the most, with 12. There are 16 ghost towns within 50 miles of Novi.
Harrietta, Wexford County Roman Kahler / CC BY-SA 4.0
55 ghost towns Winona County contains the most, with 5. There are 14 ghost towns within 50 miles of Rochester.
Forestville, Fillmore County Tony Webster / CC BY-SA 2.0
27 ghost towns There are 4 ghost towns within 50 miles of Biloxi.
Rodney, Jefferson County Michael McCarthy / CC BY-ND 2.0
21 ghost towns St. Charles County contains the most, with 4. There are 10 ghost towns within 25 miles of Kansas City.
Phenix, Greene County Diedrichb / CC BY-SA 4.0
106 ghost towns Carbon County contains the most, with 9. There are 19 ghost towns within 50 miles of Bozeman.
Bannack, Beaverhead County
31 ghost towns Pawnee County contains the most, with 13. There are 6 ghost towns within 50 miles of Lincoln.
Dobytown, Kearney County
106 ghost towns Nye County contains the most, with 15. There are 13 ghost towns within 50 miles of Henderson.
Ione, Nye County
8 ghost towns Grafton County contains the most, with 4. There are 6 ghost towns within 50 miles of Nashua.
Monson, Hillsborough County John Phelan / CC BY-SA 4.0
11 ghost towns Burlington County contains the most, with 3. There are 3 ghost towns within 25 miles of Newark.
Batso Village, Burlington County mullica / CC BY 2.0
39 ghost towns Sandoval County and Grant County each contain 5. There are 6 ghost towns within 50 miles of Albuquerque.
Lake Valley, Sierra County The Bureau of Land Management / CC BY 2.0
14 ghost towns Cattaraugus County contains the most, with 5. There are 7 ghost towns within 50 miles of Troy.
Tahawus, Essex County
16 ghost towns Carteret County contains the most, with 3. There are 5 ghost towns within 50 miles of Asheville.
Brunswick Town, Brunswick County Rob Friesel / CC BY-SA 2.0
23 ghost towns Ward County, Grant County and Williams County each contain 3. There are 5 ghost towns within 50 miles of Bismarck.
Petrel, Adams County Andrew Filer / CC BY-SA 2.0
26 ghost towns Clermont County contains the most, with 4. There are 10 ghost towns within 50 miles of Lancaster.
Moonville, Vinton County ChristopherM / CC BY 2.0
236 ghost towns Pushmataha County contains the most, with 13. There are 11 ghost towns within 25 miles of Norman.
68 ghost towns Baker County contains the most, with 9. There are 13 ghost towns within 50 miles of Keizer.
Shaniko, Wasco County
105 ghost towns Indiana County contains the most, with 36. There are 71 ghost towns within 50 miles of Pittsburgh.
Frick's Lock, Chester County
1 ghost town
Hanton City, Providence PristineLibertine / CC BY-SA 3.0
11 ghost towns Barnwell County contains the most, with 5. There are 3 ghost towns within 50 miles of Greenville.
Dunbarton, Barnwell County
238 ghost towns Lawrence County contains the most, with 93. There are 51 ghost towns within 25 miles of Rapid City.
Burdock, Fall River County Runner1928 / CC BY-SA 3.0
12 ghost towns There are 10 ghost towns within 50 miles of Knoxville.
Loyston, Union County
511 ghost towns Wilson County contains the most, with 31. There are 25 ghost towns within 25 miles of New Braunfels.
Heckville, Lubbock County Leaflet / CC BY-SA 3.0
136 ghost towns Carbon County contains the most, with 18. There are 13 ghost towns within 25 miles of Lehi.
Harrisburg, Washington County The Bureau of Land Management / CC BY 2.0
5 ghost towns
Somerset, Windham County Andy Arthur / CC BY 2.0
19 ghost towns York County, Henrico County and Prince William County each contain 3. There are 11 ghost towns within 50 miles of Richmond.
Jamestown, James City County Sarah Stierch / CC BY-SA 2.0
116 ghost towns King County contains the most, with 16. There are 14 ghost towns within 25 miles of Auburn.
Lester, King County BryonDavis / CC BY-SA 2.0
21 ghost towns Fayette County contains the most, with 9. There are 11 ghost towns within 50 miles of Charleston.
Thurmond, Thurmond Mike / CC BY-ND 2.0
155 ghost towns Adams County and Milwaukee County each contain 10. There are 20 ghost towns within 25 miles of Racine.
Muskego Settlement, Racine County McGhiever / CC BY-SA 3.0
33 ghost towns Fremont County contains the most, with 6. There are 5 ghost towns within 50 miles of Cheyenne.
Miner's Delight, Fremont County The Bureau of Land Management / CC BY 2.0
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Last updated: June 28, 2022
What is a Ghost Town? WMH Town Classifications Explained
While there is not one official definition of what a ghost town is, there has been much discussion on the subject. Wikipedia’s basic definition is as follows:
A ghost town is an abandoned village, town or city. A town often becomes a ghost town because the economic activity that supported it has failed, or due to natural or human-caused disasters such as floods, government actions, uncontrolled lawlessness, war, or nuclear disasters. The term is sometimes used to refer to cities, towns, and neighborhoods which are still populated, but significantly less so than in years past.
To elaborate on that definition, Wikipedia quotes the work of T. Lindsay Baker, Chair of Industrial History at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas:
The town’s reason for being must no longer exist. Although abandoned sites clearly meet this requirement, this does not exclude certain semi-abandoned sites from being classified as ghost towns, provided they maintain only a skeleton population.
There must be tangible remains of the town for visitors to see. These can range from a dilapidated main street populated with abandoned mercantile/government buildings to only a town cemetery (Baker also stipulated that townsites included in his own books must have public access and be evenly distributed throughout Texas).
Mining Town Classifications Used At Western Mining History
Western Mining History is a bit different than other ghost town websites in that many of the towns profiled are not ghost towns at all. The only criteria for being profiled at WMH was that the town had a history that was related somehow to mining.
Related to mining could mean that the town literally sits among and near the mines themselves, or it could mean that the town was a railroad hub, supply hub, or smelter center for nearby mining districts. These “supply hub” towns were often located in more hospitable locations than the nearby mining towns and were less likely to be abandoned as the mining industry declined. Examples of these hub towns are Baker City , Durango , and Salida .
Some of these towns have even become large cities like Boulder, Denver, or San Francisco – towns that will be profiled here at some point and are certainly not ghost towns by any stretch of the imagination.
My challenge during the course of building the site was to somehow classify towns in a way that gave some meaning to their current state of preservation and population. I also wanted to keep it as simple as possible so I came up with three general classifications: Active town, Near Ghost Town, and Ghost Town.
Active Town: Up until now the focus on WMH was to profile and photograph mining towns that still had a significant of intact buildings and a sustainable year-round population. Therefore, many of the towns you will at the site now are active towns.
Near Ghost Town: This is the classification that could probably be debated by many but I felt that something was needed to distinguish those towns that weren’t really ghost towns yet but had undergone a significant reduction of population and the amount of intact structures since the town’s peak. Examples of these near ghost towns are Goldfield and Sumpter .
Ghost Town: For the most part a ghost town at Western Mining History is defined by the criteria described by T. Lindsay Baker (see above), but with some small differences. A ghost town at Western Mining History is a place that is mostly or all abandoned. It may have no residents at all or a relative handful of part-time or year-round residents.
Generally a ghost town has no active businesses. Where WMH parts with Baker is with the idea that “There must be tangible remains of the town for visitors to see.”. In the future WMH will profile most of the mining camps of the West, including those that have been wiped off the landscape completely by time and neglect, or more dramatically, by open-pit mining.
Therefore, it will be useful to classify some towns as ghost towns for the purpose of organizing them on this site, even if they no longer exist at all.
Nothing is Perfect. Reality is that most things, including towns, have a wide range of characteristics that don’t always fall into a few neat classifications. However, it is useful to determine a classification for a town even it the fit doesn’t seem quite right.
Classification allows for a website that is highly organized, easy to navigate, and provides the best user experience. I will continue to examine these classifications and update them as needed. Any feedback on the subject would be appreciated (you can contact me through the contact link at the bottom of this page or through the WMH Facebook page ).
Investigate the remnants of these 11 us ghost towns, share this article.
Walking down the street of Rhyolite, Nevada, facades of empty buildings loom over me. Nobody is here but my husband and me — and some wild burros giving me the stink eye. A creepy feeling comes over me as I stand in this empty town that was once full of thousands of gold miners with dollar signs in their eyes. Now, the lights and power have been off for over a century.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a ghost town as “a once-flourishing town wholly or nearly deserted usually as a result of the exhaustion of some natural resource.” Lots of people like me feel the lure of these empty places, which are most common in the spacious western United States. Make the most of Halloween season by exploring these 11 ghost towns in all their spooky glory.
1 Rhyolite, Nevada
Rhyolite’s bottle house. / Photo by Teresa Bergen
Just outside Death Valley National Park , Rhyolite is one of the best ghost towns I’ve ever visited. Many buildings are still at least partially standing, including a three-story bank and the old jail. There’s a fabulous house made from old bottles and an intact train depot. Watch out for the wild burros.
2 Shaniko, Oregon
Photo by Analise Schallig
Once known as the Wool Capital of the World, Shaniko was shipping over 2,000 tons of wool and a million bushels of wheat in 1903. But after rail lines changed, this north-central Oregon town was bypassed. Water issues prevent large-scale tourism, but many people visit each year to look at the jail, wooden water tower, school, post office, and other Old West-style buildings. And this year, the Shaniko Hotel reopened, letting guests step back in time to spend a night in the early 1900s.
3 Bodie, California
Photo by CALChux
This gold rush town on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada dates back to 1859. It boomed to a population of about 10,000 people and 2,000 structures but started to bust in 1881. Now, Bodie is designated a national historic site and a state historic park, which rangers preserve in a state of “arrested decay.” There’s still lots to see here.
4 Cisco, Utah
Photo by Teresa Bergen
In 1924, people discovered natural gas, oil, and turquoise near this Utah town. But freeways left Cisco behind, and it was officially abandoned in the 1990s. However, artist Eileen Muza has given Cisco a new lease on life. She bought the ghost town in 2015 and has been turning the ruins into artwork. I was excited to visit Cisco, but once I arrived, I felt totally creeped out — like I was being watched from multiple directions — and had to leave.
5 Randsburg, California
Randsburg is sometimes called “a living ghost town” because it’s semi-inhabited and semi-deserted. In the town’s heyday, miners extracted 60 million dollars worth of gold from Randsburg . Now, if you’re lucky, the saloon might be open, and you can get a sandwich or drink.
6 Antelope, Oregon
With a population of about 46 and lots of old buildings, Antelope is an almost-ghost town. This north-central Oregon town feels like it’s in the middle of nowhere. Also, Antelope was the nearest town to Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh’s infamous 1980s commune. Cult members even got Antelope’s name changed to Rajneesh for a few years.
7 Old Shasta City, California
Photo courtesy of Choose Redding
Old Shasta, located in Shasta State Historic Park just outside Redding , was a bustling gold town in the 1850s. Today, its ruins and informative signage make it a top place for ghost town travel. Rumor has it that ghosts haunt the preserved remains of the jail and courthouse.
8 Jerome, Arizona
Photo by Mike McBey
This former copper mining town sprang up in 1916 and went bust in 1953. A few people stuck around to promote it as a ghost town. Now, it’s part ghost town, part regular town of nearly 500 people. Visit and stay overnight in the Jerome Grand Hotel . You can also find espresso and award-winning wine — pretty classy for a ghost town.
9 Bisbee, Arizona
Inside the Queen Bee Mine. / Photo by An Pham, courtesy of Visit Arizona
With nearly 5,000 people, Bisbee bills itself as a living ghost town. If you like to balance exploring the ruins of mines with shopping in boutiques and art galleries, Bisbee is a good destination. Take a ghost tour, visit a haunted pub, or have the ghosts come to you by staying in the 1902 Copper Queen Hotel . Best of all, you can go underground and tour the former Copper Queen Mine.
10 Clayton, Idaho
At last count, less than 10 people still lived in Clayton , which averaged more than a million pounds of lead and silver production per year at the beginning of the 1900s. If you like off-roading, rent an ATV from Polaris Adventures for a self-guided tour of the surrounding area.
11 Animas Forks, Colorado
Photo by robert thigpen
Twelve miles from Silverton, at 11,200 feet in the San Juan Mountains, you’ll find the ruins of a mining community dating back to the 1870s. The high altitude made it difficult to live here. In 1884, 25 feet of snow fell during a 23-day blizzard. Residents dug tunnels to travel between buildings. To reach the town, you’ll need a jeep or other off-road vehicle. Polaris Adventures in Silverton can help you make arrangements.
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- Live In The D
The story of Michigan’s most infamous ghost town
Did a witch curse the village of pere cheney.
Ken Haddad , Digital Managing Editor
A Michigan “ghost town” has a reputation for ghostly behavior.
Pere Cheney, also known as Cheney or Center Plains, was a village in Crawford County, Michigan.
It was settled by lumberjacks in 1874. But the village was abandoned by 1917.
How Pere Cheney became a ghost town
After being established in 1874 by founder George Cheney, the village received a land grant from the Michigan Central Railroad Co. to create a stop along the railroad.
The village had a general store, sawmills, a hotel and a post office.
By the 1870s, its population was approximately 1,500 people.
Diphtheria, an infection spread through the air, wiped out much of the population in 1893.
While the village was trying to recover, fires broke out, leaving much of the village damaged. The fires were likely caused by sparks from mills behind the village.
Disease returned again in 1897, and by 1901 the town's population was only 25.
In 1917, with the population under 20, the land was sold in a public auction, and Pere Cheney became a ghost town.
All that remains today is the Pere Cheney cemetery, which some call a literal ghost town.
Pere Cheney Cemetery
The Pere Cheney cemetery is filled with ghost stories. Perhaps the most popular, is the legend of the witch.
Local legend says a witch cursed the village she was banished to the woods, which many blame for the outbreak of disease, and the disastrous fires.
The cemetery itself contains the graves of about 90 people - one of which is rumored to be the witch's grave.
Some say people from surrounding towns set Pere Cheney on fire to prevent the spread of disease. But some believe they were caused by the witch.
She was later hanged from a tree in the cemetery and her body was buried.
Visitors to the cemetery have reported seeing ghosts, figures, glowing orbs, lights and hearing voices.
Some have reported hearing children laughing and seeing handprints on their cars.
The only vegetation that grows in Pere Cheney is moss.
Nycki Moggo, a Grayling, Michigan native , visited the cemetery - and documented what she saw:
Is Pere Cheney Cemetery haunted? I believe that it is but not to the extent others make it out to be. I have probably been there at least 200 times over the years and maybe 10 of those times I have had something strange happen to me and others that were with me. I have had my car radio switch channels for no reason, my car not wanting to start (at the time I had a 1997 Pontiac Grand Prix and this happened in the spring of 1998). A few times we have heard children giggling and laughing VERY close to the car late at night. One particular time there were small handprints all over the roof of my car after we left the cemetery. On Halloween of 2002, myself and three others saw an apparition of a woman in a light colored dress walking through the rear of the cemetery, then disappeared all at once. That's about it. I've never been chased.. I've never seen a witch. I've never felt like someone was trying to lynch me (one of the many Pere Cheney stories--this one involving a large oak tree in the center of the cemetery). The temperature has fluctuated from time to time but it wasn't anything worth writing home about. I do not feel an overwhelming sadness there but I do feel a peculiar energy I cannot fully explain. However, I feel this was when I walk into any cemetery.
Below are some video tours of the cemetery.
I actually visited the cemetery in the summer of 2020, and I have to say, it was a beautiful and peaceful place -- and I did not see any witches or ghosts. If you want to visit, it’s a bit of backroad experience, but Google Maps will get you there.
Copyright 2023 by WDIV ClickOnDetroit - All rights reserved.
About the Author:
Ken Haddad has proudly been with WDIV/ClickOnDetroit since 2013. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters, and helps lead the WDIV Insider team. He's a big sports fan and is constantly sipping Lions Kool-Aid.
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Learn The History Of These 10 Eerie U.S. Ghost Towns
These historic ghost towns come with some wild histories, but their eerie landscapes are what most people visit to experience.
One of the most amazing experiences when traveling is the discovery of new places. It is unique when one discovers abandoned towns, cities, buildings, and villages, especially. This offers a time travel experience with an understanding of what was once there, and what's left today. It also offers a chance to learn about the history of such places .
The United States is a big country with many places to visit. One unique experience is finding ghost towns . Ghost towns do not have to be ancient; there are modern-day ghost towns that were abandoned not long ago. The stories behind such towns are fascinating to learn.
10 Thurmond, West Virginia
The story of Thurmond town in West Virginia started a long time ago as it grew due to coal mining, which brought a lot more revenue than other areas. With the coal bringing in a lot of money and resources, the town slowly grew to have several amenities such as banks and a railway line. In the early days of the 20th Century, the town grew further into modern life with a movie theater, stores, banks, hotels, and restaurants. However, things changed with the depletion of coal, and it has since mostly been a ghost town.
RELATED: A Guide To Thurmond: A Forgotten Mountainside Town
9 St. Elmo, Colorado
St. Elmo is a town that grew due to gold mining around 1880. The town gained an excellent population with over 2,000 residents. There were dance halls, stores, and so much more in no time. The town continued thriving until 1910 when it was closed. However, later on, it was reopened and parts of the town were rebuilt again. This led to many people visiting; however, now it has remained simply a tourist attraction.
8 Cahaba, AL
The town of Cahaba was used for trading purposes before the civil war as it is strategically located where the Cahaba rivers and Alabama meet. This placement created a good place for people to meet and do business. However, things turned when in 1900, the town was hit by a flood, effectively causing the residents to abandon it. Currently, the town remains in ruins, and the streets are empty.
7 Bodie, California
The main reason that the ghost town of Bodie can be considered a modern abandoned town is the number of facilities it had before its closure. The town was established around 1859 when it started as a mining camp. With time it grew to have all amenities due to money flow from gold. After mining resources were depleted, people started abandoning the place slowly. The last mine was, however, closed in 1942. The town is now a tourist attraction site since it has 110 structures to visit.
RELATED: Bodie Might Be A Ghost Town, But There's Still Plenty To Do There
6 Goldfield, Arizona
Goldfield is a town established in Arizona as a result of gold mining hence its name. It all started around the 1800s. However, the mining went on to 1898, but the gold depleted. It was later renamed in 1921 and abandoned again in 1926. Another change came in 1988 when the town became a tourist attraction. Currently, it offers several activities for visitors, such as a reptile exhibit, horseback riding, and zipline.
5 North Brother Island, New York
This ghost town of North Brother Island in New York is one of those places one will look at and wonder what exactly happened. It is a town between Queens and the Bronx on the East River. The town was once a great environment with a thriving population, modern life, and activities. Its primary service was Riverside Hospital. It is in this hospital that Typhoid Mary died in 1938. It later became a rehabilitation center for war veterans until the 1960s. However, the town was abandoned after that and is now in ruins.
4 Centralia, Pennsylvania
Centralia is one of the most known modern abandoned towns in the United States. It started as a coal mining site and became a community in the 20th Century. Things changed for the town of Centralia around 1962 when there was an underground fire. It is for this reason that the town was completely abandoned. Before the town was abandoned, it had several modern towns and amenities, including a church that still stands today.
RELATED: Is Centralia's Fire Still Burning? This Is What Happened To The Pennsylvania Ghost Town
3 Glenrio, New Mexico
Glenrio is a town between New Mexico and Texas, right on the border. Settlement in this town started around the 1900s. It was at first a small farm, but slowly it grew into a town, especially with its location becoming a stopover for people using Route 66. However, the town of Glenrio changed during the 1970s when more roads were constructed, reducing the number of people using route 66. What followed later was people slowly abandoning the town.
2 Bannack, Montana
The Bannack town in Montana also started as a mining site that slowly grew into one. There was money flowing into the town from mining which led to the town's development with several amenities and beautiful buildings. However, things started changing with gold depleting, and the town became a hotbed for murderers and robbery. This led to people leaving the town around 1950. However, more than 60 structures are still standing in this ghost town.
1 Santa Claus, AZ
Found in the middle of the Mojave Desert, Santa Claus is a town that started around 1937 as people tried buying the town. It later became a friendly tourist attraction, and people visited the town frequently as it was developing. However, the dream never came to be as the town was abandoned due to poor desert conditions. What is left is white and red buildings that are turning into ruins.
NEXT: Visit This Ghost Town On "Bannack Day" When It Comes Alive Once Again
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Wonder of the Day #1074
What Is a Ghost Town?
SOCIAL STUDIES — Geography
Have You Ever Wondered...
- What is a ghost town?
- What causes ghost towns?
- Where are some famous ghost towns?
- radiation ,
- transportation ,
- Radiation ,
Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Anniston. Anniston Wonders , “ What is a ghost town? ” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Anniston!
There you are, riding your horse across the hard-packed dirt and sand. You’re hungry and thirsty. Suddenly, you see something in the distance! What is it? Are those buildings? Could it be a town?
You spur your horse to move faster in the sweltering heat. You must reach that town. There, you’ll find the food and water you’re craving. You can almost taste the bacon cheeseburger and fries you’ll order. You can feel the coolness of the sweet lemonade that’ll quench your thirst .
You ride faster and faster. The buildings get larger and larger until finally you’re there. But something’s wrong. These buildings are empty. The entire town is desolate . The only occupants are ghosts of the past. What is it? A ghost town, of course!
You may have seen them in movies, but do ghost towns exist in real life? Believe it or not, they do indeed exist and can be found all over the world. Any abandoned city, town, or village can be considered a ghost town. They usually also have visible remains, such as empty buildings.
Formerly bustling towns can become ghost towns for a variety of reasons. One example is settlements that spring up due to a particular economic activity, such as the discovery of a natural resource. They can become ghost towns when that commodity runs out.
In the past, such towns—often called boomtowns—were settled and quickly came to life. People there built mines or mills to harness natural resources, such as gold or coal. After these were taken, the workers often moved on. They went to another town to pursue similar work. This left the once-busy boomtown a shell of its former self.
Ghost towns can also be created by changes in access . For example, historic Route 66 encountered many changes during its lifetime. Occasionally, new interstate highways would be built that would lead to the closure of old roads. If a town depended upon that road’s traffic for its livelihood, its closure could mean the death of the settlement.
In a similar way, ghost towns have been created when railroads are abandoned or re-routed to different places. The creation of dams across the country has also occasionally resulted in the creation of ghost towns. This happens because of the flooding of previously occupied lands.
Disasters like repeated flooding can also create ghost towns. Fire can do the same . The town of Centralia, Pennsylvania, was abandoned in 1984 due to a mine fire. That fire has burned continuously underneath the town since 1962!
Disasters at nuclear power plants have created many ghost towns, especially in Ukraine, Belarus, and Japan. Due to contamination from nuclear radiation, hundreds of towns in these countries have been abandoned .
Today, ghost towns still receive visitors. They come to see the remnants of the past. Some of these famous tourist destinations include Bannack, Montana; Calico, California; Oatman, Arizona; Bodie, California; and Thurmon, West Virginia.
Have you ever visited a ghost town? Would you like to? Some people think they’re a bit spooky, but others find them fascinating. Maybe you can stop in at an abandoned town on your next vacation!
Common Core , Next Generation Science Standards , and National Council for the Social Studies ."> Standards : C3.D2.His.2, CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.SL.2, CCRA.W.2, CCRA.W.7, CCRA.L.1, CCRA.L.2
Wonder What's Next?
We realLEE think you’ll enjoy tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day!
Find an adult who can help you with the activities below:
- Are there any ghost towns near where you live? If not, don't worry! You can grab a friend or family member and travel online to explore ghost towns virtually. Just check out this Ghost Town Gallery ! Which of these ghost towns would you most like to visit? Discuss with your friend or family member.
- Many of today’s towns and cities started for economic reasons, much like boomtowns. Do you know why your town was founded? Is it near a natural resource? Does it have easy access to a highway or railroad? Ask an adult to help you do some research into the history of where you live. Then, write a summary of what you find out.
- Take a video tour of the ghost town of Bodie, California . Then, summarize this town’s story for a friend or family member. How was the town founded? What caused it to become a ghost town? Include any other details you think are important.
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghost_town (accessed 08 May 2020)
- http://www.ghosttowns.com/ (accessed 08 May 2020)
- http://www.travelandleisure.com/articles/americas-coolest-ghost-towns (accessed 08 May 2020)
Did you get it?
We’d like to thank:
Christah , Vihaan , Brandon , Jack and Angel for contributing questions about today’s Wonder topic!
Keep WONDERing with us!
That's a great question, Daichi! You might like our Wonder "Are Ghosts Real?"
We get it. That video had a Johnny Cash song in it, and they can be pretty powerful. We've added this WONDER to our list for refreshing. Thanks for your comment.
We're glad that you learned something new, Zariam!
Hi, bob! What specific questions do you have about this Wonder?
Since this is just an introduction to the topic, we encourage you to take a Wonder Journey to learn more about ghost towns!
Hi, Meme! Do you live in a small town? We think that you might also be interested in Wonder 1557: Where Is the Quietest Town In America?
I don’t like your website
weel i love this website
We love that you're WONDERing with us, bob!
Not even Wonder 1226: What Is an Internet Meme? ??
We appreciate that you are WONDERing with us and looking for more information here at Wonderopolis, Jaran! Have you checked out the links under our "Try It Out" section? Ghost Town Gallery and Ghost Town Video Tours should help keep you WONDERing more about this topic!
rhylan and noelle
Luckily, we currently have 1959 Wonders for you to explore!! Thanks for being great Wonder Friends, rhylan and noelle!
Same here! We would love to visit one sometime. DEFINITELY during the day, though. ?
Thanks, Lucy! Our questions come from Wonder Friends like you and our sources are listed at the bottom of the Wonder if you ever want to check them out. Thanks for WONDERing with us!
I've been to some of the ghost towns that are around the world its really creepy
That's cool, Savannah! We're sure that was fun and scary at the same time! ??
Great question, Daleylynn! Did you find your answer in the article?
Thank you so much, Sidney! We are so thrilled that you enjoy WONDERing with us! We hope you get a chance to visit a ghost town one day! We think that would be exciting.
We think it would be very cool to visit a ghost town, Mike! There is something eerie and mysterious about it, yet fascinating. Glad this Wonder has got you thinking!
Thanks for joining the conversation, Hayes! We are glad you checked out this Wonder! ?
Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, Jose! Super Mario Run sounds like a fun game!
It's great to hear from you, DangerDenis! Thanks for sharing your connection to this Wonder of the Day!
Oh hey, Jason. Wait, Jason Voorhes or a different Jason? If you're going to ask us to go camping with you, we think we will politely decline. Thanks for WONDERing with us!
Thanks for visiting Wonderopolis, Jason! We hope you stick around and explore the website some more! :)
Thanks for sharing that interesting fact, Miah! We're glad you learned something new! :)
Great question, Ashley! We encourage you to keep researching about Western towns and ghost towns at the library and online! We're glad this Wonder sparked your interest! :)
I like it !!!!!!!!!!!!! I don't think it is
We love your enthusiasm about WONDERing, Kaitlyn! We're glad you also liked the video! :)
Hi, matthew! We hope you had fun exploring this Wonder! Thanks for visiting Wonderopolis! :)
Hi, Patrick! We're glad you liked this video. Videos and images are great to pair with text to keep WONDERing and learning! :)
Hi, marcuc! Thanks for stopping by Wonderopolis for a quick hello! We hope you have an awesome day, Wonder Friend! :)
We're happy to help, jjjr! The Wonder text above is a good source of information and don't forget to check out the links found in the Try It Out section to learn more about ghost towns! Have a nice day, Wonder Friend! :)
Thanks for joining the conversation, markus! We're glad you're here! :)
Hi Wonder Friend! Thanks for WONDERing with us! Wow, that's a great WONDER! Have you seen a ghost town before? Keep WONDERing! :)
You might be right, Tyler! Welcome back! :)
Hi Makayla! Thanks for WONDERing with us today! We can tell you really read the Ghost Town WONDER! What was your favorite part? Can you remember a movie you've seen that had a Ghost Town in it? That's fun to WONDER about! :)
Hi Daquan Room6! We wish we could, but we haven't spotted any ghosts - have you? Halloween is coming up, perhaps there will be ghosts to Wonder about then! :)
Great question, Trevor Room6! If there are people living in Towanda, PA, that means it's an active town, not a ghost town. :)
Hey Zoey1005, thanks for sharing your comment with us! Ghost towns don't have ghosts in them, they are just deserted towns where people used to live and have since moved away. We Wonder if you have ever seen a ghost before? We Wonder if there will be ghosts to Wonder about as Halloween approaches?! :)
Thanks for WONDERing with us today, Nickia! :)
That's WONDERful, Pinkie Pie! We Wonder if you have a pet at home? :)
Hi Kai! We hope you'll read our Wonder to learn more about ghost towns! :)
girl or boy
Thanks for joining the discussion and sharing your opinion! We understand everyone likes different Wonders! :)
Thanks for WONDERing with us today, Cat! :)
We're so glad you learned something new with us today, Hannah! Keep up the great work! :)
Hi there, 4R Rats! Thanks for WONDERing with us today! :) Ghost towns can be anywhere - we're glad you're thinking about the societies that live below us - just like ants! :) We bet most of the animals left with the people, but perhaps some animals have made ghost towns their new homes! We hope you'll continue to Wonder about this fun topic! :)
Hi Dori, thanks for sharing your comment! We're glad you're here, and we hope you like our Wonder tomorrow, too! We've got a few dog Wonders to share with you: https://www.wonderopolis.org/wonder/why-do-dogs-have-wet-noses/ https://www.wonderopolis.org/wonder/do-prairie-dogs-bark/ :)
Hi Max! Thanks for coming back to Wonder with us today! :) We Wonder if you have ever visited a ghost town? We think it would be cool to walk back into history! :) Thanks for sharing your predictions with us... we think you're on the right path! :)
Hi there, Mekhi Room6! What a great question! We learned about the "boomtowns" that were full of people who were searching for gold and wealth. Once all the gold was discovered, they moved along to new towns to find occupations and homes. When they left, the towns became ghostly and deserted. We Wonder if you have ever visited a ghost town? :)
Hi Ciani Room6! Thanks for WONDERing with us today! We don't know for sure if ghosts exist! We have never seen one, but that doesn't mean they're not real! What do you think, Wonder Friends? :)
Hi Josey Room 6, great question! While some people might say there are, others use the term "ghost town" to describe the feeling of a town. It's empty, almost as if only ghosts live there! We Wonder if you have ever visited a ghost town before? :)
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Question 1 of 3
What is the best description of a ghost town?
- a A cemetery, or place where dead bodies are kept Not Quite!
- b A city or neighborhood where paranormal activity has been witnessed or is believed to take place Not Quite!
- c A mirage, or something that isn't really there Not Quite!
- d A community that has been abandoned by its inhabitants Correct!
Question 2 of 3
What is the main reason why boomtowns are created?
- a dynamite Not Quite!
- b a particular economic activity Correct!
- c a fireworks celebration Not Quite!
- d natural and man-made disasters Not Quite!
Question 3 of 3
Which of the following are not conditions that can cause a ghost town?
- a the loss of a natural resource and changes in access Not Quite!
- b flooding and fire Not Quite!
- c rerouted railroads and the creation of dams Not Quite!
- d a full moon and gravitational forces Correct!
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Protect Your Trip »
America's 15 coolest ghost towns to visit.
From Kentucky to California, the U.S. is filled with eerie abandoned cities.
(Courtesy of Travel South Dakota)
Take a step back in time while visiting these historic – and slightly spooky – ghost towns.
(Courtesy of Scott Peterson)
St. Elmo, Colorado
(Courtesy of Visit Montana)
Nevada City, Montana
Spokane, South Dakota
(Sydney Martinez/Courtesy of Travel Nevada)
Blue Heron, Kentucky
South Pass City, Wyoming
(Courtesy of Utah Office of Tourism)
White Oaks, New Mexico
(Courtesy of Aspen Historical Society)
(Courtesy of The Arizona Office of Tourism)
If you make a purchase from our site, we may earn a commission. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.
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9 Spooky Towns in the USA That Belong on Your Bucket List
Put a scary spin on your next vacation.
If you're a fan of true crime podcasts, Dateline TV, and scary campfire stories, Halloween is bound to be your favorite holiday. The ideal time to embrace all things spooky and frightening, Halloween is rumored to be the time when our reality and the supernatural realm come closer than ever. But while horror movies and haunted houses can scratch your adrenaline-loving itch, there's something about the scary stories that happen in real-life spooky towns that the fake stuff can't match.
Despite being one of the youngest countries in the world, the United States has plenty of chilling tales to get your goosebumps going. There's probably a haunted area in your own hometown. But because some areas of the country are much older than others, there are quite few paranormal hot spots in the United States. Cities like Salem, Massachusetts, and New Orleans, Louisiana , are known for their witch trials and voodoo subculture, so it's no wonder those haunted areas are on the map. But they're also still inhabited. When we say spooky ghost towns, we're not talking about any old towns with historical relevance; we're talking about authentic Wild West ghost towns that have truly been abandoned.
Picture a tumbleweed barreling through an empty town in an old western movie. Those are the kind of spooky towns we're in the mood to visit. Often centers of mining that dried up along with the industry, these towns were once teeming with life, but now they're nothing more than dilapidated buildings—filled with good stories and ghostly legends, of course. You can drive through and take tours of many of them. Read on to learn about the 10 best spooky towns in the United States.
Now a California state park, Bodie was once a central gold-mining town that was abandoned in the late 1880s. Located near the Nevada border an hour north of Yosemite National Park, this town features old homes, cars, and even a town hall that has been converted into a mining museum.
The most recent ghost town in the USA, Centralia was fully abandoned only in 2020 because of an underground fire that's been smoldering since 1962. Someone started a fire at the dump, not knowing it was over an open seam to the Mammoth Vein, one of the biggest anthracite coal deposits in the U.S., per Harrisburg, Penn., news outlet WGAL 8 . Experts say it could keep going for 500 or more years. Residents were paid to leave by the government and visitors are discouraged, but people go anyway. The highlight is Graffiti Highway, a stretch of road that's been colorfully graffitied.
Located on the dirt Garnet Range Road about an hour's drive east of Missoula, Garnet is a well-preserved mining town that dates back to the 1860s. It had its heyday in the late 1890s and bounced back in the 1930s with the discovery and resurgence of gold, according to the preservation association that runs it, but it didn't survive World War II. You can still see the remnants of abandoned hotel rooms, homes, and evidence of the once-thriving Gold Rush ghost town.
Located in San Bernardino County about two hours northeast of L.A., Calico was founded in 1881 as a silver mining town, but once the mine ran dry residents packed up and left. The town was later converted into a county park and quirky tourist attraction. Unlike most ghost towns, it's bustling with activity. You can visit a museum, tour a silver mine, pan for gold, see optical illusions in the Mystery Shack, go on a ghost tour, and even hold your wedding. Oh, and it has five restaurants, including an Old West–style saloon.
Death Valley National Park is a logical place for a spooky town. Once a thriving mining town, this settlement on the edge of it, two hours north of Las Vegas, grew exponentially from 1905 to 1910 after miners struck gold there. In its heyday Rhyolite had hotels, stores, an ice cream shop, a school, and two electrical plants—yes, this ghost town had electricity. It was famous the Bottle House, a house that a miner built out of 50,000 (you guessed it) beer and liquor bottles. However, by 1914, Rhyolite was in decline, and by 1919 it was fully deserted. The Bottle House was restored in 1925 (by Paramount Pictures, no less), and you can still see it today.
St. Elmo, Colorado
Like many Old West ghost towns, St. Elmo produced both silver and gold mines. However, in just 40 years, the mining industry there began to decline, and once the railroad stopped running in 1922 it was abandoned. Today it has a functional general store that's open in the summer and more than 40 buildings, including a saloon, courthouse/jail, mercantile, and homes, that you can see all year.
The most remote spooky town on our list, Kennecott is an abandoned copper mining camp in the Copper River Census Area in the U.S. state of Alaska, seven to eight hours by car from Anchorage. The camp ran until 1938, when the mines ran out. It's a historic landmark that's considered "the best remaining example of early 20th Century copper mining" according to the National Parks Service. If you're not likely to visit in person, you can check out the parks service's incredible photographs of Kennecott then and now.
Still famous today, the ghost town of Terlingua was not only a quicksilver hub for Chisos Mining Company around the turn of the century (established in 1903), but it was also the site of the first famous championship chili cook-off in 1967. The competition now draws more than 10,000 "chili heads" from all over the world on the first Saturday every November. If you're visiting Big Bend National Park, it's a natural stop on your itinerary.
Named for what miners hoped to find here, Goldfield was a happy town until 1897 when people started realizing the gold had run out. The remaining residents didn't last long: A flash flood in 1913 followed by a devastating fire in 1923 wiped them out. Modern-day adventure seekers will thrill to know it's located on the foothills of the Superstition Mountains and that that there are nightly ghost tours , along with a coffee shop, steakhouse/saloon, and even a bordello (with a historical tour). Goldfield has lots of activities for kids too, including a zip line, railroad, mine tours, reptile exhibit, mystery shack, and—naturally—panning for gold.
Located in Salmon-Challis National Forest , Custer was a mining town in the 1800s specializing in gold. Supported by the operations of the Lucky Boy and Black mines, Custer hit its peak population in 1896. By 1910, however, it was abandoned. Today, it's one of three ghost towns you can visit in Land of the Yankee Fork State Park . While you're there, you might want to check out the historic hot springs with its gravel-bottom pools—it's where gold miners relaxed and hasn't changed much since.
Kate McGregor is House Beautiful’s SEO Editor. She has covered everything from curated decor round-ups and shopping guides, to glimpses into the home lives of inspiring creatives, for publications such as ELLE Decor, Domino, and Architectural Digest’s Clever.
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6 Famous Ghost Towns and Abandoned Cities
By: Evan Andrews
Updated: September 14, 2023 | Original: March 10, 2015
1. Pripyat, Ukraine
At 1:23 a.m. on April 26, 1986, a catastrophic meltdown took place inside reactor number four at the Soviet nuclear power plant at Chernobyl. The explosion that followed sent flames and radioactive material soaring into the skies over Pripyat, a nearby city built to house the plant’s scientists and workers. It took 36 hours before the town’s 49,000 residents were evacuated, and many later suffered severe health effects as a result of their brief exposure to the fallout.
Soviet authorities later sealed off an 18-mile exclusion zone surrounding Chernobyl, leaving Pripyat an abandoned ghost town. The city has since languished for nearly three decades as a chilling reminder of the disaster. Its buildings have decayed and been partially reclaimed by the elements, and wild animals roam through what were once bustling apartments, sports complexes and an amusement park.
In the town post office, hundreds of letters from 1986 still sit waiting to be mailed. While radiation levels in Pripyat have dropped enough in recent years to allow urban explorers and former residents to make brief visits, scientists estimate that it could take several centuries before the town is once again safe for habitation.
2. Oradour-sur-Glane, France
On the afternoon of June 10, 1944, the village of Oradour-sur-Glane was the scene of one of the worst massacres of French civilians during World War II. In what is believed to have been an act of revenge for the town’s supposed support of the French Resistance, a Nazi Waffen SS detachment rounded up and murdered 642 of its residents and burned most of their houses to the ground. The men were taken to barns and machine-gunned, and the women and children were locked in a church and killed with explosives and incendiary grenades. Only a handful of people managed to survive by playing dead and later fleeing to the forest.
A new Oradour-sur-Glane was built nearby after the war ended, but French President Charles de Gaulle ordered that the burned-out ruins of the old town be left untouched as a monument to the victims. The facades of dozens of brick buildings and charred storefronts still remain, as well as graveyards of rusted cars and bicycles, scattered sewing machines and unused tram tracks. The site is also home to a museum, which holds a collection of relics and mementos recovered from the rubble.
3. Hashima Island, Japan
Today, Hashima Island is a vacant labyrinth of crumbling concrete, sea walls and deserted buildings, yet it was once among the most densely populated places on the planet. The small island off the coast of Nagasaki was first settled in 1887 as a coal mining colony. It was later purchased by Mitsubishi, which built some of the world’s first multi-story, reinforced concrete buildings to house its bursting population.
Hashima remained a hive of activity for the next several decades, especially during World War II when the Japanese forced thousands of Korean laborers and Chinese POWs to toil in its mines. By the 1950s, the 16-acre rock was packed to the gills with more than 5,200 residents. Most workers found the cramped conditions unlivable, and the city was promptly abandoned after the mine closed in 1974.
Forty years of neglect have left Hashima a dilapidated ruin of collapsed staircases and condemned apartments. Many of its high-rises are still filled with old televisions and other relics from the mid-20th century, and its once-teeming swimming pools, barbershops and school classrooms now sit in shambles. The island was officially opened to tourists in 2009, and it has since served as the inspiration for the villain’s hideout in the 2012 James Bond film “Skyfall.”
4. Varosha, Cyprus
In the early 1970s, the immaculate beaches of Varosha, Cyprus served as one of the most popular millionaires’ playgrounds in the Mediterranean. The suburb boasted a thriving tourism economy, and celebrities such as Elizabeth Taylor and Brigitte Bardot were known to take in the sand and sun at its high-class beachfront hotels.
All that changed in August 1974, when Turkey invaded Cyprus and occupied its northern third in response to a Greek nationalist-led coup. Varosha’s 15,000 residents fled the city in terror, leaving their valuables and livelihoods behind. Most assumed they would return once the fighting stopped, but ongoing political strife has seen Varosha waste away behind a heavily-guarded barrier ever since.
The few intrepid explorers who have ventured into the no man’s land describe the resort as a crumbling ghost town. Trees have grown through the floors of restaurants and homes, and most of the former residents’ belongings have been looted or destroyed. What is left stands as a spooky time capsule of the 1970s, including bellbottoms in shop windows and 40-year-old vehicles still parked at car dealerships. In recent years, Greek and Turkish Cypriots have held talks regarding reopening the former jet-setters’ haven, but experts estimate that it would take upwards of $12 billion to make its decrepit buildings livable again.
5. Bodie, California
Bodie, California was officially founded in 1876 after miners stumbled upon rich deposits of gold and silver in its hillsides. Gold-crazed prospectors flocked to the settlement at a rate of more than two dozen per day in the late-1870s, and its population eventually soared to some 10,000 people. Thanks to larger-than-life accounts of whiskey-fueled shootouts, the outpost soon earned a reputation as a “sea of sin” filled with rough men, prostitutes and opium dens.
Like most boomtowns, Bodie eventually went bust. By the 1880s, it had outgrown its meager infrastructure, and a succession of harsh and deadly winters convinced many of its prospectors to move to more profitable locales. The population dwindled until the 1940s when the last residents finally shipped out.
Since then, Bodie has become known as one of the nation’s most well-preserved ghost towns. Its 200 ramshackle buildings are kept in a state of “arrested decay” by park rangers, and tourists flock to the site to explore its 1880s Methodist church, saloons and post office as well as the ruins of a burned-out bank vault.
6. Fordlandia, Brazil
In 1927, Henry Ford began work on “Fordlandia,” a massive rubber plantation in the jungles along Brazil’s Tapajós River. The automotive magnate needed the town as a steady source of rubber for his car tires and hoses, but he also saw the venture as a chance to bring small-town American values to the Amazon. Having already left his mark on cities like Dearborn, Michigan, he designed a company town complete with swimming pools, a golf course, suburban-style bungalows and weekly square dancing sessions.
Unfortunately for Ford, his experiment was doomed almost from the start. Fordlandia’s rubber trees fell victim to leaf fungus, and its employees chafed under the town’s strict regulations, which included a ban on alcohol. Clashes between Brazilian laborers and American managers soon became a common occurrence. During one riot over cafeteria rules, Fordlandia’s employees destroyed most of their mess hall with machetes and pushed the town’s trucks into the river.
Henry Ford eventually sank $20 million into his would-be workers’ paradise, but the town failed to produce any latex for his automobiles. Having never visited the city himself, he finally sold it to the Brazilian government in 1945 for pennies on the dollar. The wilderness has reclaimed large portions of Fordlandia’s campus in the years since, but many of its buildings are still standing, and the town has become a minor tourist destination for backpackers and curiosity seekers.
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The United States Ghost Towns List By State
DISCLAIMER: We are still working to find updated information for every town. We started in 2016, and with roughly 4,000 ghost towns in the United States, we hope to eventually have as much accurate information on each town as possible.
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Discover Utah’s Haunting Juab County Ghost Towns
Juab County in Utah is home to a collection of ghost towns that offer a fascinating glimpse into the state’s past. These abandoned settlements are haunting reminders of the region’s mining and railroad history, and they attract visitors from all over the world interested in exploring Utah’s rich cultural heritage. With seven ghost towns to …
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Discover The Wild West Of Florida In Chokoloskee
Nestled in the heart of Collier County, Florida, lies a ghost town that once served as a refuge for outlaws and pioneers. Chokoloskee, a small island settled in 1874 by Adolphus Santini, CG McKinney, and Ted Smallwood, has a rich and tumultuous history worth exploring. Despite its rough past, the island remains a fascinating place …
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Discover The Riches Of Bonanza, Oregon’s Semi-Ghost Town
Bonanza, Oregon is a semi-ghost town that retains much of its original charm and history. Like a time capsule, visitors can step back in time and experience what life was like during the gold rush era in the late 1800s. With its mild climate, natural springs, and beautiful landscapes, Bonanza was once a thriving gold …
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Discover The History Of Fort Mose – Florida’s Ghost Town
The remains of Fort Mose in Florida may appear to be just another abandoned town, but a closer look reveals a rich history and a story of resilience and bravery. Founded in 1738 by escaped slaves seeking refuge in the Spanish Colonies, Fort Mose served as a sanctuary for those seeking freedom from the oppression …
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Discover White Pine: Colorado’s Forgotten Ghost Town
Discover White Pine: Colorado’s Forgotten Ghost Town is a fascinating journey back to a once-thriving mining community that suffered the same fate as many others in the late 19th century. Near Pitkin in Gunnison County, White Pine was founded around 1878 when rich silver deposits were discovered. Despite never attaining boomtown status, the town survived …
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Discover Wyoming’s Abandoned Gems In Lincoln County!
Wyoming’s Lincoln County is home to some of the most fascinating ghost towns in the United States. Each of these towns has a unique history and story to tell, revealing insights into the lives of those who once called them home. Cumberland, Glencoe, Opal, Sage, and Sublette are just a few of the abandoned gems …
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Discover Wyoming’s Historic South Pass City
For those interested in exploring the history of the American West, South Pass City in Wyoming is a must-visit destination. This charming ghost town offers a glimpse into the state’s rich history, from its early days as a bustling mining town to its current status as a beloved tourist destination. Nestled in the heart of …
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Discover Wyoming’s Ghost Town: Old Upton
Old Upton, Wyoming is a charming ghost town that offers visitors a glimpse into the region’s rich heritage. Located just a mile north of Upton on County Road 16, Old Upton is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in Wyoming’s history and culture. The town is known for its restored cabins and structures from the …
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a town permanently abandoned by its inhabitants, as because of a business decline or because a nearby mine has been worked out.
Origin of ghost town
Words nearby ghost town.
- ghost prisoner
- ghost runner
- ghost shrimp
- ghost story
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use ghost town in a sentence
It’s a fascinating look at how ghost towns aren’t just dusty relics but can in fact teach us a thing or two about what a vibrant community could be in the 21st century.
Downtown centers became ghost towns, and revenue dropped sharply for coworking spaces as clients ditched short-term leases.
The sudden absence of these workplace cues presents a challenge for anyone whose office stands like a veritable ghost town due to Covid-19.
Visiting the Smithsonian during the pandemic can feel like passing through a ghost town .
The pandemic has turned the world’s financial capitals into ghost towns as nervous workers avoid mass commuting.
As Monday turned to Tuesday morning, five hostages had escaped and the Central Business District had turned into a ghost town .
The sun will set in less than an hour and a hubbub will emerge from the ghost-town houses and farms.
And the Ukrainian army, slowly, uncertainly, but ineluctably, is closing in on this besieged ghost-town of a city.
By the afternoon it was a ghost town inside the campus gates.
It's a ghost town now, just a handful of weathered wooden buildings sagging beneath snow.
According to the map, the ghost town was in a valley next to a dry lake bed.
A ghost town should have ghosts but none walk at the present time.
She said no more about it just then, as they had reached the old ghost town of Gleeson.
The tall, well-built cowboy star swung into his saddle and they trotted away between two tumbledown houses of the ghost town .
The trail led toward the hills back of the ghost town and it was evident that the man they were trailing had rested frequently.
British Dictionary definitions for ghost town
a deserted town, esp one in the western US that was formerly a boom town
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cultural definitions for ghost town
A town, especially a boomtown in the old American West, that has been completely abandoned and deserted: “If you drive through the desert, you can still see the main street of Dry Gulch, a ghost town.”
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Other Idioms and Phrases with ghost town
A once thriving town that has been completely abandoned, as in Many of the old mining communities are ghost towns now . This idiom implies that there are no living people left in town. [First half of 1900s]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
KXRM Colorado Springs
Ghost stories and history tour of Old Manitou this October
Posted: October 16, 2023 | Last updated: October 16, 2023
(MANITOU SPRINGS, Colo.) — Manitou Springs is rich with history and folklore and this October you can learn all about it, while also enjoying a walking tour of the town along with ghost stories, to get you into the Halloween spirit!
Ghost Stories of Old Manitou tickets are now available on the website and booking in advance is encouraged, as tickets often sell out.
Actors will take tour-goers on a journey through the past, recreating moments through history that define Manitou.
For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to FOX21 News Colorado.
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