Top 18 US Ghost Towns
There are many ghost towns in our world. Especially they are found in developed countries, where at the peak of their development, such cities (and towns) were the center of financial and cultural life. In the United States, for example, there are enough such cities to make a Top 18 ranking of them, too. Most of them were mining centers, with gold, coal etc. being mined. Especially when they started building during the gold rush, they were abandoned because the local mines dried up or the mining became more expensive.
1. Calico, California
Calico is a ghost town and former mining town in San Bernardino County, California, USA. Located in the Calico Mountains of the Mojave Desert in Southern California, it was founded in 1881 as a silver mining town. Today, it has been turned into an Old West style theme park called Calico Park.
2. Rhyolite, Nevada
On the eastern edge of Death Valley lies Rhyolite, a former mining town. Back in 1907 there was a hospital, an opera house and even a stock exchange. The area seemed so promising that even Charles M. invested and bought one of the mines. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for thousands of people: financial crises, natural disasters, and loss of funding forced almost every resident to leave the place by 1920.
3. Goldfield, Arizona
Before the founding of the city, this place was called Goldfield, a place where gold was sought. Later in 1921, it was settled and renamed Youngsberg, but was abandoned again in 1926. In 1988, of several other ghost towns, it became a local tourist attraction.
4. St. Elmo, Colorado
Formerly called Forest City, St. Elmo was once a bustling mountain center with a population of 2,000. By 1930, only seven people lived there, including a family who ran a general store and hotel. Now privately owned and maintained, visitors can still feel for themselves, the presence of the spirits of that era.
5. Terlingua, Texas
Terlingua is one of Texas’ famous landmarks, a ghost town steeped in legend and sad fame. In the early 20th century it was a vibrant working-class village built near the mines that lifted 40 percent of all the mercury used in the United States. At its best, Terlingua had a population of up to three thousand people. Over time, however, mercury supplies dwindled and workers’ incomes declined, leading to an exodus of residents – around 1940 there was virtually no one left in the township.
6. Virginia City and Nevada City, Montana
At the moment the city belongs to the state of Montana, and its population is only 120 people. However, the ghost does not have to stand proudly alone in the middle of desolate hills and forests. Just 2 km away from here lives his twin brother named Nevada City, the buildings and objects of which attract no less attention among visitors. True, unlike the buildings of Virginia City, those of present-day Nevada City were originally located elsewhere. Here they were moved to create an entourage of another gold rush city.
7. Bodie, California
The ghost town of Bodie is located in the western part of the United States in California’s Mono County east of San Francisco near the Nevada border. Its story began in 1959 when William S. Bodie discovered a gold mine near Mono Lake and the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Legend has it that Bodie died in a snowstorm, and his family members founded a settlement and named it after the gold prospector.
8. Cahawba, Alabama
Cahawba has a history typical of ghost towns. From 1820 to 1825 it was even the capital of Alabama, but after some serious flooding the residents chose to move to drier places and took its capital status with them.
For many years Cahaba was the hub of cotton transportation. During the U.S. Civil War, the Confederates built a prison here, where thousands of Northern States Union soldiers were held between 1863 and 1865 until another devastating flood came. By the early 1900s, most of the town’s buildings had been destroyed.
9. Kennecott, Alaska
For seven and a half decades the ghost town, the abandoned mining town of Kennecott, once the center of Alaska’s copper industry, has been deserted. Today there’s nothing but wind and the old buildings are gradually deteriorating and crumbling.
It all began in the early 20th century when an engineer named Stephen Birch paid $275,000 and purchased the mine and its vast natural resources.
Over the next 20 years, the investment led to the emergence of a mining center here in the region with the extraction of valuable copper. The last shipment of copper ore was loaded onto railroad cars at Kennecott on November 10, 1938. The next day the mines were declared closed and the town was gradually abandoned by the inhabitants.
10. Bannack, Montana
This abandoned former mining town in Montana is so steeped in paranormal activity that it was featured on an episode of Travel Channel Adventures. Founded in 1862 when John White discovered gold at the Grasshopper Gold Mine, Bannack was a typical Wild West gold rush town.
No one lives in the settlement, but it has been preserved as a historical monument. The settlement itself was founded several decades ago, and this momentous event occurred thanks to gold. It was the yellow metal that caused the construction of Bannak. The fact is that a nugget was found in this area, after which, gold prospectors decided to settle firmly in these parts.
11. South Pass City, Wyoming
The city of South Pass City was founded in 1867 when the goldfields of Carissa were discovered in the vicinity.
The towns of Atlantic City and Miners Delight were founded at the same time.
At the expense of gold prospectors, the town’s population quickly grew to 1,000. In 1869, at the suggestion of Representative William Bright of South Pass City, the Wyoming Territory legislature enacted suffrage for women. That same year, 1869, Esther Hobart Morris came to town and the following year was appointed justice of the peace, thus becoming the first woman judge in the United States.
After the gold rush ended, the population began to dwindle, and in 1872 only a few hundred people remained in town. The city experienced a brief revival during the Great Depression. The Carissa Mine was closed in the 1950s. The area is now a National Historic Landmark.
12. Centralia, Pennsylvania
A small mining town, Centralia is located in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania and can rightfully claim to be a ghost town in the best tradition of horror movies.
Centralia is a town located in Pennsylvania, USA.
The story of this ghost town is similar to the horror movie Silent Hill – just less creepy details. Where once there was life, now there is only a church and a few houses. In the middle of the thicket is a charred, burnt-out clearing. Here, in the heart of Pennsylvania’s coal basin, once stood the mining town of Centralia. Its inhabitants, in ’62, in an attempt to eliminate a dump near the cemetery, set fire to trash in an abandoned mine. But it was like sitting on a gas stove and turning on the gas. The coal under the ground was lit and has been burning for forty-six years!
13. Thurmond, West Virginia
In 2010, Thurmond was officially home to five people. Once a thriving town, today it’s been taken over by the National Park Service, which makes sure Thurmond stays intact and bears witness to the way people lived in the Appalachian Mountains in the 1920s. Unlike the now abandoned mining towns, Thurmond was a railroad town. It grew up around a station that opened in 1888, and until the early twentieth century, it was only accessible by train.
At the time, the town was home to a famous resort; it also went down in history as the site of the world’s longest poker game, which lasted 14 years. The town began to decline in 1930, when the resort hotel burned down and residents began to leave. By 1950, Thurmond was finally deserted.
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14. Glenrio, Texas/New Mexico
A ghost town on the famous Route 66, Glenrio stands right on the Texas/New Mexico border and is officially located in two states at once. At one time it came in handy: the city’s gas stations were built on the Texas side, where the gasoline tax was lower, and the bars were located on the New Mexico side, since alcohol sales were forbidden in Texas’ Def Smith County at the time.
15. Bulowville, Florida
After success because of its sugar mill, the Bulowville plantation was razed to the ground during the Second Seminole War by a tribe of Seminole Indians. However, the ruins of the estate, mill, and slave quarters still remain. It is a protected area now called Poole Historic State Park.
16. Essex County Jail Annex, North Caldwell, New Jersey
Built in 1837, the old Essex County Jail Annex building in New Jersey is one of the oldest buildings in the county and is rapidly deteriorating. The building was so dangerous that its occupants were forced to abandon it overnight, so many confidential documents remained in it. Later, the old jail became home to homeless drug addicts who painted it with graffiti.
17. Grossingers Catskill Resort, Liberty, New York
Grossinger’s Resort in the Catskill Mountains of New York perhaps gained its popularity by serving as the inspiration for Dirty Dancing, one of Patrick Swayze’s most famous films.
During its heyday in the 1950s and ’60s, the Grossinger Resort was one of the gems of the Borscht Belt, one of the most famous tourist destinations around the world. Top comedians such as Mel Brooks, Danny Kaye and Jackie Mason performed on the hotel’s stages. Famous sports stars have visited and boxer Rocky Marciano even trained here. Many ceremonial and formal dinners were held in the Celebration Hall and dancing till dawn was held here. The hotel was like a city of its own and even had its own airstrip.
18. Rolling Acres Mall, Akron, Ohio
This huge shopping center in the state of Ohio opened back in 1975 and had almost a hundred and fifty stores selling fashionable clothes, shoes, cosmetics and perfumes, household appliances and products for children.
The store was expanded several times to accommodate even more departments, cafes and restaurants. However, at the end of 2013, Rolling Acros Mall was closed for financial reasons. It still stands abandoned, as it is too expensive to demolish and impossible to “reanimate”.