America may not have a history as old as other countries, but we do have our share of ghost towns. Around 3,800 of them, according to a recent report by the New York Times.
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Ghost Towns USA
From the largest ghost town in Jarome, Arizona, to quirky ghost towns like Calico, California, here are ten of the most well-known in America.
#1 Bodie, California
With a rich history dating back to the California Gold Rush of 1877, Bodie is one of America’s most well-preserved ghost towns. Bodie had its successful days during the gold rush, and in the late to early 1970s to 1880s, the population swelled to nearly 10,000 people.
When the gold ran out, people abandoned the town, and in 1962, Bodie became the Bodie State Historic Park. Today, visitors can explore the town’s old buildings, including the Bodie Mercantile, the Bodie Bank, and the Bodie Schoolhouse, and learn about the lives of the people who once lived there.
#2 Calico, California
Founded in 1881, Calico was one of California’s most significant silver strikes. Shortly after the mines dried up, people abandoned the town. Today, it is an amusement attraction showcasing the town’s history. Some of the town’s old buildings open for exploration are the Calico Church, the Calico Print Shop, and the Calico Jail.
#3 Jerome, Arizona
Founded in 1876, Jerome went from a small tent-covered mining camp on the side of Cleopatra Hill to the bustling mining town that supplied copper during World War II.
After the war, the demand for copper decreased drastically, leading to the closure of the mine in 1953. In 1967, the federal government designated Jerome, Arizona, a National Historic District.
Sightseers can enjoy visiting some of the town’s old buildings, including the Jerome Grand Hotel, the Jerome Historical Society, the Jerome Museum, and the Jerome Douglas Mansion. Fun fact, wild burrows now roam the streets of Jarome, but watch out! They’ll steal food right out of your hands!
#4 Centralia, Pennsylvania
In the early 1900s, Centralia boasted over a dozen active coal mines and 2500 residents. It became a ghost town in 1962 when an underground coal mine fire erupted and is still burning to this day. With an almost unlimited coal supply, experts say the fire may not die out for another 250 years. Why can’t firefighters put it out? Because the fire is too far underground and too hot.
Tourists can explore and experience Centralia’s history by walking through abandoned streets and visiting the Centralia Cemetery, the Centralia Coal Mine, and the Centralia Fire Company.
#5 St. Elmo, Colorado
Located in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, St. Elmo was founded in 1880. The success of St. Elmo, a town that many prospectors called home, dwindled over the years with a series of devasting fires and the closing of train service to the area.
The town is open to tourists visiting old buildings such as the St. Elmo General Store, the St. Elmo Hotel, and the St. Elmo Post Office.
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#6 Glenrio, New Mexico
Glenrio is a ghost town on the border of Texas and New Mexico. The town was founded in 1906 and was once a thriving community. Glenrio’s downfall occurred in 1975 when Interstate 40 bypassed the town. This caused a detrimental loss in traffic and revenue, resulting in its status as a ghost town.
Visitors can explore the town’s old buildings, including the Glenrio Motel, the Glenrio Service Station, and the Glenrio Train Depot.
#7 Rhyolite, Nevada
Founded in 1904, Rhyolite was once a thriving mining town in the Nevada desert near Las Vegas. Rhyolite became a prospector’s dream in 1904, and by 1907 had become a financial nightmare, soon leading to its status as a ghost town.
Today’s visitors can enjoy exploring the town’s old buildings, including the Cook Bank Building, the Rhyolite School, and the Rhyolite Train Depot.
#8 Bannack, Montana
Located in the mountains of Montana, Bannack was founded in 1862. Bannack State Park is a National Historic Landmark and excitedly the site of the state’s first significant gold discovery in 1862. When the gold ran out, so did the town’s success, leading to it becoming a ghost town.
Nowadays, some of the town’s old buildings can be explored, including the Bannack Jail, the Bannack Hotel, and the Bannack Courthouse.
#9 Kennecott, Alaska
Kennecott is nestled in Alaska’s Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. Founded in 1911, the town was a thriving copper mining community with five mines operating through the years. By 1938, copper deposits had dried up, and the mines closed, leaving little attraction in the town to keep the people there and the trains going.
Sites attracting tourists today are the town’s old buildings, including the Kennecott Mill, the Kennecott Train Depot, and the Kennecott Dormitory.
# 10 Garnet, Montana
In Granite County, Montana, the ghost town Garnet gets a lot of tourist attention. Founded in 1894, Garnet, a mining hub, was out of business within twenty years when the gold ran out. Half the town was destroyed in a fire in 1912 and never rebuilt.
Buildings for tourists to visit today include the Garnet Ghost Town Store, the Garnet Ghost Town Dormitory, and the Garnet Ghost Town School.
Which Ghost Town Will You Visit?
Ghost towns offer a unique glimpse into America’s past. With over 3,800 ghost towns in America, some are worth visiting.
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This article was produced by Our Woven Journey.
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