Step Into the Past: 10 American Ghost Towns to Explore

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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.

Ghost Towns USA

Ghost Town
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From the largest ghost town in Jerome, Arizona, to quirky ghost towns like Calico, California, here are ten of the most well-known in America.

#1 Bodie, California 

Bodie Ghost Town
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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 

Calico Ghost Town
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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

Jarome Ghost Town
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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 Jerome, but watch out! They’ll steal food right out of your hands!

#4 Centralia, Pennsylvania

Ghost Town 2
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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

St Elmos Ghost Town
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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.

#6 Glenrio, New Mexico

Glenrio Ghost Town
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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

Rhyolite Ghost Town
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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

Bannack Ghost Town
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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 Ghost Town
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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

Garnet Ghost Town
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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. Ghost towns offer a unique glimpse into America’s past. With over 3,800 ghost towns in America, some are worth visiting.


Facts About the Oregon Trail That Prove Most of Us Would Have Never Made It

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Imagine embarking on a journey spanning 2,000 grueling miles, filled with treacherous river crossings, food rationing, relentless weather, and the constant threat of disease. Welcome to the life of a pioneer on the Oregon Trail!

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Here’s What Travel Was Like 100 Years Ago

female driver black and white
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Image Credit: Deposit Photos.

Travel has definitely improved over the past 100 years. And by the way, if you’re thinking 100 years ago was back in the 1800s, you might be showing your age…100 years ago was 1923 and Americans were hitting the road in their new-fangled automobiles. Here are ten things you might expect if you traveled across America 100 years ago.

Here’s What Travel Was Like 100 Years Ago

Here’s What It Was Really Like to Drive a Model T Ford

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QUEENSTOWN, SOUTH AFRICA – 17 June 2017: Vintage Model T Ford car parked at public show in Queenstown — Photo by ToscaW.
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Tired of driving down easy-street in your super comfy modern car? Well, have no fear because the Model T is here! Let’s take a ride down memory lane with a humorous look at what traveling in a Model T was like when it first came out.

Here’s What It Was Really Like to Drive a Model T Ford

31 Vintage Items Worth Money: Do You Have Any of These?

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Marie Kondo convinced many a pack-rat that parting with unnecessary material possessions can spark joy. You know what sparks even more joy? Learning some of those vintage items you’ve been hanging on to may be worth a decent amount of money.

There’s a hot market for antique and vintage items in good, working condition. Remember that Singer sewing machine Grandma held on to all those years, only to pass it on to you? It could sell for as much as $1000 today.

You may not have enough to pay for a trip to Hawaii, but then again, maybe you do!

This article was produced by Our Woven Journey.

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Karee Blunt is a nationally syndicated travel journalist, focused on discovering destinations and experiences that captivate and inspire others through her writing. She is also the founder of Our Woven Journey, a travel site focused on inspiring others to create memory-making adventures with their loved ones. Karee is passionate about encouraging others to step out of their comfort zone and live the life they dream of. She is the mother of six kids, including four through adoption, and lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest. You can learn more about Karee on her about me page.