23 Ghost Towns In The U.S. And Their History


A ghost town is a town that has been abandoned and is no longer inhabited. Ghost towns are often the result of a town’s economic decline, such as the closure of a mine or mill or the bypassing of a town by a new transportation route.

Natural disasters or population shifts can also create ghost towns. Today, many ghost towns are popular tourist destinations due to their historical significance and well-preserved buildings.

Many ghost towns are located throughout the United States, each with its unique history and story.

Here are 23 ghost towns and the history behind them:

Bodie, California

A former gold mining town that was abandoned after the mines played out. Bodie was a gold mining town located in the Sierra Nevada mountains. It was founded in 1859 and grew to around 10,000 people during its peak.

The town had a reputation for being lawless and violent, with numerous saloons and brothels. The mines in Bodie played out in the early 1900s, and the town was eventually abandoned and became a state park. Today, Bodie is a popular tourist destination known for its well-preserved ghost town buildings and its history as a Wild West town.

St. Elmo, Colorado

A former silver mining town that was abandoned after the mines closed. St. Elmo was a silver mining town located in the mountains of Colorado. It was founded in 1880 and had a population of around 2,000 people at its peak.

The town had several amenities, including a school, a hospital, and a theater. The mines in St. Elmo played out in the early 1900s, and the town was eventually abandoned. Today, St. Elmo is a popular tourist destination known for its well-preserved ghost town buildings and its history as a mining town.

Rhyolite, Nevada

A former gold mining town that was abandoned when the mines closed and the population moved elsewhere. Rhyolite was a gold mining town located in the Mojave Desert in Nevada. It was founded in 1904 with a population of around 3,500 people at its peak.

The town had several amenities: electric lights, telephones, and a hospital. The mines in Rhyolite played out in 1911, and the town was eventually abandoned. Today, Rhyolite is a popular tourist destination known for its well-preserved ghost town buildings and its history as a mining town.

Calico, California

A former silver mining town that was abandoned when the mines closed and the population moved elsewhere. Calico was a silver mining town located in the Mojave Desert in California. It was founded in 1881 and had a population of around 1,200 at its peak. The town had several amenities, including a school, a hospital, and a theater.

The mines in Calico played out in the late 1800s, and the town was eventually abandoned. Today, Calico is a popular tourist destination known for its well-preserved ghost town buildings and its history as a mining town.

Goldfield, Arizona

A former gold mining town that was abandoned when the mines closed and the population moved elsewhere. Goldfield was a gold mining town located in the Superstition Mountains in Arizona. It was founded in 1893 and had a population of around 5,000 people at its peak.

The town had several amenities, including a hospital, schools, and a theater. The mines in Goldfield played out in the 1920s, and the town was eventually abandoned. Today, Goldfield is a popular tourist destination known for its well-preserved ghost town buildings and its history as a mining town.

St. Thomas, Nevada

A former town that was submerged when the Hoover Dam was constructed. St. Thomas was a town located in the Mojave Desert in Nevada. It was founded in 1865 and had a population of around 500 people at its peak.

The town was submerged when the Hoover Dam was constructed in the 1930s. Today, the ruins of St. Thomas can be seen when the water level in Lake Mead is low. The town is a popular tourist destination due to its unique history and the unusual way it was abandoned.

Bannack, Montana

A former gold mining town that was abandoned when the mines closed and the population moved elsewhere. Bannack was a gold mining town located in the mountains of Montana. It was founded in 1862 and had a population of around 3,000 people at its peak. The town had several amenities, including a school, a hospital, and a theater.

The mines in Bannack played out in the late 1800s, and the town was eventually abandoned. Today, Bannack is a popular tourist destination known for its well-preserved ghost town buildings and its history as a mining town.

Centralia, Pennsylvania

A former coal mining town that was abandoned due to a mine fire that has been burning since 1962. Centralia was a coal mining town located in Pennsylvania. It was founded in the 1850s and had a population of around 2,000 people at its peak.

In 1962, a mine fire started in an abandoned coal mine beneath the town and has been burning underground ever since. The fire caused damage to buildings and infrastructure, and the town was eventually abandoned. Centralia is a ghost town with only a handful of residents remaining. It is a popular tourist destination due to its unique history and the unusual effects of the mine fire.

Kennecott, Alaska

A former copper mining town that was abandoned when the mines closed and the population moved elsewhere. Kennecott was a copper mining town located in the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park in Alaska. It was founded in 1900 and had a population of around 2,000 at its peak. The mines in Kennecott produced millions of dollars worth of copper until they closed in 1938.

The town was eventually abandoned, and the buildings and infrastructure were left in place. Today, Kennecott is a popular tourist destination known for its well-preserved ghost town buildings and its history as a mining town.

Berlin, New Hampshire

A former mill town that was abandoned when the mill closed. Berlin was a mill town located in the White Mountains in New Hampshire. It was founded in the 1840s and had a population of around 10,000 people at its peak.

The town was home to several mills that produced textiles, paper, and other products. The mills in Berlin closed in the 1980s, and the town was eventually abandoned. Today, Berlin is a popular tourist destination known for its well-preserved ghost town buildings and its history as a mill town.

Glenrio, Texas

A former Route 66 town that was abandoned when the highway was bypassed. Glenrio was a Route 66 town located on the border of Texas and New Mexico. It was founded in the early 1900s with a population of around 100 at its peak.

The town was a popular stop for travelers on Route 66 and had several amenities, including a gas station, a motel, and a cafe. When Route 66 was bypassed in the 1970s, Glenrio was abandoned and became a ghost town. Today, Glenrio is a popular tourist destination known for its well-preserved ghost town buildings and its history as a Route 66 town.

Garnet, Montana

A former gold mining town that was abandoned when the mines closed and the population moved elsewhere. Garnet was a gold mining town located in the mountains of Montana. It was founded in the 1890s and had a population of around 1,000 people at its peak.

The town had several amenities, including a school, a hospital, and a theater. The mines in Garnet played out in the 1900s, and the town was eventually abandoned. Today, Garnet is a popular tourist destination known for its well-preserved ghost town buildings and its history as a mining town.

Henry River Mill Village, North Carolina

A former mill town that was abandoned when the mill closed. Henry River Mill Village was a mill town in the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina. It was founded in the early 1900s with a population of around 100 at its peak.

The town was home to several mills that produced textiles and other products. The mills in Henry River Mill Village closed in the 1970s, and the town was eventually abandoned. Today, Henry River Mill Village is a popular tourist destination known for its well-preserved ghost town buildings and its history as a mill town.

Thurmond, West Virginia

A former coal mining town that was abandoned when the mines closed and the population moved elsewhere. Thurmond was a coal mining town in West Virginia in the Appalachian Mountains. It was founded in the late 1800s with a population of around 500 at its peak.

The town was home to several coal mines and amenities, including a hospital and a bank. The mines in Thurmond closed in the 1930s, and the town was eventually abandoned. Today, Thurmond is a popular tourist destination known for its well-preserved ghost town buildings and its history as a coal mining town.

Hiawatha, Utah

A former coal mining town that was abandoned when the mines closed and the population moved elsewhere. Hiawatha was a coal mining town located in the mountains of Utah. It was founded in the 1890s and had a population of around 1,000 people at its peak. The town was home to several coal mines and amenities, including a school and a hospital.

The mines in Hiawatha closed in the 1950s, and the town was eventually abandoned. Today, Hiawatha is a popular tourist destination known for its well-preserved ghost town buildings and its history as a coal mining town.

Belmont, Nevada

A former gold mining town that was abandoned when the mines closed and the population moved elsewhere. Belmont was a gold mining town located in the mountains of Nevada. It was founded in 1867 and had a population of around 2,000 people at its peak.

The town had several amenities, including a school, a hospital, and a theater. The mines in Belmont played out in the late 1800s, and the town was eventually abandoned. Today, Belmont is a popular tourist destination known for its well-preserved ghost town buildings and its history as a mining town.

Cerro Gordo, California

A former silver mining town that was abandoned when the mines closed and the population moved elsewhere. Cerro Gordo was a silver mining town located in the mountains of California. It was founded in 1865 and had a population of around 1,500 people at its peak.

The town had several amenities, including a school, a hospital, and a theater. The mines in Cerro Gordo played out in the late 1800s, and the town was eventually abandoned. Today, Cerro Gordo is a popular tourist destination known for its well-preserved ghost town buildings and its history as a mining town.

Ballarat, California

A former gold mining town that was abandoned when the mines closed and the population moved elsewhere. Ballarat was a gold mining town located in the Mojave Desert in California. It was founded in 1897 and had a population of around 1,000 people at its peak.

The town had some amenities, including a school, a hospital, and a theater. The mines in Ballarat played out in the early 1900s, and the town was eventually abandoned. Today, Ballarat is a popular tourist destination known for its well-preserved ghost town buildings and its history as a mining town.

Santa Claus, Arizona

A former Route 66 town that was abandoned when the highway was bypassed. Santa Claus was a Route 66 town located in the mountains of Arizona. It was founded in the early 1900s with a population of around 100 at its peak. The town was a popular stop for travelers on Route 66 and had several amenities, including a gas station and a cafe.

When Route 66 was bypassed in the 1970s, Santa Claus was abandoned and became a ghost town. Today, Santa Claus is a popular tourist destination known for its well-preserved ghost town buildings and its history as a Route 66 town.

Chloride, Arizona

A former silver mining town that was abandoned when the mines closed and the population moved elsewhere. Chloride was a silver mining town located in the mountains of Arizona. It was founded in the late 1800s with a population of around 1,000 people at its peak. The town had some amenities, including a school, a hospital, and a theater.

The mines in Chloride played out in the early 1900s, and the town was eventually abandoned. Today, Chloride is a popular tourist destination known for its well-preserved ghost town buildings and its history as a mining town.

Gold Point, Nevada

A former gold mining town that was abandoned when the mines closed and the population moved elsewhere. Gold Point was a gold mining town located in the mountains of Nevada. It was founded in the late 1800s with a population of around 500 at its peak. The town had many amenities, including a school, a hospital, and a theater.

The mines in Gold Point played out in the early 1900s, and the town was eventually abandoned. Today, Gold Point is a popular tourist destination known for its well-preserved ghost town buildings and its history as a mining town.

Eldorado Canyon, Nevada

A former gold mining town that was abandoned when the mines closed and the population moved elsewhere. Eldorado Canyon was a gold mining town in the Mojave Desert in Nevada. It was founded in the mid-1800s and had a population of around 1,000 people at its peak. The town had several amenities, including a school, a hospital, and a theater.

The mines in Eldorado Canyon played out in the late 1800s, and the town was eventually abandoned. Today, Eldorado Canyon is a popular tourist destination known for its well-preserved ghost town buildings and its history as a mining town.

Drawbridge, California

A former town that was abandoned when the population moved elsewhere after the railroad closed. Drawbridge was a town located in the San Francisco Bay area in California. It was founded in the late 1800s with a population of around 100 at its peak. The town was a popular stop for travelers on the railroad and had several amenities, including a hotel and a saloon.

When the railroad closed in the 1970s, Drawbridge was abandoned and became a ghost town. Today, Drawbridge is a popular tourist destination known for its well-preserved ghost town buildings and its unique history as a railroad town.

Jason Smith

I am a Marine who now works as a Web Developer. I have five US States left to visit. I like whiskey, wine, and coffee, soaking in hot springs or in my hot tub.

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