Ghost Towns of Iowa

Ghost Towns Of Iowa, United States Ghost Towns

Bryantsburg

County: Buchanan
Zip Code:
Latitude / Longitude: 42° 34′ 29 N, 91° 54′ 20 W
Elevation:
Time Zone: Central (CST) (UTC-6)
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Disestablished:
Comments: Bryantsburg is an unincorporated community in Buchanan County, Iowa, United States. It is located on Highway 150 north of Independence and south of Hazleton, at 42.579132N, -91.905063W.
Remains: Founded in the 19th-century, Bryantsburg was once home to a bank, schools, and a post office. The post office was closed by 1925
Current Status: Many Amish families now live in the Bryantsburg area.
Remarks:

Buxton

County: Monroe
Zip Code:
Latitude / Longitude: 41° 9′ 30 N, 92° 49′ 15.63 W
Elevation:
Time Zone: Central (CST) (UTC-6)
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Disestablished:
Comments: As early as 1888, a few small mines were in operation along Bluff Creek, but this changed at the dawn of the 20th century. In 1900 and 1901, after extending the Muchakinock branch of the Chicago and North Western tracks across the Des Moines River, the Consolidation Coal Company opened a new mining camp at Buxton, in Monroe County 41°9’30N 92°49’15.63W. The camp was named by B. C. Buxton after his father, John E. Buxton, who had managed the mines at Muchakinock. The company created a planned community that was developed along with a regular grid pattern. It hired architect Frank E. Wetherell to design miners’ houses, two churches, and a high school as part of its “urban planning and social humanitarianism.” The US Post Office at Buxton operated from 1901 to 1923.
Remains: Consolidation Mine No. 10 was about 2 miles (3.2 km) south of Buxton, with a 119-foot-deep (36 m) shaft and a 69-foot (21 m) headframe, working a coal seam that varied from 4 to 7 feet (2.1 m) thick. The hoists could lift 4 cars to the surface in a minute, each carrying up to 1.5 tons of coal. Electric haulage was used in the mines, using a combination of third-rail, trolley wire, and rack-and-pinion haulage. Mine No. 11, opened in 1902, was about a mile south of No. 10, with a 207-foot (63 m) shaft. By 1908, Consolidation had opened Mine No. 15. All of the Buxton mines worked a coal seam about 54 inches thick.
Current Status: The abandoned Buxton townland has been cultivated as farmland. The townsite was the subject of an archaeological survey in the 1980s, which investigated the economic and social aspects of the material culture of African Americans in Iowa. As a result of the finds and the regional and national significance of Buxton, the archeological site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The company town is notable as a former “black utopia.”
Remarks: By the time Mine No. 18 had opened, the center of CCC mining activity had moved 10 miles to the west of Buxton, and the company opened new mining camps closer to the mines. As a result, the population shifted and Buxton declined markedly in the 1920s; its last mine closed in 1927. By 1938, the Federal Writers Project Guide to Iowa reported that the site of Buxton was abandoned and that the locations of Buxton’s former “stores, churches, and schoolhouses are marked only by stakes.” Every September, hundreds of former Buxton residents met for a reunion on the site of the former town.

Buchanan

County: Cedar
Zip Code:
Latitude / Longitude: 41° 45′ 54 N, 91° 14′ 49 W
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Time Zone: Central (CST) (UTC-6)
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Comments: Buchanan is an unincorporated community in Cedar County, Iowa, United States.
Remains: It was named for Alexander Buchanan, a farmer who owned land near the original town site. Alexander Buchanan was born in Cedar County in 1841.
Current Status:
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Carrollton

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Time Zone: Central (CST) (UTC-6)
Established: 1850
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Conover

County: Winneshiek
Zip Code:
Latitude / Longitude: 43°12′55″N 91°53′41″W / 43.21528°N 91.89472°W / 43.21528
Elevation: 1,227 ft (374 m)
Time Zone: Central (CST) (UTC-6)
Established: 1864
Disestablished:
Comments: Conover is a ghost town located in Winneshiek County, Iowa, United States. It appears on the Fort Atkinson quadrangle of the United States Geological Survey topographic map and has been subsumed within the U.S. Postal Service ZIP code of nearby Calmar, Iowa.
Remains: Conover was a cow pasture until September 1864, when news arrived that the westward-growing railroad would pass through the area, at which time a village was quickly plotted from local farmland during a two-week period. Rails laid by the McGregor Western Railroad Company reached Conover, through Calmar, in August 1865, by which time the village contained more than 200 buildings, including over 32 saloons and as many produce markets.
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Donnan

County: Fayette
Zip Code:
Latitude / Longitude: 42°53′46″N 91°52′41″W / 42.89611°N 91.87806°W / 42.89611 -91.87806
Elevation:
Time Zone: Central (CST) (UTC-6)
Established: 1878
Disestablished:
Comments: Donnan is a former city in the U.S. state of Iowa, located in central Fayette County.
Remains: For many years, this farm hamlet was Iowa’s smallest incorporated city. The town’s population slowly eroded over the years; by 1990 the population had dropped to 7, and the remaining residents voted to disincorporate. Donnan ceased to exist as a city in early 1991.
Current Status: In 1990, the last seven residents made national headlines when they reluctantly voted to disincorporate, ending their town’s status as an officially recognized city. At the disincorporation hearing Matt Porter, who had served as the town’s mayor for 35 years, stated “Three of us are in our 70s and sooner or later it’s got to come. There’s no one else to carry on”. Donnan ceased to exist in March 1991; the final vote was 6 to 1 in favor of disincorporation.
Remarks: A monument on New Donnan Road pays tribute to the empty community, which lies just two miles (3 km) north of its nearly empty sister community of Randalia (population 68). In October 2007, like Donnan before it, Randalia lost its post office, sometime after losing its school and general store. Matthew Porter died in a fire in his home in Donnan in 2009.

Doris

County: Buchanan
Zip Code:
Latitude / Longitude: 42° 28′ 49 N, 91° 48′ 52 W
Elevation:
Time Zone: Central (CST) (UTC-6)
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Comments: Doris and Bethel are twin town sites in Buchanan County, Iowa, United States, both located just north of Highway 939 in central Buchanan County near Independence. Founded as whistle-stops along with the Chicago and North Western Railway, the sites are abandoned today.
Remains: Galbraith’s Rail Map of Iowa from 1897 shows no towns located between Independence and Winthrop. However, by the early 1900s, a number of Iowa newspapers were reporting on events occurring in Doris. A lot sale for plots of land in Doris was held by James Duffy in September 1902; a railroad station and stockyards had recently been completed. Farming activities in Doris were reported as late as 1939, but with increasing infrequency.
Current Status: The townsites were located three-fourths of a mile apart, Doris at the junction of Highway 939 and North Doris Avenue, an unimproved and unpaved gravel road located between Winthrop and Independence. Bethel was less than a mile west, near the intersection of 939 and Nathan Bethel Avenue. Both towns were populated during the early 20th century, but with the advent of rural migration to larger communities, the sites gradually emptied. By the 1990s, Bethel had lost all but a few scattered farmhouses. The townsite at Doris is completely abandoned, and all the buildings there have long since been razed to make way for fields. Only a few scattered farms exist in the area.
Remarks: Doris was the site of a freight train collision on September 30, 1922, when a train leaving from Masonville rear ended another train at the Doris siding. The accident resulted in the death of one conductor and the injury of two others, and the derailment of both trains.

Dudley (Wapello County)

County: Wapello
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Time Zone: Central (CST) (UTC-6)
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Comments: Dudley is a ghost town in Wapello County, Iowa, United States. One Dudley in Wapello County, one in Polk County.
Remains: Both 1908 and 1920 surveys of northwestern Wapello County have a post office located here.
Current Status: A sign on the former edge of town reads: “Population 12 and God only knows how many dogs and cats.”
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Dudley (Polk County)

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Time Zone: Central (CST) (UTC-6)
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Disestablished: 1851
Comments: Dudley was platted in 1846.
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Current Status: The town of Dudley was destroyed by the Flood of 1851, many of its citizens relocated to Carlisle, Iowa.
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Elkport

County: Clayton
Zip Code: 52044
Latitude / Longitude: 42°44′28″N 91°16′32″W / 42.74111°N 91.27556°W / 42.74111
Elevation: 663 ft (202 m)
Time Zone: Central (CST) (UTC-6)
Established: 1855
Disestablished: 2006
Comments: Elkport is a city in Clayton County, Iowa, United States. The population was 37 at the 2010 census, down from 88 at the 2000 census.
Remains: Elkport was laid out as a town in 1855. It was named from the Elk Creek.
Current Status: The town was severely damaged by floods in May 2004. After the floods, all residents of the town chose federal buyout, selling their homes to the United States federal government for demolition. In September 2006, nearly all of the buildings of Elkport were demolished.
Remarks:

Green Island

County: Jackson
Zip Code: 52064
Latitude / Longitude: 42°09′13″N 90°19′19″W / 42.1536311°N 90.3220739°W / 42.1536311
Elevation: 614 ft (187 m)
Time Zone: Central (CST) (UTC-6)
Established:
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Comments: Green Island is an unincorporated community in Jackson County, Iowa, United States.
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Green Valley

County:
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Time Zone: Central (CST) (UTC-6)
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Comments: Green Valley was a town in Iowa county, Iowa.
Remains: At one time it had a large number of people move from Hinkletown Iowa to Green Valley.
Current Status:
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Hinkletown

County:
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Latitude / Longitude:
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Time Zone: Central (CST) (UTC-6)
Established: 1858
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Comments: Hinkletown was founded in 1858 by Harmon Hinkle who moved from Richmond Iowa.
Remains: By 1863 there was a post office, a black smith shop, a schoolhouse, and two lodges. In 1872 the rail road bypassed the town to the south and many residents moved to the new town of Keota Iowa. Then in 1879 a rail road bypassed Hinkletown despite the argument of the towns people to bring it to Hinkletown.
Current Status: The remaining residents soon moved to Kinross Iowa, Parnell Iowa, and Green valley.
Remarks: At one time Hinkletown was called Foote.

Iowaville

County: Van Buren
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Time Zone: Central (CST) (UTC-6)
Established: 1838
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Comments: Iowaville was a small town on the lowland near the northeast bank of the Des Moines River, near the line between Davis and Van Buren counties, and between present-day Eldon and Selma, Iowa.
Remains: The area around the townsite had long been used by the Ioway Indians. The residents of Iowaville were frequent visitors to Fort Madison, 1808–1813, the first U.S. Army post in the Upper Mississippi. Iowaville was attacked in the 1810s or early 1820s, perhaps by the Sauk under the leadership of Pashepaho and Black Hawk, but there is also evidence it was attacked by the Dakota or may have been abandoned because of smallpox.
Current Status: It was established about 1838 near the site of earlier trading posts. Iowaville is now farmland with almost nothing to show the town location, but it is an important Iowa archaeological site.
Remarks: Trader and settler John Jordan operated near here from 1837 and platted the town in 1838. Iowaville was badly flooded during the Flood of 1851. The town was prosperous for a time, with a peak population of perhaps 200, but it declined rapidly after the railroad came to nearby Eldon.

Ivanhoe

County: Linn
Zip Code:
Latitude / Longitude: 41°53′00″N 91°27′45″W / 41.88333°N 91.46250°W / 41.88333
Elevation:
Time Zone: Central (CST) (UTC-6)
Established: 1838
Disestablished:
Comments: Ivanhoe was a town in Franklin Township, Linn County, Iowa.
Remains: It was founded by early Iowa settlers and laid out as a town by Anton Cowles at the intersection of the Old Military Road and the Red Cedar River. It was laid out in 1838 and surveyed in 1841. Ivanhoe was never platted, though it did have its own post office from 1845–49.
Current Status: Unlike other towns founded around that time on the Old Military Road, Ivanhoe faded away; many of its residents relocated to Mount Vernon, Cedar Rapids, or Marion. The February 1921 edition of The Palimpsest describes the area as having been “a refuge for horse thieves and dealers in counterfeit money”, though it is unclear if that was during the time that the town existed or afterward.
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Lakewood

County: Lyon
Zip Code:
Latitude / Longitude: 43° 20′ 49 N, 96° 9′ 46 W
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Time Zone: Central (CST) (UTC-6)
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Comments: Lakewood is a ghost town in Lyon County, in the U.S. state of Iowa.
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Littleport

County: Clayton
Zip Code: 52055
Latitude / Longitude: 42°45′13″N 91°22′8″W / 42.75361°N 91.36889°W / 42.75361
Elevation: 709 ft (217 m)
Time Zone: Central (CST) (UTC-6)
Established:
Disestablished: 2005
Comments: Littleport is an unincorporated community and former city in Clayton County, Iowa, USA.
Remains: After the Volga River flood of May 16, 1999, much of the town was destroyed and most residents moved away.
Current Status: At the 2000 Census, there were 26 residents. Back at the 1960 Census there had been 119 residents. The city had had 139 people in 1950. The city was officially disincorporated in 2005.
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Midway (Johnson County)

County: Johnson
Zip Code:
Latitude / Longitude: 41°37′08″N 91°26′21″W / 41.61889°N 91.43917°W / 41.61889
Elevation: 686 ft (209 m)
Time Zone: Central (CST) (UTC-6)
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Comments: Midway is a ghost town in Johnson County, Iowa, United States. Midway was 5.5 miles (8.9 km) southeast of Iowa City.
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Motor

County: Clayton
Zip Code:
Latitude / Longitude: 42° 48′ 28 N, 91° 21′ 5 W
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Time Zone: Central (CST) (UTC-6)
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Comments: Motor is an unincorporated community in Clayton County, Iowa, United States. The townsite is also a nationally recognized historic district listed as a historic site on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.
Remains: John Thompson, J.P. Dickinson, and James O. Crosby formed a partnership in the early 1860s. They planned to build a gristmill, a sawmill, a farm, and a town that they called Motor. The site they chose had been the location of a previous sawmill named Hastings Bottom. They began construction of the mill and the cooperage in 1867. The mill was in operation by 1870, and the town was laid out in 1875. Because of their success with establishing nearby Elkader, they were confident that Motor would be equally successful. The townsite includes the gristmill, a bridge across the Turkey River, cooperage, smokehouse, an old inn, and the livery barn. The site also contained a few houses, a school, a general store, a sawmill, and a tavern.
Current Status: A narrow-gauge railway was completed within 4 miles (6.4 km) of Motor in 1874. A station house was built, a station agent was hired, and the track was scheduled to be laid in 1875, but a flood wiped out the ties and the railroad never made it to Motor. Chinch bugs wiped out the local wheat crop and local farmers moved on to other crops. Because of that, the mill closed in 1882. The partnership that built the town dissolved and the district court auctioned the property in 1891. Louis Klink bought the property in 1903. He sold the mill machinery and he used the buildings for his farm operation. The property remained in the family for 80 years. The Clayton County Conservation Board acquired the property in 1983. The area is now a 155-acre (63 ha) park with hiking trails, a primitive campground, and a place to launch canoes. It is part of the Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area.
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Mount Pisgah

County: Union
Zip Code:
Latitude / Longitude: 41°02′19″N 94°06′47″W / 41.038586°N 94.113028°W / 41.038586 -94.113028 1891
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Time Zone: Central (CST) (UTC-6)
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Comments: Mount Pisgah was a semi-permanent settlement or way station from 1846 to 1852 along the Mormon Trail between Garden Grove and Council Bluffs. It is located near the small community of Thayer in Jones Township, Union County, Iowa.
Remains: This site is now part of the Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail. It is the birthplace of Helaman Pratt. The address of the memorial is 1704 Mount Pisgah Road in Thayer.
Current Status: The site of Mount Pisgah is now marked by a 9-acre (36,000 m2) Mount Pisgah Cemetery State Preserve, which contains exhibits, historical markers, and a reconstructed log cabin. However, little remains from the 19th century except a cemetery memorializing the 300 to 800 emigrants who died while passing through or residing in the community.
Remarks: After the 1844 death of Joseph Smith, the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, most members of the Church aligned themselves with Brigham Young and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). Under Young’s leadership, about 13,000 Mormon citizens of Nauvoo, Illinois set out to find a new home in the West. On May 18, 1846, Nauvoo exiles established a permanent camp and resting place on the middle fork (Twelve-Mile Creek) of the Grand River on Potawatomi Indian land. The site was selected and named Mount Pisgah by LDS apostle Parley P. Pratt, who, when he first saw the modest hill, was reminded of the biblical Pisgah (Deuteronomy 3:27) where Moses viewed the Promised Land.

National

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Time Zone: Central (CST) (UTC-6)
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Rockville

County: Delaware
Zip Code:
Latitude / Longitude: 42°25′7″N 91°8′32″W
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Time Zone: Central (CST) (UTC-6)
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Shady Grove

County: Buchanan
Zip Code:
Latitude / Longitude: 42°22′37″N 92°3′19″W / 42.37694°N 92.05528°W / 42.37694
Elevation:
Time Zone: Central (CST) (UTC-6)
Established: 1857
Disestablished:
Comments: Shady Grove is a former townsite and unincorporated community in Buchanan County, Iowa, United States, between the cities of Brandon and Jesup.
Remains: Settlement of Shady Grove began in 1857, but with the advent of rural migration, the population had dropped to 25 by the 1950s. New housing developments began during the 1990s and 2000s, however, have caused the empty community to be reborn, causing controversy along the way.
Current Status: There is still evidence of Shady Grove’s existence. Property owned by the Schares contained the building which once was a barbershop. They knocked it down in 2004 to make room for their cattle field. At the time of its destruction, newspapers lined the walls like wallpaper. Cattle land owned by the Youngbluts was discovered to hold the old Shady Grove Cemetery. The tombstones have tumbled and been broken up and some possibly lost due to flooded creeks and cattle tromps. The Buchanan County Historical Society has taken the cemetery area under its wing and turned it into a protected area with a sign outside the fence recognizing its existence. During the mid-1990s, there was renewed interest in the area as developers began selling plots of land. By 2007, more than forty new homes had been built in the area, causing concern for the area’s local farmers.
Remarks: Shady Grove was founded in 1857 at the western edge of Jefferson Township, near the Buchanan-Black Hawk county line. Shady Grove was close to another town named Sunnyside. In 1886, a post office opened under the name Shady Grove. Despite attracting businesses including a machinery dealership, a creamery, a church, and a general store, the town never incorporated. Years of rural migration caused the population to drop to 25 persons (seven families) by 1958. The general store closed in the 1980s and the building was moved from its original spot to one on Spring Creek Road. The town remained on county maps as late as the 1990s, though there was nothing left to mark the community other than a giant machine shed with the words “Shady Grove” on it.

Siegel

County: Bremer
Zip Code:
Latitude / Longitude: 42°49′44″N 92°21′25″W / 42.829°N 92.357°W / 42.829 -92.357
Elevation:
Time Zone: Central (CST) (UTC-6)
Established: 1889
Disestablished: 1900
Comments: Siegel is a ghost town in Douglas Township in Bremer County, Iowa, United States.
Remains: Primarily settled by Germans, Siegel was named by Frederick Schultz, Jr., the first postmaster of the Siegel post office. The settlement was likely named after Union General Franz Sigel who recruited hundreds of German-American soldiers for the Union Army during the American Civil War. In fact, many Iowans served under General Sigel first in Missouri at the Battle of Wilson’s Creek and later in General U.S. Grant’s Army of the Potomac. The post office at Siegel was established on June 26, 1889, but was closed on September 15, 1900. However, a creamery and general store remained until the 1940s.
Current Status: Founded in 1889, the community ceased to exist in the 1940s. Today, all that is left of Siegel is St. John’s United Church of Christ of Siegel.
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Stumpville

County: Johnson
Zip Code:
Latitude / Longitude: 41°29′26″N 91°29′49″W / 41.49056°N 91.49694°W / 41.49056
Elevation: 650 ft (200 m)
Time Zone: Central (CST) (UTC-6)
Established:
Disestablished:
Comments: River Junction is an unincorporated community in Johnson County, Iowa, United States. It was named after its location at the confluence of the English and Iowa Rivers. River Junction was founded in 1873.
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Unique

County: Humboldt
Zip Code:
Latitude / Longitude: 42°43′02″N 94°20′43″W / 42.71722°N 94.34528°W / 42.71722
Elevation: 351 m (1,152 ft)
Time Zone: Central (CST) (UTC-6)
Established:
Disestablished:
Comments: Unique, Iowa was a hamlet in Weaver Township, Humboldt County, Iowa, United States.
Remains: The town contained a post office from April 1878 until September 1891. It was re-established in April 1892 and discontinued permanently in January 1902.
Current Status: A rusted metal sign is all that remains of Unique. It formerly said “Unique, Iowa”, but is now illegible. The intersection of Humboldt County Route C44 (230th Street) and Humboldt County Route P29 (Florida Avenue) is often referred to colloquially as “Unique Corner”. The settlement still appears on the Iowa DOT Map and Google Maps.
Remarks: Settlers began building in the area when it was believed that a railroad would pass through the marshland. The Barker School was built at Unique in either 1873 or 1879. A post office was established in 1878. The state of Iowa moved the post office in 1880, to its present-day location in the northeast corner. An argument over where the Methodist Church should be established with the Reed’s Corner settlement (two miles to the south) had to be settled by church authorities. The church was built in 1889 just north of the Unique schoolhouse. The first school building was replaced in 1937, and the second school closed in 1944.

White Pigeon

County: Keokuk
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Time Zone: Central (CST) (UTC-6)
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Yatton

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Time Zone: Central (CST) (UTC-6)
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Comments: Catholicism came to the area that would become Riverside in 1846 when the Rev. John Alleman organized a parish named St. Vincent two miles west of the present town of Riverside, near the English River. With the help of the Schnoebalen and Edelstein families, he built a log church and laid out a townsite which was named Strassburg. Riverside was established after the Muscatine Western Railroad built a line in 1872 from Muscatine that passed along the north side of the English River.
Remains: A small town named Yatton had been laid out south of the river in 1856.
Current Status: The townspeople moved across the river to be near the railroad and joined others in establishing Riverside. As the number of German and Irish Catholics increased in Riverside it was decided to build a church in town.
Remarks:

How Many Ghost Towns Are In Iowa?