Ghost Towns of Kentucky

United We Stand, Divided We Fall

Alexandria

County: Campbell
Zip Code: 41001
Latitude / Longitude: 38°57’32 N 84°23’21 W
Elevation: 883 ft (269 m)
Time Zone: Central (CST) (UTC-6)
Established: The city of Alexandria was formally incorporated by an act of the state assembly in 1856.
Disestablished:
Comments: Alexandria is a home rule-class city in Campbell County, Kentucky, in the United States. Along with Newport, it is one of the dual seats of the county. The population was 8,477 at the 2010 census.
Remains: It is believed that the area that is now Alexandria was first settled by Frank Spilman and his family c.1793. The Spilman family was from King George County, Virginia, and they may have named their settlement after Alexandria, Virginia. The family had begun developing and selling lots in the settlement by 1819, the year the first post office was established. On February 22, 1834, Alexandria was formally established by an act of the state assembly.
Current Status: In 1883, Newport successfully lobbied for its own Court House District, allowing it to retain a Court House Commission with taxing authority and various county offices in addition to those maintained at Alexandria. A new courthouse was established in Newport in 1884, and the county’s fiscal court and judicial offices operated out of this while other administrative offices remained in Alexandria. Nonetheless, the county was not dual seated until 2010.
Remarks: When the Kentucky General Assembly formed Kenton County from part of Campbell County in 1840, they moved Campbell’s county seat from Newport to Alexandria, which was closer to the center of the redrawn county. The citizens of Alexandria quickly constructed a county courthouse but, because the majority of the county’s population lived in Newport, the move was not a popular one and it took a court order and a visit from the sheriff to get the county clerk to move.

Barthell

County: McCreary
Zip Code:
Latitude / Longitude: 36°41′11″N 84°31′31″W / 36.68639°N 84.52528°W / 36.68639 -84.52528
Elevation: 1,106 ft (337 m)
Time Zone: Central (CST) (UTC-6)
Established: 1902
Disestablished:
Comments: Barthell is a former coal town in McCreary County, Kentucky, United States. It was established in 1902 and was the first of 18 mining camps to be built by the Stearns Coal and Lumber Company. It now serves as an open-air history museum, which is open from April through Thanksgiving.
Remains: During the 1880s-90s, a large portion of the land surrounding the Big South Fork was purchased by L.E. Bryant who began exploring the deposits of coal. In 1901, Byrant sent his associate, John Toomey, to lumber baron Justus S. Stearns in Michigan and convinced him to invest in the mineral rights of the Big South Fork area. By 1902, Barthell was established and work began in Mine No. 1. The first shipment of coal was delivered from Barthell in 1903 after the completion of the Kentucky and Tennessee Railroad from Stearns. During 1905 and 1906, operations expanded at Barthell with the opening of Mine No. 2.
Current Status: The decline of Barthell began in 1943 when the tipple at Mine No. 1 was destroyed by fire and was never rebuilt. Mine No. 1 was also closed shortly after the fire at the tipple. Coal mined from Mine No. 2 was then sent to the tipple at Mine No. 18 at the Blue Heron Mining complex. The dismantling of the coal camp began in 1952 and was completed in 1961. In 1984, the Barthell coal camp was purchased by the Koger family, who invested more than $500,000 of their own money into the revitalization of the community. Many of the community’s original structures, such as the company store, doctors office, and schoolhouse have been renovated and can be toured. Fifteen former coal camp homes have also been renovated and can be rented for overnight stays.
Remarks: From 1923 to 1927, the Bryant lease was fully purchased by the Stearns Coal and Lumber Company. Business boomed even during the height of the Great Depression, with a record monthly coal production of 100,961 tons of coal in January 1930. The onset of World War II further increased coal production at Barthell, requiring the addition of a second railway line.

Bells Mines

County: Marion
Zip Code:
Latitude / Longitude: 37°30′35″N 88°01′20″W / 37.5097°N 88.0222°W / 37.5097 -88.0222
Elevation:
Time Zone: Central (CST) (UTC-6)
Established: 1800s
Disestablished:
Comments: Bells Mines is a ghost town which was located between Sturgis and Marion, Kentucky, near the Ohio River, in Crittenden County, Kentucky, USA. Bells Mines is an unincorporated area of Crittenden County.
Remains: Bells Mines was first settled in the early 1800s by farmers and settlers from Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, eastern parts of Kentucky, and miners from England and Germany. Its name is derived from the vicinity in which a number of coal mines were operated by the Bells Mine(s) Coal Company owned by John Bell (1796-1869), a prominent and affluent antebellum politician and businessman who was once Speaker of the United States House of Representatives and an 1860 Candidate for President of the United States.
Current Status: The land surrounding and encompassing Bells Mines is now so rich with wildlife, from having been largely unoccupied by people for decades, that it was acquired by the United States Forest Service and the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR) for the purpose of creating a Wildlife management area from Caseyville in Union County, Kentucky to the former Bells Mines area. This represented the largest land acquisition by the state of Kentucky in over two decades. The Big Rivers Wildlife Management Area (WMA) and State Forest in Crittenden County was declared formally opened to the public on November 1, 2013
Remarks: During the American Civil War, on July 13, 1864, Bells Mines was the site of a skirmish between 46 men of Company C of the 52nd Regiment Kentucky Volunteer Mounted Infantry and a band of 300 guerrillas sympathetic to the Confederate States of America. According to the company’s reports, one soldier was killed, 11 men were captured (6 of which subsequently escaped according to the Evansville Daily Journal,) and 22 horses were killed.

Blue Heron

County: McCreary
Zip Code:
Latitude / Longitude: 36°40′17″N 84°32′44″W / 36.67139°N 84.54556°W / 36.67139 -84.54556
Elevation: 1,030 ft (314 m)
Time Zone: Central (CST) (UTC-6)
Established:
Disestablished:
Comments: Blue Heron, also known as Mine 18, is a former coal mining community or coal town on the banks of the Big South Fork of the Cumberland River in McCreary County, Kentucky, that has been recreated and is maintained as an interpretive history area in the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area.
Remains: Blue Heron was operated as a company town of the Stearns Coal and Lumber Company. Its coal mines opened in 1937 and operated until December 1962, when the underground mines closed down for lack of profitability. The town was abandoned, and its buildings were either removed or decayed.
Current Status: The community was “re-created” in the 1980s as an outdoor museum. Some of the original structures have been replicated as open, metal shells of buildings, referred to as “ghost structures,” on the approximate sites of the original buildings. Structures include a railroad depot, a full-scale model of the coal tipple, a school, and homes. Photographic exhibits and audio programs in the ghost structures tell about various aspects of life in the isolated mining community.
Remarks:

Burgess Railroad Station

County: Boyd
Zip Code: 41129
Latitude / Longitude: 38°16′21″N 82°34′53″W / 38.27250°N 82.58139°W / 38.27250 -82.58139
Elevation: 581 ft (177 m)
Time Zone: Central (CST) (UTC-6)
Established:
Disestablished:
Comments: Burgess Railroad Station was an unincorporated community located in Boyd County, Kentucky, United States. It is located on a CSX railway and is served by the Catlettsburg post office zip code of 41129.
Remains:
Current Status:
Remarks:

Creelsboro

County: Russell
Zip Code:
Latitude / Longitude: 36°53′06″N 85°11′51″W / 36.88500°N 85.19750°W / 36.88500
Elevation:
Time Zone: Central (CST) (UTC-6)
Established:
Disestablished:
Comments: Creelsboro is a ghost town in Russell County, Kentucky, United States. The historic town was thriving some sixteen years before Russell County was formed. It was named for Elijah Creel, an early settler, and was at one time the busiest river port on the Cumberland River between Nashville, Tennessee, and Burnside, Kentucky.
Remains: The town hosted a bank, school, three stores, and a building that provided lodging for steamboat passengers. Creelsboro was a major trade center along the Cumberland River in the 19th century, although its actual population was only about 50.
Current Status: With the construction of the Wolf Creek Dam, traffic from steamboats and other vessels greatly decreased. Creelsboro’s current population primarily are involved in agriculture. Many tourists visit the area to access the Cumberland River for trout fishing and other recreational boating activities.
Remarks:

Fudge

County:
Zip Code:
Latitude / Longitude:
Elevation:
Time Zone: Central (CST) (UTC-6)
Established:
Disestablished:
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Golden Pond

County: Trigg
Zip Code:
Latitude / Longitude: 36°47′08″N 88°01′27″W / 36.78556°N 88.02417°W / 36.78556
Elevation: 407 ft (124 m)
Time Zone: Central (CST) (UTC-6)
Established: 1882
Disestablished: 1969
Comments: Golden Pond is a ghost town in western Trigg County, Kentucky, United States. The town is located in the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area 11 miles (18 km) west-southwest of Cadiz.
Remains: Golden Pond was established in the 19th century and became known for its moonshining activity during Prohibition. The settlement was abandoned in 1969 when the land in the recreation area was evacuated.
Current Status: In 1898, a fire destroyed Golden Pond, which was subsequently rebuilt; a second conflagration burned the town in 1936, though it again recovered. During Prohibition, Golden Pond earned a national reputation for distilling moonshine whiskey, which was later sold in speakeasies in Midwestern cities such as Chicago, Detroit, and St. Louis. In 1964, the Tennessee Valley Authority opened the first office for the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area at Golden Pond. The land within the recreation area was subsequently evacuated; Golden Pond was abandoned by 1969, and the last residents left the peninsula in 1970. Many of the residents moved to a location in Calloway County which was named Little Golden Pond in 1989.
Remarks: The name Golden Pond was first applied to a post office in the area on December 28, 1848; the location of the post office is unknown, though it may have been near the pond of the same name. The town at the recognized location was established in 1882. The early town’s economy was based on the area’s natural resources, which included timber, iron ore, and fertile soil for agriculture.

Hilltop

County: Mercer
Zip Code:
Latitude / Longitude: 37°44′24″N 85°00′21″W / 37.74000°N 85.00583°W / 37.74000
Elevation: 902 ft (275 m)
Time Zone: Central (CST) (UTC-6)
Established:
Disestablished:
Comments: Hilltop is a ghost town in Mercer County, Kentucky, United States. Hilltop was located along what is now Kentucky Route 152 3.4 miles (5.5 km) east of Mackville.
Remains:
Current Status:
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Jonkan

County: Pike
Zip Code:
Latitude / Longitude: 37°26′58″N 82°23′32″W / 37.44944°N 82.39222°W / 37.44944
Elevation: 879 ft (268 m)
Time Zone: Central (CST) (UTC-6)
Established:
Disestablished:
Comments: Jonkan (also known as Jonican) is a ghost town in Pike County, Kentucky, United States. Jonkan was located along Jonican Branch and Jonican Road 7.2 miles (11.6 km) east-southeast of Pikeville. The community is still marked on county highway maps.
Remains:
Current Status:
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Neal

County: Boyd
Zip Code:
Latitude / Longitude: 38° 19′ 30 N, 82° 35′ 0 W
Elevation:
Time Zone: Central (CST) (UTC-6)
Established:
Disestablished:
Comments: Neal, Kentucky is a mostly extinct hamlet located south of Catlettsburg near the oil refining facility formerly owned by Ashland Oil and Refinining Co., Inc. and its current owner Marathon Petroleum’s Catlettsburg Refinery is located here.
Remains: At its peak, Neal had a population of over 200 but this declined as Ashland Oil purchased most of the property here from the residents to enlarge the refinery. U.S. Route 23 extended throughout the community until it was replaced with a modern four-lane alignment in 1987. The Kentucky Department of Highways renumbered it KY 757 after the realignment. Then, in 1999, Marathon purchased the highway from the state and it now ends just south of Neal at a security gate. Systematically Marathon has purchased the community and very little of Neal’s homes and businesses remain. Neal is located at approximately 38°19’30N 82°35’00W in southeastern Boyd County, across the Big Sandy River from West Virginia.
Current Status: Neal, West Virginia is located on U.S. Route 52 just across the Big Sandy River from Neal, Kentucky. This is no coincidence as both communities were once the same and were named after the same family who owned property on both sides of the river. Prior to Kentucky becoming a state, it was part of Virginia making both sides of the river in the same state. Also, before the canalizing of the river was completed in the late 19th century unless the water was high, it was possible to walk across the river making both sides of the river accessible to persons living on either bank. Neal, West Virginia is also now a location of heavy industry, and very little remains of it as well.
Remarks:

Packard

County: Whitley
Zip Code:
Latitude / Longitude: 36°40′03″N 84°03′21″W / 36.66750°N 84.05583°W / 36.66750
Elevation: 1,076 ft (328 m)
Time Zone: Central (CST) (UTC-6)
Established:
Disestablished:
Comments: Packard is a ghost town in Whitley County, Kentucky, United States. Packard was located 7 miles (11 km) southeast of Williamsburg.
Remains: It was founded as a mining camp by the Thomas B. Mahan family around 1900. Packard’s population is thought to have reached at one point nearly 400 residents. The community was a coal town that served the Packard Coal Company; the community and the company were named after Whitley County school teacher Amelia Packard. Packard once had a railway station on the Louisville and Nashville Railroad as well as a post office, which opened on November 27, 1908.
Current Status: The town survived until the mid-1940s when the coal resources which had been its lifeblood finally gave out. The community is now abandoned.
Remarks: In 1917, during an extended national period of labor strife, a correspondent to the United Mine Workers Journal describing conditions in Packard stated that local miners had “only one store within two miles of us, and that is the company store, and we are eighteen miles from the mainline, up a dark hollow surrounded by big mountains, and you can imagine how men have to live because of the ungodly prices we have to pay. So we are praying that God will help us. Sanitary conditions are bad.” In 1920, however, when three Packard mines were inspected for the Kentucky Department of Mines the inspector found conditions in and around these mines to be satisfactory. In 1922 two National Guard gunner squads were sent to Packard to protect the mines from aggrieved mineworkers, several weeks after a tipple at the mine had been burned. Actress Patricia Neal was born in Packard in 1926.

Paradise

County: Muhlenberg
Zip Code:
Latitude / Longitude: 37° 16′ 5 N, 86° 59′ 1 W
Elevation:
Time Zone: Central (CST) (UTC-6)
Established:
Disestablished:
Comments: Paradise was a small town in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky, United States. The town was located 10.5 miles east-north-east of Greenville and was formerly called Stom’s Landing (sometimes incorrectly spelled Stum).
Remains: It was once a trading post along the Green River, but it no longer exists. It was torn down in 1967 by the Tennessee Valley Authority due to health concerns over its proximity to a nearby coal-burning electric plant, Paradise Fossil Plant.
Current Status: In 1959, the TVA built a coal plant at the former site of Paradise. The coal-fired plants remain controversial and the Paradise permits in particular, have been criticized by environmentalists for non-compliance with the Clean Air Act. Since the construction of new scrubbers on Unit 3 at Paradise, the plant’s emissions from the massive unit have dropped dramatically in recent years; this in turn has led to a dramatic drop in toxic emissions from the plant overall.
Remarks: Paradise was settled in the early nineteenth century when it was known as Stom’s Landing, for Leonard Stom who founded the ferry there. It may have once been named Monterey. The origin of its final name of Paradise is not known. It is postulated the name was descriptive, for settlers who considered the setting to be paradise. A post office was established at Paradise on March 1, 1852; it closed in 1967.

Scuffletown

County: Henderson
Zip Code:
Latitude / Longitude: 37°55′22″N 87°22′20″W / 37.92278°N 87.37222°W / 37.92278
Elevation: 374 ft (114 m)
Time Zone: Central (CST) (UTC-6)
Established: 1800
Disestablished:
Comments: Scuffletown is a ghost town in Henderson County in the western part of the U.S. state of Kentucky. Located on the Ohio River just above the mouth of Green River, it was a city for barely 100 years but is legendary in the area because of activities there during the American Civil War and its rough reputation.
Remains: Scuffletown got its start in 1800 when Jonathan Thomas Scott, aka Scott Fox, third son of the Great Chief Cornstalk and full-blood Shawnee, married Mary Polly Cooper, a full blood Cherokee. They had two sons Jonathan Scott and Thomas Scott. Around the time of the Cherokee removal, their father was shot to death in Shawneetown, Illinois in 1838. He ran a tavern in the area that passing river traffic could easily access. Scuffletown got its name from the flatboat people coming down the Ohio River. The Cherokee played stickball and had wrestling matches right outside the tavern/trading post. The white people saw this as scuffling.
Current Status: A school was built there sometime around 1817. The first church was built in 1830 at the Vanada farm. A tobacco stemmery was built in 1860 and shipped 400 to 450 hogsheads per year to Europe. A steam gristmill and blacksmith shop soon followed. In addition to crops of tobacco and corn, Scuffletown was noted for its large number of pecan trees.
Remarks: According to the Annals and Scandals of Henderson County by Maralea Arnett, since he kept a good supply of liquor, it became a rendezvous for flatboatmen and others on the river. Often a general fight developed after several hours of drinking and the place received the name of Scuffletown, his great-grandson, Michael “Manfox” Buley still lives in Henderson County.

Sugartit

County: Boone
Zip Code:
Latitude / Longitude: 38°58′22″N 84°39′46″W / 38.97278°N 84.66278°W / 38.97278
Elevation: 794 ft (242 m)
Time Zone: Central (CST) (UTC-6)
Established:
Disestablished:
Comments: Sugartit (also known as Gunpowder) is a rural community in Boone County, Kentucky, United States. It was located at the intersection of U.S. Route 42 and Kentucky Route 237 between the cities of Florence and Union. Sugartit has been noted for its unusual place name.
Remains: According to one account, the community received its name when the local men would spend all day at its general store and return home late for dinner; their wives would remark that they “had to have a sugartit at the store”.
Current Status:
The community no longer exists; the last surviving structure was the Sugartit Asphalt factory.
Remarks:

How Many Ghost Towns Are In Kentucky?