Ghost Towns of The American West


Ghost towns of the American West by Raymond Beale.

While its neighbor Phoenix flourished, Goldfield, a turn-of-the-century ghost town in Arizona, did so only briefly and then declined as a mining town. However, the collection of buildings has since been given a new life. Like a ghost town, an air of mystery swirls around the ghost towns of the American West, what sad and joyous events happen within the tumbledown walls and on the windblown streets?

Why did people settle in these lonesome places? Why did they pull up stakes and move away? What went wrong in these towns? Virtually every ghost town, has untold stories of people who longed for a chance at a better life relics of the past. The town’s now standing as evidence of high adventure hopes of striking it rich and the sudden loss of fortune or life. Although ghost towns can be found throughout the world in the United States, they are most often thought of as the mining camps, cowboy towns, and other settlements of the sprawling western frontier.

Most ghost towns were originally mining camps, where men sought gold, silver, copper, and other precious minerals. Most were once mining camps. Where adventurous men came to seek their fortunes. These communities boomed as miners sought gold, silver, copper, or other precious minerals, but died out when all of the ore was panned from streams or blasted from rocky tunnels. In cowboy towns, cattle were driven to other towns and then shipped to markets in the east.

Many lumber camps and deep forests and farming communities on the broad prairies also enjoyed brief prosperity before they were abandoned, along with the miners, Cowboys, and farmers, merchants, and bankers, as well as doctors and schoolteachers, who also went west. They laid out streets and put up buildings in hopes of growth and prosperity, as one newspaper editor declared. Most folks wished to get rich if we can. In 1848, James W Marshall discovered gold at Sutter’s Mill when he shut down the water on the mill race and glanced into the ditch.

I reached my hand down and picked it up. It made my heart thump, for I felt certain it was gold. He recalled soon. The word was out: gold, gold from the American River shouted Sam, Brannan waving a bottle of gold dust, as he strode through the San Francisco streets seeking pay dirt 49ers you as the prospectors came to be known streamed into California in the first of the great American gold rushes, yet over time people came to refer to the sawmill as Sutter’s folly as the land of John Sutter was overrun with prospectors everywhere, men claimed squatter’s rights in which they settled on the land, without paying for it.

Towns sprang up overnight Charles B Gillespie, a miner who worked near Coloma, California, described the typical Main streets of these towns as alive with crowds to him. The miners were ragged dirty men who were otherwise good-natured. They were a mix of Americans and immigrants, Germans, French, and other Europeans. After several hard hours, you loading all of their possessions in Conestoga wagons with billowing canvas, tops settlers, seeking independence, moved westward to homestead farms, state the mining claim or set up a store, keeping in a new town and gold seekers from China and Chile, along with British convicts From Australia Mark Twain declared, it was a driving, vigorous, Restless population.

In those days, 200,000 young men not simpering, dainty kid gloved weaklings, but stalwart muscular, dauntless, young Braves, brimful of push and energy. In 1851, when a Scottish artist named JD Borthwick arrived to try his luck as a prospector, he wrote that the main street of hang town later renamed pacer Ville was in many places, knee-deep in mud and was plentifully strewn with old boots, hats, and shirts old sardine Boxes: empty tins of preserved oysters, empty bottles, worn-out pots and kettles, old ham, bones, broken picks and shovels, and other rubbish Borthwick described the town as one long straggling street of clapboard houses and log cabins built in a hollow at the side of a creek and surrounded by high and steep hills along the creek, he said there were continual noise and clatter as mud dirt.

Stones and water were thrown about in all directions and the men dressed in ragged clothes and big boots wielding picks and shovels were all working as if for their lives in the typical western town, the buildings were often skirted with a sidewalk of wooden planks, along with Hitching posts and water troughs for horses, there might be a bank made of solid brick to assure depositors that their hard cash or gold dust was safe from robbers. There might also be a mercantile store.

An early version of the department store, as well as a general store. The town certainly had to have a blacksmith shop and livery stable, as well as Corral’s for horses and cattle. Some towns had a telegraph office and their very own newspaper. The town might be lucky enough to be on a stagecoach route, a Pony Express station, or better, yet a railroad. Stop the Americans have a perfect passion for railroads, wrote, Michel Chevalier, a French economist in the 1830s. If the railroad bypassed the village, it quickly became a ghost town.

Helen Hunt, Jackson described garland City Colorado, where she lived 12 days ago. There was not a house here today there are 105 and in a week there will be 200. However, the town lasted only a few months, at least at that side, when the railroad passed 30 miles to the west folks moved the entire town, walls, and windows, as well as sidewalks, furnishings, and goods to the railroad tracks, railroads laid down thousands of miles of gleaming Tracks across the grasslands, with a transcontinental link completed in 1869, none of these towns would have prospered even briefly, and the frontier would never have become settled without women and children.

Storekeepers and farmers occasionally brought their wives and children with them, but men still outnumbered women. Nine to one most towns actively sought women in 1860, a letter to the editor of the Rocky Mountain News from the new settlement of Breckenridge Colorado read a few very respectable. Looking women have ventured over to see us send us a few more another Colorado writer asked. We have one lady living in Breckenridge and one on the gold run.

We would be glad to welcome many arrivals of the gentler portion of the gold-seeking humanity and can offer a pleasant country well you locations and peaceable neighbors, except for an occasional lawsuit. The waves of western migration reached a peak between 1860 and 1880 overtime. Some towns grew into large cities such as Denver and Phoenix, while many others were abandoned and forgotten in the desert sands or mountain snows most went bust because of economic failure.

All the gold or silver was mined or the cattle were driven to another market town. A few people got rich, but others suffered heartbreak, hunger, and plain bad luck and then abandoned the town perched on mountain cliffs, tucked into a wooded valley, or baking in the Desert. Sun, these ghost towns are so remote that they are almost impossible to find people often have to travel to them by four-wheel, drive vehicles, and then hike several miles up rocky slopes or over cactus-studded deserts.

Finding the ghost towns may be as difficult as they search for gold that led to the founding of the town’s John Steele described Washington, California, in the 1840s, just six months after it had been founded with a large number of vacant cabins. It contains several empty buildings and quite a large hotel, closed and silent. Once ringing with the voices of cheerful people, the towns have now fallen silent. They have become little more than empty shells of their former selves.

There may be a handful of old, false-front buildings. Weathered to a haunting grey with open, doorways and broken windows, but little else remains. Few people even remember the place. Even the memories, along with the hopes and dreams of the inhabitants, have blown away like so much dust in the wind above Cabazon New Mexico, a ghost town in a ghost town, cemeteries, names of the dead were sometimes scrawled on rough boards. Right here, a group of men has set up a mining camp at a place known as Gregory’s diggings during the early days of the gold rush in Colorado.

Jason Smith

Former Marine, IT Guy & Builder of Websites.  I have 5 US states left to visit. I enjoy hot springs, adventures, hiking, photography, sci-fi, wine, coffee & whiskey.  I am fluent in sarcasm, name that tune, & speak in movie quotes.  I spend most of my time building websites, fixing computers, metal detecting, magnet fishing and gaming occasionally.

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