America's abandoned towns will give you the chills



Slide 1 of 33: There are abandoned communities all over America that have spine-chilling histories. From long-forgotten Wild West mining towns and former resorts to road trip pit stops and railroad hubs, these seriously spooky towns are sure to give you the heebie-jeebies...
Slide 2 of 33: Originally named Turquoise, after the mineral mined by indigenous tribes in the area, the town was renamed after a local miner John Gleeson registered a copper claim and opened the Copper Belle Mine. By 1900 the town housed about 500 people, who were all primarily miners. While in 1912 a fire burned down half of the town, it was rebuilt as demand for copper boomed during the First World War.
Slide 3 of 33: The mines closed in the 1930s and the town was abandoned as the post office closed in 1939. Although several families still live here, the only commercial site is a rattlesnake products store. Visitors can usually wander around the ruins of a hospital, a saloon and a jail that's been renovated to house a museum.
Slide 4 of 33: In 1865, Pablo Flores discovered silver in the area and started mining and smelting operations near the town. After a few years, word of the silver at Cerro Gordo spread, bringing in lots of new prospectors. In the following years lead and ore were also discovered and the town boomed. However, it didn't last: litigation over who owned the town, falling lead and silver prices and a temporary drying up of the water tower all led to Cerro Gordo being abandoned by the late 1870s.

Slide 5 of 33: Cerro Gordo was privately owned until June 2018 when it was put up for sale and sold for $1.4 million to two Los Angeles entrepreneurs. They plan to keep it opened to the public and preserve the existing buildings and their interiors.
Slide 6 of 33: Upon discovering silver in 1880, two prospectors eager to make a quick buck created a Miner’s Protective Association, and within five years, Ashcroft boasted 20 saloons and more than 3,500 residents. But like most mining towns, the silver ran out quickly and by the end of 1885 only 100 residents remained.
Slide 7 of 33: By the 1930s the Winter Olympics brought a new wave of attention to the area and even plans to build a ski resort, however, the momentum fizzled and Ashcroft has remained a ghost town since 1939. The plans for the ski resort moved about 10 miles north – to an up-and-coming town called Aspen.
Slide 8 of 33: In its heyday, the town had 13 saloons, four hotels, two barbershops, a doctor's office and a school as well as a daily stagecoach route to nearby towns. Garnet was a lively mining town from the 1860s when prospectors discovered gold and semi-precious red gems in the area. Unfortunately, half the town was burned down in 1912 and, as the mines were running out of gold anyway, it was abandoned.
Slide 9 of 33: Most of the residents left the town immediately after the fire so there was no one to rebuild it. Now more than 30 historic buildings remain, their interiors untouched and still full of personal belongings of the former residents, including furniture and clothes.

Slide 10 of 33: Unlike Bodie, Calico in California was the largest silver mine in the state. By the late 1800s Calico had over 500 mines and a population of 3,500 people. However, in 1896 the government decided to regulate the price of silver with the Silver Purchase Act. Overnight, the Calico mines became unprofitable and were shut down, leaving Calico a ghost town.
Slide 11 of 33: Calico is the quintessential Wild West mining town, and it’s easy to imagine gunslingers and sheriffs making their way into the town’s taverns and shops. It’s usually a popular destination with tourists in southern California, particularly around Halloween, when Calico holds an annual Ghost Town haunt where visitors can experience mine tours, gunfight stunt shows and trips on the historic narrow-gauge Calico & Odessa Railroad train.
Slide 12 of 33: Swarming with miners hopeful for gold in the late 1800s, the town's bustling life didn't last long as the mines were dried up by 1989. The town was renamed Youngsberg in 1921 to try and bring its population back up, however, it was abandoned again in 1926. Now take a look at the world's abandoned castles.
Slide 13 of 33: In 1988, the state saw a money-making opportunity and just like other abandoned mining towns, it became a tourist attraction. Visitors can usually wander around the preserved historic buildings or participate in one of the many activities, including a reptile exhibit and horseback rides. There's also a museum and an authentic Wild West saloon.
Slide 14 of 33: Home of the historic Chisos Mining Company, Terlingua attracted miners with cinnabar, from which the metal mercury is extracted. The town was booming in the mid-1880s with more than 2,000 people living in Terlingua, however, the population dwindled as soon as the mines were abandoned and now there are several dozen people living in this ghost town.

Slide 15 of 33: The residents of Terlingua realized its potential as an attraction on the way to Big Bend National Park. The town usually offers several dining spots, a souvenir shop and tours of the abandoned buildings.
Slide 16 of 33: A once-booming Mississippi River port town, Cairo has become a scary ghost town. The town boomed along with the steamboat industry, however, it's been on the decline ever since. Today, a walk through the main street is eerily quiet with most buildings boarded up and businesses shut. Take a look inside America's abandoned theme parks.
Slide 17 of 33: The town has also had a fair share of racial tensions, as the steamboat boom brought a migration of African Americans to Cairo looking for work. When the shipping and ferrying industries declined, jobs grew scarce leaving the downtown area abandoned.
Slide 18 of 33: A happy accident, a flooding in 1905 that lasted for two years, created the largest lake in California – the Salton Sea. The town by the lake quickly became a popular vacation spot with thousands of visitors flocking to the town on the weekends. However, the lake lacked a natural drainage system or an ecosystem to keep it healthy.
Slide 19 of 33: By the late 1970s fish in the lake started to die and the fertilizers flowing into the lake caused an overgrowth of algae that died and eventually turned into a hydrogen sulfide gas. The residents reported smelling and even tasting the gas in the air and the town was quickly abandoned with people leaving everything behind to escape the toxic gas.
Slide 20 of 33: Around 120 miles (193km) northwest of Las Vegas, high in the Bullfrog Hills, is Nevada’s best-known Gold Rush ghost town, Rhyolite. Founded in 1905, it was one of several mining camps that popped up around the edges of the Death Valley as thousands of miners and prospectors arrived in the region following a gold discovery. But several crises led to the downfall of Rhyolite: the 1907 San Francisco earthquake and a financial panic later that same year both made it too expensive to prospect gold. By the end of 1910, the mine was operating at a loss and it closed in 1911.
Slide 21 of 33: Today it’s one of the most-photographed ghost towns in America. Ruins include a railroad depot and the Bottle House, which has thousands of bottles embedded into its walls like a mosaic. The town has also served as a set for several Hollywood pictures like The Island and Six String Samurai. About a dozen buildings or remnants are still standing, including a general store, bank, jail and train station (pictured), and it’s possible to wander in and around most of them.
Slide 22 of 33: Established in the 1880s, Silver City was not only a booming gold and silver mining town but also served as the county seat of Owyhee County between 1867 and 1934. At its height, around 2,500 people lived in the town and there were around 75 businesses.
Slide 23 of 33: Due in part to its remote location and the decline of mining, the population dwindled and today the town has about 70 buildings remaining, most of which are owned by third- or fourth-generation descendants of the original miners. The Idaho Hotel in Silver City was restored and re-opened for visitors in 1972, turning it into a tourist attraction. The town and its buildings are also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Slide 24 of 33: A ghost of the community that used to live in Thurmond, there are still five residents that keep the town going. Once a big stop on the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway, the invention of the diesel locomotive in the 1950s made its coal-run railroad obsolete.
Slide 25 of 33: The train depot is now a museum and a visitors' center for travelers who come to raft on the New River Gorge National River. However, Thurmond is an eerie throwback to what American towns used to look like in the past and an unsettling reminder of how fleeting prosperity can be. Take a look at these haunting photos of the world's abandoned sacred places.
Slide 26 of 33: Kennecott was never really a town, but more a mining camp in southeast Alaska. In 1901 mining students spent months sampling the soil and digging around Kennicott Glacier before determining it was possibly the richest copper site in the world. Between 1909 and 1938 Kennecott mines produced over 4.6 million tons of ore that contained $1.55 billion of copper. But by the late 1930s the mines were depleted and the facilities abandoned. It has been a national park since.
Slide 27 of 33: What survives of the old Kennecott Mine is otherworldly. High up in the Alaskan mountains, the mill is perched on the edge of a cliff and the surrounding beauty is undeniable. There are usually tours of the mill and an organized expedition to the Erie Mine involves a breathtaking scramble around a cliff side definitely not for the faint-hearted.
Slide 28 of 33: Perhaps one of the best known Gold Rush ghost town in all of America, Bodie has been a tourist hot spot for years. In its heyday, this California gold mining town had 10,000 inhabitants and 65 saloons, gambling halls, opium dens and brothels. The frequent outbreaks of violence and murders earned Bodie the dubious reputation as the most lawless mining camp in the far west.
Slide 29 of 33: Over time, the mines became too expensive to run and in 1932 a huge fire burned 90% of the town to the ground. The 200 buildings that remain are now preserved as ruins – tables are still laid with crockery and in the school, books lie scattered on desks. Visitors aren’t allowed inside the houses and the church, but there are usually daily tours of the old stamp mill where you'll learn how the ore was crushed so gold could be extracted and turned into bullion bars. 
Slide 30 of 33: Originally named Forrest City, St. Elmo lies in the heart of the Sawatch Range almost 10,000 feet (3,048m) above sea level. The town peaked in the 1890s when it had a telegraph office, a town hall, five hotels, a number of saloons and dance halls, a newspaper office and a schoolhouse. But by 1922 the biggest mine was closed and the town was abandoned. Though it is considered a ghost town, a handful of residents still live among the old buildings as the town usually survives on tourism.
Slide 31 of 33: The old mining routes around St. Elmo are now 4X4 adventure trails, and daring visitors are treated to spectacular vistas of the Colorado mountains along the way. The general store is usually open during the summer, and many of the old mining buildings are still intact, making St. Elmo one of the most photogenic ghost towns in the US.
Slide 32 of 33: Between the 1940s and the 1960s, the busy Route 66 sent thousands of travelers through the town of Glenrio. Built on the border between New Mexico and Texas, the town offered motorists a road stop with gas stations, diners, bars, motels and even a dance hall. However, when the I-40 was built in the 1970s, the travelers bypassed the former desert oasis.
Slide 33 of 33: Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Glenrio Historic District includes the old Route 66 roadbed and 17 abandoned buildings as well as cars. The broken signs welcoming non-existent motorists to the Little Suarez Diner and the State Line Motel are especially creepy. Now take a look at the world's most fascinating ghost towns

Spooky towns in the States

Gleeson, Arizona

Gleeson, Arizona

Cerro Gordo, California

Cerro Gordo, California

Ashcroft, Colorado

Ashcroft, Colorado

Garnet, Montana

Garnet, Montana

Calico, California

Calico, California

Goldfield, Arizona

Swarming with miners hopeful for gold in the late 1800s, the town’s bustling life didn’t last long as the mines were dried up by 1989. The town was renamed Youngsberg in 1921 to try and bring its population back up, however, it was abandoned again in 1926. Now take a look at the world’s abandoned castles.

Goldfield, Arizona

Terlingua, Texas

Terlingua, Texas

Cairo, Illinois

A once-booming Mississippi River port town, Cairo has become a scary ghost town. The town boomed along with the steamboat industry, however, it’s been on the decline ever since. Today, a walk through the main street is eerily quiet with most buildings boarded up and businesses shut. Take a look inside America’s abandoned theme parks.

Cairo, Illinois

Salton City, California

Salton City, California

Rhyolite, Nevada

Around 120 miles (193km) northwest of Las Vegas, high in the Bullfrog Hills, is Nevada’s best-known Gold Rush ghost town, Rhyolite. Founded in 1905, it was one of several mining camps that popped up around the edges of the Death Valley as thousands of miners and prospectors arrived in the region following a gold discovery. But several crises led to the downfall of Rhyolite: the 1907 San Francisco earthquake and a financial panic later that same year both made it too expensive to prospect gold. By the end of 1910, the mine was operating at a loss and it closed in 1911.

Rhyolite, Nevada

Today it’s one of the most-photographed ghost towns in America. Ruins include a railroad depot and the Bottle House, which has thousands of bottles embedded into its walls like a mosaic. The town has also served as a set for several Hollywood pictures like The Island and Six String Samurai. About a dozen buildings or remnants are still standing, including a general store, bank, jail and train station (pictured), and it’s possible to wander in and around most of them.

Silver City, Idaho

Silver City, Idaho

Thurmond, West Virginia

Thurmond, West Virginia

The train depot is now a museum and a visitors’ center for travelers who come to raft on the New River Gorge National River. However, Thurmond is an eerie throwback to what American towns used to look like in the past and an unsettling reminder of how fleeting prosperity can be. Take a look at these haunting photos of the world’s abandoned sacred places.

Kennecott, Alaska

Kennecott, Alaska

Bodie, California

Bodie, California

Over time, the mines became too expensive to run and in 1932 a huge fire burned 90% of the town to the ground. The 200 buildings that remain are now preserved as ruins – tables are still laid with crockery and in the school, books lie scattered on desks. Visitors aren’t allowed inside the houses and the church, but there are usually daily tours of the old stamp mill where you’ll learn how the ore was crushed so gold could be extracted and turned into bullion bars. 

St. Elmo, Colorado

St. Elmo, Colorado

Glenrio, New Mexico and Texas

Glenrio, New Mexico and Texas

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Glenrio Historic District includes the old Route 66 roadbed and 17 abandoned buildings as well as cars. The broken signs welcoming non-existent motorists to the Little Suarez Diner and the State Line Motel are especially creepy.

Now take a look at the world’s most fascinating ghost towns

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