Sunday, May 31, 2020

Looking for a Haunted Ghost Town? Here's 15 for the Picking

By Christopher Robinson

They are haunting reminders of a bygone era that creak, howl and bend in the arid dusty wind. Subtly hinting at legendary stories of the past, they offer distant glimpses into the hardships and dreams of the dead that never cease to stir our collective imagination.

They're the ghost towns of the American west and though they fade, rust and decay in an unrelenting sun, they remain nevertheless in various forms of existence. The spirits of their former inhabitants are often imagined to reside there alongside the few living souls who choose to call them their home while the remnants and relics of their humble structures hang on just long enough to tell their heartbreaking and unbelievable tales.

Most of these ghost towns originated as gold mining towns when miners migrated to various destinations in hope of striking it rich after ‘gold fever’ spread in the wake of gold strikes in places like Sutter’s Mill, California and the Black Hills of South Dakota. Many towns were situated near streams where gold was panned for until it went to “hard rock”, meaning ore had been mined.

If the vein “pinched out”, that meant no more ore could be dug, and the townspeople emigrated once again. Often complete hillsides were depleted and decimated, leaving behind empty carcasses of desolate streets and small ramshackle buildings with their unpainted false front rooftops slowly fading gray.

The following is a list of popular ghost towns in the United States. Since many states are opening up from the COVID-19 situation, perhaps you will visit one on vacation this summer.

Instructions: Click on the Town to visit each ghost town location below:
St. ElmoColoradoGoldYes
Virginia CityNevadaSilverYesHome to Mark Twain.
Setting of TV's Bonanza.
Animas ForksColoradoGoldUnknown1884: Endured 23-day blizzard
South Pass CityWyomingGoldYes
RubyArizonaGold, Silver, Lead, Zinc, CopperUnknownSite of notorious 'Ruby Murders.'
ThurberTexasCoalYesPopulation 5
ColomaCaliforniaGoldUnknownDawn of California 'Gold Rush'

As an aside, in 1874, Custer discovered gold in the Black Hills leading to the boomtown of Deadwood, South Dakota. The resulting gold rush clashed with sacred Sioux land, creating a problematic situation with inevitable repercussions.

In Closing, be sure to read Gary Miller's Ghost Towns of the West, previously published in Western Magazine Digest on December 1st, 2018.

About the Author

Christopher Robinson is a writer, filmmaker and musician in New Jersey who has contributed to several magazines and websites.

Robinson also worked as a cameraman, videographer, cable access TV host, teacher and producer. He scripted and produced commercial videos as well as cable television programs for local consumption.

For more info about Christopher, click here.

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