It's late September and you know what that means? Well, if you're anything like me the minute I change the calendar to September I start thinking about Halloween. I don't know about you but one way I like to start getting into a creepy mood is to start looking into creepy towns across America.
Rhyolite sits on the eastern edge of Death Valley and like a lot of other abandoned towns, it was an old mining town. In 1907 this town was bustling, they had a hospital, a stock exchange, and an opera house. However, in less than twenty years, it was left a ghost town. While the tows seemed to have promising future natural disasters and financial crisis left the town empty by 1920.
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St. Elmo, Colorado
This town was formerly called Forest City and was once a mining center what had 2,000 people at its peak. By 1930 only seven people were reported to still live there. Including the family who ran the general store and hotel. It is rumored that the family still haunts the place to this day. You can still stop by the city, it's privately owned and maintained. It is said to have some of the most paranormal activity in the state.
This town, aptly named for the man who originally found gold in California in 1859, was once filled with hopeful gold miners. This ghost town has been left untouched for 150 years. Houses still have table and chairs. Cabinets in restaurants are still fully stocked with food. Almost as though the structures are waiting for their long-lost dwellers to return. Pretty spooky, huh?
Southwest of Selma is a town dubbed "Alabama's most famous ghost town." Cahawba was Alabama's first permanent capital from 1820 to 1825. It was a busy center for the trading and transport of cotton before the Civil War. It was a village for freed slaves after the war. The town made several comebacks after floods and yellow fever. But by 1900 the town was empty. It is now known as Old Cahawba Archaeological Park. The abandoned cemeteries and ruins have the perfect setting for ghost stories.
Kennecott is presently considered to be the best remaining example of early 20th-century copper mining. It was a company town and from 1911 to 1938 Kennecott Copper Corporation employed 300 people in the town and another 300 in the copper mines. The town has a hospital, school, tennis court, recreation hall, and general store. Kennecott processed nearly $200 million worth of copper. By the time 1938 rolled around the copper was all mined and the Kennecott Copper Corporation left. They left behind their equipment, buildings, and personal belongings. You can still visit Kennecott today and the National Park Service offers a guided tour to the 14-story mill and several other historic buildings in the old town. They tell stories of luck fortunes, brave frontiersman, and tragic endings in the remote wilderness of Alaska.
This Montana Town has so much paranormal activity that it made it on an episode of Ghost Adventures on the Travel Channel. Bannack was founded in 1892 by John White after he found gold on Grasshopper Creek. After gold was found in a town nearby called Virginia City, many gold mining hopefuls moved to Bannack. The toad between Bannack and Virginia City became the setting of more robberies and murders than any other stagecoach route. The leader of the outlaw gang that waited for unsuspecting travelers was later discovered to be Bannack's own sheriff. Scandal!!!! That being said this mining town lasted longer than most and eventually the population petered out between 1930 and 1950. Today what is left of the town is preserved by the state of Montana as a state park. Over sixty structures still stand and most can be explored.
Virginia City, Montana
Speaking of Virginia City it is also a ghost town. It's 60 miles away from Bannack and was founded in 1863. While the nations was embroiled in the Civil War a large amount of the influx of miners were "rebels" from the South and a lot of the settlers of Virginia City sympathized with the Confederates. However, President Lincoln had other plans and, because of the city's strategic position, and sent northerners to the mining camp to hold the gold for the north. Which caused all kinds of tension in the young city, which had also earned a reputation for the most lawless place in the American West. Political tensions weren't the least of the city's problems, as Virginia City and Bannack became more and more busy there was more and more bandit activity. Virginia City soon took matters into its own hands and formed a vigilante force that lynched whoever they suspected were highwaymen. Even today it is unclear what heinous acts were committed by the highwaymen or which ones were done by those "vigilantes." There is no question, Virginia City was a place of extreme lawlessness and violence.
Today Virginia City is still a mining town, though most of the mining is done by hobbyists. It is hailed as the best-preserved ghost town in America.
In 1962 a landfill burn went horribly wrong and sparked a fire in an abandoned coal mine which quickly spread into the veins of the coal deposits that had once brought prosperity to Centralia. The town has been smoldering ever since and the underground fire is expected to continue to burn for 250 more years. To this day it burns and smoke and noxious gasses escape from every nook and cranny. When the initial damage was done the 140 acres of land had been scorched, homes were leveled, and the highway was closed because the fire caused gaping sinkholes spewing fumes. Centralia had a population of about 2,000 when the mines caught fire and most of them left, but the towns official population is at 20 now, those who remain adamant that the doomed city of Centralia is their home.
In the summer of 1913 and about 8,000 miners were employed by the Colorado Fuel & Iron Company (owned by Rockefeller), these employees banded together to form a union and went on strike to protest unfit living and working conditions. In response, the company drove the miners from their company town, but the employees just set up a tent city right near the mines right near the mines anyways. Then the company-sponsored National Guardsmen ran raids on these tent camps. And then on April 20 of 1913 everything came to a head. The guardsmen began firing into the camps and the minors fired back and that night the guardsman set fire to the camp and burned it to the ground. When the smoke cleared 66 people were killed, including 11 children and 4 women who were hiding in an underground cellar were asphyxiated. This violent and tragic event would create a turning point in the US labor relations and the event that happened on April 20, 1914 is now known as The Ludlow Massacre. Today Ludlow still stands as a ghost town. Even the tent city has been kept reserved and is taken care by the United Mine Workers of America. There's even a monument to the deceased.
Charles Bulow cleared some natural forest in East Florida in 1821 to establish a 2,200-acre plantation to grow sugar cane, cotton, indigo, and rice. This land soon became home to area's largest sugar mill that was built by Bulow's son. The plantation did not last long, in 1838 the Seminole Indians set fire to the land and the mill during the Second Seminole War. The mill's massive ruins still remain, as they were built out of hardy local coquina rock. The walls stand eerily among the oak trees that have reclaimed the land.
So there you have it. Ten ghost town across America. Which one would you like to see?