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For all your ghost town needs
December 10, 2013 12:29 PM   Subscribe

Do you like obsessively cataloged information? Do you like abandoned, semi-abandoned, and/or semi-repopulated ghost towns? Do you like amazingly poor web design? Then you will love ghosttowns.com, an exhaustive collection of thousands of ghost towns in the US and Canada. Find out how to visit ghost towns, and then click on the map to find one near you!
posted by showbiz_liz (24 comments total) 50 users marked this as a favorite

 
In first with a recommendation for Bodie! I've been going to quite a few ghost towns in the last few years, and Bodie is the best I've seen so far.
posted by me & my monkey at 12:32 PM on December 10, 2013


This, plus The Whelk's recent Supernatural-themed FPP, looks mighty suspicious.

Also, in a way it's not fair to include Canada mostly because holy crap do they have a lot of abandoned places waaaaaay up North.
posted by Kitteh at 12:33 PM on December 10, 2013


Monkey: Here's the Bodie link, with lots of pictures!
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:34 PM on December 10, 2013


That reminds me: I have been meaning to propose a MetaFilter meetup and hike to Dana, Massachusetts, one of the four towns that was disincorporated and flooded to create the Quabbin Reservoir. The former towns of Prescott, Enfield and Greenfield have been underwater since 1938 but Dana center is still there (well, the cellarholes are.) The paved roads are still there and the state keeps the old town common mowed. The whole Quabbin preserve is a beautiful but haunting place.
posted by usonian at 12:41 PM on December 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


(Ghosttowns.com page on Dana)
posted by usonian at 12:43 PM on December 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


This, plus The Whelk's recent Supernatural-themed FPP, looks mighty suspicious.

*slams rocksalt on the table* ROADTRIP!
posted by The Whelk at 12:44 PM on December 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


More on Canadian ghosttowns.
posted by Kabanos at 12:45 PM on December 10, 2013


Funny that I didn't see Maggie Valley, home of the Ghost Town in the Sky listed for North Carolina.
posted by oceanjesse at 12:56 PM on December 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I ate a picnic lunch of White Castles in the very toxic abandoned town of Times Beach, Missouri on Earth Day of 1990.

My one souvenir was a single baby shoe.
posted by sourwookie at 1:02 PM on December 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


They may need to clarify what constitutes a "ghost town" because they've got Julian in there. Julian is a ramshackle little mining town in the hills, but it's never been a ghost town any more than Nevada City or Grass Valley are. The other side of that line might be borderline places like Red Mountain and Johannesburg where they're barely still occupied, but it seems like they're hanging by a thread.
posted by LionIndex at 1:04 PM on December 10, 2013


Well, Grass Valley and Nevada City are labeled as "semi-ghost" towns in there despite being quite busy, along with Placerville and Auburn, so the criteria for inclusions seems to just be "is there old stuff?" At least they do clarify that Park City, Utah is not really a ghost town since it has a population of 7,500 (note: Placerville population = 10,000+; Grass Valley = 12,000)
posted by LionIndex at 1:20 PM on December 10, 2013


This is a great site, but it doesn't include the ghost town on the Texas/Oklahoma border that my mom and her cousins used to explore. At least, the name isn't there (Boomtown), which is disappointing because I was hoping to see photos.
posted by orrnyereg at 1:40 PM on December 10, 2013


orrnyereg, you should submit it!
posted by rebent at 1:42 PM on December 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


There's an unmarked grave somewhere in the Bodie cemetery. I know this, because my family is responsible for its unmarked status. About twenty years ago my family visited Bodie, and my little brother (who was three or four at the time) decided that one of the grave markers would make a great souvenir. He pulled one out of the ground and wandered off with it, and we didn't notice his pilfering until he was well out of the graveyard. We immediately brought the tombstone back to the cemetery, but we were unable to determine the correct plot. We left the stone near the entrance and continued on our way.

Bodie is a lovely town (and a short drive from the equally interesting Mono Lake). If you happen to be attacked by the restless spirit of a prospector who has been infuriated by the defilement of his eternal resting place, I apologize on behalf of my family.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 2:16 PM on December 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


Oh man this is great!

I spent a few months living out of a van and traveling around the southwest going to ghosttowns in my younger days.

It was just as good as going to Versailles (which is like my absolute favorite other weird place). I think I'd even pick an all expenses paid ghosttowns trip over one to Versailles if i was given a repeat.
posted by sio42 at 2:18 PM on December 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I spent a few months living out of a van and traveling around the southwest going to ghosttowns in my younger days.

...you didn't happen to bring a sibling along now did you?
posted by The Whelk at 2:37 PM on December 10, 2013


Yeah, I was just in Arivaca this weekend setting up a big field for an Ingress event. Ghost towns don't usually have music festivals, town-wide swap meets, active bars, churches and cafes, and a lovely little library where they were having a very nice holiday tea.

Take this site with a big phantasmal grain of salt.
posted by MrVisible at 2:43 PM on December 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't know. I have a lot of ghost town needs.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 3:33 PM on December 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


There is also an inexplicable entry for Worcester Friends' Meeting Cemetery which is an unfortunate Quaker burial ground that has had a lot of nonsensical lore and unwanted attention attached to it thanks to its striking gates, and stupid kids in the greater Worcester area. (I heard about "Spider Gates Cemetery" around more than one boy scout campfire in the 1980s, and depending on who was telling the story, there are either satanists or escaped mental patients from the nearby asylum living in the woods near the cemetery.)
posted by usonian at 3:44 PM on December 10, 2013


You include Manitoba, but you don't include Sundance?

Obsessively catalogued, I don't think.
posted by tel3path at 3:53 PM on December 10, 2013


Bzuh? I checked out the old West Ozark stomping grounds, and found the tiny* town of Howe, OK listed as "semi-ghost, town sign and cemetary, some structures**". The OK Historical Society website says Howe's population peak was 711 in 1920 during the coal boom; Wikipedia gives Howe's current population as 802. Do... ghost towns work that way? Are there negative ghosts? Revenants? Do we need rocksalt and a Winchester sibling?


*But, y'know, there. They have a high school.
**A high school, for instance.

posted by ormondsacker at 3:55 PM on December 10, 2013


Ha, one of these (Salem-Overall) is very close to where we live here in TN. In fact, I've gone right by it any number of times. There are quite a few little overgrown-crossroads spots like that in the area.

I heard about "Spider Gates Cemetery" around more than one boy scout campfire in the 1980s, and depending on who was telling the story, there are either satanists or escaped mental patients from the nearby asylum living in the woods near the cemetery

We had one of those spots near the place I grew up in Georgia, except that it was an old abandoned slaughterhouse/sausage factory. Never got to see it before it was ultimately swallowed by Atlanta's ameboid sprawl. It was the epicenter of all manner of cthonic scariness. Now it's probably a Walgreens.
posted by jquinby at 4:33 PM on December 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


A ghost town is any place where people once lived, or are still living, that is a shadow of its past glory. This includes everything from absolutely remote locations with very little remaining (sometimes called the "True Ghost"), to flourishing tourist towns such as Jerome, Az or even Calico, Ca.

I had no trouble finding a cafe with wifi to check my email in Jerome, even if one were to claim such cafes were more numerous and glorified back in the pioneer days, the wifi is considerably faster now.

So I can't say I agree with their definition of ghost towns. I know people who grew up in and still have family living in several of the towns listed near me, I wouldn't call those ghost towns either.

But, if they were consistent about this, surely of all places Detroit would be a shadow of it's past glory? Looked up Michigan. Delaware, Delta Mills, Denver, Depot Town, Deward, but no Detroit.

"Exhaustive collection", I think not.
posted by yohko at 5:01 PM on December 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


YEAH, it has a page on Thurmond, WV.

A few years ago, my husband and I were visiting my grandparents, who live in the middle of nowhere, WV. We decided to take Amtrak up to see them. Grandma told us that we'd have to get off at the station in Thurmond - but that it was a weird, abandoned place, and they'd have a taxi meet us there. So we didn't have to wait in The Ghoooost Toooown any longer than we had to, after dark.

Amtrak employees kept worriedly asking us, "Are you sure they meant to get off in Thurmond? That's what your ticket says, but there is nothing there. Are you sure someone is meeting you?" When they dropped us off, the Amtrak employee helped us out, and deposited us on the gravel right next to the train tracks. Then he looked around, saw our taxi, and breathed a sigh of relief.

It was almost entirely dark, and utterly silent. The only way to get a car into Thurmond was to drive over a (I believe) one-way bridge. The taxi driver said that his service picked up people at the Thurmond station often enough, that he was used to this crap.

When our visit was over, my grandparents dropped us back off on Thurmond to catch the train back. Two of the remaining residents rolled by on a four-wheeler, and gave us a look like "who the hell are THOSE people?" We wandered around taking pictures of the abandoned buildings, the post office, the bridge, the dead overgrown foliage. My grandfather told us stories of the long-gone brothels of Thurmond. It was a good time. And it was winter, so everything looked extra desolate and forsaken. I was a bit afraid that the train wouldn't even stop for us, but it sure did.

Here's my husband and grandfather watching a train go by in Thurmond.

posted by Coatlicue at 6:53 PM on December 10, 2013 [5 favorites]


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