Established in 1905 during the Gold Rush, the town near the Death Valley National Park quickly boomed and then fell apart after the closure of gold mines in 1911. The population reached close to zero in 1920. The town has several photo-op buildings, including the Bottle House, which was built with thousands of discarded liquor and beer bottles. Some of the buildings were used during the filming of the silent movie “The Air Mail” in 1925.
Located along the California-Nevada border, this town came up as a mining camp after the gold discovery in 1859. It had almost 10,000 residents in the 1870s but the number slowly declined, and the town was deserted after the post office closed in 1942. The stores in the town are still stocked with leftovers, but it is rumored that bad luck will strike if someone steals anything from here.
Founded in the late 1870s, St. Elmo was a flourishing gold mining town and a popular Pacific Railroad stop. Bustling with hotels, dance halls and salons, the town’s 2,000 residents enjoyed the social life here. After the Alpine Tunnel shut in 1910, it was abandoned. Today, a stay-cabin and a general store selling antiques and renting four-wheelers is what’s left of the town.
Terlingua was famous for its mercury production during the early 20th century, but as manufacturing declined, the Far West Texas town practically died out by 1940. The town got a new lease of life in the 1970s, when the now-famous chili cook-off began.
One of the most important railroad towns along the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway during the late 1800s, its population came down from hundreds to just seven in 2000. The coal town is now popular for river rafting at the New River Gorge. The historic train depot has been restored and is now a museum.
Named after the semi-precious ruby-colored stone found in the Garnet Mountain Range east of Missoula, this town was abandoned after both gemstones and gold supply declined over time. A fire in 1912 also destroyed much of the town. One can today explore the 30 historic buildings and go hiking or biking on the mountain trails.
At its height in the 1880s, Calico was a popular silver-mining town in the Mojave Desert. It turned into a ghost town by 1907 after the price of the precious metal dropped. Restored under the guidance of Walter Knott in the 1950s, the town is today part of the San Bernardino County Park and is home to a gold-panning attraction and a “mystery shack.”
Founded in 1863, the gold mining town once had about 10,000 residents and even served briefly as the capital of the Montana Territory. Since the late 19th century, it has come to a standstill. Restored for tourism in the 1950s, the site today is home to a few shops, music venue and a period-style theater.
Serving as Alabama’s state capital from 1820 to 1826, Cahaba was clearly an ill-fated town as it kept attracting floods. Despite being a cotton hub, housing a Civil War prison and, during Reconstruction, becoming a meeting place for freed slaves, the town was abandoned by 1900 because of the deluges. A few old buildings, a cemetery and a few ghost stories are all that is left of the town.
The town is believed to have gotten its name either because of the poor people living there or because war widows in the town kept dogs for protection. In 1845, the last building in the town was brought down. The deserted place is home to about two dozen boulders with messages on them, erected by entrepreneur Roger Babson during the Great Depression.
Nestled in the biggest national park in the United States, Wrangell–St. Elias National Park, the town produced $200 million worth of copper ore from 1911 to 1938. The town decayed after the resource was exhausted and because it was too remotely located. Even though it has become a popular tourist spot since the 1980s, the town was never reinhabited.
Located on the historic Apache Trail, this gold town thrived in the 1890s. It died out and resurfaced several times between 1910 and 1926. Restored as a tourist stop in the 1960s, it features attractions such as Superstition Reptile Exhibit, a narrow-gauge railroad ride and gunfight shows.
This former gold mine town was abandoned after the production stopped after The Great Depression. With infrastructure still intact, the state of Wyoming purchased the land and renovated it for tourism. Visitors can enjoy a “night-shift” tour of the old mine, along with scotch tastings.
Located at 11,160 feet (3,401 meters) in the San Juan Mountains, this former gold and silver mining town of 500 boasted of being the biggest in the world at that height. Maintained by the Bureau of Land Management today, the town is home to many old cabin-style buildings, including a small jail.
Named after the San Francisco mountains, this silver mining town was home to an estimated 6,000 people during the 1870s. After the mines were shut down, people started to move out of the town, with everyone leaving by 1920. The old cemetery with headstones dating back to the late 1800s is a highlight.
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