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Ghost Towns

Abandoned but not Forgotten

Ghost Towns - Romance of the Old West

Whether or not the ghost town must be completely deserted or may contain a small population is a matter for debate. Ghost towns can include sites in various states of disrepair and abandonment. Some sites no longer have any trace of buildings or civilization and have reverted to empty land. Other sites are unpopulated but still have standing buildings. Still others may support full-time residents, though usually far less than at their historical peak, while others may now be museums or historical sites. It's interesting to note that Wikipedia separates ghost towns into five distinct categories:

  • Barren Site - site no longer exists
  • Neglected Site - little more than rubble and dilapidated buildings
  • Abandoned Site - buildings remain but no population
  • Semi-abandoned Site - buildings remain but only a few residents
  • Historic Site - abandoned buildings remain but population is smaller than peak years

For me, it doesn't matter what the definition is. It's the romance of the old west - the history I seek. My fascination with ghost towns began when I first started to drive off the beaten trail. I was sick of the interstate highways so I searched out alternative but safe routes to follow. That decision turned my travels around. I never hesitate to investigate a ghost town.

There comes a time in every rightly constructed boy's life when he
has a raging desire to go somewhere and dig for hidden treasure.
Mark Twain


Alder Gulch, Montana

Alder Gulch is located in Madison County, Montana about 7 miles west of Nevada City on hwy 287. Google Map

Montana Travel Site


Alder Gulch, Montana - 1871

On May 26, 1863 Bill Fairweather and his party discovered gold in southwestern Montana. They were on their way to Yellowstone Country from Bannack but were waylaid by a band of Crow Indians. While hiding from the Indians in a gulch they found gold. They named the gulch after the alder trees lining the gulch. Alder Gulch, the site of the largest placer gold strike in world history, is one of the great gold producers of all time. It produced $10,000,000 during the first year. The Mount Vernon Dredge Historical Marker

The first stampede of miners reached Alder Gulch June 6, 1863 and the population swelled to over 10,000 in less than 3 months. The "Fourteen Mile City" ran the length of the gulch, and included the towns of Junction City, Adobe Town, Nevada City, Central City, Virginia City, Bear Town, Highland, Pine Grove, French Town, Hungry Hollow, and Summit. Within a year, the boom town of Virginia City had a population of 10,000. People lived in makeshift tents and shacks and every third construction was a saloon.

Montana Territory was established in May 28th, 1864, and the first territorial capital was Bannack. The discoveries at Alder Gulch drew people away from Bannack, reducing the population. The capital then moved to Virginia City, where it remained until its final move in 1875 to Helena.


Amboy, California

Amboy is located in San Bernardino County, California about 80 miles west of Needles on the National Trails Highway of U.S. Route 66 in the Mojave Desert. Google Map


Amboy, California - 1948
Burton Frasher Collection

Amboy was first settled in 1858 as a mining site. The town was established in 1883 as the first of a series of alphabetical railroad stations that were constructed across the Mojave Desert that provided water towers to service the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway.

In 1926, Amboy became a boom town after the opening of U.S. Route 66. In 1938, Roy Crowl opened Roy's Motel and Café, which prospered due to its isolated location on the Route. By 1940, Amboy's population had increased to 65. Its growth was tied not only to tourists, but also to the Santa Fe Railroad. The town remained busy until the opening of Interstate 40 in 1973. Historical Marker

Amboy was sold in 2000 to investors Walt Wilson and Tim White who mainly used it for photo shots and to host movie companies. After the two lost it in foreclosure, it was repossessed and sold on May 3, 2005 to Albert Okura, owner of the Juan Pollo restaurant chain, who promised to preserve the town and reopen Roy's. On April 28, 2008, Roy's reopened. Albert Okura also has plans to open a café and mini-mart at the same location.


Ash Fork, Arizona

Ash Fork, population 457, is a living ghost town located in Yavapai County, Arizona about 26 miles east of Seligman on I-40 and Route 66. The longest, original, uninterrupted stretch of Route 66 is between Ash Fork and Seligman. Google Map


Ash Fork, AZ - 1940s
Burton Frasher Collection

The community was established in October 1882 as a siding of the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad, later known as the Santa Fe Railroad. Ash Fork was named by F.W. Smith, General Superintendent of the railroad, in reference to ash trees at the site. The first official post office was established on April 12, 1883. When the Santa Fe Railroad moved its main line north and away from the town in 1960, Ash Fork lost nearly half its population, as most families employed by the railway were forced to leave the area. Historical Marker

Destruction by Fire, Santa Fe & I-40

What fire and Santa Fe relocation couldn't destroy, I-40 did. In 1883 the entire town of Ash Fork burned to the ground. It was rebuilt on the opposite side of the railroad tracks from its original location, where it remains today. Another large fire, known locally as the "Big Fire", devastated the community on November 20, 1977, destroying most of the downtown businesses. When I-40 bypassed the town soon after, drastically reducing traffic on U.S. Route 66, the local economy never fully recovered. The last major fire occurred on October 7, 1987, destroying nearly all the remaining buildings along the two block business district located on the south side of Route 66.

National Register of Historic Places
Historic Place Date Added Period of Significance Historical Function
Ash Fork Maintenance Camp #1 (also known as Ash Fork Camp) Mar 2, 2000 1900-1924
1925-1949
Transportation, Architecture
Perkinsville Bridge Mar 31, 1989 1900-1924
1925-1949
Engineering, Transportation
Santa Fe, Prescott & Phoenix Railway, Limestone Canyon District Dec 13, 1994 1875-1899
1900-1924
Transportation, Commerce, Industry, Processing, Extraction

Bagdad, San Bernardino County, California

Bagdad is located in San Bernardino County, California about 88 miles west of Needles on the National Trails Highway of U.S. Route 66 in the Mojave Desert. Google Map


Bagdad (San Bernardino County) - 1939
Burton Frasher Collection

Bagdad was established in 1883 as part of a series of alphabetical railroad stations that were constructed across the Mojave Desert to provide water towers to service the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway.

Bagdad was a thriving town along the National Old Trails Road and the famous Route 66. It had a railway depot, telegraph office, dining hall, hotels, library, post office, restaurant, saloons, school and stores. Bagdad was bypassed by the opening of Interstate 40 to the north in 1973, and lost travelers business and resident population. The last buildings were demolished in 1991. All that remains are some building foundations and the cemetery.


Bagdad, Trinity County, California

Bagdad is located along highway 299 in the Helena Historic District, Trinity County, on the east side of the North Fork of the Trinity River about 14 miles west of Weaverville, California on hwy 299. Google Map


Bagdad (Trinity County), California

Inscription: On this site once stood the town of "Bagdad" Founded in the year of 1850 by pioneers Craven Lee and David Weed. Peak of population five hundred. Monument erected August 9, 1953 by Native Sons of the Golden West and National Daughters of the Golden West. Historical Marker

Bagdad was the first mining camp in the area - named so because of its exotic nature. Prostitutes who settled there came from various countries. A Bagdad miner described them as "mademoiselles, senoritas, and jungfraus".

National Register of Historic Places

Historic Place Date Added Period of Significance Historical Function
Helena Historic District (also known as Helena Townsite) May 24, 1984 1875-1899
1850-1874
Agriculture-Subsistence, Commerce-Trade, Domestic, Funerary, Agricultural Outbuildings, Processing, Restaurant, Single Dwelling

Ballarat, California

Ballarat is located in Inyo County, California about 50 miles from Ridgecrest – north on hwy 178 (Trona Wildrose Road) then east on Ballarat Road for 3 1/2 miles. Google Map

Quite a bit remains of the town's buildings. As of 2009 there were two full time residents, two dogs, and a general store. Ballarat served nearby mining camps from 1897 to 1917. They produced nearly a million in gold. The jail & a few adobe ruins remain. Seldom Seen Slim, it's last resident, was buried in Boothill in 1968.

Ballarat had a school but no church. Post Office Spring 1/4 mi south is where the Brier Party, some Jay Hawkers and other 49ers came in their escape from Death Valley in Jan 1850. Historical Marker


Bannack, Montana

Bannack is a State Park in Beaverhead County, Montana about 25 miles from Dillon – south on I-15, west on hwy 278, then south on Bannack Bench Road. Bannack is managed by the B.L.M. Google Map

Montana Travel Site


Bannack, Montana - 1900

Bannack was founded in 1862 when John White discovered gold on Grasshopper Creek. As news of the gold strike spread many prospectors and businessmen rushed to Bannack hoping to strike it rich. Bannack was the first Territorial Capital of Montana in 1864 and the first County Seat of Beaverhead County from 1864-1881. The Capital moved on to Virginia City.

In 1863 gold had been discovered near Virginia City and at that time many prospectors left Bannack in hopes of finding the mother lode in Virginia City. However, some people stayed in Bannack and explored the use of further mining techniques. From the late 1860's to the 1930's, Bannack continued as a mining town with a fluctuating population. By the 1950's gold workings had dwindled and most folks had moved on. At that point the State of Montana declared Bannack a State Park. Historical Marker

The 3 R's - 1872

Bannack was very family orientated. There were strict rules for the teachers. Men could go courting one day a week. Women were fired if they got married or engaged in improper conduct. Teachers were not allowed to smoke, drink, visit pool halls, or get shaved at a barber shop.

National Register of Historic Places

Historic Place Date Added Period of Significance Historical Function
Bannack Historic District Oct 15, 1966 1900-1924
1875-1899
1850-1874
Commerce-Trade, Domestic, Industry-Processing-Extraction, Business, Extractive Facility, Hotel, Single Dwelling

Bannack Masonic Lodge Hall

The old Masonic Lodge Hall in Bannack, Montana stands as a memorial to all Masons past, present and future. According to Montana Masonic tradition, when you talk of Montana Vigilantes, formed December 22, 1863, this is where it took place, although some non-Masonic historians dispute the level of Masonic involvement. Undisputed though, is that Sheriff Henry Plummer was hanged in Bannack without legal system trial by the controversial Montana Vigilantes on January 10, 1864. Montana Vigilantes

Bannack Historic Lodge No. 3-7-77

The Grand Lodge of Montana chartered Bannack Historic Lodge (3-7-77) on June 23, 2000 as the first Historic Lodge within the jurisdiction. The purpose of Bannack Historic Lodge No. 3-7-77 is to reserve the history of Freemasonry in Montana and the Masonic Lodge building in Bannack. Masonry in Montana


Bayhorse, Idaho

Bayhorse is a State Park in Custer County, Idaho about 14 miles from Challis – south on hwy 93, south on hwy 75, then west on Bayhorse Creek Road. Google Map


Bayhorse, Idaho - 1880s

National Register of Historic Places

Historic Place Date Added Period of Significance Historical Function
Bayhorse March 15, 1976 1875-1899 Domestic, Industry-Processing-Extraction, Energy Facility, Hotel

Bayhorse was founded in 1877. While searching for gold, silver was discovered in the area and a mine was started. The mine's peak years were the 1880s and 1890s. With a population of about 300, Bayhorse had several saloons, boarding houses, assay offices, post office, and two timber mills. Operations continued until 1915 when the mine shut down and the town was abandoned.

The town property was purchased by the State of Idaho in 2006 and opened to the public in 2009 as part of the Land of the Yankee Fork State Park. Visit Idaho - Bayhorse


Bearmouth, Montana

Bearmouth is located in Granite County, Montana about 41 miles east of Missoula just off of I-90 at Bear Gulch Road. Google Map


Northern Pacific Railway Wreck
Bearmouth, Montana - March 5, 1905

Bearmouth was not a mining camp. It was a trading post for the placer mining camps of Beartown, Garnet and Coloma, located in the hills north of Bearmouth. Enormously rich ores from these towns came into Bearmouth to be shipped to smelters. When the gold towns died, Bearmouth followed suit.

A pioneer family named Lannen operated the gold exchange and ferry boat across the Clark Fork River. The town was also a main stop for stagecoaches. It had a beautiful two-storied, balconied inn for travelers to spend the night as well as a large livery stable, both of which still stand.

Coloma/Bearmouth Stage Coach

The 12-mile trip from the mining town of Coloma to Garnet and on to Bearmouth took the better part of a day. The Silver State newspaper (Deer Lodge) hailed its completion in February, 1896, as the "cannon ball road from Coloma to Bearmouth."


Beartown, Montana

Beartown is located in Granite County, Montana about 44 miles east of Missoula on hwy 200 and at mile maker 22 south on Garnet Range Road/Bear Gulch Road. Bear Gulch Road can also be reached from I-90 about 41 miles east of Missoula. Google Map


Beartown, Montana

Beartown is one of the chain of gold towns along Bear Gulch Road. The road still travels through where Beartown used to be but all that remains is a crumbling foundation which lies on private property. Gold was discovered in October 1865 and Beartown was built almost overnight. Thousands lived in the camp in its heyday. By 1868 Beartown had several stores, saloons, gambling houses, a blacksmith shop and other businesses typical of mining camps. A school was built in 1881. At one time it was runner up to be the State Capital. By 1898 it was deserted.

There is a steep cliff here where local folklore say a Chinese prospector buried a fortune in a five pound baking powder can. Hundreds have sought it, but it has never been found.

Beartown Roughs

"Combine 17 saloons with a brewery. Sprinkle in a fair share of gold fever and you have the ingredients for a wild town. A group of partying miners called the "Beartown Roughs" kicked up their heels on the weekends after a hard week muscling rocks on their claims. In contrast to Garnet where family living was common in the late 1890s, this early mining community fit the classic image of the Wild West." Garnet Back County Byway

Coloma/Bearmouth Stage Coach

The 12-mile trip from the mining town of Coloma to Garnet and on to Bearmouth took the better part of a day. The Silver State newspaper (Deer Lodge) hailed its completion in February, 1896, as the "cannon ball road from Coloma to Bearmouth."


Bear Valley (Mariposa County) California

Bear Valley, population 125, (formerly Haydenville, Biddle's Camp, Biddleville, Simpsonville, and Johnsonville) is a living ghost town located in Mariposa County located 10.5 miles south-southeast of Coulterville. Google Map


Oso House - 1860

Oso House

Frémont built an elegant hotel, Oso House. Frémont lived and worked in the city, and his large home was nicknamed the Little White House, coincidentally built two years after he was the first Republican Party candidate for US President. The home burned in 1866.

At its peak, Bear Valley had a population of 3,000. During 1850-60 when Frémont's Pine Tree and Josephine Mines were producing. Bear Valley was designated California Historical Landmark #331. California Historical Site


Blue Diamond, Nevada
Blue Diamond, population 290, (formerly Cottonwood Springs), is a living ghost town located in Clark County, Nevada about 15 miles west of Las Vegas. Blue Diamond was originally a stop on the Old Spanish Trail between 1830 and 1848. The trail was then used as a wagon road for the Mormons until 1905. Google Map
National Register of Historic Places
Historic Place Date Added Period of Significance Historical Function

Old Spanish Trail

Nevada Boundary Increases - August 22, 2001 & March 21, 2008

Oct 6, 1988 1825-1849
1850-1874
1875-1899
1900-1924
Transportation - Trade Route

Bodie, California

Bodie is a State Park located in Mono County, California about 20 miles from Bridgeport – south on hwy 395 and east on hwy 270 (Bodie Road). Google Map


Bodie, California - 1889

Gold was discovered here in 1859 by W.S. Bodey after whom the town was named. Once the most thriving metropolis of the Mono Country, Bodie’s mines produced gold valued at more than 100 million dollars. Tough as nails, the “Bad Man from Bodie” still carries his guns and his Bowie knife down through the pages of Western history. Historical Marker Database

Hardships Endured

The weather was particularly harsh in Bodie. It snowed as much as twenty feet deep. Winds whipped unheeded on the treeless slopes to a hundred miles an hour. Temperatures went down 40°F below zero. Many died of exposure and disease.


Bodie, California - 1890

Bodie is owned by the State of California. Bodie is kept in a state of "arrested decay" meaning it won't deteriorate any further. The State of California took over the town in 1962 to make it a State Historic Park ensuring that the town is property maintained without destroying or changing anything. With many of the buildings left, it is one of the best preserved ghost towns in the country. Bodie State Historic Park Website

Bodie was a Bad Town

It was rich. It was remote. It had the reputation of being one of the most furious, vehement, violent and lawless towns in all the Mother Lode. Law and order took a back seat to whatever was the inspiration of the moment including putting a bullet into someone as the only way to settle an argument. On September 5, 1880, the daily Bodie Standard reported three shootings and two stage holdups. The town had 30 gold mines, 65 saloons, numerous brothels, gambling halls, and opium dens. Every other building on the mile long main street was a saloon. Three breweries worked day and night and whiskey was brought into town in 100 gallon barrels.

The Bodie Curse

Legends about Bodie abound, including the Bodie Curse. The curse is supposedly perpetuated by the town ghosts who guard against thieves and protect its treasures. According to legend, if visitors take anything – even a pebble, they will be cursed with bad luck. Misfortune and tragedy are heaped upon the victim until the stolen item is returned.

According to Park Rangers, many who have taken things eventually return them, to rid themselves of this curse. They receive souvenirs sent in unmarked boxes all the time. Most are accompanied with notes from people stating they hope their luck will change. Skeptics state that this legend is kept alive in order to protect the town from pillagers. Either way this curse does help to preserve Bodie.

National Register of Historic Places

Historic Place Date Added Period of Significance Historical Function
Bodie Historic District Oct 15,1966 1875-1899
1850-1874
Commerce-Trade, Industry-Processing-Extraction, Business, Domestic, Extractive Facility, Single Dwelling

Bonnie Springs, Nevada

Bonnie Springs is located in Clark County, Nevada about 15 miles west of Las Vegas. It was first constructed in 1843, as a stopover for wagon trains going to California down the Old Spanish Trail. In 1846, General Fremont on his way to California stopped at Bonnie Springs Ranch to gear up for his trip through Death Valley. Google Map

Today, Bonnie Springs Ranch is a western-themed tourist attraction including horseback riding, a zoo, an old western town, a miniature train, a 46-room motel, and a restaurant.

National Register of Historic Places

Historic Place Date Added Period of Significance Historical Function

Old Spanish Trail

Nevada Boundary Increases - August 22, 2001 & March 21, 2008

Oct 6, 1988 1825-1849
1850-1874
1875-1899
1900-1924
Transportation - Trade Route

Bristol Wells, Nevada

Bristol Wells is in Lincoln County, Nevada about 23 miles from Pioche – north on hwy 93 then west on the Bristol Wells Road. Google Map

The first mining claims were staked in 1870. In 1890 the population of Bristol Wells was about 400. It had a post office from 1878 - 1887. Activity declined after 1893. All that remains are two buildings, a windmill, and the three charcoal ovens. This site was totally unprotected when we were there but surprisingly in very good condition.

Charcoal Ovens

The charcoal ovens were used to convert local wood into charcoal for use by the mining industry. After the silver veins ran out and the smelters shut down, they served as shelters for prospectors and stockmen. Rumor has it that local stagecoach bandits also hid in the ovens.


Bristol Wells Charcoal Ovens

National Register of Historic Places

Historic Place Date Added Period of Significance Historical Function
Bristol Wells Town Site (also known as Bristol City)
Bristol Wells Application
Mar 24, 1972 1900-1924
1875-1899
1850-1874
Commerce-Trade, Domestic, Industry-Processing-Extraction, Extractive Facility, Hotel, Manufacturing Facility, Business, Single Dwelling

Cadiz, California

Cadiz, established in 1883 is located in San Bernardino County about 85 miles west of Needles, California. Cadiz was the third in a string of alphabetically named railroad stations that were constructed across the Mojave Desert to provide water towers to service the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. Google Map

Cadiz, California - 1948
Burton Frasher Collection


Calico, California

Calico is now an amusement ghost town located in the Calico Mountains in San Bernardino County 7 miles from Daggett – north on Ghost Town Road. Google Map


Calico, California - 1931
Burton Frasher Collection

Calico was founded in 1881 as a silver mining town, and today has been converted into a county park. Walter Knott (of Knott's Berry Farm fame) purchased Calico in the 1950s and architecturally restored all but the five original buildings to look as they did in the 1880's. Calico was proclaimed California's Silver Rush Ghost Town in 2005 by then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Calico Ghost Town

Calico Lives Again

Under the auspices of Knott’s Berry Farm, Buena Park, CA Buildings shall be rebuilt on their original sites. Walter Knott is dedicating Calico Ghost Town to the memory of the heroic silver miners who lived and toiled here. The preservation of this singular California heritage is also dedicated to you, the visitor, as a constant source of learning and enjoyment. Please respect this historic property. Walter Knott. Historical Marker Database


Chambless, California

Chambless is located in San Bernardino County, California about 69 miles west of Needles on the National Trails Highway of U.S. Route 66 in the Mojave Desert. Google Map


Chambless, California - 1928

Chambless was established as part of a series of alphabetical railroad stations that were constructed across the Mojave Desert that provided water towers to service the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. It became a popular motorist and tourist stop for Route 66 travelers but has essentially disappeared since the opening of I-40 in 1973.


Chesaw, Washington

Chesaw is a living ghost town located in Okanogan County, Washington about 20 miles from Oroville – east on the Chesaw Road. Google Map


Chesaw, Washington - 1910

Chesaw was named for the Chinese settler Chee Saw, who arrived in the mid-1890s and married a Native American woman. The town sprang up and thrived during a brief gold rush from 1896 to 1900. Word of the gold spread, but since the area was in the Colville Indian Reservation, no prospecting was allowed. In 1896, with morals adjusted to fit the pocketbook, the white man opened half of the reservation to mineral claims. Promptly, most of the good pastures and fields were taken by whites as placer claims.

Boom to Bust

Chesaw's boom town days included two hotels, a large three story livery barn, a black smith shop, two department stores, one hardware store, a barber shop, post office, an assay office, three saloons, a bank, and three grocery stores. A school was built in 1906. By 1910 there were forty buildings and about 250 inhabitants. By 1914 mining had played out. The school was torn down in 1943. Fire raced through the town in 1950 and again in 1959.

4th of July Rodeo

The Chesaw 4th of July Rodeo has been held annually since 1942. In addition to the Rodeo it include a Parade and family games like the egg toss, the cross country saw contest, nail driving for speed, and three-legged race.

Chesaw Today

Two buildings on main street are still functioning businesses - the Chesaw Store and the Chesaw Tavern. A few scattered cabins and rodeo grounds remain.


Chinese Camp, California

Chinese Camp is located in Tuolumne County, California about 10 miles south of Sonora, California on the Golden Chain Highway 49. Google Map

Chinese Camp is the remnant of a notable California Gold Rush mining town. Chinese laborers arriving in California in 1849 were driven from neighboring Camp Salvado and resettled here, and the area started to become known as Chinese Camp. At one point the town was home to an estimated 5,000 Chinese.

The post office was established on April 18, 1854. The St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, built in 1855, was restored in 1949. Chinese Camp was headquarters for stagelines in early 1850s and for several California Chinese mining companies.

Chinese Camp is best known for its Tong Wars especially the one that occurred on September 26, 1856. It pitted about 900 members of the Yan-Woo Tong against roughly 1200 members of the Sam Yaps Tong. Historical Marker


Chloride, Arizona

Chloride is a living ghost town located in Mohave County, Arizona about 23 miles from Kingman – north on hwy 93 and east on hwy 125. Google Map


Chloride, Arizona - 1914

Chloride is a onetime silver mining camp and is considered the oldest continuously inhabited mining town in the state. In 2000, the population was 352. Chloride is a strange little town - not really a ghost town but not really a thriving community. There is still a post office in Chloride but not much else.

The yards were all well kept but decorated in a strange way with antiques - some sparsely, some completely covering the yard, and some arranged in such a way as to create something else. Interesting. A nice looking cafe named Yesterdays was just off main street.

Prospectors first located mineral resources in the area in the 1840s, including silver, gold, lead, zinc, and turquoise. Chloride was founded about 1863, but mining was not widespread until the 1870s after a treaty was signed with the Hualapai Indians. Chloride, AZ


Circle City, Washington

Circle City is in Okanogan County, Washington on 9 mile road between Sidley and the Chesaw Road Junction.

Circle City had a section house, unsuccessful water tank, depot with a few grocery items, and a school. The railroad line was completed by 1907, with an average of two and one half percent grade. Here westbound trains had to stop to cool their brakes.

In 1906, 40 acres were set aside for a townsite. A one-room schoolhouse and quarters for a teacher were built. The railroad maintained a crew bunkhouse and quarts for the section foreman's families. Trains stopped here 20-30 minutes to cool the brakes after a steep decline from the Town of Molson. some said "you could see the red glow of the brakes on the passenger trains from Oroville". The 28 miles trip to Oroville took about 1 1/2 hours and cost .99 cents. About 1932 everything was abandoned, leaving only memories. Molson Museum


Cisco, Utah

Cisco is located in Grand County, Utah about 46 miles north of Moab on hwy 6 near the junction of hwy 128 and I-70. Google Map


Cisco Post Office

In the 1880s Cisco served as a saloon and water-refilling station for the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad. Stores, hotels and restaurants sprang up to accommodate crews and travelers. The town site contains many relics of a typical old west railroad town. Unfortunately for history and railroad buffs, the ghost town's easy access and proximity to the freeway have lured vandals. The relics are heavily damaged. The town's demise started with the demise of the steam locomotive and was sealed when Interstate 70 by-passed Cisco altogether. Cisco was a filming location for the Movies Vanishing Point (1971), Thelma and Louise (1991), and Don't Come Knocking (2005).

National Register of Historic Places

Historic Place Date Added Period of Significance Historical Function
Robidoux Inscription
Robidoux Inscription Application
July 23, 1982 1825-1849 Exploration-Settlement, Commerce, Landscape

Coloma, Montana

Coloma is located in the Garnet Range in Missoula County, Montana about 38 miles from Missoula – east on hwy 200 then at mile marker 22 south on Garnet Range Road. Google Map

Montana Travel Site

Records of the period indicate high gold mining activity from 1896 onwards. Mining records are missing, however it was estimated $200,000 to $250,000 in gold was extracted. In 1916 there was some activity, mills were installed. The survey team found that the mines were unprofitable. Additional prospecting activity occurred between 1932 and 1950.

Mystery Camp of Garnet Range

(1893-1915) The history of Coloma is very mysterious. It is still very difficult to find any information about Coloma. Nearby residents claim they know nothing of the site, and refuse to answer any questions. Speculation has developed two conclusions: either the failures are so embarrassing no one wants to remember, or there are still discoveries to be found that no one wishes to expose.

At its height Coloma boasted the Chamberlain boarding house, the Mammoth Company store, a school, livery stable, Moss family mercantile, and Mammoth Mill complex. Coloma’s post office was decommissioned in 1903 and the last major effort at the Mammoth was in 1906. University of Montana

Coloma/Bearmouth Stage Coach

The 12-mile trip from the mining town of Coloma to Garnet and on to Bearmouth took the better part of a day. The Silver State newspaper (Deer Lodge) hailed its completion in February, 1896, as the "cannon ball road from Coloma to Bearmouth."


Cool Springs, Arizona

Cool Springs is in Mohave County, Arizona about 20 miles west of Kingman on Historic Route 66. Google Map


Cool Springs, Arizona - 1937
Burton Frasher Collection

Cool Springs camp and service station, established in the mid-1920's, was an important stop for motorists traveling Arizona's Route 66. Remarkably, it has survived nearly a 100 years of fire, bombs, destruction and ruin.

In the 1930’s, James Walker built 8 cabins, improved the station, and ran a restaurant. The hey-day of Route 66 was the hey-day of Cool Springs. In the early 1950s Route 66 was re-aligned to avoid the steep mountain grades of Sitgreaves Pass. The completion of I-40 dealt the final blow. Cool Springs' days were numbered.

In the mid-1960's, a fire burned Cool Springs to the ground. Nothing remained but fragments of the stone foundations and the original stone pillars. Cool Springs was just a forgotten memory, a crumbling stone relic along a forgotten road, home to lizards, tarantulas, and tumbleweeds.

Then in 1991 Cool Springs sprung to life again when Hollywood used it as a location for their movie "Universal Soldier". Cool Springs was rebuilt around the old pillars and remaining stone foundation. At the end of filming, though, the buildings were blown to smithereens. Cool Springs became ruins once more.

In 1997 Ned Leuchtner passed through the area and found the ruins of Cool Springs. He couldn't’ resist the forgotten relic and purchased it in 2001. Cool Springs was rebuilt again. On December 7th, 2004 the power was hooked up marking the first time that the lights had been on since 1966. Cool Springs is now open for business, a refreshing stop along America's Mother Road. Historic Cool Springs Camp


Coulterville, California

Coulterville, population 200, (formerly, Maxwell's Creek) is a mining town located on Maxwell Creek in Mariposa County 20 miles northwest of Mariposa. Coulterville had a population of 201 at the 2010 census. Google Map


Coulterville, CA - 1948
Burton Frasher Collection

The Maxwell's Creek post office opened in 1852 and changed its name to Coulterville in 1872. The Coulterville Main Street Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in March 12th, 1982.

National Register of Historic Places

Historic Place Date Added Period of Significance Historical Function
Coulterville Main Street Historic District Mar 12, 1982 1900-1924
1875-1899
1850-1874
Architecture, Transportation,
Commerce-Trade, Domestic,
Department Store, Hotel,
Secondary Structure,
Single Dwelling, Warehouse

Danby, California

Danby is located in San Bernardino County, California about 58 miles west of Needles on the National Trails Highway of U.S. Route 66 in the Mojave Desert. Google Map

Danby was established as part of a series of railroad stations that were constructed across the Mojave Desert to provide water towers to service the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. Situate along the National Old Trails Road and the famous Route 66, it later became a motorist stop. Danby was bypassed by the opening of Interstate 40 to the north in 1973, and lost travelers business and resident population.


Deadwood, South Dakota

Deadwood is a city in South Dakota and county seat of Lawrence County. It is south of I-15 at the junction of hwy's 85, 14 and 385. Google Map


Deadwood, South Dakota - 1890

In 1874, Colonel George Armstrong Custer led an expedition into the Hills and announced the discovery of gold on French Creek near present-day Custer, South Dakota. Custer's announcement triggered the Black Hills Gold Rush — one of the last great gold rushes in the country. Deadwood quickly reached a population of around 5,000.

Treaty of Laramie

The illegal settlement of Deadwood, named for the dead trees found in it's gulch, began in the 1870s on the territory granted to American Indians in the 1868 Treaty of Laramie. The treaty guaranteed ownership of the Black Hills to the Lakota people. Ongoing disputes over the Hills have reached the United States Supreme Court on several occasions.

"The site of a rich gold strike in 1875, Deadwood retains its mining town atmosphere. Many original buildings remain. While Deadwood is one of the most highly publicized mining towns of the trans-Mississippi West, much of its fame rests on the famous or infamous characters that passed through." Historic Deadwood

National Register of Historic Places

Historic Place Date Added Period of Significance Historical Function
Deadwood Historic District (also known as Deadwood) Oct 15, 1966 1925-1949
1900-1924
1875-1899
Commerce-Trade, Domestic, Education, Government, Industry Processing-Extraction, Recreation and Culture, Transportation, Customhouse, Library, Specialty Store
Mount Theodore Roosevelt Monument Dec 22, 2005 1900-1924 Recreation and Culture, Monument-Marker
Tomahawk Lake Country Club (also known as Tomahawk Country Club) Oct 26, 2005 1925-1949 Recreation and Culture, Sport Facility

Gamblers, Gunslingers & Prostitutes

Deadwood played by it's own rules attracting outlaws, gamblers and gunslingers along with the gold seekers. Demand for women was high, and the business of prostitution proved to have a good market. Madam Dora DuFran would eventually become the most profitable brothel owner in Deadwood, closely followed by Madam Mollie Johnson.

Wild Bill Hickok
(May 27, 1837 - August 2, 1876)

Wild Bill is probably the most famous Deadwood resident, even though he was only in town a few short weeks. James Butler Hickok, a well-known gambler and gunslinger, arrived in Deadwood in July of 1876, along with Colorado Charlie Utter and Calamity Jane.

Jack McCall shot Wild Bill from behind on August 2, 1876 while he played poker in the Nuttal & Mann's Saloon. Wild Bill was holding a pair of aces and eights. That series of cards became known to poker players all around the world as the "Dead Man's Hand".

Calamity Jane
(May 1, 1852 – August 1, 1903)

Martha Jane Canary made a name for herself in Deadwood and is buried next to Hickok in Mount Moriah Cemetery. She was an American frontierswoman, professional scout and indian fighter. She was illiterate and quite notably rarely bathed.

Calamity Jane came from a very hardscrabble life, unacquainted with bourgeois notions of decorum. She was afflicted with alcoholism and wanderlust but, as someone remembered - her vices were the wide-open sins of a wide-open country.

Mount Moriah Cemetery

Mount Moriah Cemetery is the burial place of Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane and other notable figures of the Wild West. In the early years of Deadwood, there were two graveyards – the Ingelside Cemetery, which was part of the way up Mount Moriah, and the Catholic Cemetery. Prospectors, miners, settlers, prostitutes and children were buried within the Ingelside Cemetery, alongside Wild Bill Hickok and Preacher Smith.

In the 1880s it was determined that the land where Ingelside Cemetery was located could be better used for housing. Most of the bodies there, including Wild Bill Hickok, were moved up the mountain to Mount Moriah and re-interred.


Ed's Camp, Arizona

Ed's Camp is in Mohave County, Arizona about 21 miles west of Kingman and 7 miles east of Oatman on Historic Route 66. Google Map


Ed's Camp, Arizona

Ed's Camp was established around 1920, by Ed Edgerton. Ed originally came to the area as a miner in 1917 and it didn't take him long to realize that the real gold could be found servicing the Route 66 traveler. He established his camp around 1919 and business was so good he never got around to building a proper building, he just threw up a roof to provide some measure of protection from the hot desert sun and Ed's Camp was born. Today the camp is deserted.

Auto Camps

The first campgrounds for automobile tourists were constructed in the late 1910s. Before that, tourists who couldn't afford to stay in a hotel either slept in their cars or pitched their tents in fields alongside the road. Auto camps predated motels by a few years, established in the 1920s as primitive municipal camp sites where travelers pitched their own tents. Auto tourists adapted their cars by adding beds, makeshift kitchens and roof decks.

The next step up was the cabin camp, a primitive but permanent group of structures. As demand increased, for-profit commercial camps gradually displaced public camp grounds. During the Great Depression, landholders facing onto highways built cabins to convert unprofitable land to income.


Elkhorn, Montana

Elkhorn is a living ghost town and State Park in the Elkhorn Mountains, Jefferson County, Montana about 18 miles from Boulder – east on hwy 89 then north on Elkhorn Road. Google Map

Montana Travel Site


Elkhorn, Montana - 1880s

Lodes of silver, were initially discovered in the Elkhorn mountains by Peter Wys, a Swiss immigrant. Six years later, Anton Holter, a pioneer capitalist from Helena, Montana, began developing the mine. Over $14 million in silver was carried from the mine. In 1890, the Sherman Silver Purchase Act passed, creating a high demand for Elkhorn's silver.

Fraternity Hall

In May, 1893 the Fraternity Hall was constructed for social gatherings, and still remains as one of the most well-preserved buildings in Elkhorn. Lodge meetings were held upstairs, while dances, concerts, traveling theatrical troupes, and public meetings were held on the first floor.

During this peak period, Elkhorn boasted 2,500 inhabitants, a school, hotel, church, stores, saloons, and brothels. Unlike most mining towns, Elkhorn was populated mostly by married European immigrants. A diphtheria epidemic also struck Elkhorn in the winter of 1888-1889, resulting in many deaths, particularly of children.

National Register of Historic Places

Historic Place Date Added Period of Significance Historical Function
Fraternity Hall Apr 3, 1975 1875-1899 Social, Clubhouse, Architecture

In the years following, the silver boom and Elkhorn's prosperity began to lessen as the desire for silver decreased. Railroad service to Elkhorn was halted and only a fraction of the original inhabitants remained. Today, one acre of Elkhorn is protected as a Montana state park, surrounded by private land along with some homes and cabins still in use. Montana State Parks - Elkhorn


Ely, Nevada

Ely is a living ghost town (population approximatesly 4,000), the largest city and county seat in White Pine County, Nevada. It is about 153 miles west of Delta, Utah – on hwy 50. Google Map


Ely, Nevada - 1906

Ely was founded as a stagecoach station along the Pony Express and Central Overland Route. It's mining boom came later than the other towns along US 50, with the discovery of copper in 1906. Ely suffered through the boom-and-bust cycles so common in the mining towns of the West.

Ely is now a tourism center, and is home of the Nevada Northern Railway Museum. Nearby are Great Basin National Park, Cave Lake State Park, and Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historic Park. The railroad museum features the Ghost Train of Old Ely, a working steam-engine passenger train that travels the historic tracks from Ely to the Robinson mining district.

Nevada Hotel

Built in 1929, this six-story hotel remains in its original glory, with modern amenities added. The hotel was originally founded during the Prohibition era in 1929 and was deemed the tallest building in the state in the 1940s.


Hotel Nevada - 1946

Today, the historic hotel and gambling hall features 67 updated rooms and suites, the only 24-hour restaurant in Ely, a full service bar, event facilities with full catering services, and a selection of popular slot games.

National Register of Historic Places

Historic Place Date Added Period of Significance Historical Function
Nevada Northern Railway Museum - Depot Apr 12, 1984    
Nevada Northern Railway Museum - Yards and Shops July 29, 1993    
Capital Theater Aug 5, 1993    
Central Theater Aug 5, 1993    
L.D.S. Stake Tabernacle July 29, 1993    
US Post Office Oct 7, 2005    
White Pine County Courthouse Sep 11, 1986    

Essex, California

Essex is located in San Bernardino County, California about 47 miles west of Needles on the National Trails Highway of U.S. Route 66 in the Mojave Desert. Google Map


Wayside Camp, Cafe and Store
Essex, California - 1932
Burton Frasher Collection

Essex, a former oasis and auto camp along historic Route 66 in California, was allegedly founded when a motorist suffered a flat tire only to discover there were no garages for miles. Essex was notable along Route 66 for providing free water to travelers, thanks to a well installed by the Automobile Club of Southern California.

Once a bustling roadside hub, Essex is on the verge of joining the list of ghost towns displaced by the creation of Interstate 40. Essex Elementary School founded in 1937 is currently closed. The Post Office remains open.


Eureka Mine, California

Eureka Mine is in Death Valley National Park. From hwy 190 turn south on Emigrant Canyon Road about 12 miles then east on Aguereberry Point Road. Google Map

Eureka Mine is only a couple of miles up a dirt road - one very dusty dirt road! There isn't too much to see, but still worth the side trip.

Pete Aguereberry, one of the original strike finders, spent 40 years working his claims in the Eureka gold mine. A tent city grew to support a population of 300. Today nothing remains of the town but Pete’s home and the mine. Death Valley National Park


Fairbank, Arizona

Fairbank is located in Cochise County, Arizona in a lush valley on the San Pedro River. It is about 8 miles from Tombstone – north on hwy 80 and west on hwy 82. Google Map


Fairbank, Arizona - 1890

Fairbank, founded in the 1880s, was originally called Junction City, Kendall, and then Fairbank after Chicago investor Nathaniel Kellogg Fairbank. During Fairbank's short heyday the town was home to a post office, established on May 13th, 1883, mills, several rail lines, a school and a hotel. By 1970 almost nothing was left at Fairbank.

On February 15, 1900, Fairbank was the scene of a gunfight between lawman Jeff Davis Milton and members of the Burt Alvord gang, resulting in gang member "Three Fingered Jack" Dunlop being killed, and both Milton and gang member Bravo Juan Yaos being wounded, and the gangs attempt at a train robbery being thwarted.


San Pedro River Bed

The last few residents were evicted when the buildings were declared unsafe. An effort to preserve the remains of Fairbank has been only partially successful. Some buildings remain at the site, but several are in extremely poor condition. In 1986 The largest remaining structure, a hotel, collapsed in 2004.

Bureau of Land Management

In 1986, the former Mexican Land Grant was acquired by the Bureau of Land Management and the town was incorporated into the San Pedro Riparian NCA. The San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area (NCA) contains nearly 57,000 acres of public land in Cochise County, Arizona, between the international border and St. David, Arizona. San Pedro Riparian NCA.

What remains of the town of Fairbank is now open to the public. In March 2007, the BLM restoration of the schoolhouse was completed, and the structure was opened to the public as a museum and information center for Fairbank.

National Register of Historic Places

Historic Place Date Added Period of Significance Historical Function
Quiburi, also known as Santa Cruz de Terrenate, Santa Ana del Quiburi, San Pablo de Q Apr 7, 1971 1750-1799
1749-1500
1499-1000
Defense, Domestic, Fortification, Village Site

Fenner, California

Fenner is located in San Bernardino County, California about 40 miles west of Needles on the National Trails Highway of U.S. Route 66 in the Mojave Desert. Google Map

Fenner was established in 1883 as part of a series of railroad stations that were constructed across the Mojave Desert to provide water towers to service the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. Situate along the National Old Trails Road and the famous Route 66, it later became a motorist stop.

Fenner was bypassed by the opening of I-40 in 1973 but it's proximity at the Junction of I-40 and National Trail Highway saved Fenner from total destruction. Today Fenner, though not a thriving town, is a refreshing gas station, truck stop, and oasis for travelers along I-40.


Fort Apache, Arizona

Apache Historic District is located on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation four miles south of Whiteriver, Arizona, off Arizona 73. Constructed between 1874 and 1932, the Fort Apache Historic District encompasses the original site of the Fort Apache military post.


Barracks

Commanding Officer's Residence
Fort Apache was a major outpost during the Apache wars (1861-1886) and remained a military post until 1922. In 1923 the fort became the site of the Theodore Roosevelt Indian School. The district contains over 30 structures, ranging from a reconstruction of an early log building to original two-story dormitories. Also included are a headquarters building, sleeping quarters, corrals, storehouses, a guardhouse, a magazine, stables, an old military cemetery and prehistoric ruins. Fort Apache Historical Markers
National Register of Historic Places
Historic Place Date Added Period of Significance Historical Function
Fort Apache Historic District Oct 14
1976
1875-1899
1925-1949
1975-2000

Defense, Domestic, Education, Heath Care, Hospital, Military, School

The area is still being used as a central community hub with school and post office. Twenty seven historic buildings make up the core of the 288 acre site. Fort Apache


Post Office

Fort Steel, B.C.

Fort Steele is a Heritage Town located located in the East Kootenay Region of British Columbia about 11 miles north east of Cranbrook on hwy 95. A heritage site is a location designated by the governing body of a township, county, province, state or country as important to the cultural heritage of a community. Google Map


Fort Steele, B.C. - 1910

Fort Steele was never a real fort. It was a gold rush boom town founded in 1864 by John Galbraith. The town was originally called "Galbraith's Ferry", named after the ferry set up by the city's founder over the Kootenay River. The town was renamed Fort Steele in 1888, after legendary Canadian lawman Superintendent Sam Steele of the North-West Mounted Police solved a dispute between a settler who had unjustly accused one of the local First Nations men with murder. Both the town and the First Nations people were so grateful that they renamed the town Fort Steele.

The Canadian Pacific Railway bypassed Fort Steele in favour of Cranbrook. Fort Steele's population dropped quickly as residents moved to Cranbrook. The site slowly started to decay. In 1967, Fort Steele was designated a historic site and restoration began. In 1969 Fort Steele opened to the public as Fort Steele Heritage Town.


Fountain Springs, California

Fountain Springs was established in Tulare County before 1855, at the junction of the Stockton-Los Angeles Road and the road to the Kern River gold mines. From 1858 to 1861, Fountain Springs was a station on the Butterfield Overland Mail route. The site of the settlement was on the Springville Stage Route. Fountain Springs is California Historical Landmark No. 648. Google Map


Frisco, Utah

Frisco is in Beaver County, Utah about 45 miles from Beaver – west on hwy 21. Google Map


Frisco, Utah - 1880

Frisco developed as the post office and commercial center for the San Francisco Mining District, and was the terminus of the Utah Southern Railroad extension from Milford. The Horn Silver mine was discovered in 1875, and had produced $20,267,078.00 worth of ore by 1910.

National Register of Historic Places

Historic Place Date Added Period of Significance Historical Function
Frisco Charcoal Kilns Mar 9, 1982 1875-1899 Industry-Processing-Extraction, Manufacturing Facility

By 1885 over $60,000,000.00 worth of zinc, copper, lead, silver, and gold had been transported from Frisco from the many mines in the area. With 23 saloons, Frisco was known as the wildest town (of course - they all are) in the Great Basin. Killings were common. Drinking water had to be freighted in.

Frisco's fortunes changed suddenly on February 13, 1885, when the Horn Silver Mine caved in completely. It was an unconventional mine, an open pit 900 feet deep braced with timbers, and could have collapsed at any time. In 1905 a Latter Day Saint ward was organized, but in 1911 with the closing of many of the mines, so many church members had left that the ward was discontinued. Legends of America - Frisco


Fruita, Utah

Fruita is in Capital Reef National Park in Wayne County, Utah about 11 miles from Torrey – east on hwy 24. Google Map


Fruita, Utah - 1935

Fruita was abandoned in 1955 when the National Park Service purchased the town to be included in Capitol Reef National Park. Today, Fruita is a semi-preserved and well-managed historic district, maintained by the National Park Service. The historic district contains cabins, barns, the one-room schoolhouse and, the orchards. National Park Service - Fruita

Petroglyphs

Very impressive petroglyph figures can be seen along a sheer cliff that parallels Hwy 24. The figures cover several rock panels and the diversity of images is astonishing. A parking turnout, boardwalks, and viewing platforms have been established to make it easy for visitors to see the figures.

Fruita One Room Schoolhouse

The one-room schoolhouse was built in 1896 and renovated in 1966 by the National Park Service. The students were instructed mainly in reading, writing, and arithmetic. The room was also used for social functions and religious services.

On the Edge of Lawfulness

Of all the places in Utah for Mormons to create a community, Fruita might be one of the most difficult. Fronted by thousands of miles of desert, along a wild river prone to serious flooding, and in an area so remote that paved roads did not arrive until the 1960s, it is perhaps of little wonder Fruita, for most of its life, was home to no more than eight to 10 families.

Fruita operated on the fringe of Mormon social culture. Fruita never had a church, and moonshining was not uncommon. Polygamists running from federal agents often found shelter in the nearby maze of canyons and were aided by sympathetic locals. Butch Cassidy had maintained a hideout nearby as well.

Though it never comprised more than 300 acres, Fruita, originally called Junction, became an important settlement due to its relatively long growing season and abundant water. Settlers arrived in Fruita and planted thousands of trees bearing apples, apricots, peaches, pears, plums as well as walnuts and almonds.

National Register of Historic Places

Historic Place Date Added Period of Significance Historical Function
Fruita Rural Historic District (also known as Junction) Mar 25, 1997 1925-1949
1900-1924
1875-1899
Agriculture-Subsistence, Domestic, Government, Agricultural Fields, Government Office, Horticulture Facility, Processing, Secondary Structure, Single Dwelling
Fruita Schoolhouse
Fruita Schoolhouse Application
Feb 23, 1972 1925-1949
1900-1924
1875-1899
Educations, School
Oyler Mine Sept 14, 1999 1950-1974
1925-1949
1900-1924
Industry-Processing-Extraction, Extractive Facility
Pioneer Register Sept 13, 1999 1850-1874
1875-1899
1900-1924
1925-1949
Exploration, Settlement,
Social History,
Communications

Garnet, Montana

Garnet is located in Granite County, Montana about 41 miles from Missoula – east on hwy 200 and at the 22 mile marker south on Garnet Range Road. Garnet can also be reached from I-90 – 10 miles north on Bear Gulch Road. Google Map

Montana Travel Site


Garnet, Montana - 1890s

Bureau of Land Management &
Garnet Preservation Association

Garnet is one of the state's best preserved ghost towns. The town sits at an elevation of about 6,000 feet in the Front Range, but sheltered in a forest. It is managed by the Bureau of Land Management and Garnet Preservation Association.

National Register of Historic Places

Efforts to place Garnet on the National Register date back to 1987 when a draft nomination was submitted to the State Historic Preservation Office by BLM. That draft was returned with a request for revisions and additional information and documentation. Over the years, the nomination was worked on sporadically until finally after "a long and twisting road" it was registered.

Historic Place Date Added Period of Significance Historical Function
Garnet Historic District Aug 12, 2010    

Garnet was named for the semi-precious ruby-colored stone, the first item to be mined there, although gold quickly followed. It wasn't until an abundance of gold was discovered at the Nancy Hanks Mine in 1898 that Garnet became a boomtown with a population of nearly 1,000 people.

Garnet supported numerous saloons, but its family emphasis tempered usual mining camp vices. Hotels typically ranged from 1-3 dollars, and the poor miners who could not afford that price could sleep on the floor in the attic without any windows for a quarter. It is suspected that Garnet even had a brothel, but prices and the exact whereabouts are uncertain. In 1912 nearly half the town burned down and was never rebuilt. Garnet Ghost Town

Garnet had everything - hotels, saloons, stores, a school, a Chinese laundry and barbershops. Shown in the picture (left to right) are Kelly's Saloon, Davey's Store, Wells Hotel – all original buildings.

Kelly's Saloon

The first owner of Kelly's Saloon was Robert Moore and it was called the "Bob Moore Saloon." L.P. Kelly purchased the saloon on October 21, 1898. Part interest in the business was sold to Thomas Fraser and it became known as the "Kelly and Fraser Saloon." Fraser's interest sold a few more times but Kelly continued to operate the saloon. Kelly's Saloon was one of 13 bars in Garnet during the boom period.

Davey's Store

Frank A. Davey's Store was one of the earliest in Garnet, built about 1898. Through boom and bust, Frank A. Davey steadfastly believed in Garnet’s future. As owner of the general store, hotel, and the stage line, Davey was Garnet’s most prominent resident. His death in 1947 and the sale of his holdings in 1948 marked the beginning of Garnet as a ghost town. By 1950 the town was deserted.

Wells Hotel

The J. K. Wells Hotel was erected in the winter of 1897 and was the most impressive building in Garnet. Mrs. Wells designed it after one she owned in Beartown. With its elaborate woodwork, beautifully carved doors and stained glass windows, it was equal to the luxurious buildings in Helena. To the left was the ladies parlor, on the right stood the hotel office, and moving forward the guest would enter the grand dining room. Such events as the Grande Masquerade, the Hard Times Ball, and the St. Patrick's Day Calico Ball were held in this room.

Who was Frank Hamilton?

"Frank Hamilton died last Tuesday and was buried in the Coloma Cemetery on Thursday, under the auspices of the Garnet Miners Union. Deceased was about 35 years of age, but nothing is known of his antecedents, further than that. He was born in Colorado, presumably at Canon City." Drummond Call, Friday, October 6, 1905

Sand Park Cemetery

This is a small cemetery is located on the border between Missoula and Granite Counties. Sand Park Cemetery dates to 1896 when miners from Coloma, one-half mile north, and Garnet, 4 miles east, were buried at this location. The principal occupation period of these two communities was 1895 - 1910.

Coloma/Bearmouth Stage Coach

The 12-mile trip from the mining town of Coloma to Garnet and on to Bearmouth took the better part of a day. The Silver State newspaper (Deer Lodge) hailed its completion in February, 1896, as the "cannon ball road from Coloma to Bearmouth."


Goffs, California

Goffs is located in San Bernardino County, California about 30 miles west of Needles on the National Trails Highway of U.S. Route 66 in the Mojave Desert. Google Map


Goffs, California

Goffs, established in 1893, is a nearly empty one-time railroad town at the route's high point in the Mojave Desert. Goffs was a stop on famous U.S. Route 66 until 1931 when a more direct road opened between Needles and Essex. Goffs was also home to workers of the nearby Santa Fe Railroad.

Goffs Schoolhouse

The first school in Goffs opened its doors for the fall term in 1911. A new school, featuring a distinctive mission style, was designed and constructed in 1914. The new school house served as a community center as well as a school until the spring of 1937. It reverted to private ownership in 1938. Historical Marker

WWII Army Camp at Goffs

The U. S. Army maintained a camp at Goffs 1942-1944. Goffs was an important railhead, supply point, hospital, and for three months in 1942 Headquarters of the 7th Infantry Division. It was part of the 12 million acre Desert Training Center/California-Arizona Maneuver Area established to train the armored forces of General George Patton. Historical Marker

National Register of Historic Places

Historic Place Date Added Period of Significance Historical Function
Goffs Schoolhouse
Goffs Schoolhouse Application
Oct 11, 2001 1925-1949
1900-1924
Defense, Education, Social, Meeting Hall, Military Facility, School

Goldfield, Arizona
Goldfield is a preserved and re-created ghost town located in Pinal County, Arizona about 5 miles east of Apache Junction on Apache Trail Historic Road Hwy 88 Arizona. The Apache Trail was was an old stagecoach route that shuttled in supplies for Roosevelt Dam’s construction in the early 1900s. Google Map

Situated atop a small hill between the Superstition Mountains and the Goldfield Mountains, the settlement of Goldfield got its start in 1892 when very rich, high grade gold ore was found in the area. A town soon sprang up and on October 7, 1893 it received its first official post office.

The strike, coupled with the legend of the Lost Dutchman Mine, which had been circulating for years, led plenty of new miners to the area and in no time, the town boasted three saloons, a boarding house, a general store, brewery, blacksmith shop, butcher shop, and a school. For five years the town boomed.

Today, Goldfield's authentic looking street is filled with authentic looking buildings including numerous shops, a brothel, bakery, leather works, jail, livery and saloon.

Goldfield, Nevada

Goldfield is a living ghost town and the county seat in Esmeralda County, Nevada – on hwy 95 about 27 miles south of Tonopah, 190 miles north of Las Vegas, and 240 miles south of Carson City. Google Map


Goldfield, Nevada - 1900s

Goldfield was a boomtown in the first decade of the 20th century due to the discovery of gold. For several years it was the largest town in Nevada reaching a peak population of about 20,000 people in 1907. Between 1903 and 1940, Goldfield's mines produced more than $86 million. Gold exploration still continues in and around the town today.

Virgil Walter Earp
(July 18, 1843 - October 19, 1905)

One of Goldfield's famous former residents is Virgil Earp. Virgil was hired as a deputy sheriff in Goldfield on January 26, 1905. He died of pneumonia in October 1905. Contrary to modern belief, Wyatt Earp did not live in Goldfield. His only connection was to visit his brother Virgil.

The largest mining company left town in 1919. In 1923 a fire destroyed most of the town's flammable buildings. The old hotel and high school survived the fire. By the 1910 census, Goldfield's population had declined to 4,838 and in 1950 it had a population of 275. While a small permanent population remains in Goldfield, it is largely a ghost town.

Goldfield Hotel

The town's four-story Goldfield Hotel opened in 1908 at a cost of $450,000 .

The rooms were outfitted with pile carpets. The lobby boasted mahogany, leather, crystal chandeliers, and gilded columns. It also featured an elevator. The hotel ceased operations in 1946 but the abandoned building remains intact.


Goldfield Hotel - 1934
Burton Frasher Collection

National Register of Historic Places

Historic Place Date Added Period of Significance Historical Function
Goldfield Historic District June 14, 1982 1900-1924 Commerce-Trade, Domestic, Government, Courthouse, Professional, Single Dwelling

Goldroad, Arizona

Goldroad is located in Mohave County about 3 miles east of Oatman, Arizona on Route 66. Google Map


Goldroad, Arizona - 1906

Gold Road Mine was discovered in 1899 by prospector Jose Jerez. He was looking for his burro when he stumbled over a chunk of quartz that contained gold. With the help of his friend Henry Lovin of Kingman, Jose dug a 15-foot deep shaft, and the Gold Road Mine was born. Gold Road Mine has been in production off and on ever since.

The mine has gone through the hands of a number of different owners. Gold Road Mining and Exploration Company sold the mine to United States Smelting Refining and Mining Co. in 1911 at which point the town of Goldroad turned into a "company town". One of the original owners, Henry Lovin, stayed in the are and founded the Goldroad Club and a general merchandise and freighting company. Goldroad's post office was established April 15, 1902 and discontinued October 15, 1942. At one time there were over 400 people living at Goldroad. Today, there are only foundations.


Grand Gulf, Mississippi

Grand Gulf is located in Claiborne County about 5 miles northwest of of Port Gibson on Grand Gulch Road. Google Map


Battle of Grand Gulf - 1863

Grand Gulf grew as a trading center between the cotton fields of the South and textile mills of the North. When the river shifted course in the 1850s, the business district was gradually destroyed.

Grand Gulf Military State Park

Grand Gulf Military State Park is located in the unincorporated area that is now the ghost town of Grand Gulf.

The Battle of Grand Gulf was fought on April 29, 1863, during the American Civil War. In the Vicksburg Campaign of Major General Ulysses S. Grant, Union Naval Forces under Rear Admiral David D. Porter led seven ironclads in an attack on the Confederate fortifications and batteries at Grand Gulf, down river from Vicksburg, Mississippi. Although the Confederates withstood the Union bombardment and prevented infantry from landing against their fortification, the defeat was only a minor setback to Grant's plan to cross the Mississippi River and advance against Vicksburg. National Park Service

National Register of Historic Places

Historic Place Date Added Period of Significance Historical Function
Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church (also known as Confederate Memorial Chapel) Nov 23, 1987 1850-1874 Religion, Religious Structure
Grand Gulf Military State Park Apr 11, 1972 1850-1874 Military, Social, Clubhouse, Park

Grasmere, Idaho

Grasmere, Idaho

Grasmere is in Owyhee County along Hwy 51 and is still marked on the map. It actually has an airport - but no residents. There is even a sign that says "Entering Grasmere". Google Map


Grasmere, Idaho

"Grasmere used to be the only gas station and cafe on the road between Bruneau and Owyhee, NV. A couple of years ago, however, the owners, deciding it was unprofitable to maintain their desert oasis, decided to place the town up for sale. As of Feb. 2005 it remains closed and is rapidly disintegrating into the desert. It remains for sale, but with no buyers in sight, I imagine it will soon be completely gone." Submitted by: Tina DuBois - Ghost Towns


Hackberry, Arizona

Hackberry is a living ghost town located 28 miles east of Kingman. It has a post office which serves 68 residential mailboxes. A former mining town, the name "Hackberry" was from the pellets or mattings that gathered on the cattle's long hair, probably caused from burrs picked up from bushes in the area. Silver mining developed the town, but when the ore began to yield less Hackberry became a ghost town.


Hackberry, AZ - 1879

Various service stations in Hackberry served Route 66 travelers but all were shut down after Interstate 40 in bypassed the town leaving Hackberry stranded sixteen miles from the new highway. Hackberry Road would not even be given an off-ramp. Once again, Hackberry became a ghost town. Google Map


Hedley, BC

Hedley, named after Robert R. Hedley, the manager of the Hall Smelter in Nelson, is located at the foot of Nickel Plate Mountain in the Similkameen about 29 km north of Keremeos, British Columbia, on hwy 3. Google Map


Hedley, British Columbia

Gold was first discovered in the Nickel Plate Mountain area in 1897 and several small mines were developed over the years. In the early 1900s, Hedley's population peaked over 1,000 people.

Hedley Mascot Mine

The Hedley Mascot Mine operated between 1936 and 1949 and was one of the most unusual mining operations in the world, being built entirely on the side of a mountain, 5,000 feet above the town of Hedley.

In the 1990s, the British Columbia government was going to burn the site down because it posed a safety risk, but the Minister of Tourism at the time intervened and, in 1995, steps were taken to preserve the site as a Provincial Heritage resource. The buildings were stabilized and rehabilitated over an eight-year period, and, in 2004, the site was open for tours.


Mascot Mine

Hite City, Utah

Hite City is located "under" Lake Powell in Glen Canyon National Recreational Area, Garfield County, Utah on hwy 95 about 160 miles southwest of Moab and 154 miles west of Monticello. Google Map


Hite Ferry - 1946

Lewis Cass Hite, born March 3, l845 in Marion, Illinois, had been prospecting in the Navajo Mountain country. He arrived in Glen Canyon in September, 1883. He was a former member of Quantrill's Civil War guerrillas, and was considered an outlaw. Navajo Chief Hoskininni led Cass to the gold in the sands and gravel along the Colorado River. His discovery set off the Glen Canyon gold rush. Searching for Hidden Wealth

Hite Crossing

Hite Crossing, located near the mouth of the Dirty Devil River, was an early Colorado River outpost anciently used by the Indians as a Colorado River crossing. The early whites called this Colorado River crossing the Dandy Crossing because it was relatively easy to get across.

In 1881-83 a small settlement was established, centered around the ferry, and Hite's name became attached to it. Hite opened a small store and post office. Miners provided much of the business for Hite. After World War II, the population swelled to more than 200. The ferry was discontinued June 5th, 1964 when the Glen Canyon Dam was built and Lake Powell swallowed up Hite. Hite, Utah


Hite Crossing Bridge - Colorado River

Jerome, Arizona

Jerome is a living ghost town in the Black Hills of Yavapai County, Arizona on hwy 89A - about 9 miles west of Cottonwood and 35 miles east of Prescott. Google Map


Jerome, Arizona - 1927

A mining town named Jerome was established on the side of Cleopatra Hill in 1883. It was named for Eugene Murray Jerome, a New York investor who owned the mineral rights and financed mining there. Jerome was incorporated as a town on March 8, 1889. The town housed the workers in the nearby United Verde Mine, which was to produce over 1 billion dollars in copper, gold and silver over the next 70 years.

This little town is unique in the fact it precariously sits on the side of the mountain and the streets are on different levels all the way up. The road curves and winds for miles and then back down to the desert floor again. The streets are extremely narrow and the doors to shops and homes are basically at the edge of the streets. The view is spectacular. Ghost Towns - Jerome

Supported in its heyday by rich copper mines, it now has art galleries, coffee houses, restaurants, a state park and local museum devoted to mining history. In the 1920's Jerome was home to more than 10,000 people. As of the 2010 census, its population was 444.

A Wild West Town

Jerome became a notorious "wild west" town, a hotbed of prostitution, gambling, and vice. On February 5, 1903, the New York Sun proclaimed Jerome to be "the wickedest town in the West". (Funny that every town seems to claim this - I guess because they all were!!) When you think about it though, where would the romance be if they claimed that their town was completely law abiding, everyone was totally moral, and their one and only claim to fame was being the most boring town in the old west!!

National Register of Historic Places

Historic Place Date Added Period of Significance Historical Function
Jerome Historic District Nov 13, 1966 1925-1949
1900-1924
Domestic, Industry-Processing-Extraction, Extractive Facility, Institutional Housing
Douglas Mansion 1972    
Mingus Lookout Complex Jan 28, 1988 1925-1949 Domestic, Government, Institutional Housing, Secondary Structure

Laurin, Montana

Laurin is a living Ghost Town located in Madison County, Montana about 9 miles west of Virginia City on hwy 287. Google Map

Montana Travel Site


Robber's Roost on Vigilante Trail
Laurin, Montana

Laurin (previously known as Cicero) was established in July of 1863 by John Baptiste Laurin, who operated a trading store and had acquired much of the surrounding agricultural land. He and his wife operated the mercantile and ranched in the area for almost four decades. Laurin was a busy and prosperous community. The town included several stores, a post office, churches, a milliner shop, hotel, livery stable, saloon, dance hall, and an ice cream parlor. Laurin was a large trade center for miners and fur trappers in the immediate vicinity and it was home to a railroad station on the Northern Pacific line between Sheridan and Alder.

Today, Laurin still boasts several historic buildings including the old schoolhouse, which is now a private residence, the old Morse Bros. Mercantile, and the 1901 St. Mary Assumption Church.

Montana Vigilantes

Laurin is most known for Hangman's Tree, the place where two Road Agents, Erastus "Red” Yager and George Brown, were the first to be hanged on January 4, 1864 by the Montana Vigilantes formed December 22, 1863. The Vigilantes hung Sheriff Henry Plummer in Bannack on January 10th, 1864. Estimates vary, but it is believed that possibly 35 people were killed due to the actions of the Montana Vigilantes. Montana Vigilantes

National Register of Historic Places

Historic Place Date Added Period of Significance Historical Function
Robbers Roost (also known as Daly's Place) Jan 1, 1976 1850-1874 Domestic, Transportation, Hotel, Road-Related
Saint Mary of the Assumption Church Oct 24, 1985 1875-1899 Religion, Religious Structure

Lincoln, New Mexico

Lincoln is located in Lincoln County, about 57 miles west of Roswell, New Mexico on hwy 380. Google Map


Lincoln, New Mexico - 1880s

Originally called Las Placitas del Rio Bonito by the Spanish families who settled it in the 1850s, the name was changed to Lincoln when Lincoln County was created in January 16, 1869. The town had a population of about 800 in 1888. Historical Marker

Lincoln County War

Outlaws, lawmen, indians, Mexicans, settlers, gunfighters, organized crime, cattle ranchers and corrupt politicians all called Lincoln home. Lincoln and it's mixture of feuding inhabitants sparked the Lincoln County War of 1876-1879. The town is notable for its famous residents, Billy the Kid, William Brady, Pat Garret and John Chisum, who participated in the Lincoln County War, and as the site where Billy the Kid made his most famous escape in April 1881 killing two deputies in the process. On July 14, 1881, he was tracked again by Pat Garrett to Fort Sumner, New Mexico where he was shot and killed by Garrett.


Billy the Kid

Sheriff Pat Garrett

National Register of Historic Places

Historic Place Date Added Period of Significance Historical Function
Lincoln Historic District Oct 15, 1966 1950-1974
1925-1949
1900-1924
Commerce-Trade, Defense, Domestic, Government, Battle Site, Business, City Hall, Single Dwelling
Feather Cave Nov 20, 1974 1000-500
1499-1000
Religion, Ceremonial Site, Art, Historic, Aboriginal, Prehistoric

Ludlow, California

The original Ludlow is located in San Bernardino County, California about 109 miles west of Needles and 51 miles east of Barstow on the National Trails Highway of U.S. Route 66 in the Mojave Desert. Google Map


Siberia Service Station & Post Office
Ludlow, California - 1939
Burton Frasher Collection

Train Life

Ludlow's first life started in 1883 as a water stop for the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad. The water was hauled from Newberry Springs in tank cars. Ore was found in the nearby hills, leading to a boom. From 1906 to 1940 Ludlow was the southern railhead for the Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad. By 1940 mining had ceased and the entire rail line was out of service. On July 18, 1942 scrapping began at Beatty and terminated a year later at Ludlow. The town was left to die.


Ludlow terminus, passenger coach,
engine shop and storehouse - 1910.
Ludlow yards and company housing.
Ludlow yards, shops, warehouse
and the freight depot.
T&T shop area - August 1909
Engine shop with T&T #5, #6, #7 and #8.

Ludlow's second life came from the tourist traffic on Route 66. Ludlow was a welcome break from the intense Mojave Desert heat. Weary travelers could stop for gas or repairs, a bite to eat and lots to drink. When I-40 was built, business dwindled and the residents departed. The town was again left to die. Empty buildings still stand beside old Route 66.

Ludlow's third life is a new Ludlow built in the 1970s just to the north at the off-ramps of I-40. With a current population of about 10 residents, Ludlow, complete with two gas stations, tire and repair shop, small motel, restaurant and fast-food café, continues it's long tradition of providing services to desert travelers.


Marshall (Coloma), California

Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park is in the Town of Coloma, El Dorado County, California. It is about 8 miles from Placerville, California – north on hwy 49 (Golden Chain Highway). Google Map


Coloma, California - 1857

Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park

Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park includes much of the historic town of Coloma, California, which is now considered a ghost town. Marshall Gold Discovery

Hwy 153

State Route 153 extends only 0.5 miles from the junction of Cold Springs Road and SR 49 to the monument marking the grave of James W. Marshall, whose discovery of gold along the American River on January 24, 1848 sparked the California Gold Rush .

Sutter's Mill

Sutter's Mill sawmill, located at the bank of the American River, was owned by 19th century pioneer John Sutter. It was here that the carpenter James W. Marshall, while working on the construction of the mill, found several nuggets of gold that would trigger the gold rush. The tailrace of Sutter's Mill remains.

Mormon Cabin

The Mor man members of the sawmill crew built a cabin near the mill during the winter of 1847. Earlier they had shared a cabin with the Wimmer family, but they became discontented with Mrs. Wimmer, the camp cook. They decided to build their own cabin and cook for themselves.

Eldorado Jail

Coloma's first jail was made of logs and was located around the corner on High Street. The second jail, built in 1855, quickly proved to be too small, and this stone-block prison was erected. It was used from 1857 until 1862. The metal cell that stands nearby came from the county courthouse in Placerville.

National Register of Historic Places

Historic Place Date Added Period of Significance Historical Function
Coloma (also known as Gold Discovery Site) Oct 15, 1966 1825-1849 Domestic, Industry-Processing-Extraction, Camp, Extractive Facility

Marysville, Montana

Marysville is a living ghost town in Lewis and Clark County, Montana about about 22 miles west of Helena on Birdseye Road off hwy 12. Google Map

Montana Travel Site


Marysville, Montana - 1899

In 1870 the mining town of Marysville developed around nearby Drumlummon Mine developed by a determined miner named Tommy Cruise. Christened Marysville after pioneer woman Mary Ralston, it claimed a population of nearly 4,000 people. Population is 2010 was 80.

There were grocery stores, hotels, mercantiles, restaurants, churches, a variety of fraternal societies, an orchestra, two newspapers, a substantial schoolhouse, and two railroads. Also (as would be expected) Marysville had a brewery and 27 saloons. Marysville, Montana

Marysville’s Methodist Episcopal Church

Marysville’s Methodist Episcopal Church was built in 1886 by its congregation on land purchased from Thomas Cruse. The church’s modest clapboard-sided frame and bell tower were erected during a period of heady growth.

Abandoned in 1939, the church was near the point of collapse when it was bought in 1967 by John and Margaret Hollow of Helena. In the years since, the family has lovingly restored the church and many of its furnishings to their original simple grace. John's grandparents were married in the church in 1887.

Main Street Old Timers

The brick building, housing Masonic Lodge, Ottawa #51 and Mountain Star #130, was contracted in 1898 and is presently maintained by the Lodge. The rock-fronted structure, built in 1895, housed the J.A. Shaffer Mercantile. What remains of the wood structure was the Lush Confectionery Store.

By 1895, a severe national depression and the mining company's legal woes drifted Marysville into a slow decline. The lower levels of the Drumlummon were allowed to flood when the mine was closed in 1904 during litigation. A fire devastated the commercial district in 1910 and the Northern Pacific Railway abandoned its line to Marysville in 1925.

History Repeats Itself

In 2010 there were new discoveries at Drumlummon Mine. Sentiment in the town was mixed regarding possible resumption of extensive mining operations. However, it was reported on April 24, 2013 that the historic mine would once again be closing on June 28, 2013.

National Register of Historic Places

Historic Place Date Added Period of Significance Historical Function
Methodist-Episcopal Church of Marysville Jan 5, 1984 1875-1899 Religion, Religious Structure

Michel, B.C.

Michel, established in 1899, is in Michel Creek Valley about 4.5 km east of Sparwood, British Columbia, on hwy 3. Google Map


Michel, British Columbia

Michel, and two other coal mining communities, Nathal and Middleton, separated by less than a kilometer from each other, have totally vanished. For more than seven decades the dirty, grimy, coal dust choked communities were the heart of coal mining in British Columbia's Crowsnest Pass.

Michel was established after the Crow’s Nest Coal Company opened a mine site in 1899. The town, which had almost 500 residents by 1901, was considered the commercial and social centre in the valley boasting a hospital and hotel. With the growing success at the Michel mines, the town’s population mushroomed to 1,200 by 1907.

In 1964 the Provincial Government decided that the nearly deserted coal-blackened towns were an eyesore, and embarked on a massive restoration of the Valley. So began the relocation of residents to Sparwood, 4.5 km away. By 1971, buildings were empty, the bulldozers moved in, and all that remained of these three towns were the collieries and distinctive salmon-coloured Michel Hotel. In September, 1997, the colliery buildings which had sat empty for more than two decades were bulldozed.

The Michel Hotel didn't prosper and in time became derelict and unsafe. Finally in June, 2011 the Michel Hotel was demolished taking with it the only remaining evidence of Michel. History was destroyed and Mother Nature has moved in to reclaim the Michel Creek Valley.


Michel Hotel - 1901

Molson, Washington

Molson is located in Okanogan County, Washington about 15 miles from Oroville– east on Chesaw Road and north on the Molson Road. Google Map

The site has been put under the protection of the Molson County Historical Society. Restorations actually began in the 1960's. The school was ready for the public by 1982 and Old Molson was ready by 1986. The Story of Molson


Old Molson, Washington - 1906

Old Molson

Old Molson was founded in 1900 by promoter George B. Meacham, and investor John W. Molson (of the Molson beer brewing family) as a mining and townsite venture. Population peaked at 700. She was a lively Mining Camp until a farmer claimed the whole town was part of his homestead. J.H. McDonald filed for a homestead including much of the town of Molson. In 1909 McDonald enforced his homestead by publishing a notice that everyone on the property was required to depart.

New Molson

While the dispute raged, disgusted citizens founded New Molson half-a-mile north. People, businesses, the post office - everything moved to New Molson. It's railroad station, elevation 3708 feet, was the highest in the State. The original Molson faded away, but it's memories linger in the weather-worn buildings.

In it's heyday, Molson had a newspaper, general stores, movie theaters, an attorney, doctor, cafes, saloons and hotels. There were Woodmen, Grange, IOOF and Masonic Lodges as well as five churches and high school. By 1901, as the mining was failing, the population fell to 13 people. When news of a railroad being built in Molson arrived in 1905, the population rose again.

The Molson post office was established July 14, 1900, with Walter F. Schuyler as first postmaster. The post office was discontinued August 11, 1967. The school had about 120 pupils in the 1950s. It finally closed in 1962.


Murray, Idaho
In 1882, Spokane, Washington, had a population of just 800, and A.J. Prichard discovered gold on Prichard Creek. Word of this gold strike on a tributary of the North Fork of the Coeur d'Alene River spread like wildfire, and by 1885 more than 10,000 people had traveled to the gold fields in hopes of cashing in on the gold rush.

Murray established itself as the central city of what was the last great mining stampede in the Lower 48, and became the Cradle City of the Coeur d'Alene Mining District. Sprag Pole Inn and Museum

The area right in town, lately especially behind Kris Krisofferson’s Tavern, in the surface soil, you can find nuggets to 10 ounces. Along Prichard Creek and Eagle Creek, there was some very rich placer grounds of the 1880’s, revived in the 1930’s and intermittently worked today. The South Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River, had many rich lead silver lode mines, with a peak production in 1911. All streams in the area produce gold. Idaho Gold


Nevada City, Montana

Nevada City is in Madison County, Montana about 72 miles from Butte – south on hwy 41 and south on hwy 287. Nevada City is 1 1/2 miles from its sister city, Virginia City. Google Map


Champion Mine, Nevada City, MT - 1893

Nevada City was incorporated on February 9, 1865 and, at its peak, boasted dozens of stores, a miners' store, brewery, blacksmith, butcher, livery stable and Masonic Hall. Cabins extended back six blocks, but by 1876 only a few residents remained. Gold dredging devoured most of the original landmarks leaving piles of tailings as big as barns. By 1920, the highway had cut the town in half. Montana Travel Site

Fourteen-Mile-City

Small settlements were so numerous and so scattered that contemporaries called the Alder Gulch area Fourteen-Mile-City. It ran the length of the gulch, and included the towns of Adobetown, Bear Town, Central City, Highland, Hungry Hollow, Junction City, Nevada City, Pine Grove French Town, Summit, and Virginia City. Nevada City and Virginia City were the main centers of commerce. Historical Marker

Gold Dredges

The large gravel piles are the tailing of gold dredging operations that occurred here over a 20 year period beginning in 1899. Monster dredge boats literally churned the gulch inside-out, creating huge piles of gravel where only a tangle scrub brush and stunted trees could grow. It was the final chapter in the history of placer mining in Alder Gulch.

Saved from Destruction

Nevada City was saved from total and absolute destruction through the shear determination of residents Cora and Alfred Finney who refused to sell their property. It is to their credit that the buildings on their side of the highway were were not demolished. The Finney homestead is a tribute to Nevada City's longtime caretakers who, in refusing to surrender their home, saved half the town. Montana Heritage Commission

National Register of Historic Places

Historic Place Date Added Period of Significance Historical Function
Finney House Mar 1, 2002 1925-1949
1900-1924
1875-1899
1850-1874
Domestic, Single Dwelling
Dr. Don L. Byam House House (also known as Fenner House) Mar 1, 2002 1950-1974
1925-1949
1900-1924
1875-1899
1850-1874
Domestic, Single Dwelling

Haven for Endangered Structures

Charles and Sue Bovey collected old buildings. With their acquisition of Nevada City in 1959, it became a haven for endangered structures. Over the years 14 original Nevada City structures were preserved. Today, more than 108 buildings line the streets. The outdoor historical museum includes:

Nevada City buildings: Buildings moved to Nevada City:
  • Fenner Barn
  • The Jail
  • Finney House
  • Star Bakery
  • Dr. Byam’s home
  • Barbershop from Elkhorn
  • Sullivan's Saddlery from Fort Benton
  • Nevada City Hotel from Twin Bridges
  • Post Office from Iron Rod
  • Linderman Store from Sheridan

The Mysterious 3-7-77

The mysterious numbers 3-7-77, often posted on doors were used for years as a symbol of banishment in Montana. Although there are several theories, no one really knows what the numbers mean. What is certain though, is that once launched, the numbers took on a life of their own. People who had the mysterious set of numbers 3-7-77 painted on their tent or cabin knew that they had better leave the area or be on the receiving end of vigilante justice.

Over time, the numbers have lost much of their sting, but it is hard to imagine any Montanan not feeling a shiver of apprehension if he found the numbers 3-7-77 chalked on his front door or sidewalk one morning. In 1974 the mayor of Virginia City abruptly resigned after someone sent him a card marked with the numbers during a political protest.

Today the the infamous symbol of the Montana Vigilantes, 3-7-77, still a complete and utter mystery to everyone, and still having the same authoritative effect, appears on the shoulder patch and car door insignia of the Montana Highway Patrol.

Vigilante Trail

The road through the valley that connected Virginia City and Bannack was the haunt of prospectors, road agents and vigilantes after gold was discovered in Alder Gulch in 1863. The road eventually became know as the Vigilante Trail.

The Montana Vigilantes, formed December 22, 1863, became an equally admired and condemned group in Montana history. During the first five weeks of 1864, while the rest of the nation was preoccupied by the Civil War, the Vigilantes were busy creating a legend whose impact can still be felt today. A small corps of armed horsemen swept through the mining camps of the Rocky Mountain foothills in southwest Montana and hanged twenty-one troublemakers, including the rogue Bannack Sheriff, Henry Plummer. Montana Vigilantes


Oatman, Arizona

Oatman is a living ghost town in Mohave County, Arizona – on Historic Route 66 about 29 miles west of Kingman and 33 miles east of Needles, California . Google Map


Oatman, Arizona - 1900

Oatman is truly a fascinating place basically out in the middle of nowhere. It is authentic old western town with burros roaming the streets and gunfights staged on weekends. The burros are quite tame and can be hand fed. Oatman's burros are the descendants of the burros brought by the miners in the late 1800's. When the miners no longer needed them, they were turned loose.

Oatman Burros

Although there are many herds of "wild burros" in the mountains, each morning one particular herd continues to come into town as it has done for over a hundred years. They wander the streets, fascinate the tourists, and eat. Hay pellets are for sale at many of the shops. Shortly before sunset they wander back to the hills for the night. The BLM protects and controls the burros of Oatman under The Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971.

Oatman began over 100 years ago as a mining tent camp. In 1915, two miners struck a $10 million gold find, and within a year, the town's population grew to more than 3,500. It was named in honor of Olive Oatman, who was kidnapped as a young girl by Mojave Indians and later rescued in 1857 near the current site of the town. Oatman was served by a narrow gauge rail line between 1903 and 1905 that ran 17 miles to the Colorado river near Needles, California.

Boom-Bust-Boom

Both the population and mining booms were short-lived. In 1921, a fire burned down many of the smaller shacks in town, and three years later, the main mining company shut down operations for good. Oatman survived by catering to travelers on Route 66, but in the 1960s, when Route 66 became what is now Interstate 40, Oatman almost died. With the revival of Route 66, Oatman once again is a very popular tourist stop. Today, 135 people call Oatman home. Legends of America - Oatman

Wild West Shootouts

The Oatman Ghost Rider Gunfighters, Oatman's oldest Gunfighter organization take to the streets daily for a wild west shootout. These Ghost Rider desperado's have been entertaining crowds young and old for over 20 years in Oatman, Arizona. Shotgun Weddings and Tour Bus Hold Ups are also available by the Oatman Ghost Rider Gunfighters.

National Register of Historic Places

Historic Place Date Added Period of Significance Historical Function

Durlin Hotel (also known as Oatman Hotel)
Durlin Hotel Application

Aug 25, 1983 1900-1924 Domestic, Hotel

Oatman Drug Company Building
Oatman Drug Company Building Application

Apr 6, 2006 1950-1974
1925-1949
1900-1924
Commerce-Trade, Health Care, Business, Restaurant, Department Store, Financial Institution, Medical Business Office, Professional
Bighorn Cave Sept 28, 1988 1999 BC-500 AD Prehistoric

Oatman Hotel

The Oatman Hotel, built in 1902, is the oldest two-story adobe structure in Mojave County and has housed many miners, movie stars, politicians and scoundrels. The town was used as the location for several movies such as How The West Was Won, Foxfire and Edge of Eternity.

Probably the Hotel's most famous claim to fame is that Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, after their marriage in Kingman on March 29, 1939, honeymooned at the Oatman Hotel. Their honeymoon suite is still one of the major attractions at the Hotel. Gable returned there often to play poker with the local miners and enjoy the solitude of the desert.

Claim to Fame Under Dispute

The claim that Clark and Carole stayed at the Oatman hotel is under a heated dispute. Apparently Clark reported that they were married at 3:30 pm and drove straight home. The St Petersburg Times reported that they did the trip in one day.

Personally, I wouldn't think there was enough time to drive from Los Angeles to Kingman, get married, and drive back to Los Angeles in one day. Along treacherous Route 66 and driving a 1939 (or older) car, I doubt the 600 mile trip was possible. They had to stay somewhere. Whether it's true or not doesn't matter to me. Myths and folklore always abound in the old west. This one is good for Oatman and "frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn".


Old Station, California

Old Station - population 51, is a living ghost town about 13 miles north of Lassen Volcanic National Park. The station house was converted to a Bed and Breakfast but is currently not operating. The store is still operating. Google Map


Old Station, California

Old Station was once a stagecoach stop on the trail from Sacramento to Yreka in 1857. It was also a temporary military post while soldiers patrolled the stage road. Old Station also sits on an alternate route of the historic Nobles Immigrant Trail to California that was used by gold seekers around 1852.

The Hat Creek Station was established here in 1856 and operated by the California Stage Co. on the eastern branch of the California-Oregon Trail and the Nobles Trail. The intrusion of the whites through Indian lands led to many conflicts. On August 15, 1859, the station was attacked and burned, and both the proprietor John Callahan and the cook were killed.


Peach Springs, Arizona

Peach Springs is located 50 miles east of Kingman on the Hualapai Reservation and serves as the administrative headquarters of the Hualapai (People of the Tall Pine). When I-40 opened, Peach Springs survived as the administrative base of the Hualapai tribe but suffered irreparable economic damage. Google Map


Peach Springs, AZ - 1920s
Burton Frasher Collection

John Osterman Gas Station

The John Osterman Shell Station, built by a Swedish immigrant in 1929, closed soon after the turn of the millennium. In 2007, the Hualapai Tribe received a $28,000 federal matching grant to rehabilitate the building. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on March 15, 2012.

Inscription:

This property was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on March 15, 2012. The John Osterman Gas Station was one of several privately-owned and operated businesses in the town of Peach Springs during the 1920's through the 1950's. The building, constructed by Osterman in 1923 was a vernacular design of poured concrete block and built in the tradition of the "House with Bays" form. It featured an office resembling a small house and a series of attached garage bays. The design, in addition to allowing the sale of gasoline and other automotive products, is indicative of the large amount of repair work undertook over the years. Erected 2012 by Hualapai Tribe. Historical Marker

National Register of Historic Places - Peach Springs
Historic Place Date Added Period of Significance Historical Function
John Osterman Gas Station Mar 15,
2012
1925-1949
1950-1974
Commerce/Trade
Specialty Store

Peach Springs Trading Post
Trading Post Application
(Boundary Increase - 2009)

Nov 21,
2003
1925-1949
1950-1974
Commerce/Trade, Domestic, Government,
Department Store, Post Office,
Single Dwelling

Pony, Montana

Pony is a living ghost town located in Madison County, Montana on the eastern edge of the Tobacco Root Mountains about 32 miles north of Ennis on hwy 287 then west of Pony Road. Google Map

Montana Travel Site


Pony Montana - 1905

Pack Train - c1890

Arrival of the Railroad -c1890

Pony, named for Tecumseh "Pony" Smith who arrived in 1869, was part of the Montana gold rush era and like many other gold rush towns grew up and died almost overnight. Population peaked at 5,000 but when new gold strikes were reported in other locations, Pony emptied out. By 1878 the population had dwindled to a few hundred.

Pony had two blacksmith shops, three hotels, saloons, livery stables, churches, a rooming house, post office, creamery, two Chinese laundries, restaurants, school, newspaper, stores, hat and tailor shops, movies house and an electric power plant. Pony's claim to fame is that it had electricity before New York City.

In 1920, a tragic fire swept through the main part of town destroying the livery stable and many other buildings. The Morris State Bank and the Masonic Building survived. A number of historic buildings from Pony's boom era remain in the old town today. History of Pony

National Register of Historic Places

Historic Place Date Added Period of Significance Historical Function
Pony Historic District Aug 4, 1987 1900-1924
1875-1899
Commerce-Trade, Domestic, Department Store, Financial Institution, Hotel, Secondary Structure, Single Dwelling, Specialty Store
Powder House Aug 3, 1987 1900-1924
1875-1899
Industry, Processing, Extraction, Extractive Facility
Strawberry Mine Historic District Aug 4, 1987 1900-1924 Industry, Processing, Extraction, Extractive Facility

Posey, California

Posey, population 10, is located in Tulare County 21 miles east-southeast of Ducor. Posey has a post office with ZIP code 93260, which opened in 1915. Google Map


Rhyolite, Nevada

Rhyolite is in the Bullfrog Hills, Nye County, Nevada about 6 miles from Beatty- west on hwy 374, then west on Rhyolite Road. Rhyolite is about 38 miles north east of the Visitors Center in Death Valley National Park. Google Map

Preserving the History of Rhyolite


Rhyolite, Nevada - 1909

Rhyolite was founded by Shorty Harris and Ed Cross in 1904. They found quartz all over a hill, and described it as "just full of free gold". She was called the "Queen City of Death Valley" and certainly Rhyolite was the most ambitious and permanent of the boomtowns in Death Valley's mining era. Harris & Cross named the mine "Bullfrog". An estimated 10,000 people lived in Rhyolite between 1905 and 1909. Today, Rhyolite is maintained and protected by the Bureau of Land Management.


Tom Kelly Bottle House - 1906

Las Vegas & Tonopah Train Station - 1910

Cook Bank - 1909

Rhyolite Undertaking Parlor 1907

Boom Town

The town immediately boomed with buildings springing up everywhere. The Cook Bank was 3 stories tall and cost $90,000 to build. A stock exchange and board of trade were formed. There were hotels, 50 saloons, a jail, a red light district, stores, school, swimming pool, ice plant, two electric plants, foundries, machine shops, police & fire, railway depot, and a hospital.

1907 Financial Panic

The San Francisco Earthquake of 1906 and the financial panic of 1907* took its toll on the town and businesses started to shut down. Production began to slow down by 1908. The town struggled to stay alive hoping for a new boom that never came. By 1910 only an estimated 675 people remained in Rhyolite. The mine and mill were closed in 1911. By 1919, the post office had closed and the town was abandoned. The population had shrunk to fourteen by 1920 and the last resident died in 1924.

*
The Panic of 1907, also known as the 1907 Bankers' Panic, was a financial crisis in the United States. The stock market fell nearly 50% from its peak in 1906, the economy was in recession, and there were numerous runs on banks and trust companies.

Rhyolite School

On September 23, 1907 a $20,000 school bond issue was approved and a new schoolhouse opened in January 1909. The modern, two-story building, complete with a bell, was constructed of concrete with galvanized iron Spanish tile on the roof. By the time the building was finished the population of Rhyolite had declined and the school was never filled to capacity.

Train Station

Three railroads served Rhyolite. The Las Vegas and Tonopah Railroad chugged into town on December 14, 1906. The California "mission style" depot cost about $130,000. In 1907 the Bullfrog Goldfield Railroad began regular service from the north and the Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad served Rhyolite on tracks leased from the Bullfrog Goldfield Railroad.

Bottle House

The Bottle House, was built by Tom Kelly in 1906, from thousands of liquor bottles, medicine bottles and beer bottles - mostly Adulphous Busch which is Budweiser today. The house was restored by Paramount Pictures in 1925 for use in a movie. It received an extensive structural rehabilitation in the summer of 2005.

In the Movies

The Rhyolite historic townsite is one of the most photographed ghost towns in the West. Ruins include the bank, railroad depot, and several other buildings. Paramount Pictures restored the Bottle House in 1925 for the filming of a silent movie, The Air Mail. The ruins of the Cook Bank Building were used in the 1964 film The Reward and again in 2004 for the filming of The Island. Orion Pictures used Rhyolite for its 1987 science-fiction movie Cherry 2000 depicting the collapse of American society. Six-String Samurai in 1998 was another movie using Rhyolite as a setting.

Cook Bank & First National Bank of Rhyolite

Most prominent was the three-story John S. Cook and Co. Bank on Golden Street. Finished in 1908, it cost more than $90,000. Much of the cost went for Italian marble stairs, imported stained-glass windows, and other luxuries. In addition to the bank, the building housed brokerage offices and a post office.

Goldwell Open Air Museum

In the 1980's Belgian sculptor Albert Szukalski came here and created the Last Supper, twelve ghostly figures in a ghost town. In subsequent years he invited other artists to create their artwork launching the Goldwell Open Air Museum making Rhyolite a town with an engrossing history, even after it was deserted.


Rimini, Montana

Rimini is located in Lewis and Clark County, Montana, about 17 miles from Helena south west on hwy 12 and south on Rimini Road. Google Map

Montana Travel Site


Rimini, Montana - 1924

Rimini, established when silver lodes were discovered in 1864, is one of the oldest mining districts in Montana. Other names for the town were Lewis and Clark, Tenmile, Vaughn, Colorado, Young Ireland, and Bear Gulch. One tradition says the community was named after a city in Italy. Another says it was named for the character in the tragedy, "Francisca da Rimini".

At its peak in 1890, Rimini's population was about 300 people. The town had several hotels and stores, a school, saloons, gambling houses and pool halls, livery stable, physician’s office, church, several boarding houses, and a sawmill.

Camp Rimini War Dogs

Between 1942-1944, Camp Rimini War Dog Reception and Training Center trained sled and pack dogs, and the men to handle them, for use as war dogs in WWII. The facility was run by the Quartermaster Corps, which was responsible for running the Army's K-9 Corps.


Camp Rimini

Santa Claus, Arizona

Santa Claus, originating in 1937, is an uninhabited ghost town in Mohave County, Arizona approximately 14 miles northwest of Kingman, Arizona, along U.S. Route 93. Google Map


Santa Clause - 1940
In the 1930s, Nina Talbot, a real estate woman and the owner of Santa Claus, made plans to use the Santa theme in a parched desert location to attract buyers for her surrounding, subdivided 80 acre site.

By 1942, the town of Santa Claus had become a full-fledged tourist spot. Santa Claus presented a popular attraction and featured a U.S. post office and Christmas related buildings. Children could visit a real Santa Claus in the town at anytime of the year. The post office was widely used in December by kids sending letters to the town addressed to Santa and by adults wanting their letters postmarked from "Santa Claus."

Talbot's land resale plans for Santa Claus never materialized. The popularity of Santa Claus went in decline in the 1970s. In July 1983, the property was offered for sale for $95,000, which was reduced to $52,500 by 1988. All remaining operating businesses in the town closed in 1995. By 2000 all that remained were a few weather worn vandalized buildings, a children's train, and a wishing well.


Seligman, Arizona

Seligman is a living ghost town in Yavapai County, Arizona – on I-40 and Historic Route 66 about 78 miles west of Flagstaff and 72 miles east of Kingman. Google Map


Santa Fe Station, Seligman, AZ - 1916

Seligman, established in 1886, is a small, unincorporated town situated in the beautiful Upland Mountains of Northern Arizona. In November 1987 Arizona officially deemed old US Route 66 from Seligman to Kingman as Historic Route 66. Seligman marks the beginning of the longest continuous stretch of Route 66 still in existence. Seligman Historical Society

Rusty Bolt

The store front is like none other. If the roof top mannequins and antique cars don't rouse your curiosity, the grave at the side of the building certainly will cinch it - "here lies Billy Pretzel last guy who touched my Edsel".

Delgadillo's Snow Cap Cafe

Part of the entertainment at the Snow Cap Cafe is watching the expressions on the faces of first-timers when they order an ice cream cone and get squirted with mustard - actually a piece of yellow string, so no shirts or blouses ever get stained. Arizona Oddities

National Register of Historic Places

Historic Place Date Added Period of Significance Historical Function
Cottage Hotel Feb 12, 1998 1925-1949
1900-1924
Domestic, Hotel
Seligman Commercial Historic District
Commercial District Application
Feb 1, 2005 1950-1974
1925-1949
1900-1924
Commerce-Trade, Domestic, Government, Recreation and Culture, Religion, Social, Transportation, Business, Correctional Facility, Hotel, Meeting Hall, Religious Structure, Road-Related, Theater

Roadkill Cafe & OK Saloon

The OK Saloon is filled with antiques. Located outside of the OK Saloon is the old Arizona Territorial jail whose walls once corralled such notorious outlaws as Seligman Slim, Four-Fingered Frank and Carl “Curly” Bane. Adjacent to the jail are the Old West storefronts which have been used as a background for many commercials as well as documentaries.


Siberia, California

Siberia is located between Bagdad and Ludlow in San Bernardino County, California about 95 miles west of Needles on the National Trails Highway of U.S. Route 66 in the Mojave Desert. Google Map

Siberia was established as part of a series of railroad stations that were constructed across the Mojave Desert to provide water towers to service the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. Situate along the National Old Trails Road and the famous Route 66, it later became a motorist stop. Siberia was bypassed by the opening of Interstate 40 to the north in 1973, and lost travelers business and resident population. Trains still roll down the tracks but all they pass is desert scrub and ghosts. The last trace of Siberia was demolished in (about) 2001. Atkinson, Topeka and Santa Fe


Sidley, B.C. (Washington)

Sidley is in Okanogan County, Washington about 3 miles north west of Molson on Nine Mile Road. Google Map

Sidley, B.C. established in 1895, is actually on the Washington side of the border between Canada and the United States. Richard G. Sidley Territorial Police and Customs Collector settled here in 1889. He started an international town, general store, saloon, livery barn, and black smith's shop. He served as postmaster and kept an eye out for horse thieves. Sidley was well liked and settled many early day disputes. He died in 1922.

Dominion Day was celebrated in Sidley by everyone. Some said "the boundary line did not make much difference in those days". But times changed when bootlegging tightened up about 1916. Porter Brothers Lumber Mill also straddled the U.S./Canadian Boundary. Last to close was the post office September 20th, 1912.


Spring Mountain Ranch, Nevada
In the mid-1830s, a campsite was established along the wash that runs through the ranch. The spring-fed creek and grassy meadows formed an oasis for travelers using the alternate route of the Spanish Trail through Cottonwood Valley. The use of the site by pack and wagon trains continued until their replacement by the railroad in 1905. This remote trail was also used extensively by outlaws involved in Indian slave trading, horse stealing and raids upon passing caravans.

Tombstone, Arizona

Tombstone is a living ghost town in Cochise County, Arizona about 70 miles from Tucson – east on I-10 and south on hwy 80. Google Map


Tombstone, Arizona - 1881

Allen Street, Tombstone, Arizona - 1882

The Making of Tombstone

Tombstone was founded in 1877 by a prospector named Ed Schieffelin. Ed was staying at what was then called Camp Huachuca (wa-chu-ka) as part of a scouting expedition against the Chiricahua (chir-i-cow-uh) Apaches. During his time there he would venture out into the wilderness "looking for rocks", all the while ignoring the warnings he received from the soldiers at the camp.

They would tell him, "Ed, the only stone you will find out there will be your tombstone". Well, Ed did find his stone. And it was Silver. So, remembering the words of warning from the soldiers, he named his first mine The Tombstone. Tombstone Travel Guide

National Register of Historic Places

Historic Place Date Added Period of Significance Historical Function
Tombstone Historic District Oct 15, 1966 1850-1874 Commerce-Trade, Domestic, Industry-Processing-Extraction, Business, Extractive Facility, Village Site
Tombstone City Hall Feb 1, 1972 1875-1899 Government, City Hall
Tombstone Courthouse Apr 13, 1972 1875-1899 Government, Courthouse
Sacred Heart Church Feb 22, 2002 1950-1974
1925-1949
1900-1924
1875-1899
Religion, Religious Structure
St. Paul's Episcopal Church Sept 22, 1971 1875-1899 Religion, Religious Structure

OK Corral

The most famous event in Tombstone's history was the famed Gunfight at the OK Corral, which didn't actually happen at the corral, but in a vacant lot on Fremont Street. On October 26, 1881, members of the "Cowboys" had a run-in with Wyatt, Virgil and Morgan Earp with help from Wyatt's friend Doc Holliday. 24 seconds and 30 shots later, Billy Clanton, Tom and Frank McLaury were mortally wounded.

The Bird Cage Theater

The Bird Cage Theatre was a saloon, theatre, gambling hall and brothel. No self-respecting woman in town would even walk on the same side of the street as the Bird Cage Theatre.

It opened its doors on Christmas Day 1881 and ran 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year until closing its doors in 1889.


Bird Cage Theatre - 1881-1889

Boothill

Tombstone is also the home of Boothill Graveyard. Boothill, named in the 1920s Boothill after Dodge City's pioneer cemetery, began in 1879 and was used until 1884 when the New Tombstone City Cemetery was opened on west Allen Street. Perhaps the most famous of those buried at Boot Hill are Billy Clanton and the McLaury brothers, Frank and Tom. Their grave markers say "murdered on the streets of Tombstone, 1881".


Tonopah, Nevada

Tonopah is a living ghost town (population approximately 2, 478) in Nye County, Nevada about 211 miles north of Las Vegas on US 95. Google Map


Tonopah, Nevada -1906

The community began circa 1900 with the discovery of gold and silver-rich ore by prospector Jim Butler when he went looking for a lost burro he owned. He found the burro - and silver. He stumbled upon one of the richest strikes in Nevada history. Tonopah's peak period was around 1905 when it became the county seat.

By 1907, Tonopah had become a full-fledged city with modern hotels, electric and water companies, five banks, schools, a dancehall, stone buildings, sturdy frame houses, and hundreds of other buildings. Production began to decline noticeably about 1913 and the glory days were a thing of the past.


Tonopah, Nevada -1903
By World War II, only four major mining companies were operating. At the end of the war, even these companies had left. The final blow came in 1947 when the Tonopah and Goldfield Railroad folded and its rails were torn up.
Historic Place Date Added Period of Significance Historical Function
Mizpah Hotel July 7, 1978    
Nye County Courthouse May 20, 1982    
St. Marks P.E. Church May 20, 1982    
State Bank and Trust May 20, 1982    
Stone Jail Building and Row House May 20, 1982    
Tonopah Volunteer Firehouse and Gymnasium May 20, 1982    
US Post Office - Main Feb 28, 1990    

Topock, Arizona

Topock, population 1,790, is a living ghost town in Mohave County, Arizona. It is just off I-40 on Historic Route 66 approximately 13 miles southeast of Needles, California. Google Map


Topock Arizona

The Old Trails Bridge

The abandoned Old Trails Bridge over the Colorado River, was part of Route 66 between California and Arizona. It was built in 1919 and served as a highway bridge until Interstate 40 bridge was built.

The Old Trails Bridge was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.


The Old Trail Bridge - Route 66
Historic Place Date Added Period of Significance Historical Function
Old Trails Bridge
Old Trails Bridge NRHP Application
Sept 30, 1988   Highway Bridge
Pipeline Bridge

Truxton, Arizona

Truxton is a ghost town 45 miles east of Kingman. Lieutenant Edward Beale stopped at the spring in 1857 and named it Truxton in honor of his mother, Emily Truxton Beale. Google Map

The town of Truxton sprang up in response to the needs of travelers along Route 66. Donald Dilts built a cafe and service station in October, 1951 and was quickly followed by other competing businesses. I-40 burst Truxton's bubble.


Truxton, Arizona

Tuttletown, California

Tuttletown, population 668, is located in Tuolumne County about 7 miles west of Sonora. Tuttletown was originally known as Mormon Gulch, because of a company of Mormons who began mining gold there in 1848. Toward the end of the summer, however, Judge A. A. H. Tuttle settled at the place and built a log cabin. His tavern became the focal point of the village that became Tuttletown. Google Map


Tuttletown, CA - 1929

Mark Twain Bret Harte Trail

Early day stopping place for men and mounts. Named for Judge Anson A. H. Tuttle who built first log cabin here in 1848. Stones used in this base from old Swerer Store built in 1854, remains of which still exist, 1949. Mark Twain traded here. Tuttletown Hotel, built in 1852 and still standing in 1949, was last operated by John Edwards. Historical Marker


Valentine, Arizona

Valentine is a living ghost town 32 miles east of Kingman. In 2000, the population was 36. It is still the headquarters for the Truxton Canyon Agency of the B.I.A. The name Valentine was chosen in honor of Robert G. Valentine, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, 1908-1910. Google Map


Valentine, AZ

Valentine Post Office

It was also during Valentine's better days that thousands of Valentine cards and messages would flood into the tiny contract post office for its heart shaped postmark. That too ended when tragedy occurred on the afternoon of August 15, 1990. Unfortunately, even in the smallest of towns, murder and mayhem can be found. On that day, 44 year old Jacqueline Ann Grigg was working when a short stocky white man robbed the post office of its cash and left poor Jacqueline dying on the floor from a gunshot wound. Before long, Jacqueline’s husband bulldozed the building and left the area. The Valentine postmark was retired to the Kingman post office, where you can still get your special cards postmarked with the heart shaped cancellation. Legends of America

Valentine Indian School

In 1901, the two story red brick Truxton Canyon Indian School was built. The Native American children were removed from their homes and kept at the boarding school to teach them how to be "white". Between 1870 and 1930, education was central to United States Indian policy. This policy required mandatory attendance at boarding schools.

Forced to work hard and separated from their families, many students found life at Truxton Canyon traumatic. The regimented lifestyle afforded little free time. Diseases such as measles, influenza, and tuberculosis were common. Some of the older female students adopted younger ones, forming impromptu “families” that helped ease adjustment to the school. NPS - Schoolhouse at Truxton Canyon

National Register of Historic Places

Historic Place Date Added Period of Significance Historical Function
Schoolhouse at Truxton Canyon Training School
Schoolhouse NRHP Application
Nov 21, 2003 1900-1924
1925-1949
Education, School

Verdure, Utah

Verdure Ghost Town is located in San Juan County, Utah about 6 miles south of Monticello on hwy 191. Google Map

The oldest Mormon settlement in the Blue Mountain Region was first known as South Montezuma. Later the name was changed to Verdure after the lush green growth along the stream bed. Verdure was settled by men of the Blue Mountain Mission March 11, 1887, under the direction of President Francis A. Hammond of the San Juan Stake. He called George A. Adams, Frederick I. Jones, Parley R. Butt and Charles E. Walton to establish a new settlement at North Montezuma, later named Monticello. They first set up camp at Verdure to prepare for a permanent settlement at Monticello, six miles to the north.

When company members moved on to Monticello in 1888 the Adams and Butt families remained at Verdure. By 1894 they were joined by the Alvin Decker, Willard Butt, Lingo Christensen, R.P. Hott and Francis Nielson families. Nielson operated a store and a school out of his log home, the first church met in the Decker home, and in 1893 a post office was installed in the Adams home.

Verdure was a peaceful frontier village where cattle, farming and cheese-making were the main occupations. Gradually the settlers moved to Monticello.


Virginia City, Montana

Virginia City is a living Ghost Town in Madison County, Montana about 74 miles from Butte – south on hwy 41 and south on hwy 287. Virginia City is 1 1/2 miles from its sister city, Nevada City. Google Map

Montana Travel Site


Virginia City, Montana - 1866

The spectacular gold discovery in Alder Gulch on May 26, 1863, led to the rapid growth of this colorful and legendary gold camp town. Thousands of fortune-seekers rushed to the area, and by 1864 the Virginia City area boasted 30,000 residents. Historical Marker

Fourteen-Mile-City

Small settlements were so numerous and so scattered that contemporaries called the Alder Gulch area Fourteen-Mile-City. It ran the length of the gulch, and included the towns of Adobetown, Bear Town, Central City, Highland, Hungry Hollow, Junction City, Nevada City, Pine Grove French Town, Summit, and Virginia City. Nevada City and Virginia City were the main centers of commerce.

National Register of Historic Places

Historic Place Date Added Period of Significance Historical Function
Union City (also known as Christenot Mill) Feb 26, 1999 1875-1899
1850-1874
Domestic, Industry, Processing, Extraction, Manufacturing Facility, Village Site
Virginia City Historic District Oct 15, 1966 1875-1899
1850-1874
Commerce-Trade, Domestic, Government, Processing Extraction, Business, Capitol, Extractive Facility, Hotel, Single Dwelling

The Mysterious 3-7-77

The mysterious numbers 3-7-77, often posted on doors were used for years as a symbol of banishment in Montana. Although there are several theories, no one really knows what the numbers mean. What is certain though, is that once launched, the numbers took on a life of their own. People who had the mysterious set of numbers 3-7-77 painted on their tent or cabin knew that they had better leave the area or be on the receiving end of vigilante justice.

Over time, the numbers have lost much of their sting, but it is hard to imagine any Montanan not feeling a shiver of apprehension if he found the numbers 3-7-77 chalked on his front door or sidewalk one morning. In 1974 the mayor of Virginia City abruptly resigned after someone sent him a card marked with the numbers during a political protest.

Today the the infamous symbol of the Montana Vigilantes, 3-7-77, still a complete and utter mystery to everyone, and still having the same authoritative effect, appears on the shoulder patch and car door insignia of the Montana Highway Patrol.

Vigilante Trail

The road through the valley that connected Virginia City and Bannack was the haunt of prospectors, road agents and vigilantes after gold was discovered in Alder Gulch in 1863. The road eventually became know as the Vigilante Trail.

The Montana Vigilantes, formed December 22, 1863, became an equally admired and condemned group in Montana history. During the first five weeks of 1864, while the rest of the nation was preoccupied by the Civil War, the Vigilantes were busy creating a legend whose impact can still be felt today. A small corps of armed horsemen swept through the mining camps of the Rocky Mountain foothills in southwest Montana and hanged twenty-one troublemakers, including the rogue Bannack Sheriff, Henry Plummer. Montana Vigilantes


Warm Springs Nevada

Warm Springs is located in Nye County, Nevada about 50 miles east of Tonopah at the junction of hwy 6 (Grand Army of the Republic Hwy) and hwy 395 (Extraterrestrial Hwy). Google Map

The first settlement in Warm Springs was in 1866, when it served as a stopover for the Tonopah to Eureka and Elko stagecoach and other travelers. A small stone house next to the warm, soothing springs was the first building. Never more than a tiny settlement, Warm Springs' population dwindled until it became a ghost town. All that remained was a single streetlight, a telephone box, and several huts built over pools filled by the warm springs that give the town its name.

In the 1900s, bathing in natural hot springs became a popular tourist activity around the country and Warm Springs experienced a small revival. Bathhouses, a small café and a swimming pool were built, along with a couple of small homes. The settlement reached its peak in the 1920s. A post office opened on January 19th, 1924 with Ethel Allred as postmaster. It was short lived, and closed on June 29, 1929.

Extraterrestrial Highway - State Route 375

State Route 375 stretches 98 miles between hwy 318 at Crystal Springs and hwy 6 at Warm Springs. The route travels through mostly unoccupied desert terrain, with much of its alignment paralleling the northern edges of the Nellis Air Force Range.

The top-secret Area 51 government base is near SR 375 and many travelers have reported UFO observations and other strange alien activity along this road. Such stories prompted the state to officially designate the route as the Extraterrestrial Highway in 1996. Although the area receives some tourism due to alleged extraterrestrial activity, hwy 375 remains a lightly traveled route.


Whiskeytown, California

Whiskeytown National Recreation Area is in Shasta County about 10 miles from Redding – west on hwy 299. The actual town of Whiskeytown has been submerged under Whiskeytown Lake. Google Map


Whiskeytown, California - 1913

Settled by gold miners in 1849, the town was first called Whiskey Creek for the stream on which it was located, but later the name was changed to Whiskeytown. Whiskeytown Information (pdf)

Whiskeytown was once a bustling mining town. The fortunes of Whiskeytown declined at the turn of the century. No longer did the hills support the prospectors, nor was Whiskeytown on the main route to Oregon. The few remaining residents ranched, farmed and served the few travelers who passed through.

The entire town of Whiskeytown was flooded to make way for Whiskeytown Lake in 1962. Whiskeytown appears on many maps but all that remains is the relocated store, a few residences, mostly occupied by National Recreation Area personnel, and old mines that are above the water level of the lake. Whiskeytown is registered as a California Historical Landmark. Whiskeytown - NPS

National Register of Historic Places

Historic Place Date Added Period of Significance Historical Function
Tower House District July 2, 1973 1850-1874
1825-1849
Domestic, Funerary, Transportation,Cemetery, Road-Related, Secondary Structure, Single Dwelling

White Oaks, New Mexico

White Oaks is located in Lincoln County, New Mexico about 12 miles north east of Carrizozo on hwy 54 and county road 349. Google Map

White Oaks was established in 1879 following the discovery of gold and coal in the Jicarilla Mountains. The town, at its peak in 1890, had a population of 2,000 people.

There were saloons, brothels, general stores, an opera house, school, churches, a town hall, and the White Oaks Golden Era newspaper. The town was a haven for cattle rustlers and other outlaws. It was frequented by notable Old West personalities, including Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett, and Shotgun John Collins. In November, 1880, a posse originating in White Oaks pursued Billy the Kid a distance of over forty miles, culminating in a standoff, during which the posse accidentally shot and killed Deputy Sheriff Jim Carlysle, as the latter was attempting to negotiate with the outlaw. Billy the Kid escaped.

When the railway bypassed White Oaks in favour of Carrizozo, it was the beginning of the end. By the late 1890s the mines had dried up, and the population dwindled. By the early 1900s the town was a shadow of its previous self.

No Scum Allowed Saloon

Several of the more permanent buildings are still standing. One building, originally built as the Watson-Lund Law Office, now serves as the " No Scum Allowed Saloon" open for the business greeting visitors. No Scum Allowed Saloon


Watson-Lund Law Office

National Register of Historic Places

Historic Place Date Added Period of Significance Historical Function
Funston Site Aug 28, 1990 1499-1000 Domestic, Village Site. Prehistoric
White Oaks Historic District Sept 4, 1970 1875-1899 Commerce-Trade, Education, Industry-Processing-Extraction, Financial Institution, Manufacturing Facility, School

White River, California

White River, previously known as Dogtown & Tailholt, is a living ghost town located Tulare County, California about 22 miles south east of Porterville, California on the Old Springville State Route. Google Map

White River was founded as a gold camp in 1856, during the Kern River Gold Rush. It was first located on the Coarse Gold Gulch two miles west of the present site and was called Dogtown. Its name was changed to Tailholt after one of the first stagecoaches to stop in town provided the new name, due to a humorous incident. Its name was changed to White River about 1870.

Among the points of interest are two cemeteries, one north of the river for regular citizens, and small one, the Tailholt Boot Hill Cemetery, south of the river for the those the town did not want in their cemetery, like Jack Gordon, (formerly Peter Worthington), who died violently in a gunfight, and was a known member of the Mason Henry Gang.


Widtsoe, Utah

Widtsoe is located in John's Valley Garfield County, Utah about 34 miles east of Panguitch, Utah on hwy 89, hwy 12 and hwy 22 (Johns Valley Road). Google Map


Grocery & Gas, Widtsoe, Utah - 1935

Widtsoe, named after University of Utah president John A. Widtsoe, was established in the early 1900s by Jedediah Adair. His success as a ‘dry’ farmer drew other settlers to the area over the next few years. In 1912, the prospering community had a post office, sawmills, a confectionary plant, two hotels, four stores, and a church meetinghouse that also served as a school. Running water was piped into town from a local spring in 1915. Widtsoe continued to prosper and by 1919 the community had a population estimate of 1,100 residents.

Severe drought and erosion took their toll and began to drive farmers out of Widtsoe. By the 1930's the population consisted of only a few families. The residents asked for federal assistance and in 1936 the Federal Resettlement Administration purchased the land and moved the families to other areas of the state. The last residents left Widtsoe for good in 1938.


Ghost Town Links

Ghost Towns
This site is one of the most informative sites about ghost towns. Certainly with the name of "ghosttowns.com" it was probably the first. Interactive maps take you not only to the state but the county. Your personal pictures can also be uploaded to this site.

Burton Frasher Collection
The Burton Frasher Sr. (1888-1955) popular picture postcard views of the Southwest have been compiled by the Pomona Public Library. The Frasher Postcard collection is remarkable in its breadth and scope. A substantial portion of the collection consists of "Main Street" views of small southwestern towns and ghost towns, which no longer exist or have changed dramatically since they were first photographed.

Historical Marker Database
Markers tell stories and point out facts. This gem of a website provides all the information about the historical markers across the states. I'm sure there must be a million of them. It gives you the full inscription, location, nearby markers, pictures, and related links.

California Historical Landmarks

California Historical Landmarks are buildings, structures, sites, or places that have been determined to have statewide historical significance. This site is easily searchable by County.

Legends of America
This site, with over 4000 pages, amazes me. It doesn't matter if you are looking for history, travel routes, or photographs, it's there. For information and entertainment value - this site is a 10. It is my favourite.

Montana Ghost Towns
This site, under the umbrella of Visit Montana, has information on almost everything "Montana". It's internal search engine is extensive. It provides an interactive map of all the ghost towns in Montana broken down into counties. Each page gives historical and contact information, highway maps, road conditions, services, events and hours of operation if applicable.

National Register of Historic Places
The National Register of Historic Places is the Nation's official list of cultural resources worthy of preservation. Properties listed include districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects. The National Register is administered by the National Park Service.

Silver State Ghost Towns
This site covers ghost towns in Nevada but also includes a few in Arizona and California. The individual pages provide historical information and photographs. A must read site.

Wikipedia - Canadian Ghost Towns
Wikipedia provides links to the ghost towns by province. It also has some external links.

Wikipedia - United States Ghost Towns
Wikipedia provides links to the ghost towns by state. It also adds some related links and external links.


 

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