Ghost Town Jenny

Menu Close

ghost town love

Big news friends, I am engaged to another Ghost Town Hunter! Wait, you didn’t know that I was dating another fan of Ghost Towns? Well, let me tell you the story! 

A few summers ago, I made another Ghost Town trip out west to visit Elmo in Colorado. This one had been on my bucket list for months, and I finally had the time and money to do it. I originally had planned to go with a colleague, but she had to back out at the last moment. It was OK because I take most of Ghost Town trips by myself anyway.  

I had rented a car and planned to go back and forth to the site at least three times, because I really wanted to see all that I could from it. The first day was really great, but I was pretty tired from the trip, so I was more prepared for the second day. There were a few families, with kids who did not seem to be enjoying the trip as much as I, and a couple of other couples. As I was walking around, I saw a very cute looking woman, by herself, and decided to talk to her. Turns out, this was her 20th Ghost Town. She is actually from Ireland and moved to the states. Even better, she lives in the same state as me! We talked for a bit, and we decided to visit together the next day. We spent the whole day sharing facts and stories from our travels. We ended up having dinner that night, and well, the rest is history. We’ve been together for two years, have taken six Ghost Town tours together, and we are planning a wedding for next year?  

We both think it should be at a Ghost Town but our parents disagree .

Image result for ghosts in love

when i’m not ghosting

From reading this blog, you probably think that all I do is Ghost Town hunting, or reading about Ghost Towns, and I do do my share of that, but I also do a lot of other things.  

First, I am history professor at the local college. I am not tenured, but I really like the job. I love working with students and showing them about all the way history impacts our lives. I also chair a couple of committees at the university.  

To make extra money for my Ghost Town hunting, I am a Microgreens Farmer. This is a really relaxing hobby that also helps pay some bills. When I am not hunting Ghost Towns, I am selling these greens at my local farmers market. I also use what I grow to make delicious meals to take on the road with me. Gas station food is so bad for you! 

I am also an avid cyclist, and I have a puppy named Wilfred.  

I also spend a lot of time at the library reading about Ghost Towns and booking my next trip. What can I say, it’s an addiction!

famous ghost towns abroad

Much of what I first read about Ghost Towns, and most of the ones I’ve seen, are about places in the America West. And while that is a great place to do some Ghost Town hunting, there are many places across the world that also have great Ghost Towns. Can I just take a year off of work and go visit all of these? Please! 

Bhangarh, India, was deserted in the 17th century when raja of Jaipur conquered the city. It’s now mostly ruins with lots of legends and ghosts.  

Kolmanskop, Namibia, was abandoned in the 1950s when the Namib Desert consumed most of it. Many houses and buildings are filled with sand.  

Blechite, Spain, was destroyed during the Spanish Civil War in 1937. I can imagine there are some unhappy ghosts wandering about this deadly battle field.  

Herculaneum, Italy, was wiped out in A.D. 79 when Mount Vesuvius erupted. Over time, archaeologists have been able to find some cool buildings and everyday objects.  

Kayakoy, Turkey, was abandoned after the Greco-Turkish war in 1923 when millions of Greeks living in Turkey were repatriated. Homes and Greek Orthodox Churches still stand today.  

There are hundreds of other Ghost Towns around the world, but here are just a few I hope to one day visit. 

my first ghost town meet up

I am so so so so excited! Tonight was my first Ghost Town Meetup that I hosted at the local university.  

I decided that I really need to get to know other Ghost Town hunters better so I set up the group, thinking there might be one or two others in my hometown. THERE WERE 10!  

Our first meeting was pretty light, and we spent most of the time talking about where we’ve been and what we want to go. We also discussed starting something more official where we bring in speakers and hold forums for the community. Maybe we will even plan a trip together.  

Whatever happens with the group, I think I will have made a few friends who share my passion, and that makes me so happy!

what ghost towns i’ve visited – and where i want to go

People always ask me, exactly where have you been and what Ghost Towns have you seen. To be honest, it’s kind of a lot. Some women buy pursues, I go to Ghost Towns.  

So, for your pleasure, here is a list of Ghost Towns that I have visited, in no particular order:  

  • South Pass City, Wyoming 
  • Deadwood, South Dakota (it’s more of an actual town, but I really loved the TV show and wanted to see this area for myself!) 
  • Calico, California 
  • Bodie, California 
  • Wickenburg, Arizona 
  • Bannack, Montana 
  • Rhyolite, Nevada 
  • Elmo, Colorado 
  • Ruby, Arizona 
  • Arizona Ghost Town Trail (includes Courtland, Gleeson, Pearce, Arizona) 
  • Virigina City and Nevada City, Montana 
  • Glenrio, New Mexico 

And, because I love making lists, here is the one of places I would like to go in the U.S. As you can tell, most of the ones I visited were in the West, but I would like to see some other Ghost Towns and areas in other parts of the country.  

  • Terlingua, Texas 
  • Cahawba, Alabama 
  • Kennecott, Alaska 
  • Centralia, Pennsylvania 
  • Thurmond, West Virginia 
  • Bulowville, Florida 
  • North Caldwell, New Jersey 
  • Rolling Acres Mall in Akron, Ohio

the greatest ghost town in america

Many people think that most ghost towns in the country are located in California and Nevada, home to the gold rush. And, there are some really good ones there, but there are also really remarkable towns in Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana, which were old mining towns.  

Some of my favorite Ghost Towns, where you will get the more authentic experience without all the glam, is in the Great Plains. These areas have lost a third of their population since 1920 and became railroad ghost towns when railroad was built. More towns were abandoned with the rise of the US Highway System (I mean, have you ever tried to get to these areas, it’s nearly impossible!) 

New Mexico and Arizona are also home to some neat Ghost Towns. There are also a few on the East Coast and in the South.  

One thing that is really great about taking a Ghost Town vacation is that you get to see so much of the Wild Wild West. Lots of these places are not near any airports, so you have to rent a car. It’s a great way to experience our country in a completely different way, and it sort of helps you see how big it truly is. Some of my favorite parts of any Ghost Town vacation is just the driving to see the place, wondering who lived there, and what it was about this place that made them leave. I like to think about their great-great grandchildren coming back to visit. It’s really fun to take in these places and learn so much about our country. 

ghost towns 101

What exactly is a ghost town? The answer depends on who you ask! 

Some groups and cultures claim that any city with actual remains is not truly a ghost town, whereas others won’t count towns that have been abandoned by natural disasters. For me, though, I think any town that has been mostly abandoned by its people is consider a ghost town. It’s more fun if you include everyone! 

Towns are ghosted for several reasons. One of the most common reasons, and what most people think of when they think of ghost towns, is that the city’s economic activity ended or shifted to another industry that the town couldn’t accommodate. This is true for many towns that were fueled by the coal industry. Also, if roads and railroads are built, they could direct people to another, more economically prosper area. Towns are also abandoned because of natural or man-made disasters. Volcanoes is a pretty common one, and I get it—I wouldn’t want to leave in a place near erupting lava either. Flooding from dams can also be a reason a city is wiped out. Some anticipated disasters, like impending landslides or areas that have undergone traumatic events (think Chernobyl), are reasons people move elsewhere. So, is disease and contamination.  

Sometimes, cities can start to see a regrowth as it becomes a tourist attraction for crazy Ghosters like myself.  

Many ghost towns are considered historical sites and protected by federal and state laws. There are some strict rules about visiting these areas, so if you are planning a trip to one, make sure you check out what is and what is not (don’t take anything from a site!) allowed. You also need to treat these spaces with some respect. No littering, vandalizing, too many selfies. Just enjoy what you are seeing. Additionally, it’s wise to read some about the space you are visiting before you get there, but also let the ghost town tell you who it is. It’s way more fun that way! 

Also, not all ghost towns look like what you see in Hollywood. That doesn’t mean it’s not a great place to explore. Just keep an open mind and you will find some great things! Also, if you are scared, make sure to find ghost towns that are safe and well-kept. And, bring a friend!

am i a ghost?

Some people think that maybe I am a ghost, and I am so into these towns because I used to live in one. HA! 

Sadly, I am not a ghost, but maybe I will be one one day. For right now, I just really like learning about these super cool towns that have a lot to tell us about our history. People also assume that because I like Ghost Towns, I am also really into ghosts. While I think they are cool, I don’t really go looking for them nor do I have seances to call my grandparents back from the dead. I do think a ghost lived in my childhood house in an attic, but I don’t know that for sure.  

What I do know is that I am just a real human woman who loves ghost towns. 

© 2019 Ghost Town Jenny. All rights reserved.

Theme by Anders Norén.