Bucket List: America’s Ghost Towns Part 3


I got a little behind in posting the last few weeks thanks to work, but have finally been able to get everything caught up in time to bring you part 3 of America’s Ghost Towns. Since there are a ridiculous number of abandoned towns in the U.S.A, there will still be a number of posts on the subject as I cover the country state by state, but for now we’ll continue on with California and Colorado.

Ludlow California

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Flickr Photo: © Jasperdo – Ludlow, California

Once dubbed “The Town Too Dry To Die”, Ludlow California sprang up alongside the Santa Fe Railroad in 1882, and began to thrive once gold ore was found at the Bagdad-Chase mine a few miles away. Since the town literally had no water, the only way production could continue at the mine was to haul both water and ore to and from the mine. Once this problem was solved with the completion of the Tonopah-Tidewater railroad, the mining camp began to attract more men, and a small town sprang up in the desert complete with schoolhouse, hotels, and a bath house of course. Although the town would survive WWI with only a few misfortunes to speak of, by the time the Great Depression rolled around in the 1930’s, Ludlow was beginning to wane, and the Tonopah-Tidewater railway would lose miles of track to a disastrous flood. When a termination of operations was grated for the company running the mine in 1940, only a handful of residents would remain and ride out WWII. By the 1960’s, two highways, and a well would allow the town of Ludlow to sustain its few remaining residents, and accommodate any tourists passing through the area. Today the old mining town is still wasting away along Route 66, just a stones throw away from what remains of modern-day Ludlow.

Salton Riviera, California

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Flickr Photo: © mst7022 – Salton Sea

Located in Salton City, this once ideal resort development on the Salton Sea was a huge success when it opened in the late 1950’s. Originally created to be a large community full of schools, neighborhoods and churches alongside a championship golf course, yacht club, and world-class hotel, Salton Riviera failed to attract the residents it desired. Although plenty of people were willing to invest money in the development and celebrities and politicians were constantly being seen around the resort, the community would collapse by the end of the 1970’s, a mere twenty years after it opened. During the 1980’s and 1990’s the salinity and pollution levels in the Salton Sea increased, causing a large decrease in tourism to the area, and ruin to the remaining buildings at Salton Riviera. Today there isn’t much left besides a terrible smell the remnants of a once thriving place. Be sure to check out nearby Bombay Beach while you’re in the area as well.

**Salton riviera is located on private property**

Animas Forks, Colorado

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Flickr Photo: © underactive – Animas Forks Ghost Town

This small mining settlement is located at the crossroads of three rivers in the San Juan Mountains about 12 miles Northeast of Silverton. The first cabins of Animas Forks were built by prospectors in 1873, and by 1876 there was a bustling community of miners and their families, along with a post office, hotel, saloon, and general store. Animas Forks continued to grow steadily thanks to the mine nearby until about 1910 when activity at the mine stopped, and the once thriving mining town was deserted. Today if you want to visit Animas Forks, it’s recommended that you go in a vehicle with four-wheel drive since the roads are unpaved, and the town is a bit of a drive from the nearest inhabited town nearby.

Ashcroft, Colorado

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Flickr Photo: © Joe Jiang – Ghost Town Dusk

Founded in 1880 when miners from local Leadville found silver ore in the Castle Creek Valley, Ashcroft started out as a small mining camp called Castle Forks City. The first group of prospectors to call the camp home set up a Miner’s Protection Association, built a court-house, and had streets mapped out two weeks later. When word about the silver began to spread, the small camp began to grow at a rapid pace, and was soon home to a new name – Ashcroft – and 2,000 people. Because of its size, the new mining town would grow to house 2 newspapers, a few sawmills, schools, and at least 20 saloons. Ironically enough, the town met its end in about the same manner it began. When the silver mines proved to be shallow by 1885 there were only 100 people left, and by the turn of the century the town would be a ghost town. Today there are 9 buildings left standing in Ashcroft, and can be visited from mid June to September.

Dunton Hot Springs, Colorado

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Flickr Photo: © Automotive Rhythms – Camping_at_Dunton_Hot_Springs..17

The original Dunton Springs was built in 1885 as a mining town. Although there’s not a lot of information floating around the internet about what caused the town to collapse, it’s probably safe to assume the mine ran out of raw materials and the people left… The reason this revived ghost town made it onto my bucket list is because the original buildings were painstakingly restored, and have been transformed into a resort. If you’re looking for somewhere unique to spend the weekend, why not fork over heaps of money to sleep like a modern age miner in a little slice of heaven on earth…. but you know… with modern conveniences, delicious food, and heated cabins to go along with the gorgeous views.

St. Elmo, Colorado

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Flickr Photo: © Melinda Duncan – On The Boardwalk

Named after a romantic 19th century novel, St. Elmo sprang up 1878 under the name of Forest City. As the population of the town grew right along with the increase in gold and silver ore findings in the area, a post office was established a few years later and the name was officially changed over to St. Elmo. What really put this small mining town on the map however, was becoming a station on not one but 3 different railways. Soon the town was booming with close to 2,000 citizens, two restaurants, several merchandise stores, two saw mills, and a newspaper. Like most mining towns, the beginning of the end of St. Elmo started with the failure of the local mines in 1910. Although mining continued in the area until the 1920’s, St. Elmo met its demise when the railroad stopped running in 1922, and literally pulled up the tracks in 1926. Today there’s not much left of St. Elmo thanks to a fire back in 2002, but the town is open for tours, and donations are appreciated to help restore the remaining buildings.

Bucket List: America’s Ghost Towns Part 2

bucketlistghosttown2In the second section of America’s ghost towns off on my own personal bucket list, I’m going to continue where I left off and move across the country in alphabetical order.

Pearce, Arizona

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Flickr Photo: © Phillip Capper – Pearce, Arizona, USA 1990

Discovered by and named for James Pearce, the town of Pearce, Arizona formed up around the infamous Commonwealth mine after James made a chance discovery with the throw of a rock. Said to be one of the most prosperous mines in the state, it’s easy to understand how this patch of desert seemed to grow overnight into a bustling little town with a movie theater, railroad, saloon, post office, boarding house, and literally both the families and houses of tombstone. Sadly the town met its demise when the Great Depression rolled across the country and took with it a large portion of the businesses in town. Soon it would be as if Pearce had never been at all. Today, the town is seeing a resurgence as buildings are being transformed into shop fronts catering towards the tourists making their way on the famous “ghost trail”.

Santa Claus, Arizona

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Flickr Photo: © David Smith – Santa’s Village 2

Although Santa Claus, Arizona was never technically a town, it was a popular tourist attraction on Highway 93 south of the Nevada/Arizona border at Hoover Dam. Closed in 1995, this once magical attraction with themed food and trinkets for everyone’s favorite holiday, has now been left to rot in the Arizona sun and has been covered with years of graffiti.There’s really no telling what you might find if you decide to visit, apart from the few remaining buildings, but I for one am shamelessly happy there’s one less Santa themed place in the world… you know… because he’s creepy.

Dogpatch, Arkansas

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Flickr Photo: © Clinton Steeds – Dogpatch Grounds

Hailed as the most famous amusement park in the United States, Dogpatch U.S.A. in Marble Falls, Arkansas opened it’s doors in 1968 to a crowd of 8,000 people. With a creative mix of characters, rides, and attractions the park performed well for a number of years despite behind the scenes drama and a few personal injury lawsuits along the way. Dogpatch kept its doors open until 1993, and shortly there after began garnering attention for being vacant. Sadly for all of you urban explorers out there, the park was purchased by inventor Charles L. Pelsor in 2014 and is slowly being revived while remaining open for tours.

Bodie, California

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Flickr Photo: © James Marvin Phelps – Abandoned Old Chevy

Built in the 1860’s and named after William Bodey (Waterman S. Body), who was the first to discover gold in the area, the town grew steadily until the early 1880’s when the gold mines began to close and people moved on to more prosperous areas of the country. Although there was a brief resurgence of inhabitants throughout most of the early 1900’s thanks to new mining technology, the town slowly faded towards the ghost town it would become in the 1940’s. In 1962, Bodie was declared both a State Historic Park and National Historic Landmark thanks to the state of “arrested decay” that has been maintained since the state took over. The park is open year round for tourism.

Calico, California

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Flickr Photo: © Steven Martin – Main Street, Calico Ghost Town

Formed in the 1880’s and named for the beautiful mountains that surround the city, Calico grew up around multiple silver mines and soon became a thriving locale. When the value of silver dropped only 10 years later, the town was hard hit and people would begin to abandon the city until the final residents left in 1929. When Walter Knott purchased the ghost town in the 1950’s he set about restoring the remaining buildings and tried to make them look as authentic as possible while making them sturdy for a hopefully long future. Luckily for Knott, his hard work paid off and Calico was made a State Historic Landmark in 2005, and is open year round for tours and a step back in time.

Chemung Mine/Masonic, California

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Flickr Photo: © Cowgirl Jules – Chemung Mine 1

Discovered in 1909, Chemung Mine in Masonic Mountain remained open until 1938 when as far as I can discern, it was abandoned overnight (probably not). Inhabited by 1,000 people at the height of its existence, the mining town is built on three levels, and used an extensive tram system to transport the gold from the mine back into town. Although the town has been abandoned for 78 years, the remains of buildings are still standing and said to be in good condition for their age and lack of repair. Located close to Bodie, you’ll have to drive to get here, but even if you’re unimpressed with the dilapidated buildings, the beautiful desert views should be worth your time.

Bucket List: Literary Homes

Apart from my obvious love of travel and admitted love of movies, I’m also a huge bookworm. Because I always seem to have my nose stuck in a book, and have grown interested in the lives of the authors who have written some of the most famous books in history, I’ve made a point to include their homes in my travel bucket list. Since none of the below mentioned authors should need any introduction from me, I’m going to stray from the norm (as far as my bucket list posts are concerned) and only include titles, locations, and photos for each.

Agatha Christie

Greenway Estate – Greenway Rd, near Brixham, Devon TQ5 0ES, United Kingdom
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Flickr Photo: © Becks – Greenway

Alexandre Dumas

“Chateau de Monte Cristo” – Square des Ormes, 78560 Le Port-Marly, Yvelines, France

Anne Frank

Anne Frank House – Prinsengracht 263-267, 1016 GV Amsterdam, Netherlands
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Flickr Photo: © Chris Khamken – Anne Frank’s House

Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum –  203 N Amity St., Baltimore, Maryland 21223, U.S.A.
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Flickr Photo: © Darren and Brad – L1250692

Edith Warton

The Mount – 2 Plunkett St, Lenox, Massachusetts 01240, U.S.A.
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Flickr Photo: © David Dashiell – The Mount from the Flower Garden by David Dashiell.jpg

Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson Museum – 280 Main St, Amherst, Massachusetts 01002, U.S.A.
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Flick Photo: © peppergrasss – Emily Dickinson house

Ernest Hemingway

The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum – 907 Whitehead St, Key West, Florida 33040, U.S.A. 
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flickr Photo: © annaspies – The Hemingway House

F. Scott Fitzgerald

F. Scott Fitzgerald House – 599 Summit Ave, St Paul, Minnesota 55102, U.S.A.
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Flickr Photo: © Holly Hayes – F. Scott Fitzgerald House

Henry David Thoreau

Replica House at Walden Pond State Reservation – 915 Walden St., Concord, Massachusetts 01742, U.S.A.
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Flickr Photo: © Tracy Lee Carroll – Thoreau’s Cabin and Statue

Herman Melville

Arrowhead – 780 Holmes Rd, Pittsfield, Massachusetts 01201, U.S.A.
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Flickr Photo: © Pablo Sanchez – Herman Melville’s Arrowhead, The Berkshires, MA

Jane Austen

Jane Austen’s House Museum –  Chawton, Alton, Hampshire GU34 1SD, United Kingdom
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Flickr Photo: © Jacqueline Poggi – Jane Austen’s House Museum, Chawton

John Keats

Keats House – 10 Keats Grove, London NW3 2RR, United Kingdom
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Flickr Photo: © Laura Nolte – Keats House

John Steinbeck

Steinbeck House and Restaurant – 132 Central Ave, Salinas, California 93901, U.S.A.
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Flickr Photo: © Ken Lund – John Steinbeck House, Salinas, California

Leo Tolstoy

Yasnaya Polyana – Yasnaya Polyana, Tula Oblast, Russia, 301214
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Flickr Photo: © khawkins33 – Tolstoy’s home

Louisa May Alcott

Orchard House – 399 Lexington Rd, Concord, Massachusetts 01742, U.S.A.
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Flickr Photo: © Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism – Orchard House, Home of Louisa May Alcott – Concord

Margaret Mitchell

Margaret Mitchell House and Museum – 990 Peachtree St NE, Atlanta, Georgia 30309, U.S.A.
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Flickr Photo: © Lars Juhl Jensen – The Margaret Mitchell House, Atlanta, Georgia

Mark Twain

Mark Twain House – 351 Farmington Ave, Hartford, Connecticut 06105, U.S.A.
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Flickr Photo: © Ken Zirkel – Mark Twain House

Oscar Wilde

The Oscar Wilde House – American College Dublin, 1 Merrion Square, Dublin 2, Ireland
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Flickr Photo: © William Murphy – Merrion Square – The Irish American University

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson House – 28 Cambridge Turnpike, Concord, Massachusetts 01742, U.S.A.
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Flickr Photo: © Chris DiGiamo – The home of Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thomas Hardy

National Trust – Hardys Cottage, Dorchester, Dorset DT2 8QJ, United Kingdom
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Flickr Photo: © Phillip Capper – Thomas Hardy’s cottage, Dorset, England…

Victor Hugo

Maison de Victor Hugo – 6 Place des Vosges, 75004 Paris, France
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Flickr Photo: © Fofo Espínola – maison de victor hugo

Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman House – 330 Mickle Boulevard, Camden, New Jersey 08103, U.S.A.
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Flickr Photo: © Chris Hunkeler – Walt Whitman’s Home

William Shakespeare

Shakespeare’s Birthplace – Henley St., Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 6QW, United Kingdom
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Flickr Photo: © Peter Broster – Shakespeare’s Birthplace

Bucket List: Bodie, California


The town of Bodie, California is right out of one of my favorite sections of U.S. History – the gold rush – and was added to my bucket list for one very unique reason. It’s a ghost town! Built in the 1860’s and named after William Bodey (Waterman S. Body), who was the first to discover gold in the (Bodie) hills nearby, the town grew steadily until the early 1880’s when the gold mines began to close and people moved on to more prosperous areas of the country. Although there was a brief resurgence of inhabitants throughout most of the early 1900’s thanks to new mining technology, the town slowly faded towards the ghost town it would become in the 1940’s after a fire destroyed 90% of the town in 1933.

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Flickr Photo: © James Marvin Phelps – Abandoned Old Chevy

In 1962, Bodie was declared both a State Historic Park and National Historic Landmark thanks to the state of “arrested decay” that has been maintained since the state took over. Everything has been left in place and provides a glimpse into the past and into the lives of the last residents of a town frozen in time. The park is open year round and will cost $5 per adult and $3 per child to enter. Since there is almost no electricity in the area, try to plan your trip around one of the 3 nights each year the park stays open late to experience a rare look at the stars over the town time forgot, or to go on one of the ghost tours with a guide.

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Flickr Photo: © Ed – Bodie, California

Check out bodie.com or parks.ca.gov for more information.