Ghost towns, which were once bustling towns teeming with people, but are today abandoned because of various reasons are a common feature in the United States. California, in particular, is famous for its modern cities, movie studios, Golden Gate Bridge, and natural parks, but is also quite popular for its ghost towns that can be found across the state.
Many towns were built during the Gold Rush period, but later were abandoned, and slowly fell into decay due to natural disasters or economic crises. For many of these ghost towns, the homes and business haven’t been touched since there heydays, and are a source of fascination.
Perhaps one of the most well-known ghost town in California is Bodie. Once a prosperous town, and home to more than 10,000 people, Bodie is today just a shadow of its former self. Today, there are 100 structures remaining in the town, but they are well-maintained as it has been turned into a state park.
Panamint City, located near Death Valley, was established in 1872 after silver and copper were discovered in the area. Within two years it became a thriving town with a population of 2,000 people. However, a couple of years later a flash flood roared through it, turned it into a ghost town.
Garlock was founded in the late 19th century. Garlock was home to a few notable structures such as a post office, church, and school. But as the water supply dried up, residents of the town abandoned it turning Garlock into a ghost town.
Calico was established in the late 19th century as a silver mining town. It was one of the most prosperous town of that age and had more than 500 mines. Within a span of just 12 years, these mines had produced $20 million of silver ore. However, in the 1890s silver began to lose its value, rendering the mines useless. With no other opportunity in sight, residents abandoned the town adding it to the growing list of ghost towns in the state. Today Calico is owned by Knott’s Berry Farm, and is open as a family attraction.
Death Valley Junction is in shambles today, but it was not always like that. Once it was home to thriving businesses, hotels, theater, and offices. The railroad began operations in 1914 between Ryan and Death Valley Junction. However, the railroad shut down, and by the mid-20th century the town was in decline.
California is home to many other ghost towns such as Lockhart, Saltdale, Atolia, and Red Mountain.