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Ghost Town

  • Wild West Magazine

    Ghost Town: Harshaw to Lochiel, Arizona

    In 1539 Franciscan friar Marcos de Niza set out to explore the region north of Sonora, Mexico, fabled to contain untold riches. Fray Marcos found no gold, but he is credited with being the first European to set foot on U.S. soil west of...

  • Wild West Magazine

    Ghost Town: Shakespeare, New Mexico

    A spring in an arroyo near New Mexico’s Pyramid Mountains brought Apaches, Mexicans and Americans to what would become Shakespeare. Dubbed Mexican Spring by whites, in 1856 it became a stop on an alternate route of the early San Antonio...

  • Wild West Magazine

    Ghost Town: Silver Reef, Utah

    One night in 1866, the story goes, prospector John Kemple sought shelter with a Mormon family in Leeds, southwest Utah Territory. Sitting by the evening fire, he noticed a metallic liquid dripping from a hot rock in the fireplace....

  • Wild West Magazine

    Ghost Town: Ashcroft, Colorado

    Prospectors Charles B. Culver and Amos Kindt spent the winter of 1879– 80 at the forks of Castle Creek, 12 miles south of Aspen in central Colorado’s Elk Mountains. In May 1880 Culver and William F. Coxhead filed claims in the area,...

  • Wild West Magazine

    Ghost Town: Sego, Utah

    Gold and silver drew men west, but coal powered the nation. While most of today’s well-known Western ghost towns prospered during the search for precious metals, Sego was a coal town, supplying fuel for railroads, homes and industry....

  • Wild West Magazine

    Ghost Towns: Terlingua, Texas

    Terlingua, near the Chisos and Christmas mountains in Texas’ Big Bend region, owes its existence to the blood-red ore cinnabar, from which quicksilver, or mercury, is extracted. But its character stems equally from one overbearing Yankee...

  • Wild West Magazine

    Ghost Towns: Vulture, Arizona

    Gold miners first drove picks in Arizona Territory along the Colorado River north of Fort Yuma, afterward fanning out north and east and entering the Hassayampa River valley. In November 1863 German immigrant Henry Wickenburg set out south...

  • Wild West Magazine

    Ghost Town: Coloma, California

    In 1845 James Marshall took a carpentry job with John Sutter, later constructing a sawmill to supply lumber for Sutter’s ambitious project—a colony he called New Helvetia (present-day Sacramento, Calif., and environs) after his native...

  • Wild West Magazine

    Ghost Towns: Mystic, South Dakota

    Strewn across the evergreen-studded slopes of the Black Hills are the crumbling remains of gold mining activity—mills, shafts, dredges, sluices, flumes, cyanide pits, assay houses and even a few schools and saloons. In Mystic, on a...

  • Wild West Magazine

    Ghost Towns; Coolidge, Montana

    Mike Steel and mining partner F.W. Parish were prospecting the northern Pioneer Mountains in southeastern Montana Territory when, on October 24, 1873, they discovered silver-bearing ore. They named their mine the Elkhorn. Although the ore...

  • Wild West Magazine

    Ghost Towns: Masonic, California

     “The ghosts of Masonic have many secrets,” reads a bronze plaque amid the ruins of this onetime gold boomtown in the eastern Sierra Nevada. Although not as well preserved or known as neighboring Bodie www.bodie.com, Masonic...

  • Wild West Magazine

    Ghost Towns: Quincy, Kansas

    Quincy, Kansas, once had it all. A prosperous community in Greenwood County in southeastern Kansas, it rose to serve farmers and cattle ranchers in the surrounding region and later offered some light industrial opportunities. Its history...

  • Wild West Magazine

    Ghost Towns: Helena, Texas

    Entrepreneurs Thomas Ruckman and Dr. Lewis Sumpter Owings founded Helena in 1852 on the site of an earlier Mexican trading post called Álamita (“little cottonwood”). Their settlement straddled the long-standing road between San...

  • Wild West Magazine

    Ghost Towns: Carson, Colorado

    J.E. Carson (recorded elsewhere as Christopher J. Carson) discovered promising float samples southwest of Lake City, Colo., in 1876. Returning to the area after exploring near Leadville, he staked the Bonanza King and other claims in 1881....

  • Wild West Magazine

    Ghost Towns: Burke, Idaho

    An idyllic ghost town readily accessible from I-90, Burke, Idaho—3,700 feet above sea level in the Coeur d’Alene Mountains —was once a crowded site of violence and intrigue. Rich ore strikes at nearby Wallace in the early 1880s lured...

  • Wild West Magazine

    Ghost Towns: Kingston, New Mexico

    On the site of a former Apache camp, nestled in the knees of the Black Range in southwestern New Mexico, Kingston (elevation 6,224 feet) lies astride Middle Percha Creek. Originally called Percha City, the town boomed in 1882 after a...