Remember that “Brady Bunch” episode where the clan got temporarily stranded in a ghost town occupied only by Mr. Howell on their way to the Grand Canyon? No? Well, do you remember that great song by The Specials called “Ghost Town.” Bands won’t play no more in these ghost towns and, even better, your chances of coming across Mr. Howell or one of the Brady Bunch is practically non-existent. Think there are no ghost towns to explore in America anymore? Think again.
The impressive view afforded by the Chinati Mountains can give more a pretty decent excuse for driving right on past the ghost town in Shafter . Those with a keen eye for the offbeat tourist attractions in America will be rewarded by taking it slow and keeping the mountains in their proper perspective. Shafter was a booming silver mining town for nearly three quarters of a century. The boomtown of the 1880s went bust in 1942 and all that’s left now are the ghosts of those who came to Texas to make their fortune or squander their best opportunity.
Yellow Fever and cholera outbreaks could not kill Claiborne. Looting by Union soldiers in the Civil War could not kill Claiborne. What started out as a fort on the Alabama River grew into a fairly vibrant city in that state and could well have become one of thriving ports along that river. But all that disease and the ravages of war set the stage for the final nail in the coffin: being completely ignored in the laying down of a new railroad line. It was the rails or lack thereof that ultimately turned Claiborne into the ghost town it is today . A visit there will reveal little more of its once robust existence than a plantation house and a few really cool cemeteries.
You can find a number of actual ghost towns in Nevada and the other areas of the west subject to gold and silver rushes. But a visit to Goldfield, Nevada provides a glimpse into a special kind of ghost town . An almost-ghost town. Goldfield was booming in the first two decades of the 20th century and also was briefly the site of a labor dispute between management and workers that ultimately led to the arrival of federal troops. That situation quieted down and so did the entire town of Goldfield eventually. While not technically a completely ghost town, the population today is threadbare and many of the buildings in Goldfield are as abandoned as buildings in total ghost towns. The big difference here is that while the buildings may be inhabited by nothing but ghosts, the landlords are very much flesh and blood owners. Therefore, poking around in this ghost town is not just physically dangerous, but may get you into trouble with the law if you aren’t respectful.