Monday, July 23, 2018

What makes up a ghost town?

What makes up a ghost town?
According to Wikipedia, a ghost town or an abandon town is because the reason for living or settling no longer exists. Maybe there has been a series of natural disasters that make living in the settlement no longer viable, or the basis for the economy has been depleted. Westerns love ghost towns; long ago abandon mines whose ore has been exhausted or railroad towns where the rail line has died.
People need a reason to exist, a reason to put down roots. If businesses don’t produce jobs that give a sustainable living, the populace begins to look for ‘greener pastures’. That golden ring is just beyond the horizon.

Near where I live, there are some interesting examples. We all know about the Lost Colony. They came and settled along Roanoke Island on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. A war in England prevented the supply ships from returning. When they did, they found the fort abandoned, the population gone, even the first child born in the America’s Virginia Dare never to be seen or heard again. Only clue was the word Croatian carved on the gate. 

Later, the English returned to Jamestown. The colony thrived until the capital was moved to Williamsburg through the Revolution. As settlers moved west, the capital of Virginia shifted to Richmond, where it stands today and Williamsburg faded until the remains of the colonial capital was “rediscovered” by Rockefellers.  ( more reading can be found here: › CW Journal › Winter 00-01) 

The lure of ghost towns seems to be trying to imagine how the people lived, what caused their demise, how can we prevent it in the future. Those graying, weathered buildings pull at our souls and peak the worry that this may happen to us once again, for if we fail to learn the history of our past it is our doom to repeat the mistakes.

With that being said, many of our western abandon towns have become tourist attractions. Virginia City brought back by Bonanza. Dodge City no doubt has had a flood of visitors do to Matt Dillon.  Many of these towns are designated on the National Register of Historic Places under the National Park Service. (Check this link for more reading - )

A list of American ghost towns can be found at this site -

This spring, I will be writing with a group of talented ladies about a town that was abandoned in the late 1800’s. We will be breathing life into this little town and creating a community all its own. 

Until next time, 

Nan O'Berry 


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