museums America's Coolest Ghost Towns  

Alby Thompson
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"Ghost Town" is a slang term for a town or city that has, for one reason or another, been abandoned by people. Typical reasons for cities to be evacuated and abandoned by humans include an economic collapse, armed conflicts and wars, changes in the transportation grid, natural disasters such as floods and earthquakes or - in some cases - specific acts of local governments. Sometimes, the term "ghost town" is also applied to places that are sparsely populated, or from where a once-large population scattered, but this list will largely focus on abandoned, empty ghost towns.

American academics have attempted to get even more specific about the definition of "ghost town." Professor T. Lindsay Baker of Tarleton State University in Texas has issued two defining characteristics of ghost towns: (1) there is no more reason for this town to exist and (2) there are tangible remnants of the town for visitors to see.

In America, the notion of a "ghost town" became popularized largely following the California Gold Rush, when a variety of mining towns and camps sprung up across the Western and even parts of the Southern US that were later abandoned when the local resources were used up. Some of these ghost towns entered the popular culture, including Deadwood, South Dakota (which inspired the HBO TV series of the same name) and Cripple Creek, Colorado. Many of these ghost towns have been preserved and serve as state parks, while other former ghost towns have been slowly repopulated over time (such as Aspen, Colorado).
Bodie is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list America's Coolest Ghost Towns
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Bodie is a ghost town in the Bodie Hills east of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in Mono County, California, United States, about 75 miles southeast of Lake Tahoe. It is located 12 mi east-southeast of Bridgeport, at an elevation of 8379 feet. As Bodie Historic District, the U.S. Department of the ...more

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Rhyolite is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list America's Coolest Ghost Towns
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Rhyolite is a ghost town in Nye County, in the U.S. state of Nevada. It is in the Bullfrog Hills, about 120 miles northwest of Las Vegas, near the eastern edge of Death Valley. The town began in early 1905 as one of several mining camps that sprang up after a prospecting discovery in the surrounding ...more

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Centralia is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list America's Coolest Ghost Towns
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Centralia is a borough and a near-ghost town in Columbia County, Pennsylvania, United States. Its population has dwindled from over 1,000 residents in 1981 to 7 in 2013 as a result of the Centralia mine fire that has been burning beneath the borough since 1962. Centralia is the least-populated ...more

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Tombstone is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list America's Coolest Ghost Towns
Photo: mlhradio/flickr/CC-BY-NC 2.0
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Tombstone Historic District

Tombstone is a historic western city in Cochise County, Arizona, United States, founded in 1879 by Ed Schieffelin in what was then Pima County, Arizona Territory. It was one of the last wide-open frontier boomtowns in the American Old West. The town prospered from about 1877 to 1890, during which ...more

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