Though we think of them as Western phenomena, ghost towns are in every US state. You mightve heard of Bodie, Calif.; Goldfield, Nev.; Medicine Mound, Texas and Oatman, Ariz.; but what about Moonville, Ohio; Chaska, Tenn., and Skinnersville, Mass.?
Ghost towns happened when the industry that sustained the population died (as with many mining and logging towns in the Old West), when the railroad or highway bypassed a town, or when a public construction project (such as a dam) or a natural disaster wiped it out.
A ghost town might still be marked by abandoned buildings and/or maintained as a tourist attraction, or there may be no visible sign the town ever existed. Did your ancestor live in a ghost town? Here are some online resources to help you learn more about it.
- Susans Genealogy Blog: Ghost Towns: Tips from genealogist Susan Farrell Bankhead on locating ghost towns and finding records from them.
- Ghost Town USA Home Page: On this genealogy-minded site, you can check out a state-by-state list of towns and maybe find the one where your ancestor lived.
- GhostTowns.com: See locations of US ghost towns on a map.
- Silver State Ghost Towns: Lots of photos of Nevada ghost towns, plus some from Arizona and California.