Tag Archives: ghost towns

Shaniko Ghost Town, Oregon

Shaniko, Oregon

The now “ghost town” of “Shaniko Oregon” was once a bustling gold mining town in the Oregon Desert. It is located in Wasco County Oregon along U.S. Route 97 just north of Antelope. In 2010, there was 36 registered residents. It sits at 3,343 feet above sea level atop a high plateau in a sparse vegetative environment of sage, bunch grass, and junipers. After gold was discovered in Canyon City, Euro-Americans came to the area in 1862 during the Gold Rush. Camps were setup wherever water was found. The first camp close to where Shaniko now resides was Bakeoven and then camp Cross Hollow which eventually evolved into Shaniko. 1867 saw feuds with local Indians and robberies of gold transports. The United states awarded a grant to build a military wagon road from the Dalles to Fort Boise, Idaho. Along the route homesteaders began claiming all the available land. One of the settlers was August Scherneckau who settled here after the Civil War in 1874 that Shaniko was named after as is common after postmasters which August was in 1879. The post office of Cross Hollows closed in 1887 and Shaniko post office opened in 1900. The Columbia Southern Railway was built in 1900 and terminus was in Shaniko from Biggs Junction. This was when it was known as the “Wool Capital of the World” focusing on wheat, wool, cattle, and sheep production. 1911 the Oregon-Washington Railroad and Navigation Company utilized an alternative route from Portland to Bend diverting traffic from the Columbia Southern forcing Shaniko’s industry and population to decline. The Passenger service to Shaniko ended in the 1930’s and shut down by 1966. The town became a ghost town in 1982.

Rated: 3.5 of 5 stars. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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Empire, Nevada


Empire, Nevada, U.S.A.:

Very much tied to “Gerlach“, Empire is the smallest of the two towns on the edge of the Black Rock Desert. It is the classic company town of the United States Gypsum Corporation which owns all property and buildings in Empire. This was the longest continually operating gypsum mine in the U.S. It has a church, public pool, 9 hole golf course, a post office, and a airport for light planes with an asphalt landing strip as well as a day care facility for employees of the mine. A convenience store and gas station, the only one for more than 50 miles, sits here. Its combined population is 499 with Gerlach. Both towns support the local ranching and Gypsum plant miners as well as the annual festival tourism from Burning Man. Empire is the headquarters of the areas Gypsum Plant that closed its doors on January 21, 2011. Residents with kids can continue to inhabit the town until June 30 after that, Empire officially becomes a ghost town with the onslaught of 95 jobs being terminated. It is estimated that now there will be only 7-15 kids left in Gerlach.


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Windsor Ruins (Mississippi)


Windsor Ruins
Bruinsburg, Mississippi
One of Mississippi’s most fantastic secrets, hidden away in the swamps out in the middle of nowhere, are the ghostly remains of the Windsor plantation. The Windsor plantation was built from 1859-1861. The plantation was built, owned, and first inhabited by Smith Daniell who only was able to live in the mansion for a few weeks before he passed away at age 34. Smith Coffee Daniell II was born in 1826 as a son of a Indian fighter turned farmer. He was married to his cousin Chatherine Freeland (1830-1903) who bore him three children. Construction of the mansion cost him $175,000 to build it which included its furnishings. It was built with slave labor. The construction was designed by David Shroder. The original grounds were well over 2,600 acres. Atop the mansion was a roof observatory where Mark Twain would muse over the Mississippi River that inspired his works of art. Twain compared the plantation to a college instead of residence because of how large the plantation was. This observatory was also home to signal equipment that would notify Confederate troops of Yankee movement. The mansion was fixed with elaborate furnishings in its beginning, hosting wrought iron staircases to get from each of the four floors. Tanks resided in the attic to provide water for the baths within. There was 25 rooms with 25 fireplaces, a basement with a school room, dairy, commissary, doctor’s office, and plenty of storage rooms. The main floor held the master bedroom, a bath, 2 parlors, a study, a dining room, and a library. The third floor were 9 more bedrooms and an additional bath. The fourth floor held a unfinished ballroom. The roof held an observatory. It was a distinct portrayal of Southern Life during its era. The Mansion saw a bit of death – from Smith Daniell’s death to a yankee who was shot in the front doorway. Other deaths took place when the mansion once served as a union hospital and observation post during the civil war. Its involvement in the Civil War as a hospital saved it from being burned down to the ground during the Civil War. After the War it was burnt down during an accidental fire involving a misplaced cigar on the upper balcony during a house party on February 17, 1890. After the fire, it was never rebuilt. Parts of the mansion were scavenged, and even the wrought iron staircase found its home at nearby Alcorn State University. All that remain of the ruins is the foundation and the 23 – 30′ high Corinthian columns, some pieces of broken china, a set of wrought iron stairs, and portions of the balustrade. The Ruins have become famous, especially by Hollywood, as it was used as a setting for films such as “Raintree Country” (1957) and “Ghosts of Mississippi”. The property is now owned and maintained by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on November 23, 1971. The Ruins are located 12 miles southwest of Port Gibson off Highway 552. Also of interest in the area is the Ghost town of Rodney. A must see for any history buff. Rating : 5 stars out of 5. Visited 6/22/2005.

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Kalapana, Big Island, Hawaii


Kalapana Village, Big Island, Hawaii

Kalapana, Big Island, Hawaii
Now just a little tourist stop-off and memorial, Kalapana was once a town in the region of the Puna District. It was demolished in the 1990 K?lauea lava flow from the Pu?u ???? vent which destroyed and partly buried much of the Kalapana Gardens and nearby Royal Gardens subdivision that Kalepana consisted of. In addition, the nearby towns of Kaim? and Kaim? Bay were also destroyed by this lava flow and now lie buried beneath more than 50 feet of lava which makes up Hawaii’s newest coastline and is the area of Hawaii that is growing daily. Most of the actual town has been cut off as it lies buried under the lava and is mainly accessed by very few locals who live there utilizing 4-wheel drive vehicles to get in and out. There is a bed and breakfast running in the town, a cafe, and a memorial garden.


Kalapana Village, Big Island, Hawaii

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Alta, Colorado (Ghost Town)

Alta Ghost Town
Alta (near Telluride), Colorado
Elevation: ca. 11,800 ft.
The remnants of this ghost town still remain, some as little as heaps of wood, others as frames, and some as full structures. Alta was a small mining town between Telluride and Rico housing a population of a few hundred. Gold was discovered here first in 1878 by Jack Mann, then population trends alternated up through World War II. An aerial tramway moved the ore to the mill below. This was the first mine to use AC current. The Mill burnt down in 1948. Some famous residents were George Westinghouse, Nikola Tesla, and others who made the town what it became. Through the years, the remnants of the town were vandalized after the last residents left and most of what remains has been destroyed. The land has been purchased by a developer who plans to pave the route up to it selling lots in and around Alta Lakes further up the road. Visited on 5/31/09.

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Telluride, Colorado

Telluride, Colorado
Telluride is a great little mountainous ski-resort village that was once a mining town. Population of 2,221 in 2000. Telluride was a former silver mining camp on the san Miguel River in the San Juan Mountains nestled in a box canyon of the Four Corners region of Colorado with steep forested mountains and cliffs surrounding the town. Elevation 8,750 feet. At the head of the canyon is the amazing Bridal Veil Falls and speckled all along the valley are numerous weathered ruins of old mines and operations. Telluride offers a free gondola that you can take up to the mountain-tops for a great panoramic view of the valley. Telluride is notoriously known for its pop culture as it has been the backdrop for several tv commercials, home to an international film festival, and referred to in songs by Glenn Frey, Kate Wolf, Tim McGraw, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Josh Gracin, and in an essay by Edward Abbey. Hotspot of activity for skiiers and hikers, it’s a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Only one road reaches the town year round with two off-road routes for mid summer. Gold was first discovered in the region in 1858. The first claim was made by John Fallon in the Marshal Basin above Telluride. This sparked settling the area in 1878 with the formation of the town. Originally called “Columbia” but later changed to Telluride after one of the minerals found in the area called Tellurium. Telluride’s mines are rich in zinc, lead, copper, silver, and gold. Butch Cassidy hung out here in 1889 and robbed the San Miguel Valley Bank that year making history as his first major recorded crime. Local residents and common visitors have included John Denver, Bob Dylan, Daryl Hannah, Jerry Seinfeld, Oprah Winfrey and Tom Cruise. I found the town extremely charming and in some quarters rustic, even though it had its touristy yuppie overwhelming flair. Definitely one of my favorite towns in Colorado. A must visit.

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