Have you ever driven through one of those small, lackadaisical towns and thought, "does anyone even live here?" Chance are, you're thinking of one of those towns right now and wondering if it ever really existed, or if it was a figment of your imagination, drawn out of something akin to the book Desperation by Stephen King. While there are many "small towns" in America, there are others that hold a more decrepit nature with a wicked backstory. These are the places we refer to as "ghost towns" and they are, quite literally, disappearing and losing their existence with every day that passes. What makes these towns so truly spectacular to see is their ability to remain frozen in time, framed in a portrait that perfectly depicts the things they've witnessed and the people who have passed through. All of these things contribute to their truly eerie, yet intriguing, nature.
While you'll probably have better luck driving through one of these towns than you would in Desperation, as we assure you there are no monster-like sheriffs out to tear you apart, you will get a sense of history and what once was. The best we can do is try to convey this through the words that we know and bring to you a collection of current ghost towns, and towns that are slowly working their way onto the list that once was.
25 Disappearing: Buford, Wyoming, Population Of One
While they're not quite ghost towns (yet), America is home to some towns that are heading toward having zero population and almost no high-profiting business. One of these is the town of Buford, which currently has a population of one person. This town has an interesting origin, as it is owned by Pham Dinh Nguyen, who has turned the town into the only place in America to sell his gourmet Vietnamese coffee. Hilariously enough, he doesn't actually live in this town. Its single resident is actually the man who runs the local trading post, which also sells the Vietnamese coffee that Nguyen has created. Talk about really knowing the locals.
24 Gone For Good: Centralia, Pennsylvania, The Burning Town
It's hard to believe that a town such as Centralia, which over 2,000 called home at one point, is now just a burning remnant of a once-thriving mining town. In 2009, all of the last living residents were finally evacuated from the town due to its toxic atmosphere and general ground instability. What caused such havoc on this once peaceful town, though? Since mining was no longer a career or a necessary evil in the early 60s, the town's mining shafts were left abandoned and untouched, many of which ran straight beneath the town. In 1962, a fire, its origins unknown, ravaged these mining tunnels, turning Centralia into a furnace, scorching 140 acres of land, and producing temperatures upward of 1,000-degrees Fahrenheit underneath the earth. This not only caused the ground to crack but produced toxic smoke as well as ground temperatures that made much of the town uninhabitable. There was no way to extinguish these fires and they continue to burn hot to this day. If this scenario sounds familiar, that's because it is -- Horror fans know that the game Silent Hill was based on this town's tragic history.
23 Disappearing: Thurmond, West Virginia, Population Of Five
While Thurmond has enough of a population to keep the town going, five people don't exactly make a thriving town. West Virginia is known for its low population to begin with, but Thurmond is a different type of town altogether. As business expanded, the town slowly lost its own profit to modernization. The town is owned mostly by National Parks Service, making it pretty impossible for it to expand or ever see a booming population again. While it's not a bad thing, Thurmond is definitely what we'd consider being small and almost non-existent on the map. It is beautiful, though.
22 Gone For Good: Bodie, California, The Once Lawless Town
Bodie is an interesting town if you're ever out the California way. With something like 2,000 buildings still standing and kept in their original condition, the town is now registered as a national historic site. While this town might look like something out of Annie Oakley, everything you see is true and accurate to the last remaining year anyone lived there: 1942. The town had reached its peak in 1880 and with additions such as saloons and its own red-light district, there are plenty of stories from this town that boast the type of "cops and robbers" era you'd likely see in a western film today. Everything down to the town's stores has been kept completely intact, making for an alluring and historic step back in time.
21 Disappearing: Bonanza, Utah, Population of Zero
You're probably wondering how this town made our list of "disappearing" towns with a current population of zero. That number is recent as of 2010 and the town is still believed to be home to, well, no one. Bonanza came into existence in 1888 and was a mining town as many were during that time due to its rich fields on natural asphalt. It was once believed that this stunning landscape promised fortune for whoever resided and/or worked there, as its name depicts. Sadly, this town slowly lost its popularity, business, and as of 2010, its last resident. Utah is home to some of the most picturesque western scenery in the country and while this town is now abandoned, it's worth a drive out.
20 Gone For Good: West Castleton, Vermont, A Quarrying Gold Mine
No, it's not gold that was found in abundance in West Castleton -- It was slate. The town, while small, was once home to the slate quarries that New England is now known for. It was also home to Immigrants from Ireland, Russia, and Italy post-Civil War and thrived for some time around 1850, when the West Castleton Railroad and Slate Company found themselves on the mountainous shore of Lake Bomoseen. For roughly 50 years, West Castleton was able to ride the wave of the boom-and-bust era, but quickly fell to its eventual demise in 1929 and continued to fight a losing battle against the times as slate was no longer a popular option in construction. By the time the Great Depression took hold of the Green Mountain State, the quarries were drained and rendered unprofitable in the 1930s. Along with its money-maker becoming abandoned, the town was as well as people up and left their homes in search of better opportunities. Remnants of the town remain in Bomoseen State Park, where hikers can find various homes, crumbling and caving in but still standing, that whisper echoes of what life in the 1930s was like.
19 Disappearing: Brewster, Florida, Population Of Three
Florida is certainly not a state that we consider to be unpopular and definitely not one that we think of when it comes to disappearing towns. However, Brewster is changing the game with its low popular -- three residents, to be exact -- and still houses the essentials of every town. What was once popular due to mining (surprise surprise), was shut down in the 1960s by American Cyanamid, the company running the mining operation. The town is now owned by the state of Florida but since three residents still call it home according to the last census, this town is not quite a ghost town yet.
18 Gone For Good: Seattle Underground, Washington, Victim Of The Great Fire
Many have heard of the Great Seattle Fire which occurred in 1889, but not many know Seattle was also home to an underground shopping network. These stores took a hit after the fire and though they remained open, the city was eventually condemned in 1907. It had become home to dodgy dealings and was deemed fairly unsafe to wander around at that point, while also giving off a creepy vibe of something that was once thriving, but now remained a shell of what it had once homed. Now, some of these underground passageways have been restored and are open for tours, however, many remain closed to the public and are abandoned still to this day.
17 Disappearing: Elkhorn, Montana, Population Of 18
Comparatively, Elkhorn, found in the gorgeous state of Montana, is home to a whopping 18 people. That's almost enough to go throughout your entire day without bumping into every person you know at the local grocery... Almost. The silver-mining town turned a massive profit in the 19th century, making it a once-bustling town with a population much higher than where it resides today. The interesting thing about Elkhorn is that is considered to be a "ghost town", however, its current residents reside in their own homes between those which were abandoned way back when. It's an interesting lifestyle for some, creepy for others.
16 Gone For Good: Rhyolite, Nevada, A Piece Of Gold Rush History
If the Gold Rush Era is where you find your interests lie, Rhyolite is a town that should be on your list of places to visit. You can find this completely abandoned town in Nevada, seemingly stuck in the year 1907 when disaster struck the once very alive town. After the financial crisis that plagued residents that year, the town was left abandoned, only to become swallowed up by the Nevada landscape and leave buildings where there was once a lively western town. Upon visiting this town, you can still get a very real feel for how life was in the wild west and how glorious this town was in its heyday. Although all that's left now are some dusty nods to buildings that were considered to be a fancy form nightlife, it still holds the charm of a lifestyle we can only see in movies now.
15 Disappearing: Funkley, Minnesota, Population Of Five
A funky name for a Funkley town. Or is it a Funkley name for a funky town? Either way, this town in Minnesota has a small population of only five who were residing in it during the last census. While this town has no mining story or history, it does have a colorful bar owner who is also the self-proclaimed mayor of Funkley. The story goes that this eccentric mayor once handed out money that he called "Funkley Bucks", complete with none other than his face on the front, to first-time customers. Sadly, this town no longer sees the business that it once used to and has fallen to the same fate as many on this list. Sorry, Funky Town.
14 Gone For Good: Christmas, Arizona, A Not-So-Joyful Town
This strange little town along Route 66 has a lot to do with the name it was given. In 1933, Nina Talbot, a realtor, set out on a mission to create a winter-themed resort in the middle of the Arizona desert. While ambition, her efforts seemingly appeared to be working -- At least initially. The best way to describe the town was to say that it was Christmas 365 days of the year. Outfitted with several buildings that were reminiscent of the perfect North Pole town and even its own Santa Claus, families were drawn to the attraction and kids fell in love. However, as the country expanded, Christmas (the town, not the holiday) eventually fell to the wayside, becoming completely obsolete by the 1970s. Some of its buildings still remain today, creating an eerie whisper of something that was once created out of joy for this popular holiday.
13 Disappearing: Freeport, Kansas, Population Of Four
Amongst the many things, you'll find in the rolling green fields of Kansas, the town of Freeport is one of them. This town was once known for being the smallest to have a town bank while still maintaining the title of a US town. As the population dwindled down so did the town's businesses, and now all you'll find is a Presbyterian Church that made its way onto the National Registry of Historic Places and a grain elevator... Which is not surprising considering all the farmland in Kansas. As of the last-known census, the population still hovered at only four people but hey, that's enough to start a board game night with, right?
12 Gone For Good: Glenrio, New Mexico/Texas Border, No Longer A Tourist Spot
Yet another Route 66 town, Glenrio once boasted a reputation for being part of both Texas and New Mexico. This town once resided on the border and was a bustling tourist spot for those who were passing through, but fell victim to the expansion and growth of the country around the 1970s with the construction of I-40. The town held hotels, diners, and a dance hall among other attractions, but with the need for modernization, the need for roadside comforts was no more. Glenrio was left abandoned in its former glory and still remains an empty reminder of the days when road trips included lengthy stays in local towns and a need for western comfort food.
11 Disappearing: Magnet Cove, Arkansas, Population Of Five
Arkansas is a state that you don't hear too much about but back in the 1800s, Magnet Cove was rich in magnetite, hence its given name. While mining took over as it often did during that century, Magnet Cove was once a much more popular town with a magnetic reputation -- See what we did there? Today, you'll find only its five remaining residents, as of the last census that was taken for the town. Only one business remains at this time in the town, and that's William's Grocery Store and Station. While Arkansas has some beautiful landscapes, popularity does not become it as far as successful small towns go.
10 Gone For Good: Calico, California, Once A Miner's Dream
Now here's a town that used its abandonment to become a popular attraction. The town of Calico is a self-declared ghost town and has since become a tourist attraction for those who pass through California. It's now a historical landmark and tourists can look forward to tours of the one remaining mine that has been kept up in order to maintain its safety as well as take a trip down the scenic Calico Odessa Railroad. The town even offers ghost tours for those who are a bit more daring, though you never truly know what you'll find in an abandoned mining town such as this one.
9 Disappearing: Hobart Bay, Alaska, Population Of Zero
Alaska already has a bit of a small population so it's really no surprise to find that in addition to ghost towns, they also have towns that are headed for the same fate. Hobart Bay had a fairly good population as of 1990 when the US census recorded at least 187 residents. Over the course of a decade, Hobart Bay lost 184 residents and had a minimal population of only three. The reasoning behind this significant population decrease is unknown, however, they now currently sport a population of zero. While Alaska is naturally beautiful, it appears that just simply isn't enough for their population to hold up the same numbers as the rest of the country.
8 Gone For Good: St. Elmo, Colorado, A True Ghost Town
When you think of Colorado, you think of snow-covered mountains, hardcore winter sports, and high elevations. When we think of Colorado, we think of history and that includes St. Elmo, the town that was abandoned in the 1930s. This mining town had a population well over 2,000 which was considered to be a high population for that time. As mining became a thing of the past, so did St. Elmo, though one family remained to the very end in order to run the town's hotel and general story. Now, it's home to none other than the spirits that remain -- Who are supposedly very active when they get visitors.
7 Disappearing: Ruso, North Dakota, Population Of Four
Ruso is an interesting town because despite its small population of four -- which goes down to two during the winter months -- the town still has ways of maintaining its monetary needs. People from out of town own land in this tiny town, which help to pay for all the major aspects such as street lights (all two of them!), sewage pumping, and on and off garbage pickup. Interestingly enough, Ruso still holds town elections, during which only one person actually votes... The current mayor of the town, Bruce Lorenz. Since the population is only four people, no one really seems to mind the predictability when Election Day rolls around.
6 Gone For Good: Kennecott, Alaska, Victim Of Desertion
Alaska isn't a place that most people are eager to live in unless they truly appreciate how wild (and cold) nature can be. Those who were born in the state are used to its environment, but for many, its beauty is to be seen on vacation rather than daily. While there are plenty of towns in Alaska that people call home, Kennecott is not one of them. This eerie town sits at the end of a 60-mile road and was once owned by the Kennecott Copper Corporation until the mills eventually ran dry in 1938. As many corporations do, Kennecott fled the scene, leaving behind harrowing stories and lucky tales of those who lived and worked there. Guided tours are offered by the National Park Service if you're daring enough.