All across the United States and in parts of Canada, you'll find a number of deserted towns and cities that are now considered ghost towns. These areas in North America could not thrive because of certain circumstances including economic activity that failed them, Mother Nature or other various reasons where its inhabitants could no longer sustain themselves. Buildings like schools, hospitals, and even jails were left to crumble and what's left are quiet and somewhat spooky places in the U.S. and Canada that people stumble upon when traveling around North America.
From California to New York, you'll learn that there is a plethora of towns and cities left abandoned with their original structures still up. In Bodie, California, you can find quiet and decaying homes with dining tables still set up for dinner and stores still stocked with necessary supplies. Most of these ghost towns were once bustling with people working in the mines, but when mining started to decline, inhabitants moved away and left these village, towns, and cities in search of new places to find metals like gold and silver. In other areas, residents had to leave their homes because of drought, terrible weather conditions and in one city in Pennsylvania, a coal mine fire burning underneath the town had many people fleeing.
These 25 ghost towns, (15 in the United States and 10 in Canada) are eerie but still hold important history. Much of the buildings are still standing in these deserted areas, but will soon decay and these once thriving communities are soon going to be disappearing before our very eyes.
25 St. Elmo, Colorado
St. Elmo, Colorado was formerly known as Forest City and was once a busy mining center, with people mining gold and silver and bringing in as much as 2,000 people when the town was at its peak. However, in 1910, mining started to decline and many miners moved away in search of new gold strikes, reports Legends of America. By 1930, only seven people were said to have lived in St. Elmo, including the family who ran the general store and the hotel. There are also stories that a family member haunts the area and the small city supposedly has the most paranormal activity in the state of Colorado. While some buildings still remain, a fire in 2002 destroyed six of the buildings including the jail and town hall.
24 Goldfield, Arizona
The city of Goldfield, Arizona rightly earned its name when it was populated with miners searching for gold in the late 1800s. According to Country Living, the city was dried up by 1898, inhabited and remained Youngberg in 1921, and again, abandoned in 1926. Before it became a ghost town, Goldfield boasted three saloons, a boarding house, general store, blacksmith shop, brewery, meat market, and a schoolhouse. After more than 115 years, this small ghost town was transformed into a tourist attraction and allows visitors to tour the historic Mammoth Gold Mine and visit the Goldfield Museum.
23 Rhyolite, Nevada
Rhyolite, Nevada is a ghost town located about 120 miles northwest of Las Vegas and near the eastern edge of Death Valley. In 1907, the city seemed like a huge success with a hospital, an opera house, and a stock exchange. The city appeared to be in such a good state that even American steel magnate Charles M. Schwab invested and bought one of the mines in Rhyolite, according to Country Living. However, after a financial crisis, a few natural disasters, and the loss of funding, almost every single resident left the city by the 1920s.
22 Virginia City And Nevada City, Montana
This old ghost town is known for being the former residence of the famous Calamity Jane, in Virginia City. The frontierswoman was known for being an acquaintance of Wild Bill Hickok and fighting against Indians. The town has not changed since 1863 with many of the original buildings still standing today. One mile down the road in Nevada City, another town that saw success and downfall thanks to the Gold Rush. With many structures still standing, this ghost town is much alive with tourist attractions including living history shows plenty of tours and visitors can experience enjoying an alcoholic beverage at a saloon.
21 Bodie, California
This ghost town in Bodie, California has been left untouched for more than 150 years. There are still shacks and homes with tables still set with plates and silverware and shops and restaurants still stocked up with items to sell and supplies. This former mining town is very eerie and was left abandoned after gold rushers, who followed William Bodie to this town failed to find any precious metal that he found in 1859. It is remarkable that there are so many structures still standing and visitors are welcomed to walk around the deserted town that was once populated by nearly 10,000 people.
20 South Pass City, Wyoming
South Pass City in Wyoming is very well preserved with more than 30 historic structures still standing since its heyday in the 1860s. The city was founded in 1867 when large Carissa gold deposit was discovered near the Sweetwater River. According to Country Living, "located 10 miles north of the Oregon Trail on the Continental Divide in the Rocky Mountains, throngs of prospectors soon descended on the area despite severe conditions, hoping to strike it rich." In a year, the population grew and "the dangerous life of a frontier town was in full swing." However, the prospectors fell short and when no more gold deposits where found; only 100 people remained by the mid-1870s. The last pioneer family moved away by 1949, but much of the structures still stand.
19 Centralia, Pennsylvania
A coal mine fire has been burning beneath Centralia, Pennsylvania since 1962. When the initial damage was done, 140 acres of the town and the surrounding area were scorched. Many residents evacuated the city, homes were leveled, the highway was closed and the fire caused large sinkholes spewing fumes. The population dwindled from more than 1,000 people in 1980 to 63 by 1990, and later to only seven in 2013. The people remaining in Centralia reached an agreement with state and local officials to continue living in the city until they pass, so technically, this area is nearly a ghost town.
18 Cahawba, Alabama
The city of Cahawba is known as "Alabama's most famous ghost town" where you'll find with numerous ruins, abandoned streets and quiet cemeteries with not a person in sight. Cahawba was the first permanent state capital of Alabama from 1820 to 1825 and was once a very lively center for the trading and transport of cotton before the Civil War and an area for freed slaves after the war. The town endured several floods and yellow fever epidemics but managed to make a comeback. By 1900, all of the residents of Cahawba left for good and the city became a ghost town. According to Country Living, the city is now known as Old Cahawba Archeological Park and many ghost stories have emerged from this eerie place.
17 Kennecott, Alaska
According to an article titled, "18 of the Spookiest Ghost Towns in America," the former mill town of Kennecott, Alaska is considered the best remaining example of early 20th-century copper mining. The ghost town is located at the end of a 60-mile dirt road in the middle of the state's massive Wrangell- St. Elias National Park. Country Living reports that from 1911 to 1938 the city employed as many as 300 people in the town and another 300 people in the mines, processing $200 million worth of copper. With so many people working, they also included a hospital, general store, school, recreation hall, and even a skating rink. By 1938 there was no more copper to mine and the Kennecott Copper Cooperation abandoned the town, leaving almost all of their equipment behind.
16 Thurmond, West Virginia
Thurmond, West Virginia was once a prosperous town with a big stop on the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway, however, the invention of the diesel locomotive in the 1950s made its coal-run railway useless. It's reported that there are five people still living in Thurmond, but its pretty much considered a ghost town. The train depot is now a museum, which visitors can walk through, and the quiet Thurmond Historic District is on the National Register of Historic Places. The area is also surprisingly untouched and well preserved and showcases America's past quite well.
15 Grossinger's Catskill Resort, New York
During the 1950s, Grossinger's Catskill Resort was a top of the line seasonal retreat where families who could afford to spend time skiing; lounging by massive pools, and playing tennis would go too for their downtime. It was a lush 1,200-acre surrounding and was just two hours away from New York City. During the cold months, the resort included a theatre and it was the first place in the world to use artificial snow on its slopes. The resort welcomed hundreds of thousands of guests but sadly closed in the mid-1980s. Many of the structures still standing have been vandalized some areas are heavily overgrown with moss and ferns. This huge abandoned resort is definitely quite spooky.
14 Glenrio, Texas And New Mexico
During the 40's, 50's, and 60's, travelers driving on Route 66 would stop this tiny town called Glenrio and stop for a snack at one of their many diners, fill up their tanks, stay at one of the western-themed motels and even dance at the dance hall. When the I-40 was built in the 1970s, travelers would completely bypass this small town and ever since then, Glenrio has been a ghost town. The town is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and includes the old Route 66 roadbed and seventeen abandoned buildings, including the Little Juarez Diner, the State Line bar, and the State Line motel.
13 Bannack, Montana
Bannack was a former mining town with a ton of history. It was founded in 1862 when a man named John White discovered gold on Grasshopper Creek and the town became a "typical gold rush town in the Wild West," reports Country Living. When gold was also discovered in nearby Virginia City, the road between the two towns literally witnessed holdups, murders, and robberies. Even though the town lasted longer than most, the population finally moved out between 1930 and 1950. Today, many of the original structures stand and can be explored.
12 Bulowville, Florida
Walking through Bulowville, Florida makes you feel like you've stepped back in time with what's left of a sugar mill and plantation that was later destroyed by Seminole Indians. Charles Bulow cleared out forest in 1821 and established a 2,200-acre plantation to grow sugar cane, cotton, indigo, and rice, and the area also housed the largest sugar mill built by his son. However, in 1936, Seminole Indians set fire to the plantation during the Second Seminole War and what's left are the ruins of the mill among large oak trees that are starting to consume the area.
11 Essex County Jail Annex, North Caldwell, New Jersey
This New Jersey State abandoned prison would send chills down anyone's spine and it's certainly a different type of ghost town than the usual mining towns we've listed previously. The austere Victorian-style Essex County Jail Annex was first built in 1873 and included an auditorium, cafeteria, and hospital. Much of the facility was closed in the 1970s and it was left abandoned by the 1990s. The jail has been left to decay but you can find many thrill seekers wandering the halls finding inmates files with their mug shots, shotgun ports and tear gas stains on the ceilings. This is one ghostly place that not many would want to find themselves wandering.
10 Dorreen, British Columbia
Like the many places we mentioned in the United States, Dorreen was once a prosperous mining and agricultural town in British Columbia but eventually became a ghost town. The town was once home to around 300 people and today there is only one year-round resident, Dulsa, who is the caretaker of the town and who is regularly joined by a few cottage owners who reside in Dorreen during the summer months. The small town is located about 48 kilometers northeast of Terrace at the foot of Mt. Knauss, and the only way to get to this ghost town is by hiking or ATVing. With the town being heavily isolated, the railway station and many of the cabins are still in good condition.
9 Orion, Alberta
In 1916, about 150 people once called Orion, Alberta home and it was a busy town that featured a few general stores, a bank, a hotel, and a blacksmith. With plentiful crops, the town kept busy, however, a decade of drought, dust storms and grasshoppers ruined most of the crops and the economic downturn of the 1930s hurt the town. Orion struggled to keep its residents and it is practically a ghost town, except for the seven people who call it home, reports ghosttowns.com. There are still a number of abandoned homes even though there are a few residents living there.
8 Kitsault, British Columbia
Kitsault is an unincorporated settlement on the North Coast of British Columbia, Canada and is a "contemporary example" of a ghost town since most of the ones we've listed date back to the pioneer era, reports Travel Alerts. The town was established in 1979 as a home community to molybdenum mine run by American mining company Phelps Dodge. The area was built for 1,200 residents and included a shopping mall, restaurant, swimming pool, and bowling alley. Just 18 months after Kitsault was established, every resident was told to evacuate after prices for molybdenum crashed. There are now hundreds of abandoned buildings including 90 homes, 200 apartments, a hospital, and shopping mall.
7 Millbridge & Millbridge Station, Ontario
Millbridge and its neighboring town of Millbridge Station was once a bustling town by the mid-1880s. Millbridge grew to have two stores, a hotel, an inn, a boarding house, a post office, church, a railway station, and a sawmill. The town continued to thrive throughout the latter part of the 19th century but by the early 1920s, the town's settlers left when they realized the area had poor farmland. Many of the structures, including the church, hotel, and general store still stand and Ontario Ghost Towns reports that these buildings and others are used as private residences.
6 Val-Jalbert, Quebec
Val-Jalbert is considered one of the best-preserved ghost towns in Canada. The village was founded in 1901 and construction of a pulp mill was started. However, the mill faced cash shortage problems but after undergoing several years of modernization, it thrived throughout the Golden Age. In 1927, the pulp mill eventually closed and workers were laid off and the village was left abandoned. Val-Jalbert was a ghost town, but in the 1960s was revived and is now a registered heritage site. Many of the structures still remain and visitors can walk around the area and explore by foot or trolleybus.
5 Ireland's Eye, Newfoundland
You must travel by boat to get to Ireland's Eye, in Newfoundland and Labrador, and you won’t find any people living on it because it's been a ghost town since 1965. Ireland's Eye is described as picturesque and was once a Maritime fishing community that settled in the 1600s. The island thrived for about half a century until the remaining 90 or so residents moved away as part of the Fisheries Household Resettlement Program, which was an approach to "centralize the population into growth areas" and refers to "a voluntary relocation initiated from isolation communities themselves." Most of the buildings still standing are decaying, but visitors can still take a boat to see what's left on the island.
4 Bounty, Saskatchewan
Bounty was once a thriving village that had its own theatre, its own newspaper, and even a professional baseball team. Bounty lost its village status in 1997 when numerous people began to leave and according to the 2001 Census, the population was reportedly just a mere five people. Saskatchewan Ghost Towns reports that the community hall in the village was the social focal point where people would go to eat and dance and listen to music. The small village never had a population of over 200 and was considered a place of promise with the first settlers said to be in awe of the "swaying orange-blossomed tiger lilies blanketing the prairie fields." Now, the area is abandoned and a few buildings remain.
3 Flowerdale, Alberta
Flowerdale, Alberta resembles one of the many ancient sites visitors travel across the world to see. However, this isn't another Stonehenge; these brick walls are all the remains from a town that once featured a post office, a general store, and a sod house. According to The Weather Network, Flowerdale was a community established in 1910 in the Sunnynook district. Drinking water was a challenge in this area and local wells produced bitter water, which made residents move away and other families leaving in the 1930s during droughts. The remains you see today are of a pioneer home and that's all that is left of Flowerdale.
2 Tungsten, Northwest Territories
Tungsten town was Canada's largest tungsten=producing mine, according to The Canadian Encyclopedia. The plant was built in 1960 but had to be rebuilt after a fire destroyed it a year after. The mine was built just outside Nahanni National Park Reserve, which is considered one of the most gorgeous places in the country. The mine suspended operations in 1986 and the residents left the town. The buildings that remain are surrounded by greenery, mountains and natural beauty. The mine reopened from March 2002 to December 2003, but it's not a ghost town.
1 Canyon City, Yukon
Canyon City is beautiful and just seven kilometers from downtown Whitehorse, the capital and only city Yukon. Canyon City is a Klondike Gold Rush ghost town and archeological work shows evidence that the indigenous people in Canada used the area for thousands of years. The Canadian Encyclopedia notes that from 1897 to 1900, Canyon City was one of Yukon's most important transpiration centers. Today, visitors can visit the ghost town and see the archeological site and watch a building reconstruction program.
References: countryliving.com, legendsofamerica.com, goldfieldghosttown.com, virginiacity.com, thecanadianencyclopedia.ca, theweathernetwork.com, valjalbert.com, parks.ca.gov, travelalerts.ca