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  • Most fascinating ghost towns in the Wild West

    western ghost townI’m sure that all of us has had a phase in their our childhoods when we where head over heals in love with western movies, cowboys and duels between the good guys and the bad guys. Western movies don’t seem to be as popular nowadays as during the first half f the 20th century.

    Italian spaghetti westerns were in vogue in the 60’s and 70’s, but now there seem to be a painful lack of new, fresh westerns. But if you miss the feel of a good western replete with saloons, sheriffs and bank-robbers, here’s what you can do: visit a real life ghost town. With a little bit of imagination, you will feel transported back to the 19th century.

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    Cerro Gordo, California

    ghost town californiaCerro Gordo is one of the most well-preserved western ghost towns you can find anywhere. The silver mine that was going to be the lifeblood of Cerro Gordo was discovered in 1865 by Mexican prospectors, and shortly after it was bought by an engineer from Virginia City. The town prospered for a good while, but it was finally abandoned in the 1950’s.

    Cerro Gordo is located in the Inyo Mountains, east of Sierra Nevada, and it is easily accessible by car. It is possible for visitors to sleep in the town (in the restored buildings) with prior reservation.

    Saint Elmo, Colorado

    St ElmoSt. Elmo is located in Chaffee County, Colorado, just west of Buena Vista. Technically, it isn’t a western town (mid-western, more likely), but it is so well preserved and it looks so much like the towns of western movies, that you can disregard the lack of sand tumbleweeds.

    There are 24 buildings in St Elmo, all of them built around 1880’s. You’ll find a saloon, a mercantile store, a jail and houses. There’s a general store which is open May through October, where you can find sunflower seeds for the hoards of friendly chipmunks who populate the Chipmunk Crossing.

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    Cochise, Arizona

    Cochise is the typical western town, but it is not completely dead, seeing as it still has a couple of residents who own the Cochise Hotel. The buildings of Cochise are well preserved but not restored, which gives them an authentic feel. The hotel, for example, is furnished with antiques from the 1880’s, dating back to the town’s settlement.

    As opposed to other ghost towns which survived on mining, Cochise was a fuel and water stop for trains circulating on the Southern Pacific Railroad.

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    Gold Point, Nevada

    ghost townGold Point, like the name says, used to be a prosperous town formed around a rich gold mine. The town was firs settled by ranchers in the 1880’s, but gold miners came only at the beginning of the 20th century, when gold was discovered in the nearby Goldfield.

    About 50 buildings are standing in Gold Point, and the town has been described as a history lesson. The most interesting buildings are Senator Harry Wiley’s home, the post office turned into a museum, and also the surrounding 16 mining camp. If you’re lucky, you might even see wild horses drinking water in one of the many watering holes nearby.

    Bodie, California

    Located in Mono County, just east of Sierra Nevada, Bodie was a bustling town in its heyday. More people are walking about this ghost town nowadays then when it was still alive, considering that about 200.000 tourists come here every year. Bodie was quite large by western town standards, and it had two banks, several daily newspapers, a miner’s union, and it even had a red-light district and a Chinatown.

    Brawls, shootouts and murders were common occurences in Bodie. In a sense, Bodie can be considered the epitome of the western ghost town. Even if it can be sometimes crowded with tourists, it is definitely worth a visit.

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    SpookyGirl TgAvatar
    SpookyGirl wrote on April 1, 2014:

    Do you know of any worthy ghost towns in the Northwest? The ones from the article are all from Southwest and too far away from me… :)

    erato wrote on April 2, 2014:

    The state of Washington has got quite a lot of nice ghost towns, like:
    Chesaw in Okanogan County
    Hot Springs in King County
    Wellington King County
    Elberton in Whitman County
    There are quite a lot in the region thanks to the population moving effects of the Pacific Railroad Company, the gold rush and the different mining companies.

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