If you are on the side of a little "mature" you might remember Matt Dillon and Chester clunking across the wooden sidewalks of Dodge. Today, some of those towns of the wild west are considered ghost towns.
|Chloride Ghost Town in Arizona|
Take yourself back to those days and go ‘Ghost-towning’ it can be a very unique, fun and rewarding activity. There is a lot of great history awaiting you in the old west. However, what I found to be interesting is, almost every state in the U.S. and many areas of Canada have ghost towns of some sort.
Anyone can ghost town at a comfortable pace. The activity level can range from hobbyist to researching and locating, driving past a town or walking the area taking pictures, to the sport of four wheeling it up a mountainside and hiking the rest of the way.
<> >So what is a ghost town you may ask? In some cases it is just about what you might be picturing--tumbling tumbleweed, desert sand swirling around as the wind howls like a coyote, crumbling buildings, the general store sign hanging by one nail and the saloon doors falling off and swinging in the hot breeze.
<> >Well…that is one kind. Others range from just a few piles of stones to a town that has shopping. Basically, a ghost town is a town with a past. People lived in it at one time or it might currently be inhabited by just a few residents. Many were mining towns that flourished in the 1800’s. Surprisingly, these ghastly towns are found in most states or provinces in the United States or Canada.
<> >In Yermo, California "ghostowners" will find, the Calico Ghost Town. It was purchased and renovated by Walter Knott of Knott’s Berry Farm and later donated to the county of San Bernardino. Calico was a booming silver mining town in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Now visitors can ride the small-gauged train, tour the silver mine, be mystified by the mystery shack, pan for gold or shop and eat. There are campsites available.
About 72 miles from Las Vegas, south of the Hoover Dam, adventurers will find Chloride, Arizona founded in 1862. Here there are a few homes and a store where you might find an interesting souvenir. The town is best known for the colorful murals of Roy Purcell. It is a bit of a hike to see rocks of color in the hills of the town. Hikers come from far away to see the works.
<> >South of Las Vegas, Nevada "ghosttowners" will find Nelson--a few buildings remain and no gas stations so fill up before you go. Even if you stop at the little store with the Texaco sign there is no gas there, (guess who found out the hard way). You can however, get the information you need from Tony or Bobbie Werly. There are beverages, snacks and immaculate restrooms available all coming with a great history lesson including pictures and a collection of items from the movie “3,000 miles to Graceland”, which was filmed in the area. They offer a great mine tour. Continuing down the road a piece till it ends you will see the most beautiful view of the Colorado River, it is a must see.
If you are into seeing the old west and want a good meal, do a little shopping and much more visit Oatman, Arizona. The town is known for the wild burros that come down each day at lunch time to wrangle a carrot or two from a visitors. The shops sell the veggies for that purpose.
U.S. has ghost towns can range from a pile of rocks to an entire abandoned town or to one like Calico or Oatman with shops and restaurants.
<> >There are websites available for ‘ghostowners; such as www.ghosttowns.com
or type in ghost towns USA and it takes you to another site and there are many more. Libraries would be another source of the history of the forgotten towns.
‘Ghosttowning’ is inexpensive and can be as simple or as involved as you want to make it.
So saddle up your RV, leave on a jet plane or pack a picnic and go ‘ghosttowning’.