Looking for somewhere to explore that combines our nation’s history with a little spooky flavor? Across the country, there are dozens of little villages and towns that were once thriving mining communities. They have since been abandoned, but remain an eerie figure of the past.
As people have moved on to bigger, more bustling cities – time has aged these little towns leaving behind dusty streets, empty buildings and echoing mine shafts. But that doesn’t mean these little towns are dead. In fact, they are a living reminder of the past, and example of how mining shaped this country.
Here are some interesting examples of abandoned mining towns that you can visit this Halloween season – and some of them may be closer than you think!
A lot of old mining towns are deserted, but Bodie looks as though it was left mid-sentence. The tables are still set, and the stores are still stocked, but the whole place is empty, and has been for over 150 years. Visitors are warned not to take any of the artifacts left behind by the occupants not only for the preservation of park, but due to the legend of the curse. Legend states that if you take an item from Bodie bad luck will befall you until the item is returned. Bodie has received many packages containing stolen objects accompanied by apology notes and stories of accidents, and tales of tragedy. It may look as though the residents are out doing chores, but the only people you will run into these days are other tourists, local tour guides and the occasional ghost.
These twin boom towns have been lovingly restored to their former glory. Today you can witness re-enactments of the harsh, old days while learning about how rough and tumble mining town life truly was. You’ll also get the chance to discover more about some of the former residents including Calamity Jane, John Bozeman and Jack Slade. From prospecting to lynching, there is no shortage of chilling stories to be heard.
Learn a lesson about responsible disposal in Centralia, Pennsylvania. A once prosperous coal-mining town, it was abruptly abandoned in 1962 after a landfill burn spread to an abandoned coal mine. From there, the fire spread to the town’s current coal deposits creating an endless supply of fuel for the burning fire, eventually forcing all the residents to flee for safety. To this day that fire is still burning and will do so for the next 250 years.
In the mid-1920s, this copper mining town in the middle of Alaska was the bustling home to more than 300 people. Kennecott was home to a hospital, a skating rink, even a dairy. But by 1938, the copper was gone, and its residents fled to lands of more opportunity leaving nothing more than a whisper of their memory and the remnants of their once bustling town.
If you’re not a believer in the supernatural, you just might be after a trip to Bannack, Montana, a mining town that puts the “ghost” in ghost town. When Bannack’s gold supply began to run low, most people moved to nearby Virginia City. Most were accosted by a local bandit gang (led by the town sheriff, of all people) and were subsequently robbed, beaten, or outright murdered in cold blood.
Today, the town is preserved as a state park, and restless spirits are said to roam Bannack’s sixty-plus standing structures.
These are just a few of the many abandoned mining towns that are scattered throughout the U.S. While you can visit a vast majority of them, some are still not safe for outside visitors. It’s always recommended that you check visiting hours and take any necessary precautions before entering an abandoned mining town.
Perhaps the most chilling part of visiting any mining town is the knowledge that these places were once full of life that included adults, children and families who relied on the local mines for their livelihood. To just up and leave, whatever reason, with plates and forks on the tables or clothes in the closets gives you an idea of how quickly life can change from moment to another.
Whether you decide to visit one of these infamous ghost towns or just avoid the ghostly fun by staying cozy at home, Happy Halloween from all of us at General Kinematics!