ghost town

(redirected from Ghosttown)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.

ghost town,

term for any once flourishing American community that has been abandoned, generally for economic reasons. While most of the towns have little or no population, they often contain old buildings, which may serve as tourist attractions. Many, such as Virginia City, Nev., were gold-mining towns hastily built during a boom. When the gold strike ended, the itinerant prospectors left. Ranking with the largest and most interesting Western ghost towns are Silver City, Idaho; Elkhorn, Mont.; Bodie, Calif.; and St. Elmo, Colo. Other ghost towns were former milling centers, railroad connections, or oil-well communities. In Texas several ghost towns were originally settled by European exiles who emigrated to the United States following the 1848 revolutions. Some, such as Burning Bush, Tex., were religious havens. Many deserted areas of towns have been restored to their original appearance; notable examples are Denver, Colo., Mystic, Conn., Williamsburg, Va., and Harpers Ferry, W.Va.


See D. King, Ghost Towns of Texas (1953); F. S. Blanchard, Ghost Towns of New England (1960); L. Florin, Western Ghost Towns (1961); R. Silverberg, Ghost Towns of the American West (1968).

Ghost town

A town, especially a boom town of the American old West, that has been completely abandoned. Once-living places like Madrid, NM, or Bodie, CA, were abandoned as quickly as they were built, leaving only an empty shell, oftentimes with the contents still intact.

ghost town

town left vacant after gold strike; common during frontier days. [Am. Hist.: NCE, 1080]
References in periodicals archive ?
Ricky admits that playing a romantic lead is a new challenge for the actor best known as The Office's cringe-making boss David Brent, but he reckons that casting a short, fat man in a big-budget romance makes the rest of GhostTown seem less fanciful.
Ghosttown is typical of Red76, a self-described "arts group" founded in 2000 with shifting membership that (this time around) included Sam Gould and Khris Soden.
Like much of the most trenchant art in Portland, Ghosttown was exquisitely half-assed.
Ghosttown was a rigorously attenuated enactment of surface, one that produced a particular political space quite unlike that which we arrive at through digging deeper.
The search for depth exacerbates a related disjunction between art-critical discourse and projects like Ghosttown, and that is the problem of authorship: How to sort out the ambiguity of authorship in projects that enlist the creative energies of nonartists under the unifying banner of a single creator?
They play out contingently in the realm Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa called the "drama em gente" (the drama of people)--the negotiated, decentered social space that, not coincidentally, is the very same one within which projects like Ghosttown take place.
The most perfect dinner party at Ghosttown would be the one that transpires without the host's ever knowing it was an art project.