ghost town

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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 ?
He said: "Every town was a ghost town at that time because Thatcher was closing down everything.
I, too, visit the High Street and it is a ghost town.
If you are planning ahead, Ghost Town would make a good story for a Halloween party.
Ghost Town is a startling design with the story told in black-and-white montages of coverage of problems and closures by the local evening paper, and where the only other colour throughout much of it is red.
Dogtown: Death and Enchantment in a New England Ghost Town tells of a place that captured the author's attention--a town whose history was steeped in witchcraft, slavery and pirates and a 25-year-old murder.
Blake said: "Burnley will be like a ghost town on Monday.
The pub has just undergone a makeover and looks incredible, but there is really only so much the pub can do itself to battle against the ghost town landscape it is trapped in.
Ghost Town follows the fortunes of Bertram Pincus (Gervais), a man whose people skills leave much to be desired.
The Ghost Town is a fun way for downtown businesses to give back to the Nashua community and build positive relationships with local children and their parents," said Sarah DiSano, Great American Downtown executive director.
Ghost town refers to a formerly flourishing community that has been abandoned, generally for economic reasons.