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Road Trip to These 5 Historic US Ghost Towns

June 18, 2014 at 1:15 PM | by | ()

Remember that real ghost town in Wyoming we told you about earlier the week--the one Amelia Earhart loved? Well, we know the U.S. has plenty more abandoned and spooky towns to offer up for an ideal summer road-trip.

The abandoned towns that exist in American today were primarily mining towns, once living high-on-the-hog before the local industry turned. Others were decimated by natural disasters, sending remaining residents to greener pastures. Regardless of the reason for their dilapidation, these ghosts towns need to make it to your list of things to do over the next few months:

Iditarod, Alaska

Named after the Iditarod River, this central Alaskan town was first pinned on the map Christmas Day in 1908, when gold was found in Otter Creek. By the summer of 1910, the town was in full swing. Hotels, cafés, brothels, three newspapers, a Miners and Merchants Bank, telephone, electricity and even a railway were established. By 1930, the area's gold had been tapped and everyone moved to nearby Flat, leaving only one cabin and the vault from the bank.

St. Elmo, Colorado

Founded in 1880 for the purpose of silver and gold mining, St. Elmo is one of the state's best preserved ghost towns. By the 1890s, the town boasted around 2,000 residents and a telegraph office, general store, town hall, five hotels, saloons, dancing halls, a newspaper office, and a school house. With 3 railroad lines running through the town, it looked like a solid place to build a household. Once the mines stopped producing, however, the railroads ceased and the majority of locals went elsewhere. The town, now with a reputation for being haunted, is open for visitors in the summer and notes their population year-round is a very lonely 3.

Pleasure Beach, Connecticut

Serving as the state's largest ghost town, Pleasure Beach was originally home to an amusement park of the same name from the late 1890s to 1958. Located just outside Bridgeport, the perfect summer home spot was left to the birds and weeds in 1996 when a portion of the bridge to the mainland succumbed to fire. Since the exodus, cottages have been demolished but the public buildings and a theater still remain in the parkland.

Cahawba, Alabama

What was once the capital of Alabama from 1820 to 1826, this town outside of Selma is an idyllic location on the Alabama River. The riverfront property came with a risk of flooding and the raging river didn't fail at this task. Before a final flood, the town was home to a prison for Union soldiers during the Civil War and a postbellum safe-haven for freed slaves. Visitors can wander around the historical site and snap some pics of abandoned streets, cemeteries, and ruins of the former state capitol.

Bodie, California (main photo)

Tucked away in the Sierra Nevadas, Bodie at one time bragged about having 10,000 residents (in the 1870s), but went into steady decline in the early 20th century. By 1942, the post office was closed and those who remained uprooted to other, livelier towns. With fully-stocked general stores, this town is perfectly suspended in time, but don't think about vandalizing for a keepsake since a ghost legend states that bad luck will befall those who steal anything.

[Photos: Telstar Logistics/flickr, Larry Myhre/flickr, scoot weingart/flickr]

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