Abandoned Cities 2024

Out of all the cities throughout the United States, which are the most recognizable out there? Los Angeles, New York, Chicago? Regardless, each municipality has unique features that tear them apart from others.

Has anyone taken a moment to consider the ghost towns, though? Like big cities, they also were recognizable for specific attributes long ago. Now they’re forgotten, and many people don’t understand why. One day, they were the places for everyone to visit and enjoy. The next, they’re closed for good.

Now, it’s time to look at some of the more famous abandoned cities and the stories behind why they became abandoned. Here are some of the main ghost towns out in the country.

Elkmont Historic District — Elkmont, Tennessee

Elkmont, TN, is an abandoned city that was once known for its historic district. Elkmont may have started its reputation small, but it slowly gained plenty of tourism due to its natural appeal and its potential in the 1900s.

Soon, the district began to add various attractions to the city, like clubhouses and cabins. Everything was going smoothly until its sudden closure in 1992. During this time, people moved out of the town and lived in other areas.

Now, there are plans to turn the Elkmont Historic District into a museum for people to visit. Plans are already in progress to have the settlement operational by 2025.

Garnet, Montana

Garnet was a city that gained popularity during the gold rush in the 1890s. During that time, the population was on the rise, and various establishments began to pop up, which set up the city for being one of the best gold mining towns to live.

That soon changed once the 1900s started. During those times, the gold rush began to die down, and residents began to move away. A fire also caused some damage to the city in 1912, but what ultimately causes its demise was the results of World War II.

Now, Garnet is preserved by the Garnet Preservation Association, a non-profit organization with the mission of keeping the city’s history alive. The city is also said to be haunted, but tourists still come to learn about the rich culture.

Santa Claus, Arizona

Santa Claus was a city known for one theme: Christmas year-round. People from around the country would bring their children to see Santa Clause and experience the holiday in the 1930s.

Unfortunately, in the 1970s, that dream came to an end when Route 66 died down. Eventually, the attractions along the highway followed suit, and all that remains are the Santa-themed buildings.

Salton Riviera — Salton City, California

This city was once a tourist attraction for beachgoers who loved to lounge in style in the 1950s and 60s. From a fancy resort to a beautiful sight, the city was the perfect escape for people visiting for vacations and more.

There was one main problem that the city experienced: the water quickly became polluted. Once the pollution began, the water became challenging to manage, and tourists stopped coming. Today, the city and beach are abandoned, but people still come by to take pictures of the polluted area.

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Batsto VillageNew JerseyBatsto village was popular for iron works during the American revolution, until coal was disovered in Pennsylvania elsewhere and the demand for iron declined. The village then tried starting a glasswork company, but soon fell into bankruptcy. In the 1950's the state of New Jersey bought the village in hopes of revamping the town for the last remaining residents, but its never happened and all of the residents ended up moving away. https://www.abandonedspaces.com/towns/batsto-village-251-year-old-ghost-town-which-is-perfectly-preserved.html
BodieCaliforniaBodie, California is one of the most popular mining ghost towns in America. There used to be over 2,000 buildings and resturants lcoated in the town. By 1942 the last mine shut down, which drew the miners away and eventually the residents as well. It is now a National Historic Sight protected by California. https://www.bodie.com
CahawbaAlabamaAlabama's most famous ghost town. Cahawba was Alabama's state capital from 1819 to 1826, but the city was abandoned after the civil war. Cahawba sits at a low elevation and is known for its flooding. The amount of flooding that occurred persuaded legislature to move the capital of Alabama to somewhere new and caused most of the residents to leave as well. Historians are working to make it a full-time interpretive park for visitors. https://cahawba.com/history-and-legacy/
CentraliaPennsylvaniaCentralia was a popular gold mining town with over 14 active mining sites in the early 1900's. In 1962, a fire started in a landfill nearby and spread to an active coal tunnel. Every effort to extinguish the fire failed and eventually the state of Pennsylvania ordered all of the towns residents to relocate and abandoned their homes. A fire still burns to this day in the town and releases poisionous gas into the air from the fumes. https://allthatsinteresting.com/centralia-pa
CracoItalyCraco dates all the way back to the 8th century. The city sits atop a hill which meant it used to be easily defendable, but its height also left it exposed to the elements. A landslide was to blame for Craco's abandonment. The landslide that occurred destroyed piping infrastructure within the town and it became unhabitable. Six festivals take place throughout the year, these festivals bring in visitors from all across the world.https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/craco-matera
GarnetMontanaGarnet is named after the red jewel named Garnet that was once mined in the area. Gold was also a popular material for mining, until it ran out around 1918. A fire tore through half of the town in 1912 and the residents decided to move instead of rebuild. http://www.garnetghosttown.org/history.php
HashimaJapanHashima island dates back to 1887. This island was a coal mining spot before being bought by Japan in 1890. It does have a dark past because Korean and Chinese prisoners were forced to work on the island by Japan, in order to industrialize it. In 1974 the mines ran out of coal, which forced a great migration off of the island. Nature has since overtaken the island until it was eventually adopted by UNSECO and added to the World Heritage List. https://thelittlehouseofhorrors.com/hashima-island/
Kangbashi, OrdosChinaOrdos is one of the largest ghost citys in the world. This ghost town is filled with innovative architecture of all shapes and sizes. It is not a completely deserted city, but only 100,000 residents reside in a town built for over 300,000. There was a lack of residential buildings in the beginning of the citys construction, which provoked most of the workers to decide and commute from other places. https://www.forbes.com/sites/wadeshepard/2016/04/19/an-update-on-chinas-largest-ghost-city-what-ordos-kangbashi-is-like-today/?sh=701194802327
KennecottAlaskaKennecott was a mining town that produced up to $200 million in iron ore before the 1930's. Unfortunately, in 1934 the mines ran out and the residents were forced to move. The town is apart of the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and used to have a tennis court, skating rink, hospital, and school. https://www.nps.gov/wrst/learn/historyculture/kennecott-mines-national-historic-landmark.htm
North Brother IslandNew York A twin pair of abandoned islands (North and South Brother Island) located in the middle of New York City's East river. The island housed Riverside hospital patients with sickness' that required quarantine. The island is prohibited, but if granted access, you must visit with a NYC parks worker. https://faroutmagazine.co.uk/new-york-forgotten-north-brother-island/
Oradour-sur-GlaneFranceDuring World War 2, Oradour-sur-Glane, France was a village being occupied by the Nazis. During a German led massacre 642 inhabitants of the town were killed. Ultimately, Charles de Gaulle (the president at the time) decided to preserve Oradour-sur-Glane in its entirety, as a memorial. https://www.architecturaldigest.com/gallery/most-stunning-abandoned-towns-around-world
PlymouthMontsseratMontsserat used to be the only port of entry to the island in the Carribbean. In 2003 a volcano erupted on the island which resulted in over 4,000 of the residents having to be evacuated. The volcano changed the composition of the island and is the reason why most of the residents have not been allowed back yet. https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/11770/eruption-of-montserrats-soufriere-hills-volcano#:~:text=In%20the%20West%20Indies%2C%20the,kilometers%20out%20over%20the%20ocean.
RubyArizonaRuby, Arizona was a popular zinc and lead mining settlement in the late 1800's. Life around the area wasn't fancy, but it was enough to draw in a small population. In the 1920's two sets of double murders took place. Mexican bandits and cowboys were known to travel through the area and cause trouble. In 1920, two bandits killed the store owners of the town in Ruby (a pair of brothers). The next year seven bandits were riding through and decided to stop at the same store. The Pearson family were the new owners and didnt think anything of it, until three daughters watched their mom and dad get murdered in front of them. The bandits left the girls alone and ended up escaping. A while later the two leaders of the bandit group were caught, one was thrown in jail and the other was hung for his crimes. https://www.legendsofamerica.com/az-ruby/
VaroshaCyprusVarosha was once a resort like city, where upwards of 700,000 people per year would visit. Varosha's location was its own demise. Varosha is located in Cyprus, and in 1974 Cyrpus split in two as a nation. Turkish invaders captured northern parts of the Island which included Varosha. The city's residents fled in fear of violence, but never quite ended up returning. https://www.france24.com/en/tv-shows/revisited/20220408-cyprus-s-varosha-where-time-came-to-a-halt-in-1974 https://www.insider.com/ghost-town-varosha-cyprus-photos-2020-9
VorkutaRussiaVorkuta was once known as Rudnik, a small coal mining settlement that was only visited by indigenous reindeer herders. In 1931 Russia forced 39 prisoners, some geologists, and camp guards to explore the northern area of the Russian Arctic and they found Rudnik. Within 20 years of its discovery the Russians cultivated the small settlement into a city with more than 250,000 people. After Stalin's death the city begain to diminish from 250,000 to 60,000 and is the fastest shrinking city in Russia. Although there are still some residents left living in the city, there are more than 15,000 vacant apartments and 3 bedroom apartments are going for as low as $1,000. https://www.rferl.org/a/russia-vorkuta-soviet-mining-abandoned-gulag-arctic-exodus/31196830.html