During 19th century hundreds of resource-based towns rose rapidly across the American Wild West. Many of them abandoned almost as rapidly as they rose.
1. Bodie, California
Bodie began as a mining camp of little note following the discovery of gold in 1859 by a group of prospectors. The first signs of decline appeared in 1880. Bodie is now an authentic Wild West ghost town. The town was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1961, and in 1962 it became Bodie State Historic Park. A total of 170 buildings remained.
2. Apex, Colorado
Apex was founded in 1891. Several structures await your exploration, when the snowy Colorado weather permits, of course.
3. Rhyolite, Nevada
The town was founded in 1904 and have grown very fast. Unfortunetaly, it declined almost as rapidly as it rose. By 1920, Rhyolite’s population was close to zero. The Rhyolite historic townsite is “one of the most photographed ghost towns in the West”. Ruins include the railroad depot and other buildings.
4. Capitol City, Colorado
Capitol City was founded in 1877 and once had a population of 400. Its founders wanted it to become the capital of Colorado. The post office, some outbuildings, and brick kilns remain.
5. St. Elmo, Colorado
Founded in 1880, St. Elmo lies in the heart of the Sawatch Range, 20 miles (32 km) southwest of Buena Vista. Nearly 2,000 people settled in this town when mining for gold and silver started. The mining industry started to decline in the early 1920s. Today, many of the buildings are still intact. The old mining roads are now used as Jeep and four-wheeler trails. There are also many good places to fish along Chalk Creek, which runs through St. Elmo. The general store is open during the summer, when tourists can rent four-wheelers or buy items.
6. Ruby, Arizona
Once home to as many as 1,200 people, Ruby grew into a fully-functioning community that was thriving until the 1940s. After the mine closed, the town was completely abandoned. Still, over 20 buildings, in various states of disrepair, are waiting to be explored in Ruby today.
7. Animas Forks, Colorado
The town’s first log cabin was built in 1873 and by 1876 the community had become a bustling mining community. When mining profits began to decline investment in Animas Forks was no longer justified. The town was a ghost town by the 1920s. The site thrives as a tourist attraction.
8. Goldfield, Nevada
Another town that rose after gold was discovered in 1902. After a few decades, the town became a ghost town. Today many of the buildings are in use for tourist attractions and visitors.
9. Tyrone, New Mexico
Mrs. Dodge of the Phelps-Dodge Corporation built the town in 1915. Her hope was to make Tyrone the most magnificent mining community in the West. She built grand homes and buildings with Mediterranean influences, accented with rococo flair. But when copper prices fell in 1921, the townspeople deserted Tyrone. The town remains virtually unchanged from her original image.