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Ghost town

A ghost town is a town that has been abandoned, usually because the economic activity that supported it has failed.

Ghost towns are common in the mining areas of the Western United States such as Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, Montana, and California in the United States, and parts of Australia. Often old mining camps that have lost most of their population at some stage of their history, such as Central City, Colorado; Aspen, Colorado; Tombstone, Arizona or Cripple Creek, Colorado are sometimes more or less included in the category, although they are active towns and cities today.

Other factors leading to abandonment of towns include such factors as natural resources such as water no longer being availible, and railroads and highways bypassing or no longer accessing the town, shifting economic activity elsewhere. Chance significant fatality from epidemics has also produced ghost towns, for example some places in eastern Arkansas being abandoned after near total morbidity during the Spanish Flu pandemic.

Some ghost towns are tourist attractions, especially those that preserve interesting architecture. Visiting them, writing about and photographing them is a minor industry. Other ghost towns may be overgrown, difficult to access, or illegal to visit.

See Stampede to Timberline, Colorado's Ghost Towns and Mining Camps by Muriel Sibell Wolle, Revised and Enlarged Edition, Paperback, Swallow Press, 1991, ISBN 0-8040-0946-5 and Timberline Tailings, Tales of Colorado's Ghost Towns and Mining Camps, Muriel Sibell Wolle, Sage Books, Swallow Press, 1993, Paperback, ISBN 0-8040-0946-5; older hardback editions are available as used books. Many other books have been published but this was one of the first. The author was a professor at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado and began visiting old mining camps in the Boulder area in the 1920s and 30s and eventually visited most of the ghost towns in Colorado, sketching them. The second book Tailings is mostly letters and other information elicted by the first book. She has also written about "Ghost Towns of the West" and "Ghost Towns of Montana."

A recent attempt to declare an "Official Ghost Town" in California collapsed when the adherents of the town of Calico[?], in Southern California, and those of Bodie[?], in Northern California, could not come to an agreement as to which of their favorites was more deserving.

Of course, ghost towns are not only found in the United States. Australia also has its share of abandoned settlements which include:

See also: List of ghost towns

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