9 More Amazing Ghost Towns

1Johnsonville, Connecticut (U.S.)

Johnsonville, Connecticut has been for sale to the highest bidder since October 2014. The town went up for auction with a starting bid of $800K and sold for $1.9M, but the winning bidder was unable to close the deal. It’s now back on the market for $2.4M.

Eight appealing yet derelict buildings sit on 62 acres and have been abandoned for more than two decades, ever since an aerospace millionaire’s attempt to turn it into a theme park was derailed. However, this is not the first time the town has seen hard times.

In the 1830s, the hamlet was the hub of Connecticut’s twine industry, but the industrial revolution nipped that in the bud. It was purchased by eccentric businessman Raymond Schmitt in 1960 who decided to turn it into a theme park. Apparently the existing buildings—an 1846 homestead, an 1845 general store, and a circa-1900 restaurant—needed some company, so Schmitt bought and transplanted a number of other 19th century buildings, like a Victorian stable and chapel from Massachusetts.

In 1972, the town’s quaint Neptune Mill was struck by lightning and burned to the ground. After years of never quite taking off as a tourist attraction, Schmitt got into an argument with local officials, and abandoned his project in 1994. Johnsonville has been quiet ever since.

Lucky buyers will not only receive the eight historic structures, but also a “covered bridge, wooden dam and waterfall along with 25 acres of land suitable for residential and commercial development.” It doesn’t look too derelict to us – what are you waiting for?


2Centralia, Pennsylvania (U.S.)

At its peak, Centralia, Pennsylvania was home to almost 3,000 people. Today, it has a population of 10.

In 1962, workers set trash on fire in an abandoned mine. An exposed vein of anthracite coal also caught fire, and it spread throughout mines beneath the town. Numerous attempts were made to extinguish it until 1981 when the ground crumbled beneath 12-year-old resident Todd Domboski. Soon after, Pennsylvania condemned the town and spent $42 million to relocate residents. The fire continues to burn today. In fact, experts say there’s enough coal to feed the flames for 250 years!

Despite this, a handful of people remain. All properties in the town were reclaimed by the state under eminent domain, and the borough’s ZIP code was revoked in 1992.


3Grantville, Georgia (U.S.)

If you want to own the ultimate in Walking Dead memorabilia, this town’s for you!

Up for grabs as of March 2015 is the town that, in recent years, has become known as “The Walking Dead Town” after the AMC hit television series filmed several episodes there. Scouted precisely for Grantville’s ghostly, post-apocalyptic, there-are-probably-zombies-in-that-building kinda feel, the town has kept itself running in recent years largely on the The Walking Dead fans that frequently come through for tours.

Three movies with “very well-known actors” are also scheduled to shoot in Grantville in the coming months, including a sequel to The Ring. The seller stresses that the downtown area is “always being scouted by the movie industries.”

Grantville has struggled since the decline of the cotton industry in the area, particularly with the closing of its cotton mill in 1991. By dawn of the millennium, the population was down to just 1,309 people.

Ex-Grantville Mayor Jim Sells bought the faded and dilapidated buildings of downtown four years ago and promises, “this is a money maker for anyone trying to invest in an area that’s about to burst.” The 9 buildings in his original listing include retail areas, loft apartments, a pizza restaurant, bar or pub, another restaurant, pharmacy, office space and other usable space.

Since his listing has attracted more attention than anticipated, Jim has added two more historic buildings to his offer that will total 90% of Downtown Grantville. He prices the offer at $940,000 but is still willing to consider offers on the original property listing that encompasses 75% of the downtown area.


4Kitsault, British Columbia (Canada)

The modern ghost town of Kitsault, British Columbia was only populated for 18 months.

Kitsault, located in northern British Columbia on the Alice Arm, was constructed by U.S. mining conglomerate Phelps Dodge. The plan was to mine the ground around the town for molybdenum, a metal used to prevent corrosion.

The company built more than 100 single-family homes and duplexes, plus seven apartment buildings with 202 suites. The town had a hospital, mall, bank, theater, two recreation centers, pub, pool, and library.

About 1,200 mine workers moved to the town with their families, but the recession in 1982 led to a collapse in prices. The miners were forced to pack up and leave, just 18 months after the mine opened.

Kitsault didn’t fade away, however. Caretakers were hired to keep the town in fair condition, and when it was sold to American entrepreneur Krishnan Suthanthiran, he announced a full restoration of the town. Sewage and water systems were upgraded, buildings were renovated. Suthanthiran talked about transforming Kitsault into an eco-tourist destination.

Recently, Avanti Mining received federal and provincial clearance to begin work reopening the molybdenum mine, 140 kilometers north of Prince Rupert. They plan to employ up to 700 people during the two years of construction and 300 permanent workers when the mine opens in 2017. At its height, the mine could produce 45,500 metric tons of ore per day. But strangely, Kitsault isn’t part of their plans.

Relations between Avanti and Suthanthiran have been chilly ever since Avanti bought the mine in 2008. A legal battle was fought over a statutory right of way across the town, which Avanti wanted to use for their mining activities. In 2010, the B.C. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Avanti, and the two parties have been sparring ever since.

Today, Suthanthiran is pushing for an LNG terminal in Kitsault, saying the town’s deep-water port and existing infrastructure make it an ideal location.

Source 1, Source 2Photo

5Varosha, Famagusta (Cyprus)

Varosha, Famagusta, once regarded as one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations and home to over 39,000 residents, is now abandoned and completely fenced off. No tourists roam the streets, except for the rare, brave explorer who dares find a way to do so.

In the summer of 1974, without warning and in the middle of tourist season, Varosha fell victim to the ongoing war between the Greeks and the Turks. A full-scale Turkish invasion took place with air strikes and ground forces. While the seaside resort was being bombed, and buildings toppled, tourists and residents fled their homes and hotel rooms. They left behind everything, never to return.

Turkish forces sealed Varosha off and banned everyone from entering the area, except Turkish military or UN personnel. The only humans to walk Varosha’s streets are the occasional Turkish soldiers on routine patrols looking for trespassers. They are authorized to imprison or even execute anyone they may find.

In 1984, a UN resolution ruled that Varosha should only be resettled by the original inhabitants who lived there before the invasion. This prevented Turkey from re-opening the resort, but they never gave it back to the Greeks.


6St. Kilda (Scotland)

St. Kilda is located on an isolated archipelago in the North Atlantic Ocean, far off the coast of Scotland. The island has been inhabited since the Bronze Age. A bounty of barley and sheep kept its inhabitants well fed for millennia. However, the island’s isolation and severe weather ultimately led to its abandonment.

By World War I, the introduction of regular contact with the outside world made life easier for those living there, but also made them less self-reliant. By the 1920s, the island was evacuated altogether after a rash of crop failures. Today, the main island of Hirta is still the site of some British military activity, with the rest a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


7Garnet, Montana (U.S.)

Who would want to live in a Montana ghost town? Apparently, thousands worldwide.

The Bureau of Land Management sent out a news release in late March 2015 asking volunteers to spend a month or two in Garnet, a mining town abandoned almost 100 years ago.

The response was overwhelming. Within two weeks, the ranger at Garnet had received more than 5,000 e-mail inquiries from people around the globe. People applied from as far away China, Pakistan, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom.

Volunteering at the ghost town is not for the faint of heart. Winning applicants are provided with accommodations in a rustic cabin without electricity or running water. The pay amounts to $29 a day. There is no free food (the nearest store is 30 miles away), and people are expected to work. Garnet is also rumored to be haunted.

But the deal breaker for many? No WiFi. (“I’ve no fear of ghosts,” wrote one Internet commentator from Minnesota, “but no indoor plumbing or WiFi would be truly terrifying!”)

The town, established in the 1860s, was originally named Mitchell. Its name was eventually changed in honor of its position atop the gold-rich “Garnet Lode.” (To this day, a small mine is still in operation near the boundary of the town site.)

At the turn of the century, the town was home to as many as 1,000 people. It was abandoned in 1918 after it had been all but mined out – at least with techniques available at the time. A devastating fire six years earlier had also destroyed half the town, and it was never rebuilt. Preservationists have since restored many of the buildings over the years including the union hall, a saloon, and several residences.

Source 1, Source 2Photo

8The Salton Sea, California (U.S.)

The Salton Sea is the largest lake in California. Its existence is also a total accident. In 1905, flooding caused the Colorado River to spill over the man-made irrigation canals to pour into what was then known as the Salton Sink– 40 miles of pure desert. It took two years to stop the flooding, by which time the largest lake in California had formed.

Half a century later this desert land had become a holiday paradise. Conceived as a resort paradise in the ’60s and ’70s for boaters, water skiers, and vacationers, the Salton Seaside was once called the next Palm Springs. It was hailed as the American Riviera and a “miracle in the desert.” Homes popped up like cactus blossoms; sun worshippers flooded the beaches, and yacht clubs served martinis with views of the sunset.

The town’s population grew to 15,000 people, with thousands more arriving on weekends. But in the 1970s, masses of fish suddenly died and floated to the surface. The culprit was quickly identified as agricultural runoff from local farms into the Salton Sea. The lake didn’t have enough drainage (this was, after all, how the body of water was formed in the first place) and had no ecosystem to refresh itself.

With all the fertilizers from local farms flowing into the Salton, there was a tremendous growth of algae. When algae die, they sink and creates a layer at the bottom of the sea where there’s no oxygen. Bacteria then eat all the dead organic matter and create highly toxic hydrogen sulfide gas.

The gas killed millions of fish, then the birds that ate the fish also got sick. Residents claimed they could smell and taste the gas in the air. The Salton Sea and its beachfront areas were abandoned, and the structures surrounding it were left to rot.

The population has been in decline ever since (Bombay Beach had a population of 295 as of 2010). While, the state has developed a $9 billion plan to save the Salton Sea, only a fraction of that has been funded thus far.


9The Seattle Underground, Seattle, Washington (U.S.)

This Seattle ghost town actually exists under the bustling city of Seattle.

In 1889, the Great Seattle Fire spread through the city, destroying the bulk of its business district. While the devastation was severe, the city was presented with a unique opportunity to improve upon itself.

Being that the Pioneer Square area was built upon tidelands, it often flooded. City officials decided to reconstruct the square on a more elevated level than its previous incarnation. Unfortunately, restless business owners began rebuilding before the city had a chance to start their elevated renovations – and they were doing it at the old street level.

It was decided to build the city up without shutting down what lay below. This meant that some sidewalks and storefronts were as deep as 36 feet beneath a newer, higher version of the neighborhood upon completion. By building up brick and wooden walls to elevate the street level, Seattle had created a bona fide underground city. Visitors climbed ladders down to the lower level streets and stores until a series of entrances was built to grant access to the subterranean section of town. In 1909, the underground city was condemned on the grounds that it seemed like a breeding pit for any number of diseases, particularly bubonic plague, which had been sweeping the city.

The basements were left to deteriorate or were used as storage. Some became illegal flophouses for the homeless, gambling halls, speakeasies, and opium dens. A small portion of the Seattle Underground has since been restored and made accessible to the public on guided tours.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.