What is a ghost town in California

Ghost Towns - ghost towns in the United States

In the USA, ghost towns are the remains of abandoned settlements that still exist today. Some of them are left to decay, others are preserved in their ruinous state and serve tourist purposes - with and without extras, with and without admission. Almost everything can be found.

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Bodie Ghost Town and State Park, California | Calico, California | Jerome, Arizona

The crumbling cities and settlements make a creepy impression and are therefore very popular and shrouded in legend. The website ghosttowns.com offers a very good overview of the ghost towns in the USA. You enter the state and all ghost towns located there are displayed and described with pictures. We have listed the most famous ghost towns here. Including Bodie in California, Calico, also in California and Jerome in Arizona. Another overview sorted by state and especially with Photos at Ghosttowns offers ghosttowngallery.com.

Bodie Ghost Town and State Park, California

Northeast of Yosemite National Park, 13 miles east on Highway 395 on Bodie Road, 7 miles south of Bridgeport.

Bodie describes himself as the best and most secluded of the ghost towns in the USA. Around 1879 10,000 people lived here, there were 60 saloons and dance halls and three breweries. A daily shootout on Main Street gave Bodie the dubious reputation of most lawless city in the Wild West. The fire department bell is said to have rung almost continuously, because at the funeral of a murdered man the bell was struck once for every year of life. The mines in the vicinity of the city were productive, in 20 years gold to the value of around 100 million dollars was mined.

When the gold and silver mines were exhausted (around 1885) the population emigrated. In 1942 the place was officially closed after several major fires. The dry desert climate and cold winters have preserved many buildings. 150 wooden houses, about a tenth of the old city, can still be visited today. These include the Standard Stamp Mill and the Miners Union Building, one of California's oldest unions.

As in many ghost towns, the site is to be preserved in the same condition as it was 50 years ago. Therefore there are no commercial offers here. You can feel the touch of the Wild West. More details on the bodie.com website.


Calico, California

17 km east of Barstow, near US 15, well signposted. Open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission: $ 8 adults, $ 5 teenagers 6-15 years old.

From 1881 to 1896, thousands of men set out here to look for silver in the surrounding mountains. As the price of silver fell, the Silver mines closed and Calico became a ghost town. A third of the current layout is still original, the rest has been restored. It is more active here Tourist hustle and bustle with shops, saloons and “residents” dressed in Western costumes. More details at cms.sbcounty.gov/parks/Parks/CalicoGhostTown.aspx.

Jerome, Arizona

Helmut Werb reports on the "ghost town" of Jerome in Arizona in the Stern article "Ghostly hookers, haunted heroes".