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Ghost Town USA’s

Guide to the Ghost Towns of

CALIFORNIA

“The Golden State

 

 

PLEASE HELP!  I am still looking for historical information on Imperial County Ghost Towns.

SEE list here.

 

 

 

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Western & Eastern Treasures

Ghost Town USA Column Index for California.

 

Today, California is the most populous state in the Union.  But, a mere 150 years ago it had very few non-indigenous folks. It was a sparsely populated agricultural province of Mexico (Spain), and few Americans ventured here. On the cold frosty morning of January 24, 1848 all that changed. In the tailrace of a saw mill on the American River, a tiny, pea-sized gold nugget was discovered.  John Marshall, foreman of the construction crew building the mill, was the one who found it. A few days later he took it to his boss, John Sutter, at his ranch headquarters called New Helvetia (today's Sacramento).

 

That gold nugget changed California's history, American history, and world history. The floodgates opened, and tens of thousands of wannabe gold seekers descended on the gold fields. In 1850, "The Golden State", California, was admitted to the Union, and it has never looked back.

 

From the western Sierra Nevada Mountains the miners spread out in search of more gold, silver, and other marketable minerals. Loggers, farmers, railroad builders and other exploiters arrived, and followed them, building towns and small communities all over the state. Thousands of these towns or would-be towns died, but many grew and thrived, some turning into teeming cities.

 

From crumbling desert ruins to the majestic ghost of Bodie, to the remains of hundreds of transient 49'er gold camps, California has much to offer the casual as well as serious ghosttowner. Here is where I began my ghost town chasing career back in 1968, and here is where my first love is. California has well over 9,000 locations to offer the ghosttowner, so obviously only a few will be listed here.

 

Some of the vignettes below contain specific words that are listed on our DEFINITIONS page.  If you are unfamiliar with the meaning of the word in a ghost town sense, click on the link and scroll down to that term.  You can use the BACK button on the browser to return to this page.

 

We visited a number of California’s ghost towns during the summer of 2008, and that journey is documented on a new set of pages titled On The Road Again. This specific journey was across US Highway 6. The portion we explored was from Laws, California through Price, Utah, including the full distance across Nevada.  The towns we traveled through are listed below.  Follow the links to the appropriate pages for details.

 

HELP!  (NEW FEATURE) Please check here to find a list of ghost towns that various contacts are looking for.  IF you have any information on these places please e-mail me and I can respond back to those looking for info on these ghosts.

 

PLEASE NOTE: 

Where photos are indicated thusly (PHOTO!), please use your browser’s “BACK” button to return to this page.  More photos will be added over time.  Where individual pages are noted, any photos will be linked from that page and not this state page.

 

THE GHOSTS

 

Please note:  I have nearly 10,000 ghost towns in my California files.

This listing is just a VERY TINY portion of that file.

 

 

AGUA FRIA

 

Mariposa Co.

An 1849 era mining camp located west of Mariposa.  It was the original county seat for Mariposa County, but in 1851, the honor was transferred to Mariposa and Agua Fria faded from the scene.

See our AGUA FRIA page for additional details.

Alcatraz

San Francisco Co.

Alcatraz Island is located in San Francisco Bay, just offshore and accessible from Fisherman’s Wharf.  It is the site of an old Spanish Fort, American lighthouse and fort, and Federal prison. 

See our Alcatraz page for additional details.

Alum Rock Park

Santa Clara Co.

This class B former resort is located in Alum Rock Canyon, about seven miles northeast of downtown San Jose.  It was established in 1872, and a resort/spa grew up.  In 1911 a flood washed it all away, but it was rebuilt.  Trains ran to the resort, and it began fading in the 1930s.  By the 1950s it had become a derelict collection of abandoned buildings, which were torn down in the 1970s.  Today it is a quiet, nature-oriented park, with some ruins and rubble remaining from the glory years as a resort.

See our Alum Rock Park page for additional details.

Amboy

San Bernardino Co.

The badly faded class D road town of AMBOY sits on old US 66.  As an outside website claims – rightfully so – “Amboy is the crustiest, dustiest gas stop on all of Route 66.  Pure untouched Americana where the heyday of motor travel is preserved in original condition.”  It is currently being restored by the present owners. 

See our Amboy page for additional details.

BAGBY

 

Mariposa Co.

The class B gold mining and milling town of Benton Mills was originally located on the south side of the Merced River, just east of the SH 49 bridge, 11.2 miles south of Coulterville.  Later a river resort named Bagby, was established directly across the river on the north side. 

See our BAGBY page for additional details.

Bagdad

San Bernardino Co

Visit the class B roadtown where the movie Bagdad Café supposedly took place.  It was actually filmed in nearby Newberry Springs where the Bagdad Café restaurant is located.  BAGDAD and Newberry Springs are both old road towns along Route 66. 

See our BAGDAD page for additional details.

BEAR VALLEY

 

Mariposa Co.

This class D gold mining town is located at the junction of SH 49/CR J-16, 12 miles northwest of Mariposa.  The first gold was found about 1850 by Mexican miners who were consequently driven out.  By 1851 the population had reached several thousand. 

See our BEAR VALLEY page for additional details.

BEND CITY

Inyo Co.

Melted piles of adobe, some rusty cans and foundation depressions are all that mark this class B, 1860s era gold mining/milling town. It was located on a bend of the now-dry Owens River, north of Mazourka Canyon Road, just west of the end of the pavement at the (now-gone) Carson & Colorado Railroad grade, 4.5 miles east of Independence. Bend City is California Historic Landmark #209.  It is worth the short detour to see the site of one of the Eastern Sierra’s pioneering mining town sites.

Two nearby locations include…

  • KEARSARGE STATION – (class B) was a Carson & Colorado Railroad station on the southeast corner of the junction of the Mazourka Canyon Road and the railroad. Some rubble remains.  It is located cater-corner from Bend City.  It is also known as Citrus Station and Independence Station.
  • SAN CARLOS(class B) was a contemporary mining town of Bend City, and was located two miles north, and just east of the power line access road and the Owens River. Foundation outlines, melted adobe and depressions remain.

 

BEND CITY

·        NW¼ Sec 13, T13S, R35E, MDM (Mount Diablo Base Line & Meridian)

·        Latitude: 36.805634

·        Longitude: -118.122532

 

KEARSARGE STATION

·          Sec 13, T13S, R35E, MDM

·        Latitude: 36.8068763 / 36° 48’ 25” N

·        Longitude: -118.1173143  / 118° 07’ 02” W

 

SAN CARLOS

·        Center Sec 2, T13S, R35E, MDM

·        Latitude: 36.839103

·        Longitude: -118.143196 (APPROX)

BENTON & BENTON HOT SPRINGS

Mono Co.

BENTON HOT SPRINGS is an old class D, silver mining town dating back to the 1860s, while BENTON is a faded class D, road town that has morphed from a former railroad station along the Carson & Colorado Railroad. 

See our Benton & Benton Hot Springs page for additional details.

BODIE

Mono Co.

This totally abandoned 1880s-1930s, class C, gold-mining city has over 150 buildings still standing.  It is located at east end of State Highway (SH) 270, 13 miles east of US 395, at a point 6.5 miles south of Bridgeport. This is the best ghost town in the United States.

See our BODIE page for additional details.

This is one of the towns featured in my newest book, GHOST TOWNS: Yesterday & TodayTM.

BOMBAY BEACH

Imperial Co.

This is one of the half-dead class D towns ringing the shores of the SALTON SEA.  Many old buildings remain, along with numerous still-lived in mobile homes and old cabins.  The portion of town showing the most interest to ghost towners lies south of the large dike along the south side of 5th Street, at the south end of town.  There are numerous remains of old buildings flooded out by the twin tropical storms of 1976 and 1977.  PHOTO!

PLEASE SEE NOTE in the SALTON SEA section below.

This is one of the towns featured in my newest book, GHOST TOWNS: Yesterday & TodayTM.

 

·        NW¼ Sec 33, T9S, R12E, SBM (San Bernardino Base Line & Meridian)

·        Latitude: 33.3508667 / 33° 21’ 03” N

·        Longitude: -115.7297152 / 115° 43’ 47” W

CALICO

San Bernardino Co.

This class C/F (reconstructed) 1880s silver-mining camp is on the south flank of the Calico Mountains, three miles north of I-15 at a point 7.5 miles northeast of Barstow. It is easy to locate and is well-signed. Today’s Calico is a restored, gussied up, tourist attraction and regional park. It doesn't have much to offer true ghost town chasers, but it is a fun place to visit if you are in the area.  Calico is California Historic Landmark #782.  CALICO also has its own website.

 

·        N-Ctr Sec 22, T10N, R1E, SBM

·        Latitude: 34.9488716 / 34° 56’ 56” N

·        Longitude: -116.8650363 / 116° 51’ 54” W

Carson & Colorado Railroad

 

Inyo & Mono Co.

The Carson & Colorado Railroad once ran the length of Owens Valley from north of Benton, south along the east side of the valley to Keeler, on the northeast shore of Owens Lake.

See our Carson & Colorado Railroad page for additional details and a list of the various towns that lined its route.

CERRO GORDO

Inyo Co.

COMING SOON

 

·        S-Ctr Sec 13, T16S, R38E, MDM

·        Latitude: 36.5393799 / 36° 32’ 22” N (MINE)

·        Longitude: -117.7917440 / 117° 47’ 30” W (MINE)

CHALFANT

Mono Co.

SEE On the Road Again - PART 1

CHINA CAMP

 

 

Marin Co.

This is a class C, 1870s-1880s era Chinese fishing camp on the south shore of San Pablo Bay (northern part of San Francisco Bay), northeast of San Rafael.

See our San Francisco area Fishing/Coal towns page for additional details on some of the various coal mining camps and shrimp-fishing villages in the Bay Area.

COLOMA

El Dorado Co.

This class D/F (partially restored) town was birthplace of the California Gold Rush, back in January 1848. The State Historic Park is located on SH 49, along the South Fork of the American River, seven miles northwest of Placerville. 

See our COLOMA page for additional details.

COULTERVILLE

 

Mariposa Co.

Coulterville dates to 1849 and is still a busy little class E town.  It has numerous landmark buildings and is a worthwhile stop.  It is located on SH 49, north of Mariposa in the Southern Mines portion of the Motherlode.

See our COULTERVILLE page for additional details.

DALE MINING DISTRICT

Riverside &

San Bernardino Co.

This turn of the 20th-Century gold mining district consists of dozens of mines, several mill sites and a handful of class B mining camps. It is located east of Twentynine Palms and north of Joshua Tree National Park, straddling the Riverside and San Bernardino County line.

See our DALE MINING DISTRICT page for additional details.

DARWIN

Inyo Co.

This wonderful little class D silver mining town is located west of Death Valley, east of Lone Pine and north of the China Lake Naval Weapon Center. This old community still has a little kick, lots of old buildings, and a lot of atmosphere.

See our Darwin page for additional details.

This is one of the towns featured in my newest book, GHOST TOWNS: Yesterday & TodayTM.

Death Valley

Inyo Co..

Death Valley is at the tops of places in the country with panache.  Europeans come here to experience the oppressive summer heat.  Ghost towns abound in its searing flats, and in the dried-up, wrinkled mountains surrounding it. 

See our Death Valley page for additional details of a number of the old ghost towns.

desert center

Riverside Co.

This sunblasted, decaying road town plopped in the center of the desert is slowly fading into the past despite the efforts of the town’s owner, the granddaughter of the original founder, Desert Steve Ragsdale.  It consists of a cluster of mostly vacant buildings.  The only active businesses are the post office (92239) and the Desert Center Café, which serves locals and travelers alike.  The rest of the town is dead, and empty shell of what once was.  It sits right off I-10 at Exit 192, 50 miles east of Indio and 50 miles west of Blythe.

See our desert center page for additional details.

This was our Ghost Town of the Month for August/September 2011.

Desert Shores

Imperial Co.

Desert Shores is a faded resort community located on the west side of the Salton Sea. It is at best, a class D, former resort town.  A small commercial strip hangs onto live at the west end of the site along highway SH 86. 

PLEASE SEE NOTE in the SALTON SEA section below.

This is one of the towns featured in my newest book, GHOST TOWNS: Yesterday & TodayTM.

See our Desert Shores page for additional details.

DIXIELAND

Imperial Co.

This tiny faded town sits along the Evan Hewes Highway (County Road [CR] S80) in the southwestern part of the county five miles west of Seeley and east of Plaster City. Several of the interesting buildings are a couple vacant structures along the highway, and the old roofless school a couple blocks north of the highway.  Two photos of the school shell at Dixieland are shown here: Side view, Front view.  Dixieland was established in 1909, but never really got going.  It is also shown as Wind ‘N’ Sand on various maps as that was the name of the café along CR-S80.  A post office operated here 1912-1935. 

PLEASE SEE NOTE in the SALTON SEA section below.

 

·        N½ Sec 7, T16S, R12E, SBM

·        Latitude: 32.7908915 / 32° 47' 27" N

·        Longitude: -115.7702814  / 115° 46' 13" W

DRAWBRIDGE

Alameda Co.

Now part of Fremont, this class C, former hunting retreat/town is located on a mud island along the Southern Pacific Railroad just north of the county line, along the Coyote River at the southern tip of San Francisco Bay, north of Alviso/San Jose.  It is on PRIVATE PROPERTY, AND IS NOT ACCESSIBLE.  See 1972 photos of the town site, water tower and a cluster of cabins.

 

·        T5S, R1W, MDM (Sections not shown on GNIS)

·        Latitude: 37.4663279 / 37° 27' 59" N

·        Longitude: -121.9743600 / 121° 58' 30" W

EAGLE MOUNTAIN

Riverside Co.

This class D (soon to be class C) iron-mining company town is located at the massive Eagle Mountain iron mine, tucked into a pocket on the southeastern side of Joshua Tree National Park.  It is accessible by CR-R2, north of Desert Center, which itself is a slumbering road town in the heart of the desert, along I-10 midway between Indio and the Colorado River.

See our Eagle Mountain page for additional details.

FortS of the SF Bay REGION

Marin &

San Francisco Co.

Along the shoreline of the Golden Gate (entrance to San Francisco Bay, on both the north (Marin Co.) and south (San Francisco Co.) sides coastal defense forts bristled with cannons to deter any would-be attackers from entering San Francisco Bay.  By the 1990s they had shut down and had been decommissioned.

See our Coastal Defense Forts page for additional details

GARLOCK

Kern Co.

The crumbling remains of this class C, 1890s gold ore-milling town straddles Garlock Road, nine miles west of Randsburg (SEE below). Remains include several standing structures and ruins of many others. The 1992 Landers earthquake and subsequent aftershocks heavily damaged the squat rock-walled saloon.  Garlock is California Historic Landmark #671.

This is one of the towns featured in my newest book, GHOST TOWNS: Yesterday & TodayTM.

 

·        NE corner Sec 21, NW corner Sec 22, T29S, R39E, MDM

·        Latitude: 35.4024608 / 35° 24' 09" N

·        Longitude: -117.7900644 / 117° 47' 24" W

Gertrude

Madera Co.

This old class A town was located along the Fresno River west of Oakhurst and south of Ahwahnee.  It was the support town for the Enterprise Mine.  A school and post office were also located here.  Nothing remains.

See our Gertrude page for additional details.

HAMMIL

Mono Co.

SEE On the Road Again - PART 1

HARMONY BORAX WORKS

Inyo Co.

This 1890s borax processing facility is a class B/F ghost, located a quarter mile west of SH 190 two miles north of Furnace Creek Ranch, in Death Valley National Park. Remains include the semi-restored plant and a couple roofless buildings on the flat below.  Harmony Borax Works is California Historic Landmark #773.

 

·        SE¼ Sec 9, T27N, R1E, SBM

·        Latitude: 36.4821702 / 36° 28' 56" N

·        Longitude: -116.8733864 / 116° 52' 24" W

HOLCOMB VALLEY

San Bernardino Co.

Several old class A & B Civil War era gold-mining camps dot this high country valley located north of Big Bear Lake in the San Bernardino Mountains above San Bernardino.  Holcomb Valley is California Historic Landmark #619.

 

SITE OF BELLEVILLE:

·        Ctr Sec 33, T3N, R1E, SBM

·        Latitude: 34.3011166 / 34° 18' 04" N

·        Longitude:  -116.8841985 / 116° 53' 03" W

HORNITOS

Mariposa Co.

This class D, pioneering mining camp was established in 1848 by Mexican miners, and was quickly over-run by “less desirable elements” evicted from the booming mining town of Quartzburg about two miles away. Hornitos quickly developed a reputation as a rough town.  However, it eventually settled down and became a respectable community, eclipsing Quartzburg.

See our HORNITOS page for additional details.

KEANE WONDER MINE

Inyo Co.

Located in the heart of Death Valley National Park, this class C gold-mining camp is located on a three mile long, passenger car accessible dirt road that heads east from the Daylight Pass Cutoff Road, at a point 5.7 miles north of that road's junction with SH 190 (Beatty Junction). Beatty Junction is 11 miles north of Furnace Creek Ranch. Ruins include the mill building and a handful of tram towers marching up the steep slope behind the old camp.

 

·        SW¼ Sec 32, T30N, R1E, SBM

·        Latitude: 36.6816147 / 36° 40' 54" N

·        Longitude:  -116.9000577 / 116° 54' 00" W

Kearsarge

Inyo Co.

Wiped out by an avalanche, the name in celebration of a Union victory in the Civil War, and the site of much silver, this itchy-footed Civil War era silver-mining town was located above Onion Valley high in the mountains west of Independence.

See our Kearsarge page for additional details.

Kelso

San Bernardino Co.

This class D railroad town is located in the heart of the Mojave Desert about 35 miles southeast of Baker, on the west side of the Providence Mountains, this former railroad helper and watering station and siding contains one of the West’s premier ghost town buildings, the old Union Pacific Railroad Depot, now fully restored and open to the public.  It serves as the visitor center for Kelso and the Mojave National Preserve.

See our Kelso page for additional details.

Knights ferry

Stanislaus Co.

Located on the Stanislaus River just west of the main part of the Motherlode, Knights Ferry is an old travel town that once hosted a large milling complex, and still features one of California’s few remaining covered bridges.

See our Knights ferry page for additional details.

LAWS

Inyo Co.

SEE On the Road Again - PART 1

Little Lake

Inyo Co.

This one-time travel stop was located on the west side of present US Highway 395, at the southern end of Rose Valley, and Inyo County.  It had a wonderful old stone hotel, store, gas station and post office as well as other amenities. The buildings were all torn down prior to Jun 2001.

See our Little Lake page for additional details.

LLANO DEL RIO

Los Angeles Co.

This class B, early 1900s utopian commune straddles SH 138, 20 miles east of Palmdale, along the south edge of the Mojave Desert. Roofless rock ruins and a tall concrete block silo remain scattered over the site. Nearby are the ruins of two limekilns that supplied cement for use in construction of the buildings.

See our LLANO DEL RIO page for additional details.

LUDLOW

San Bernardino Co.

This badly faded, class D, road town has moved two times. The 1st site was located along the Southern Pacific Railroad tracks. When Route (US Highway) 66 came through, the town moved a short distance north to the highway. When Interstate 40 was built in the early 1970s, the town again marched north to lock into the Interstate trade.  Ludlow is on I-40, about 50 miles east of Barstow.  On October 16, 1999 the magnitude 7.1 Hector Mines Earthquake ripped through the Mojave Desert just a few miles away.  The once-majestic, two-story, concrete, Murphy Brothers store suffered serious damage, with the entire front portion collapsing.  It is now fenced off for safety purposes.  Please abide by any fencing/signage on site.

 

·        S½ Sec 5, N –Ctr Sec 8, T7N, R8E, SBM

 

RR Station Site:

·        Latitude: 34.7211004 / 34° 43’ 16” N

·        Longitude: -116.1600117 / 116° 09’ 36” W

 

Jct Crucero Rd/Old Route 66:

·        Latitude: 34.723855

·        Longitude: -116.163302

MAMMOTH CITY

Mono Co.

This quiet, class B, 1880s gold-mining town is located just below the Mammoth Lakes Basin, which is located south of the Town of Mammoth Lakes.  It stretches along Old Mammoth Road, beginning a half-mile east of the junction of the road with the Lake Mary Road above Twin Lakes. Remains include a mine, a couple crumbling log buildings and a long line of overgrown foundation outlines and depressions.

 

·        NE¼ Sec 9, T4S, R27E, MDM

·        Latitude: 37.6161946

·        Longitude: -119.0001351

MAMMOTH CONSOLIDATED MINE

Mono Co.

This class C, early 1900s mining camp is located in the pine forest just east of the Coldwater Creek Campground, south of Lake Mary, in the Mammoth Lakes Basin, about five miles south of the Town of Mammoth Lakes. Remains include a number of restored cabins and other buildings, as well as mines and mill ruins.  I visited this old site in August, 2011, and some of the buildings are beginning to collapse.  IF you have not visited this little ghost, I would HIGHLY recommend a visit in the next year or so before those failing structures are demolished or collapse of their own accord.

 

·        NW¼ Sec 22, T4S, R27E, MDM

·        Latitude: 37.592199

·        Longitude: -118.992105

MANZANAR RELOCATION CENTER

Inyo Co.

This class B/F, Japanese relocation center was active between 1942 and 1945. It is located in Owens Valley, five miles south of Independence, on the west side of US 395. In early 2004, the restored gymnasium opened as a site museum. 

See our MANZANAR RELOCATION CENTER page for additional details.

MARICOPA

Kern Co.

This class E faded oil boom town is located in the southwestern corner of the San Joaquin (Central) Valley in the far southwestern part of the county.  This was our Ghost Town of the Month for April 2011.

See our MARICOPA page for additional details.

MARIPOSA

 

Mariposa Co.

County seat for Mariposa County and far from being a ghost town, this class E mining town is one of the earliest of the gold rush towns still in existence.  The present courthouse dates to 1854 and is said to be the oldest continuously used courthouse west of the Mississippi River!

See our MARIPOSA page for additional details.

MONO MILLS

Mono Co.

The ruins of this 1880s, class B, sawmill are located on the north side of SH 120 at a point 9.2 miles east of US 395. The junction is 0.4 miles south of the north end of the June Lake Loop, on the south side of Mono Lake. All that remains is some scattered rubble of the sawmill, railroad ties lining the railroad grade, and tree stumps, all scattered about the second growth pine forest. 

 

·        NE¼ Sec 2, T1S, R27E, MDM

·        Latitude: 37.8874283 / 37° 53' 15" N

·        Longitude: -118.9593089 / 118° 57' 34" W

MONTGOMERY CITY

Mono Co.

SEE On the Road Again - PART 1

MOUNT BULLION

Mariposa Co.

This once-flourishing mining town dates to 1850.  It is located on SH 49, about 4.7 miles northwest of Mariposa.  It was the center of a large placering area as well as being the main support center for the famed Princeton Mine. 

See our MOUNT BULLION page for additional details.

North Shore

Riverside Co.

This badly faded class D Salton Seaside resort and marina community is located on the northeastern shore of the Salton Sea. It was active from the late 1950s-early 1980s when the marina and yacht club closed.  The motel was torn down in 2008, and the yacht club was undergoing renovations in Oct – Nov 2009.  A few mobile homes and other homes remain. 

PLEASE SEE NOTE in the SALTON SEA section below.

See our North Shore page for additional details.

This is one of the towns featured in my newest book, GHOST TOWNS: Yesterday & TodayTM.

QUEEN DICKS

Mono Co.

SEE On the Road Again - PART 1

Randsburg

Kern Co.

Randsburg is a fantastic, still living, class D mining town located on the northeast end of the Rand Mountains, a mile west of US 395. Hands down, it is the best semi-ghost town in Southern California. About 200 hundred folks still live here.  Lots of buildings remain:  some lived-in, others unoccupied.  The Randsburg General Store is still open, serving both residents and tourists alike.  Check out their bookshelf for some great ghost town titles, including my two books, Dust in the Wind - A Guide to American Ghost Towns and GHOST TOWNS: Yesterday & TodayTM.

See our Randsburg page for additional details.

This is one of the towns featured in my newest book, GHOST TOWNS: Yesterday & TodayTM.

SALTON SEA

Riverside & Imperial Co.

This dying sea in the southeastern part of the state is also ringed by many dead resorts and badly fading towns.  The Salton Sea was Southern California’s resort and vacation Riviera from 1958 until about 1976 and 1977 when a pair of tropical storms unleashed massive amounts of rain, raising the sea’s level and flooding out the many resorts ringing its shores.  As a result, many have died and others are barely hanging on.

 

REQUEST FOR INFORMATION:  I am desperately looking for information on a number of the marinas and other shoreside developments around the Salton Sea for a guide that I am writing.  I plan to publish Faded Dreams – Ghost Towns of the Salton Sea in 2010.  It will feature both the marina-related and non-marina ghost towns ringing the SALTON SEA.  I am especially interested in personal stories any of you may have to share of your days visiting or even living there.  (SEE our Desert Shores page as an example.)  Would also love period photos.  Click on the provided links above to see locations I am in need of information on.  Please e-mail me if you have anything that I could use for this project.  THANK YOU to all who have already contributed information and photos.

 

In addition, I am also seeking additional information about non-SALTON SEA area ghost towns throughout Imperial County for a second guide that I would LOVE to publish concurrently with the Salton Sea guide.

This is one of the locations featured in my newest book, GHOST TOWNS: Yesterday & TodayTM.

SHASTA

Shasta Co.

The red brick ruins of this class B former 1850s gold mining city still line the sides of SH 299, 10 miles west of Redding in the northwest part of the state.  Shasta is California Historic Landmark #77.

 

·          Sec 25, T32N, R6W, MDM

·        Latitude: 40.5993165 / 40° 35' 58" N

·        Longitude: -122.4919571 / 122° 29' 31" W

SILVER LAKE

San Bernardino Co.

A few ruins and some rubble are all that remain of this class B, former Tonopah & Tidewater Railroad station alongside SH 127, 8.5 miles north of Baker, and just northeast of the dry bed of Silver Lake.  For more detailed information about the Tonopah & Tidewater Railroad, see John McCulloch’s interesting and informative website about the railroad.

 

·        SE¼ Sec 22, T15N, R82E, SBM

·        Latitude: 35.3702568 / 35° 22' 13" N

·        Longitude: -116.1155704 / 116° 06' 56" W

Slab City/Camp Dunlap

Imperial Co.

This is the site of a World War II era U.S. Marine training center east of Niland and the Salton Sea, and just west of the All American Canal and the Chocolate Mountains.  After the war ended the buildings were removed, leaving slabs behind.  Those slabs now attract Snowbirds and other folks with Recreational Vehicles.

PLEASE SEE NOTE in the SALTON SEA section above.

See our Slab City/Camp Dunlap page for additional details.

SOMERSVILLE

Contra Costa Co.

The rubbled site of Somersville is all that remains of one of a handful of coal-mining camps that sprouted up on the northeast slope of Mount Diablo in the second half of the 1800s. Some of the other locations included

See our San Francisco area Fishing/Coal towns page for additional details on some of the various coal mining camps and shrimp-fishing villages in the Bay Area.

SWANSEA

Inyo Co.

This class C, former steamboat landing and smelter town is located on the north shore of Owens Lake. It sits along SH 136, 3.3 miles northwest of Keeler, and 9.7 miles southeast of the junction of SH 136/US 395 at the south end of Lone Pine. Several stone buildings and the ruins of the smelter remain.  Swansea is California Historic Landmark #752.

 

·        S-Ctr Sec 24, T16S, R37E, MDM

·        Latitude: 36.5246569 / 36° 31' 29" N

·        Longitude: -117.9039708 / 117° 54' 11" W

TUMCO

 

Imperial Co.

Deep in the southeastern corner of the state, Tumco is a class B ghost, located northwest of Yuma, Arizona, and about ten miles north of I-8. This 1880s era gold mining camp was first called Hedges. After 1910 the mines were acquired and renamed Tumco. 

PLEASE SEE NOTE in the SALTON SEA section above.

See our TUMCO page for additional details.

VOLCANO

Amador Co.

The California Gold Rush aura still exudes throughout this wonderfully quiet and expressive class D, gold rush era mining town located three miles northeast of Pine Grove.  Pine Grove is on SH 88, eight miles northeast of Jackson. Volcano is a sleepy small town today, and has many rock buildings and ruins dating back to the 1849 period.  Volcano is California Historic Landmark #29.

 

·        SW¼ Sec 23, T7N, R12E, MDM

·        Latitude: 38.4429658 / 38° 26' 35" N

·        Longitude: -120.6307628 / 120° 37' 51" W

 

ADDITIONAL CA GHOST TOWN LINKS

 

 

General links to other ghost town sites can be found on our own Links page.

 

CA-General

·        Nevada Ghost Towns- Over 600 Sites in Nevada, Alone.

Includes a number of Death Valley and Mojave Desert area California GTs.  This site is sponsored by Cal-Neva.com

·        For recently departed ghost towns, visit our ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST page.

 

AMADOR Co.

·        Butler’s Forgotten Gold Caches is one of our featured Lost Treasure Legends.

 

IMPERIAL Co.

·        Imperial County Ghost Towns Wanted!

 

INYO Co.

·        The Lost Gunsight Mine is one of our featured Lost Treasure Legends.

·        Lost silver on Owens Lake.  This is another of our featured Lost Treasure Legends.

·        Tonopah & Tidewater Railroad. 

For a good historical perspective on one of California’s premier ghost railroads, visit John McCulloch’s website.  The T & T basically paralleled State Highway 127 south from Nevada, through Death Valley Junction, Silver Lake and Baker, ending at Ludlow.

 

KERN Co.

·        The Exposed Treasure Mine was a nice little mining camp that still had buildings as late as the mid 1980s.  It has since been covered up by a mining operation that has since closed.

·        Located south of Lake Isabella, in the heart of the Tehachapi Mountains is the old mining town of Bodfish, now a quiet mountain town.  In Bodfish, the Corlew family operates Silver City Ghost Town as an outdoor museum filled with buildings brought in from all over the Kern County area and set up as a replica mining town.  

 

MARIPOSA Co.

Visit Ghost Town USA’s own pages for Mariposa County .  Includes an alphabetic listing of the ghost towns in that county.

 

PLACER Co.

·        Pioneer Mining Supplies in Auburn, CA, has links to various gold districts in California.

 

SAN BERNARDINO Co.

·        Desert USA

This website features lots of information and history on the Mojave Desert.

·        Mojave Desert Heritage & Cultural Association

Based in Goffs Schoolhouse, this organization along with their sister organization, The Friends of the Mojave Road, are dedicated to preserving the history of California’s eastern Mojave Desert. 

·        Old Mojave Road

Before there were trains and cars there were trails and footpaths across the country.  The Mojave Road stretched from the Colorado River at Fort Mohave to Los Angeles

·        Tonopah & Tidewater Railroad. 

For a good historical perspective on one of California’s premier ghost railroads, visit John McCulloch’s website.  The T & T basically paralleled State Highway 127 south from Nevada, through Death Valley Junction, Silver Lake and Baker, ending at Ludlow. 

 

TULARE Co.

The Tulare Co. GENWEB site is a vital link for folks looking for their roots in the heart of the Golden State.  To enhance that search, AND aid ghost towners in looking for lost communities in that county, AND enhance the historical knowledge of the county, a reprint of the 1892 Thomas H Thompson Official Historical Atlas Map of Tulare County was published in late 2006. 

 

 

MORE INFORMATION

 

 

Historians estimate that there may be as many as 50,000 ghost towns scattered across the United States of America. Gary B. Speck Publications is in process of publishing unique state, regional, and county guides called The Ghost Town Guru's Guide to the Ghost Towns of “STATE”

These original guides are designed for anybody interested in ghost towns. Whether you are a casual tourist looking for a new and different place to visit, or a hard-core ghost town researcher, these guides will be just right for you. With over 30 years of research behind them, they will be a welcome addition to any ghost towner's library.

Thank you and we'll see you out on the Ghost Town Trail!

 

For more information on the ghost towns of CALIFORNIA, contact us at Ghost Town USA.

 

E-mailers, PLEASE NOTE:

Due to the tremendous amount of viruses, worms and “spam,” out there, I no longer open or respond to e-mails with unsolicited attachments, OR messages on the subject lines with “Hey”, “Hi”, “Need help”, “Help Please”, “???”, or blank subject lines, etc.  If you do send E-mail asking for information, or sharing information, PLEASE indicate the appropriate location AND state name, or other topic on the “subject” line.  THANK YOU!  :o)

IMPORTANT

 

These listings and historical vignettes of ghost towns, near-ghost towns and other historical sites in CALIFORNIA above are for informational purposes only, and should NOT be construed to grant permission to trespass, metal detect, relic or treasure hunt at any of the listed sites.

 

If the reader of this guide is a metal detector user and plans to use this guide to locate sites for metal detecting or relic hunting, it is the READER'S responsibility to obtain written permission from the legal property owners. Please be advised, that any state or nationally owned sites will probably be off-limits to metal detector use. Also be aware of any federal, state or local laws restricting the same.

When you are exploring the ghost towns of CALIFORNIA, please abide by the

Ghost Towner's Code of Ethics.

 

 

 

 

Also visit: Ghost Town USA’s

 

Home Page | Site Map | Ghost Town Listings | On the Road Again | Photo Gallery | Treasure Legends

CURRENT Ghost Town of the Month | PAST Ghost Towns of the Month

Ghost Towner's Code of Ethics | Publications | Genealogy | License Plate Collecting

 

A few LINKS to outside webpages:

Ghost Towns | Treasure Hunting | License Plate Collecting | Genealogy

 

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THIS PAGE

FIRST POSTED:  June 1998

LAST UPDATED:  December 09, 2014

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This entire website, and all individual web pages is
copyright © 1998-2014
by Gary B Speck Publications

 

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