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Ghost Town USA Column Index for North Carolina

There is much more to North Carolina than NASCAR, moonshine, the Smokey Mountains and tobacco. The state is one of the original 13 Colonies, and settlement here predates the very earliest days of English Colonial expansion.  My own family has deep roots in this state, dating back to the 1600s. In July 1526, just 34 years after Columbus “discovered” America, the Spanish established a colony of over 500 people along the Cape Fear River.  By October, over 300 of the colonists had died, and Spain returned them to Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic).  Then in 1585, the English attempted their first colony on Roanoke Island, but it also failed.


By the early 1600s, settlers from Virginia (Jamestown founded 1607) began to move south, and in 1629, King Charles I of England claimed the land from Albemarle Sound (north) to the St. John's River (south).  He called this province or colony Carolina. In 1710, the colony divided into North and South Carolina.


North Carolina was one of the first – if not the first – colony to vote for and declare its independence from England. After Revolutionary war was over, North Carolina entered the Union as the 12th state. 


As it began to grow, agriculture and industry created towns.  Then in 1799, the first gold nugget found in the United States led to the first major gold mine – the Reed Mine.  Mining developed across the Carolina piedmont, spreading south into Georgia and northeastern Alabama. 


Throughout this state’s exciting early history, many towns have faded from living, viable communities into ghost-hood.  These are the locations we seek out, and ask you to advise if you know of any sites not listed here. 



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.





1st site

Carteret Co.

This class A site lies a couple hundred yards offshore of modern town of Atlantic, which is three miles east of US 70/SH 12 at a point 29 miles northeast of Beauport and south of Cape Hatteras National Seashore.  The original site was destroyed by a hurricane in 1775.


Brunswick Co.

The site of this one-time busy colonial seaport town is located on the west side of the Cape Fear River, 19 miles south of Wilmington.  The old town was founded around 1725, and burned by British troops in 1776.  Archaeologists have uncovered about 60 foundations, and the site currently has a museum and interpretive center for visitors.


Haywood Co.

In Cataloochee Valley, at the eastern end of Smoky Mountain National Park.  This old town site dates back to 1814.  When Smoky Mountains National Park was formed in the 1930s, it absorbed Cataloochee.  By 1950 the town had been abandoned, and most of the buildings have since been demolished by the National Park Service.


Caldwell Co.

This 1700s era fort was built mostly to protect settlers from the local Native Americans.  It was located north of Lenoir. Exact location not determined.



Dare Co.

On Pierce Street, a quarter mile north of US 64, just east of the William Umstead Bridge on the north end of Roanoke Island, three miles north of Manteo.  This is the site of England’s 1st colony in “The New World,” founded in June of 1585.

See our FORT RALEIGH page for additional details.


Cabarrus Co.

This now rural community is located along SH 200 where it crosses Dutch Buffalo Creek, about four miles east of the junction of US 601 and SH 200, about 14 miles southeast of Concord.


Swain Co.

Judson, NC is now under water but was in the valley before the Tennessee Valley Authority built the Fontana Dam and flooded the town.  Cemeteries and some remains still exist along the edge of the water and some in the Smokey Mountains National Park, but the NPS has leveled anything still standing.


Contributed by Ted Cisine, Sep 27, 2005


The town was located along the Tennessee River, and once had 600 people and a long list of businesses, including: a barber shop, two churches, corn mill, garage, post office, railroad station, sawmill, school, and four or five  stores. 


Henderson Co.

Kuykendall Tavern was located in what is now the historic village of Flat Rock, NC.  While Kuykendall Tavern was relatively close to what is now Little River Road, in reality, family and local tradition state that it was located along the short and very historic and scenic stretch of Rutledge Drive between the current St. John in the Wilderness Episcopal Church and the Mud Creek Baptist Church.  At the time of its existence (in the late 1700s and early 1800s), this was part of the Old State Road.  The current Little River Road (about a 1/2 mile away) did not exist until a later date.


Captain Abraham Kuykendall was an important man in early North Carolina.  He had served as a member of Samuel Adams’ Committee of Correspondence, considered to be the cadre of the American Revolution.   Beginning in 1775, he served as a Captain of a Safety Committee, which governed old Tryon County.  Abraham served as a Captain in the North Carolina Militia from 1770 – 1783.   Captain Kuykendall also served as Justice of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions and Justice of the Peace for the area that eventually became Rutherford County.


Old military records show that Captain Kuykendall led expeditions into the Blue Ridge Mountains, which were closed to settlers, in search of Tories and Indians.  The Tories and Indians were a constant threat to the settlers in the Foothills of the Blue Ridge.  Captain Kuykendall apparently discovered and fell in love with Flat Rock during one of those expeditions, since on October 10, 1779, several years before the area was open for settlement, he entered a request for a land grant along the banks of Mud Creek in the current vicinity of Mud Creek Church.


Captain Kuykendall died in 1812.  His grave is marked by a 10 foot tall marble obelisk.  The obelisk is accenuated by quite a bit of historical information about this pioneer and patriot.  In addition, it is decorated with several bronze plaques and markers, including one from the Abraham Kuykendall Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution.


In addition, the old tavern is the locale for a number of ghost stories, and lost/buried treasure stories.


Contributed by Charles L. Kuykendall (Abraham’s grandson)  (Feb 22, 2006)


Guilford Co.

Near Guilford County Courthouse, just off US 220 in Greensboro.  The exact location of this former town is probably hidden by development in Greensboro.


Orange Co.

On bank of Eno River, 15 miles north of Chapel Hill.  Exact location is not determined.  If you know of it, please let me know!


1st site

Moore Co.

Only rubble remains of this one-time milling town located just yards off SH 22, near Carthage.  Exact location not determined.


Carteret Co.

This tiny rural community is located on the northeast end of Portsmouth Island, opposite Okracoke Inlet from Okracoke.


Cabarrus Co.

1.6 miles southwest of Georgetown, which is on SH 200, 14.4 miles southeast of Concord.  This is the site where America’s love affair with gold first began, when in 1799 a young boy of 12 named Conrad John Reed found a large gold nugget in a local creek.  More gold was found and a small rush ensued to the Carolina Piedmont region.

See our REED GOLD MINE page for additional details.


Dare Co.

The exact location is not determined, but it is believed to be at same location as Ft. Raleigh, which is on Pierce Street, a quarter mile north of US 64, just east of the William Umstead Bridge on the north end of Roanoke Island, three miles north of Manteo.  


Lincoln Co.

In 1950 this tiny town had 50 people.  Location not determined.




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 currently in process of publishing unique state, regional, and county guides called

The Ghost Town Guru's Guide to the Ghost Towns of ***

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 NORTH CAROLINA, 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 any 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. 




These listings and historical vignettes of ghost towns, near-ghost towns and other historical sites in NORTH CAROLINA 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 NORTH CAROLINA, please abide by the Ghost Towner's Code of Ethics.




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FIRST POSTED:  November 01, 2003

LAST UPDATED: August 07, 2010




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