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Ghost Town USA’s

Guide to the Ghost Towns of

TEXAS

“The Lone Star State”

 

 


 

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Western & Eastern Treasures

Ghost Town USA Column Index for Texas

The Lone Star State is the second largest state in the United States. Only Alaska is larger. Texas’ scenery varies from the dry High Plains in the north to desert in the southwest and thick forests in the southeast. To quote the Texas Department of Transportation from their 1998 state travel guide ...

 

"It's not exaggerated to think of Texas as a whole other country,

800 miles wide and nearly that far from north to south."

 

Texas ghost towns vary from "wild-west" shoot-em-up cattle towns to quiet agricultural communes, religious colonies, bustling seaports, rowdy oil boom towns, logging centers, Spanish/Mexican missions and presidios, American military posts with their wild support towns, railroad construction camps, mining towns, and faded 1950s highway towns. There are also many hundreds of larger towns that have faded and exhibit numerous abandoned buildings, yet are not even close to ghost town status.  Some of these will also be mentioned, mainly to share in their story and the colorful old buildings where life once thrived.  There are several good books on the ghost towns of Texas, and overall probably several thousand locations worth looking for.  During my July 2010 ghost town tour I visited 28 sites in Texas alone, and came away with hundreds of photos.  Many will be added over the next few months.

 

In the descriptions below, you will note road types called FM or RR. These stand for Farm-to-Market Roads and Ranch Roads, which are a secondary series of state-maintained roads that are generally paved, striped and reflectorized.  However, a few may be graded dirt or gravel, but are generally readily passable in a family car.  They are interspersed with County Roads (CR) and smaller state highways.

 

Enjoy your brief visit to a few of Texas' thousand plus ghost towns.

 

 

PLEASE NOTE: 

Where photos are indicated thusly highlight, please use your browser’s “BACK” button to return to this page.  More photos will be added over time.

 

THE GHOSTS

 

ACME

Hardeman Co.

A class C gypsum-mining town located on US 287 and SH 285, four miles northwest of Quanah and seven or eight south of the Red River (TX/OK state line). It is just east of where the railroad line passes under US 287.  The deposits were discovered in 1890, by James Sickler. It was a company town, and in 1930 had 515 people, four stores, a post office and a school. According to T. Lindsay Baker in his 1986 book Ghost Towns of Texas, the ruins of the old town lie east of the present very large, still active gypsum plant.  The GNIS aerial photo isn’t conclusive as far as remaining buildings still standing.  I have NOT visited the site so cannot verify what remains.

 

·        Latitude: 34.3167412 / 34° 19' 00" N

·        Longitude: -99.8239861 / 99° 49' 26" W

·        Public Land Survey System (Section/Range/Township) NOT USED in TX

ALANREED

 AKA - Elfin Grove

Gray Co.

This sleepy, semi-ghost, class D, roadside community molders along the south side of I-40, at EXIT 135, 44 miles east of Amarillo. This old town is full of memories of a day when it was a busy highway town along old US 66. Many buildings remain, some occupied, some not. 

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

See our ALANREED page for additional details.

ARNO

Reeves Co.

This class B town was one of the towns I visited in July 2010.  Not much remained at that time except the roofless shell of a rock building, the tumbled wooden remains of a wooden building and what appears to be a loading platform along the old railroad line running just west of the Pecos River/county line.  The dirt road turns to mud in wet weather and was NOT drivable at the time of my visit due to heavy rains a short time before my visit.  It is located along the old railroad grade about a half mile west of SH 302, about 1.5 miles northeast of the junction with US 285,  about 18 miles north-northwest of Pecos.

 

The rock-walled building was fronted with a concrete sidewalk that extended beyond the perimeter of the structure and off into the desert scrub.  The roofless shell is showing its age, and large cracks indicate show the building’s not-too-distant future. 

 

·       Latitude: 31.6631852 / 31° 39' 47" N

·       Longitude: -103.6360152 / 103° 38' 10" W

BELKNAP

Young Co.

A class B-military post support town on the north side of Fort Circle (road) a half mile east of FM 61, three miles south of Newcastle. The town was due east of Fort Belknap, which was established in 1851. In the 1860s this county seat, travel center and good-times town with its couple hundred residents, bustled with commerce as well as catered to the more prurient tastes of the soldiers. By 1880 only 44 people remained. The fort is on the west side of FM 61 and was restored in 1936 as part of the Texas Centennial celebration. Only rubble and the cemetery remain of the town. 

 

CEMETERY:

·        Latitude: 33.1523350 / 33° 09' 08" N

·        Longitude: -98.7331174 / 98° 43' 59" W

 

FORT:

·        Latitude: 33.1509461 / 33° 09' 03" N

·        Longitude: -98.7408954 / 98° 44' 27" W

CHALK MOUNTAIN

Erath Co.

Sits along a slight bend in US 67, just west of the eastern county line.  Not much remains here except a huge transmission tower, a store/gas station, an abandoned building and a house.  This was one of the towns I visited in July 2010.

 

The combination gas station/store was closed at the time of my mid-morning visit and appears that it still operates.  On the south side of the highway, across the street from the market is a pair of small buildings.  One is a brick house that appears occupied and the other is what looks like may have been a small, combination store and gas station combo.  The wooden Masonic Lodge that is shown in Dr. T. Lindsay Baker’s book, Ghost Towns of Texas, is long gone.

 

This tiny map dot was a busy little town in 1890, consisting of two churches, a post office, a school and a store.  The population in 1900 was 81, but is way less now.

 

·        Latitude: 32.1543106 / 32° 09' 16" N

·        Longitude: -97.9108656 / 97° 54' 39" W

CLAIRMONT

Kent Co.

Founded in 1888, this class D-ranching center is at the junction of SH 208/US 380, 13 miles southwest of Jayton. In 1892, Clairmont became the county seat, and by 1900 boasted 65 people, a post office, and a two-story courthouse with attached jail made from locally quarried stone. Through the 1930s and 1940s the population hovered around 200, but after WW II ended, the people left, and in 1954 the county seat was transferred to Jayton. In 1990, 15 people remained.

 

·        Latitude: 33.1664842 / 33° 09' 59" N

·        Longitude: -100.7526193 / 100° 45' 09" W

COLLIER

Reeves Co.

This was one of the towns I visited in July 2010.  It is a forgotten site located three miles north of Verhalen.  This location was once a gravel quarry and shipping station along the railroad. The population has been 0 since at least 1980, and today the site consists of a private residence and an old gravel plant tucked to the east of the highway and behind a fence.

 

·        Latitude: 31.1676408 / 31° 10' 04" N

·        Longitude: -103.5835100 / 103° 35' 01" W

CUTHBERT

Mitchell Co

Cuthbert was another of the towns I visited on my July 2010 ghost town expedition.  It is now a barren site located about nine miles east of Vincent at the junction of CR 226/RR 1229. As it was very hot and extremely humid, I viewed the barren town site through the windows of the air-conditioned Ghost Town Express.  Cuthbert was “Established in 1890 with the construction of a wagonyard and store. The community and post office were named for Thomas Cuthbertson.”  (GNIS data).  Like other tiny towns of its era, Cuthbert had a blacksmith, church, gin, post office (1891-c1960), school, two stores and a telephone exchange in the 1920s. Unfortunately the Great Depression took its toll and by the end of WWII, Cuthbert was rapidly approaching ghost town status.  By the mid-1970s it was gone.

 

·        Latitude: 32.4815036 / 32° 28' 53" N

·        Longitude: -101.0320624 / 101° 01' 55" W

DABNEY

Uvalde Co.

Dabney, Texas was situated about twenty miles west of Uvalde, on an FM road, which intersects US 90. It is an old mining town, which once mined rock for highway construction purposes and housed many of the miners who worked there. At one time John White had his White's Mines Company there, which mined the rock for decades. In the 1980's White sold out to Vulcan Materials. “When I was a boy I can recall visiting the old hotel that once stood there but I believe all buildings have now been destroyed.”

Information contributed by John Chamberlin

 

Dabney and White’s Mine are shown on GNIS, on RR 1022, just east of the county line on the west end of the loop of the railroad and the Ranch Road, four miles southwest of Blewett.  (GBS)

 

·        Latitude: 29.1624627 / 29° 09' 45" N

·        Longitude: -100.0995109 / 100° 05' 58" W

DESDEMONA

Eastland Co.

We visited this fascinating little class D oil boom town on our July 2010 ghost town tour of West Texas.  It is located at the junction of SH 16/FM 8, about a half mile northwest of where Erath, Comanche and Eastland Counties all join up. The main street of DESDEMONA is lined with numerous colorful buildings, some dead, some very much alive, and others repurposed several times over the years. 

 

Desdemona began life in 1857 as a small fort located along Hog Creek. A church was built near the fort in 1873 and the Desdemona Post Office followed in 1877. The tiny agricultural town grew slowly and in 1892 had 100 people.  Over the next decade it grew faster, and in 1904 tallied some 340 folks.

 

In September 1918, the Hog Creek Oil Company discovered oil and the little town called variously Desdemona or Hogtown woke up.  Almost overnight it mushroomed into a wild oil town with multiple thousands of people and hundreds of buildings.  The boom lasted three years, 1918-1921.  During this time it incorporated as a city and was overrun by vice, corruption and crime.  

 

Once the boom lessened and people moved on, fires wiped out blocks of buildings.  By 1922, Desdemona was clearly fading.  Even so, the city leaders saw fit to build a school that year.  In 1936 the city government kicked off its boots and Desdemona disincorporated.  Yet somehow enough kids lived in the area that the school was enlarged in 1937.  It remained open until 1969 and the building operates as the “Desdemona Community Center & Foundation.”

 

Over the past 30 years, Desdemona has remained fairly stable with a population hovering on the shady side of 200.  The town's oil heritage is still strong, and the quiet little town is still as tough as ever, keeping the ghosts at bay.

 

·        Latitude: 32.3704140 / 32° 16' 13" N

·        Longitude: -98.5503301 / 98° 33' 01" W

D’HANIS

 (1ST SITE)

Medina Co.

This class B-agricultural community is located 1.5 miles from present town of D'Hanis. It was established in 1847 by settlers from the Alsace region of France. In 1893 a diphtheria epidemic swept through the town basically killing it. It is "touristable".

FORT GRIFFIN

 

AKA - "The Flat”

Shakelford Co.

Like Belknap, above, only rubble remains of this class B good-times town located just outside the military post at Fort Griffin, which is now a State Historic Park. It was in operation in the 1870s-1881, and was well populated with saloons, gambling halls, and places to find "loose" women. It was a dirty, violent town, and one of the roughest hellholes on the frontier. Only ruins and rubble remain. The fort is on US 283 between Albany and Throckmorton, about 50 miles northeast of Abilene.

FRIO TOWN

Frio Co.

In 1990, 38 people, ruins and a museum remained of this class D, former county seat. It is located south of the Frio River, on FM 140 19 miles west of Moore (which is 44 miles southwest of San Antonio) in the northwest corner of the county. The once lively town is said to have played host to famed gunfighter John Wesley Hardin.

GLENRIO

Deaf Smith/

Oldham Co.

GRADY

Martin Co.

I visited Grady in July 2010, and at that time little remained.  It sits at the junction of SH 176/FM 829, three miles west of Lenorah. A large modern school and a few scattered farm homes make up this tiny, scattered, rural community that was named after Grady Standefer, a local farmer on whose land the original school was built around 1930. As Grady sits in the center of the county, it was a magnet location for a school.  Little else developed, but it is presently the site for the Grady Independent School District and its 1973 era high school.

 

·        Latitude: 32.3067816 / 32° 18' 24" N

·        Longitude: -101.9304170 / 101° 55' 50" W

HELENA

Karnes Co.

Located at the junction of SH 80/FM 81, 11 miles east of Hobson, which is 46 miles southeast of San Antonio. This class D town is undergoing restoration, and in 1990 still had 35 people. It was established in 1852 and was once the county seat. In the 1860s Helena had a reputation as a "mean" town full of "whiskey mills". It faded in the late 1880s when the railroad passed through and missed the town. The county seat moved in 1893, and the town was doomed.

HOBAN

Reeves Co.

Located south of Pecos along SH 17, this was one of the towns I visited in July 2010.  What little remains, sits west of the abandoned railroad and the highway.  Today Hoban consists only of a mill building, tall water tower and three empty warehouses.

 

·        Latitude: 31.1943066 / 31° 11' 40" N

·        Longitude: -103.5760096 / 103° 34' 34" W

INDIANOLA

 

AKA – Karlshaven

Calhoun Co.

Located on the southwest side of Matagorda Bay, midway between Port Lavaca and Port O'Conner, this onetime huge seaport was destroyed by hurricanes in 1875 and 1886. It was established in 1844 as a port of entry for German immigrants coming to Texas. In 1860 a thousand folks lived here, and a decade later that number had doubled. It established itself as one of the largest seaports on the Texas Gulf Coast; only Galveston was bigger. Fishing-related businesses still lie scattered in the area, which is still shown on the state map.

JOHNSVILLE

Erath Co.

Like Cuthbert (above), I visited this barren site in July 2010.  At least I think it is barren as I sure couldn’t find it!  It’s even shown on the AAA state map!  This town site is supposed to be located on CR 206, to the west of a junction with CR 138 (to the east), at FM 2481, about ¾ mile south of US 67. On GNIS, the aerial photo shows the Johnsville Church of Christ and a cemetery located north of the county highway, west of Duffau Creek and just west of “town” at the junction. I saw nothing other than a few scattered homes.  IF anything is left of the church, I’ll leave it for you to discover and share with us here.

 

·        Latitude: 32.1459766 / 32° 08’ 46” N

·        Longitude: -98.0261466 / 98° 01’ 34” W

KELSEY

Upshur Co.

This former Mormon Colony once fed the growth of other colonies in Texas. This class D semi-ghost now lies scattered south of the junction of FM 1795 /SH 154, six west of Gilmer. It was founded in 1902 when a town was laid out on the farm of John and Jim Edgar. A post office was established along with a church and a school. A decade later the town had stores, mills, blacksmiths, and a railroad connection. It peaked in 1917 with 750 folks. By the 1930s the town was nearly dead, and today a few scattered homes and ruins remain.

KENT

Culberson Co.

This onetime ranching center is now a class D semi-ghost located 36 miles east of Van Horn, at Exit 176 off I-10.  On the south side of the interstate is a roofless rock ruin on top of a hill and the roofless cut rock ruin of the former Kent Public School, which closed in 1961.  It sits adjacent to the eastbound freeway off ramp.  The school once had two classrooms and an auditorium. North of the freeway, “modern” Kent consists of the tin-roofed Kent Mercantile, Chevron gas station, post office, two tanks of some sort and the slab of what I think may have once been the café. 

 

Kent was originally established along the railroad in 1892 as Antelope. In 1893 the post office opened.  In 1914 the population was around 25, and it grew slowly through the 1940s with a peak around 65.  Today it is a little less. Prior to the freeway being built, the tiny town had a café, post office, store and a railroad station.  Both the railroad station and café are gone.  This was my first stop on my Texas ghost town tour in July 2010 and really fanned the flames of excitement for the rest of the journey.

 

·        Latitude: 31.0693026 / 31° 04' 09" N

·        Longitude: -104.2171394 / 104° 13' 02" W

KLONDIKE

Dawson Co.

This was one of the many tiny map dot ghost and semi-ghost towns I visited in July 2010.  It is located 4.5 miles east of Patricia on FM 828.  In 1980 it had a population of 20 and in 2000 is listed as “rural.” Today, a large modern school, a Baptist Church, gin and houses remain. 

 

·        Latitude: 32.5589945 / 32° 33' 32" N

·        Longitude: -101.9570953 / 101° 57' 26" W

LENORAH

Martin Co.

This was a serendipitous find, as we were headed east on I-20 and I felt a strong urge to exit the freeway and tackle some smaller roads.  At Stanton we we headed north on SH 137, then about 11.6 miles headed west on SH 176. Like the numerous other little class D semi-ghosts we visited, Lenorah is teetering on the brink of ghosthood.  It still has an active post office, but the rest of town is filled abandoned buildings and only a handful of occupied homes. The 2000 census counted 80 folks, but, as it is unincorporated, no population figure is listed on the US Census Bureau’s online 2010 Texas population table. I couldn’t find anyone to ask, but my guess it’s even less now.

 

One of my favorite buildings is a large, round-roofed building nearly covered in greenery located south of the highway and west of the post office.  An old gas pump sits outside waiting for non-existent customers, while inside, decaying fixtures and other debris share the empty space with memories of the good old days.

 

North of the highway, the central part of town consists of a pair of dead cotton gins; an unmarked white, clapboard, false-fronted store building; several unused houses and other unidentifiable buildings; an active volunteer fire department; an open convenience store and a fairly recent vintage church round out the town’s amenities.

 

Lenorah dates to the early 1900s after J. F. Willingham and his family established their home here.  Around 1908, the Plainview School was established, and on Sundays was used for church services.  A small town grew up around the school and in 1925 a post office was established.  Since there was already a Plainview in Texas, a new name for the post office had to be chosen.  For some reason the town and post office were named after the County Clerk, Lenorah Epley.

 

The town remained quite active until the early 1990s. In 1990, there were still 120 folks, and they supported the two cotton gins, two churches, a grocery store, hardware store, a paraffin service and offices for the Grady Independent School District.  

 

·        Latitude: 32.3045600 / 32° 18' 16" N

·        Longitude: -101.0320624 / 101° 01' 55" W

LINGLEVILLE

Erath Co.

At first glance, this little class D semi-ghost looks more like a gap-toothed road town, rather than a near ghost.  It sits at the junction of FM 8/219 about 11 miles east of Desdemona.  It has a current population of about 100.  It was established in 1884 by by Jacob C. Lingle. A year later a small grocery operated out of the home of R.P. Campbell.  The post office was also established that year.  Seven years later Lingleville covered a ten-block area with blacksmith shops, three churches, a gin, mills, a school and stores.  It was not located along the railroad, but still managed to become prosperous.

 

In 1901, fire ripped through Lingleville, which partially rebuilt.  When the oil boom occurred at Desdemona in 1918-1921, Lingleville received a pulse of life.  However, 1940 the population slipped back down to 200 and only the post office and four businesses remained.  Today, Lingleville consists of a volunteer fire department, the Lingleville Country Store (with the post office in the rear), a tiny Masonic Lodge and several empty buildings straddling FM 8.

 

·        Latitude: 32.2445826 / 32° 14’ 40” N

·        Longitude: -98.3733799 / 98° 22’ 24” W

LOBO

 

AKA – Van Horn Wells

Culbertson Co.

This class D stage station/railroad station/highway/agricultural town on US 90, 14 miles south of Van Horn sits in a dry valley between the Wylie and Van Horn Mountains in the far western part of the state about 125 AIR miles southeast of El Paso.  In 1907 a post office was established, and a town began to grow. It faded after losing a bid for the county seat. Then during the early 1950s a second agricultural boom brought in cotton, and Lobo finally grew. That was short-lived, and by 1990 Lobo had faded to a population of 40.

LUTHER

Howard Co.

This was one of the towns I visited in July 2010, but like several others was not readily noticable.  At the site several buildings remain, but nothing I felt worth taking photos of.  Here in the heart of the Luther Oil Field, this faded old oil town still has a half dozen buildings remaining at the junction of FM 846/CR 33. 

 

The post office, named for Luther F. Lawrence, the first postmaster, operated from 1909 until 1980.  The hulk of the supposedly haunted school that burned in 1972 is said to remain, but somehow it is gone or I missed it.  In 1966, Luther peaked with 335 people, but has greatly faded.

 

·        Latitude: 32.4437257 / 32° 26' 37" N

·        Longitude: -101.4567943 / 101° 27' 24" W

MENTONE

Loving Co.

MENTONE is a fascinating little class D town, and the only inhabited community in all of Loving County, the least populated county in the United States.  Mentone is located in the Wheat Oil Field, at the junction of the junction of SH 302/Farm Road 1933, six miles east of the junction of US 285/SH 302 and four miles east of the Pecos River, northeast of Pecos.  Mentone is three blocks by five blocks but those blocks have way more gaps than buildings.  Today’s Mentone is just a half-skeleton of the busy little town it once was, its dead cafes and barely living gas station/store, 1910 Mentone Community Church, 1935 county courthouse, post office, school and a few other buildings marking the site.

 

This was marked on my map as a “DON’T MISS” town for my July 2010 Texas road trip.  I’m truly glad I didn’t miss it.  During its boom days, multiple hundreds of people flocked here for their share of black gold.  Unlike many Texas oil boom towns that disappeared, this one bottomed out, but held stable after the boom ended, mostly because of the need to staff the county building and the only town in the county. 

 

The Mentone Community Church was relocated here in 1930, after nearby Porterville was abandoned when it was flooded out by the Pecos River.  The church was originally built in 1910 and is the oldest building in Loving County, and is one of my favorite buildings in town.  One can almost hear the sounds of singing seeping through its white-washed, wooden walls. 

 

Mentone was established around 1922, but it wasn’t until the Wheat Oil Field boomed in 1930, that the town really took off.  By 1931, the population reached 500-600 and Mentone became the county seat.  Numerous businesses lined the streets, including: five cafes, a pair of drugstores, five gasoline stations, two hotels and an oil refinery.  By 1960 the population declined to 150, and from 1980-2000, the population hovered around 50.  In 2010 it dropped dramatically to 19. 

 

·        Latitude: 31.7051291 / 31° 42’ 18” N

·        Longitude: -103.5993477 / 103° 35’ 58” W

MOBEETIE

 

AKA – Hidetown, Sweetwater

Wheeler Co.

A class C ghost 0.5 miles south of the junction of SH 152/FM 48, 11 miles west of Wheeler and just south of New Mobeetie. Dating to 1874, this was a former buffalo hunters camp, military support town and one tough frontier community just outside Fort Elliott, which was established in 1875, two miles northwest. In 1878 the town relocated closer to the fort. In 1890 some 400 folks still lived here, but the town was hurt when the fort closed. A tornado badly damaged the town in 1898, and in 1907 the county seat relocated to Wheeler. In 1929 the railroad came through missing the town by two miles. A museum and a few buildings remain.

PATRICIA

Dawson Co.

In July 2010 this was another of the unknown ghosts and semi-ghosts that we visited.  Patricia is located on CR 29, a half mile west of FM 829, about 17 miles north of Grady and about 16 miles southwest of Lamesa (2010 pop 9422).  This tiny town was established in the 1920s and by 1948 seven businesses were in operation.  At the time of our visit in 2010, they were gone. Around 60 people, scattered hoes and three abandoned buildings remain. Those include a pair of unmarked concrete block structures and an angled brown building on the corner that appears to have been a gas station/repair garage.

 

·       Latitude: 32.5545490 / 32° 33' 16" N

·       Longitude: -102.0204317 / 102° 01' 14" W

PENWELL

Ector Co.

All I can say about this fascinating little dead oil town is WOW.  When I pulled off the Interstate at random and dropped into this class D near ghost on July 5, 2010 I was thankful for serendipity.  I didn’t have this place marked, but I just had a feeling about it.  As we coasted to a stop at the bottom of the EXIT 101 eastbound ramp, I knew we hit a jackpot.  On the south side of the exit ramp a large gas station/restaurant complex sat abandoned.  To the east, across the junction with FM 1601 was another small former gas station/repair garage.

For more details on this fascinating town, see our PENWELL page.

This was our Ghost Town of the Month for November 2012.

PERICO

 

AKA – Farwell

Dallam Co.

On US 87, 24 miles northwest of Dalhart.  In 1888, the Fort Worth & Denver Railroad established a siding called Farwell, but by the early 1930s, the town had become a farming center for that part of the county. As late as 1960 there were 40 people here, but by 1990 the town was dead.

See our PERICO page for additional details.

PRAHA

 

AKA – Mulberry

Fayette Co.

This class D agricultural community was named by the original Czechoslovakian settlers after the capital city of Prague. It is only one of several Czech Catholic settlements established in this region in the mid 1850s. In the 1880s this bustling town had as many as 700 people. It began to fade, and by 1990 only 25 folks still lived here. It is on FM 1295 0.8 miles south of US 90, three miles east of Flatonia, which is off I-10, midway between Houston and San Antonio.

SARAGOSA

Reeves Co.

Located north of I-10 at EXIT 212 in the southern tip of the county, SARAGOSA on the surface wouldn’t appear to merit a stop or even a listing in this work.  HOWEVER, even though several hundred people lived here in 1980, things have changed.  On the stormy evening of May 22, 1987 Saragosa’s future changed.  Shortly after eight p.m., a half-mile wide, multi-vortex, F4 tornado ripped a three mile long swath of death and destruction through the heart of town killing 30 and injuring 121 of the town’s 183 people.  85% of the town’s buildings, including the entire commercial district, were reduced to unidentifiable rubble. Damage estimates for the mostly uninsured citizens reached $1.3 million.

 

Originally established in 1880, Saragosa was already long past its peak when the tornado sucked the life out of the town.  Other than a few rebuilt homes and businesses along the state highway, most of the buildings in town are in pretty sad shape.  Dead cars, collapsing buildings and empty storefronts dominate overgrown yards. Officially, the 2000 listed 185 folks, but my guess is there are way less now.  The only signs of life I saw, other than dogs and a few folks watering their yards, were a post-1987 church, and an open café and grocery store along SH 17.

 

·       Latitude: 31.0240340 / 31° 01' 27" N

·       Longitude: -103.6615683 / 103° 39' 42" W

SHAFTER

Presidio Co.

A class C silver-mining town located on US 67 19 miles north of Presidio, northwest of Big Bend National Park. The mines were active from 1880 until closed by the US Government in September of 1942. The town of Shafter began to grow around 1884. In a short time the town claimed 1000 people and was full of wooden, adobe, and stone buildings supplying all the wants and needs of the miners. When the mines closed, the town faded. Shafter produced over 90% of all the silver produced in the state of Texas -- over 30 million ounces! The 1990 population was 31.

SOASH

Howard County

Established in 1909 and abandoned by 1911, this was an agricultural promotional town developed and promoted by William Pulver Soash, an Iowa native and promoter of Texas real estate.  Today, only the roofless, gutted  ruin of the Soash Bank and office building remains at a bend in CR 58, about four miles east of Ackerly.

See our SOASH page for additional details.

This was our Ghost Town of the Month for July 2011

SPARENBURG

Dawson Co.

This tiny town of 20 or so people was another on my list of places to visit in July 2010.  It is located seven miles east of Klondike and 14 southeast of Lamesa, at the junction of FM 828/CR O (as in the letter O). What remains today is a compact cluster of houses, a gin and a large, unidentified building that looks like it might have been a store.  The town was established around 1900 and when the post office was established in 1903, it was named after George Sparenberg, the postmaster at Big Spring, who assisted in getting the post office established.  By 1920, Sparenberg boasted 200 people, but when the Great Depression of the 1930s slammed the national economy, Sparenburg was not spared.  The population dropped to 75 people supported by nine businesses.  By 1948, three churches, the post office and four businesses were still active, but the town continued to fade until the post office closed in 1954. Today, it’s just an empty shell of memories.

 

·        Latitude: 32.7839958 / 32° 35' 02" N

·        Longitude: -101.8401446 / 101° 50' 25" W

TARZAN

Martin Co.

This little map dot is located at the junction of SH 176/ CR 2751 about 2.5 miles west of Grady and 5.5 miles west of Lenorah in the center of the county. Unlike other towns in the region, Tarzan got a late start.  In 1925, a two-room school and a store were established here and a post office opened in 1927, followed by a cotton gin in 1932.  However, it burned four years later.  A Baptist Church was built in 1937, followed by a Church of Christ in the mid-late 1940s. A store/gas station was built along the new highway in 1938.

 

Today, Tarzan is half-abandoned and consists of a still-active post office, an old concrete block bar known as the Little Dutchman, the brick store building signed as the Little Dutchman (private residence now), the Tarzan Marketing Association building, a corrugated sheet metal garage, the Tarzan COOP Gin, a couple of churches and a handful of homes.  In 1980, the population was listed at 250, but by 2000 it was 80.

 

·       Latitude: 32.3053922 / 32° 18' 19" N

·       Longitude: -101.9751408 / 101° 58' 31" W

TASCOSA

Oldham Co.

Twenty-three miles north of Vega, and north of the Canadian River, in the far northeast corner of the county is the Cal Farley Boy’s Ranch. This is the remains of one of Texas’ most notorious cattle towns full of saloons and other diversions for the hard working and hard playing cattlemen. Brawls and gunfights were common, and the town’s cemetery claims 28 graves. Founded in the 1870s, it died in the late 1880s after the railroad missed the town. Cal Farley purchased the vacant town in 1939 and established a boy’s ranch here. Several buildings remain, and the property is open to the public.

TERLINGUA

Brewster Co.

Located above the Rio Grande near Big Bend National Park, 80 miles south of Alpine, this class D mercury mining town began operations in the 1880s and boomed through the 1890s. There was a major resurgence in 1903 that lasted until the US Government closed the mines in 1942 after $40 million in mercury was produced. 1000 people were served by company housing (simple adobe and rock hovels), a hotel, post office, store, and later on a gas station and movie theatre. Many ruins remain, and the site is famed as the annual location for the National Chili Cook-offs. The old store and a few residences have been re-occupied, and the 1990 population has increased to 25.

THURBER

Erath Co.

Thurber is a three industry ghost town located along I-20, about an hour west of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.  It was one of the towns I visited in July 2010.  Much remains to be seen of this town that boomed form 1886-1933. Thurber also has its own website – Thurbertexas.com.

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

For more details, see our THURBER page

This was our Ghost Town of the Month for October 2011.

TOYAH

Reeves Co.

This was one of the towns I visited in July 2010.  It is a fascinating old town that is filled with interesting, picturesque buildings. And is well worth a drop in off I-10.  For more details, see our Toyah page.

This was our Ghost Town of the Month for August 2010

TOYAHVALE

Reeves Co.

This weathered skeleton of a town is on its last legs.  All that remains are the restaurant, church and post office building along with a handful of homes and a large rock barnlike structure sitting across the street (north) from Balmorhea State Park and an active Dive Shop.  The three main buildings cluster on three sides of a large dirt square, the church and restaurant having been converted into private homes.  The post office closed only a few months prior to my visit in July 2010.  The town was established in the 1880s, and the post office opened in 1891 and closed in March 2010.  In 1926, 150 folks lived here.  Today only a handful call it home.

 

·        Latitude: 30.9443129 / 30° 56’ 40” N

·        Longitude: -103.7893489 / 103° 47’ 22” W

VEALMOOR

Howard Co.

Located at the crossroads of a pair of FM roads in the northwestern corner of the county and just south of the county line, Vealmoor sits four miles east of CR 58.  In 2000, the official population was 179, but, despite that “large” population, few buildings of interest are evident.  Other than a church and a handful of mostly cared-for homes, the only real eye-catcher is the gable-roofed clapboard post office/Massingill Store sitting on the southwest side of the junction of FM/RR 1785 with FM/RR 1584. Here at the downtown intersection, the road designations change from Farm-to-Market (running North & West) to Ranch Roads (running South & East).  Vealmoor’s post office was active from around 1926 to sometime prior to 1980.  It peaked in 1966 with four businesses and 190 people. 

 

·        Latitude: 32.5206673 / 32° 31' 14" N

·        Longitude: -101.5704099 / 101° 34' 13" W

VERHALEN

Reeves Co.

Located on SH 17, south of Pecos, this was one of the towns I visited in July 2010.  Little remains other than a collection of ramshackle buildings and a closed store sitting along an abandoned railroad line.

 

·        Latitude: 31.1265311 / 31° 07' 36" N

·        Longitude: -103.5935106 / 103° 35' 37" W

VINCENT

Howard Co.

This now-dead town is located at the junction of FM 846/RR 1205, a quarter mile north of SH 350, about 11 miles east of Luther in the northeastern corner of the county.  Little remains other than a now-closed café/gas station on the northwest corner of the road junction.  The town dates to 1908 and was named after Vincent Vinson, an early settler. A year later, a church was built.  By 1936, three businesses and 75 comprised the tiny town.  In the mid 1960s, an oil boom pushed the population to 540, but today, all is long gone except the old café/gas station.

 

·        Latitude: 32.4817807 / 32° 28' 54" N

·        Longitude: -101.2256786 / 101° 13' 32" W

WESTBROOK

Mitchell Co.

This was one of the towns I visited in July 2010 and is really not a ghost town in the pure sense of the word.  The 203 citizens may lynch me for that call, BUT… Westbrook does deserve a listing, and has numerous colorful, photogenic buildings and is worth a look-see.  WESTBROOK is a class E town and dates to its platting in 1906.  By 1909 the town had 600 people and a full complement of businesses.  At the time of my visit in 2010 the sign at the city limits indicated a population of 203, and numerous empty buildings indicated it is on the downside of its prosperity.  It is located along the north side of I-20 at Exit 206.

 

·        Latitude: 32.3553969 / 32° 21' 19" N

·        Longitude: -101.0137269 / 101° 00' 49" W

 

TEXAS LINKS OF INTEREST

Texas Escapes.com: This website is an interesting site with lots of information on Texas ghost towns.

 

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 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 TEXAS, 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. 

THANK YOU!  :o)

IMPORTANT

 

These listings and historical vignettes of ghost towns, near-ghost towns and other historical sites in TEXAS 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 TEXAS, please abide by the

Ghost Towner's Code of Ethics.

 

 

 

Also visit: Ghost Town USA’s

 

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A few LINKS to outside webpages:

Ghost Towns | Treasure Hunting | License Plate Collecting | Genealogy

 

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FIRST POSTED: June 1999

LAST UPDATED: December 06, 2012

 

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