Glenrio, Texas/New Mexico
Located on the Texas-New Mexico state line, Glenrio was originally a railroad town. It was a popular stop for motorists on U.S. Route 66. As the town was on a border between two states, there were some interesting business practices. At one point, all gasoline was dispensed in Texas because New Mexico had higher taxes on gas. A local bar and motel were built on the New Mexico side because Deaf Smith County, Texas, was dry at the time and prohibited alcohol. After Interstate 40 was built, the masses who used to travel by Route 66 bypassed Glenrio leading to its decline. Today, Glenrio is a ghost town with only the memory of its former glory and spirit of Route 66.
Thurmond, West Virginia
During the prime time of coal mining, Thurmond was once a prosperous town with a number of businesses and facilities for the regional railway. But now, all they have left is a passenger railway depot which is the second least used station in all of the States. While not entirely a ghost town, as there are still 5 people living in it, the majority of the buildings and the surrounding area has a haunting feeling to it due to being abandoned years ago.
Brian M. Powell
Dhanushkodi was once a simple Indian city, full of life and laughter. People could come and go by passenger trains, enjoy the sights of the Laccadive Sea on one side and Palk Strait on the other. However, everything changed when the 1964 Rameswaram cyclone hit the city. With winds as strong as 280 kilometres per hour (170 mph) and tidal waves 7 metres (23 ft) high, the cyclone hit the city on the night of 22–23 December 1964. Around 1,800 people died in the cyclonic storm and the town was marooned. The Government of Madras declared Dhanushkodi as a ghost town, unfit for living. Today, it’s a popular tourist destination where people can see the ruins left behind as well as take scenic photos at Dhanushkodi Beach Point.
In 1908, in southern Namibia, 10 kilometers inland from the port town of Lüderitz, a worker found a diamond and showed it to his supervisor, the German railway inspector, August Stauch. This led to German miners moving in and settling in the area to mine diamonds. Not long after, the German Empire declared a large area as a “Sperrgebiet”, starting to exploit the diamond field. People, roused by the enormous wealth of the first diamond miners, flocked to the area and built a village in the style of a German town with amenities such as a hospital, ballroom, power station, school, skittle-alley, theatre and sports-hall, casino, ice factory and the first X-ray station in the southern hemisphere. The diamond-field slowly started to deplete soon after the Second World War leading to a decrease in the population of Kolmanskop. It was completely abandoned in 1956. Nowadays, the desert has partly reclaimed the city and tourists visiting the buildings walk knee-deep in sand. It is a popular location for tourists, especially photographers, seeking to experience or capture settings of the desert sands reclaiming the once-thriving town. Though, since Kolmanskop is within the restricted area (Sperrgebiet), tourists need a permit to enter the town.
Located 8 km (5 mi) northwest of the town of Chambord, Val-Jalbert was founded in 1901 and soon grew as Damase Jalbert built a pulp mill nearby. Unfortunately, the mill was closed in 1927 which led to the village being deserted. It was turned into a park in 1960 with over 70 original abandoned buildings still standing, making Val-Jalbert one of the best-preserved ghost towns in Canada.
St. Elmo, Colorado
Seemingly just like every abandoned place in the USA, St. Elmo was a gold and silver mining town. Back in 1880, the town was named “Forest City”, but since every other town was named the same way, it was changed to St. Elmo by one of the founding fathers, Griffith Evans, who was reading a novel with the same title. The town was at its peak in 1890 but the mining industry started to decline in the early 1920s. In 1922, the railroad discontinued service and once the mining industry was shut down, the town population started to decrease dramatically. Nowadays, St. Elmo is considered a ghost town (although the town is still inhabited) and is mostly a tourist destination. St. Elmo is also considered to be one of Colorado’s best-preserved ghost towns.
Wittenoom, Western Australia
Wittenoom, a once-thriving mining town in West Australia, is now a ghostly aftermath of an industrial disaster. The town was established in 1946 right during the mining boom. The land around was rich in blue asbestos which is now considered the most hazardous of the six types of asbestos. However, in 1966, the mine was closed due to unprofitability and growing health concerns from asbestos mining. Wittenoom, an old mining town, was officially erased from Australian maps in 2007 with roads leading to contaminated areas blocked. However, that doesn’t scare away thousands of travelers who visit the area every year as a form of extreme tourism.
The village dates back to ancient times, as archaeological remains dating as far back as the Second Iron Age have been discovered on site. In 1945, there were 2,250 people living in Lifta, 2,230 of which were Muslims and the remaining 20 were Christian. During the 1947–48 Civil War in Mandatory Palestine, Lifta was depopulated as part of the 1948 Palestinian exodus.
After war, Jewish families lived on site, although most of the Jewish community left in 1971. After that, some of the area was used as drug rehabilitation clinic and a high school. The last residents left Lifta in 2017 and since then the government declared the village an Israeli nature reserve.
Calico is a former mining town in San Bernardino County, California, that was started in 1881 as a silver mining town. Sometime after silver was discovered in the Calico Mountains and the town was established, borate mineral colemanite was also found which increased the fortune and naturally, the population. It is estimated that by 1890, there were 3,500 people living in Calico with nationals from China, England, Ireland, Greece, France, and the Netherlands, as well as Americans. Unfortunately, 1890 was the year when silver prices dropped, making the mines non-viable. As the population dwindled within the next decade, it saw a complete fall when borax mining ceased in the region in 1907. The town has been since restored and is a tourist destination.
Kłomino was a little village known as Westfalenhof in the early 20th century in a former German province of Pomerania. During World War II, the Germans opened a POW camp in the area where Polish soldiers, civilians, as well as French army officers were held. In January 1945, Westfalenhof was captured by the advancing Red Army and was once again turned into a military base called Grodek, this time in Soviet hands. Around 6,000 Soviet soldiers lived there. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Grodek was renamed to a Polish name, Kłomino, and the government put it up for sale. However, no one was interested in buying it and very few people moved to live there, prompting the government to leave the city abandoned. At the moment, only 5 residents live there and most of the remaining buildings have been looted or destroyed.