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Ghost towns are often filled with riveting tales from the past that offer a glimpse of what it might have been like to live in a bygone era. If you’d like to take a step into another time, visiting some of America’s coolest ghost towns offers the opportunity to do just that. Bodie, California, pictured above, is a gold-mining ghost town with over 170 buildings that are protected in a state of arrested decay. here, you can walk down the deserted streets of a town that once had a population of 10,000 residents. It looks much the same as it did over 65 years ago when the last residents left.
St. Elmo, Colorado
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St. Elmo is one of Colorado’s best preserved ghost towns. Once a bustling town filled with miners, after the industry began its steady decline in the early 1920s, the railroad discontinued service, and by 1930 the population had dwindled to just seven. Today, there are still a few residents scattered here and there and visitors can stroll still intact wooden sidewalks passing original structures like a general merchandise store still in operation, a church, school and other buildings.
Virginia City, Montana
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Once the largest town in the inland northwest with a population of about 10,000 in 1864, today, only a little over 100 call Virginia City home, yet it’s still lined with over 100 historic buildings, complete with historic artifacts and furnishings.
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This town near Death Valley National Park sprang up in 1905 with the promise of gold. It had a school, a hospital, and a stock exchange within just two years, along with its own symphony and quite a few prostitutes. In just a few years, just about everyone was gone after the gold didn’t pan out so well. It became an old-West movie set in the 1920s and still features a number of great photo-op buildings, including one called the Bottle House, covered with liquor and beer bottles.
Calico Ghost Town
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This former silver-mining town peaked in the 1880s, but started declining not long after, with the price of silver dropping in the 1890s. By 1907, it was a ghost town. Today, it’s a county state park known as Calico Ghost Town and visitors can still see about a third of its original buildings.