Monday, August 5, 2013

I LOVE GHOST TOWNS - Lena Nelson Dooley

There are ghost towns scattered all across our country. All of them were real towns at some time or another.

The book I wrote for Summerside Press is set in what is now a ghost town. One building from the time period of my book is still standing and well cared for. The church.

A good friend of mine went to the area and took pictures of what's left for me. Some were ruins of rock walls where houses had stood. Broken fences and gates and other things can be found scattered over the area.

At the time of my book, the area was a thriving mining town with a couple of banks, a stock exchange, stores, and a stamping factory, among other things. But none of that is left. I've taken us back to that time when people loved the area and commerce reigned. In addition to the mines, the railroad ran close to the town, so the people could bring in all the products available from other areas of the country.

I've found another ghost town in a different state that I've written a proposal for. As happens with some of the ghost towns, people in the area saw the potential for making it a tourist spot. Old building have been brought in and there's a thriving tourist trade. I really hope the publisher shows an interst in this story, too. I have another friend who lives near this place and is willing to go take pictures of it for me. I can find pictures on the Internet, but I want pictures that we can use in the book.

This friend told me about another ghost town near where she lives. It dates back to the early 1830s. All the buildings are standing and in fairly good condition, but the whole town is empty. Not a soul lives there. She said it's spooky to drive through there, because everything looks so good, but no one is there.

When I find a ghost town anywhere I'm visiting, I always like to go see it, whether it's been turned into a tourist place, or not. You can find a lot of interesting things that tell you how people lived in that area in the past, and that's what I like to write about. We learn a lot about our own history that way.

I walk through whatever buildings are standing and ask questions like, Who lived here? What did they do? What happened to keep the town from thriving and continuing to the present day?

Answers to questions like that are often the beginning of another book.

Happy hunting for ghost towns near where you are. If you've visited any, please share about them in the comments.

And check out my book, Love Finds You in Golden, New Mexico, which is my Summerside Press book set in a town that is now a ghost town. The book was awarded the Will Rogers Medallion Award for Excellence in Western Media. It's available in print and ebook formats.

And as a special surprise, I'll send a print copy of the book to a winner chosen from those who leave comments.

Thank you,
Lena Nelson Dooley
www.lenanelsondooley.com
http://lenanelsondooley.blogspot.com

32 comments:

  1. Good morning, Lena. Enjoyed your book "Golden". It's a shame about the little community. I was through there in more prosperous time. I enjoy ghost town trips also.

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    1. Hi, Linda, glad to see you here. I'm glad you liked Golden.

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  2. Loved this post! I love reading about ghost towns, but I've never been to one. I'd love to read your book and the one you have a proposal on. I'd love to see the story you wove out of what used to be there. Thanks for the chance to win!
    tscmshupe [at] pemtel [dot] net

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    1. Sally, you might like to check to see if there are ghost towns within driving distance from where you live.

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    2. I will do that! It wouldn't surprise me at all if there were lol. Thanks!

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  3. I just love ghost towns too! I always wonder "who, what, why" about the buildings and things left behind. Great post and it gives me the bug to go find a ghost town again. :)
    lattebooks at hotmail dot com

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    1. Susan, I hope you find one. When you do, let us know where it is.

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  4. I have not been to any ghost towns but would love to because as you say they are full of mystery and history. I love reading about them as well. Thank you for the post and the chance to win your book. griperang at embarqmail dot com

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    1. Angela, you have as much chance as anyone else to win.

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  5. When I lived in Wyoming, I visited two former gold mining towns that became ghost towns. They had not been restored, so it was fascinating to walk through. I also once visited Oatman, AZ, which is quite the tourist attraction, but also fun to visit. I just hope my own little town doesn't become a ghost town, as businesses have been disappearing over the years and more and more buildings and homes being abandoned. It makes you see how a town could become a ghost town. :(

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    1. Oops! Forgot my email! It's jimmynmatthewsmom [at] netzero [dot] com.

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    2. Bethany, I hope that doesn't happen to your town. I live in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, in one of the suburbs, and I'm grieved by the number of businesses closing and houses abandoned. That's what happens in a weak economy. I pray for the country.

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  6. I read "Golden," Lena, and loved it. So fun to hear about how you draw a story from the ghost towns.

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    1. Davalyn, thanks for sharing about how you liked my book.

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  7. Several years ago, my family and I enjoyed a visit to the Old Hundred Gold Mine, about five miles east of Silverton, Colorado, near the ghost town of Howardsville. Up higher on the mountain, you can still see the boarding house the miners used. This whole area is really a neat place to visit!

    Britney Adams, Texas
    texaggs2000 at gmail dot com

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    1. Britney, it sounds like a good area to visit. I've been to Summit County Colorado. I've proposed a series with the first book set there in 1892. Three publishers are interested in the series. I hope one of them offers a contract soon.

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  8. Hello Lena.. I too love to hear about the Ghost towns. I'm really interested in hearing more about the one from the 1830's, where the buildings are still standing. Must have been well built. I lived in a small town in KS. before moving back to TX. My husband was born there in 1919. It still has people living there, but was only one building left, where the lady living there grew up in the area and and had a small cafe in the standing that is still standing. I worked there from 10to 2 on week days. So many of the old-timers grew up there. Wish you could have checked it out then.Most of these have passed away since I moved away. Wish I could have recorded all of the stories that the older guys told about those times. also, that I had a better memory. I always told my kids i could have had a great book. It used to be the town where Ranchers from OK. and TX. drove the cattle on drives to ship them places to sell. At that time it was a big thriving town. At one time my husband's great-grandfather was the Sheriff. It died because the people chose not to let the new highway go through. So, it went through Sedan, Ks. and things slowly began to close. I lived right across the road from where the big dipping vat was where they drove the cattle in and out to kill the ticks before loading onto the train. We could still see the indention in the field. Lots of history there. I would love to win your book. MAXIE mac262(at)me(dot)com

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    1. Maxie, thanks for sharing that history with us. I'd have loved hearing some of those stories.

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  9. By the way Lena, the town is Elgin, KS. Sorry. MAXIE Anderson
    mac262(at)me(dot)com

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  10. And, The train was there. I really messed this one up by not editing it.
    Maybe you will put the pieces together. LOL Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

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  11. I've never visited a ghost town, but I've read several books about them!
    Tonja Saylor (Virginia)

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  12. I have never visited a ghost town before. I would love to though!
    I remember watching some episodes on the television about ghost towns, I would love to visit. Beth Hammann (Indiana)

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  13. I've never been to a ghost town, but I love the era of time. I went through an old three story railroad depot that was abandoned. Many,many years ago this small town had a thriving business of lumber and this town was built around this. I remember that depot still had the old vault. It was amazing, but a little scary. Thank you for sharing and please enter me in the giveaway.
    Barbara Thompson (Louisiana)
    barbmaci61(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Barbara, I would have loved to see that old vault.

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  14. We've visited some ghost towns- Bodie, CA. Tombstone, AZ. the fort in Yuma, AZ. Tucson, AZ which was a movie set as well. They are intriguing as you look and wonder at who used to live there and look at all the stuff they left behind. sharon , CA wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Sharon, some of the things left behind kind of make you sad, don't they?

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  15. Bodie CA is the ghost town I would love to see. Saw a photo of the ceiling of the saloon above the pool table and my husband put up car-siding staining it in nutmeg on our main ceiling and it looks so good! The other photo I liked was of a long table with the tin plates set all ready for someone to sit down and eat. So eerie to see like they just got up and left with everything left like it was. Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House (MO)
    lanehillhouse[at]centurylink[dot]net

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  16. I'd love to see your ceiling, Kathleen.

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  17. Barbara Thompson is the winner of a copy of LOVE FINDS YOU IN GOLDEN, NEW MEXICO.

    Barbara, please email me your mailing address to:
    safe[hyphen]LDwrites[at]flash[dot]net

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