Friday, August 9, 2019

Boo! Haunting Towns

By Tiffany Amber Stockton

Last month, I continued a summer series on ghost towns with the spotlight on Montana and Wyoming. If you missed that post, you can read it here:

Today is the final post on this series. Remember to share ghost towns in YOUR home state if there are any. This month, we'll travel a little further west into Idaho and Utah.

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Boo! The Haunting Towns in the Rocky Mountains

Like Wyoming, Montana, and Colorado, mining for both gold and silver in the mountains saw thousands of prospectors, vigilantes, pioneers, and all sorts of explorers headed west during a short period in our nation's history. Population booms were the norm, and often, towns disappeared as quickly as they grew. The result? A ghost town.

As with the other states, the ones I feature are only a handful compared to the dozens of other towns scattered throughout the area. If you are on a road trip and interested in exploring more, check out some of the ghost town web sites first to plot out a route for exploration and discovery.


Sego Canyon

A few fun buildings are fun to explore, but on the way out to this town, you will also find some amazing petroglyphs, so it's like getting two historic treats in one visit. The sandstone cliffs are an outdoor art gallery and a holy place. Native Americans painted and chipped their religious visions, clan symbols, and records of events onto the cliffs. It's an impressive site that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


WF Willis
This site isn’t a true ghost town as there are still residents living here. However, the historic site was created around the ghost town buildings, so what you find is a restored historical town with remnants of the original site. The historic buildings are only open to the public on Saturdays from May to September, but they are worth a visit if you are interested in ghost towns and the history of Utah.


If you have any plans at all to visit Zion National Park, you should make it part of our visit to take a short jaunt over to Grafton. This ghost town has been refurbished and features a schoolhouse as well as a handful of homes. The scenery is beautiful, and the interpretive signs tell the story about this unique cotton town, something you primarily found in the southeastern United States. Grafton flourished until it was flooded by the Virgin River.


Not too far from Bryce Canyon National Park, there's a scenic route that will take you to the town of Osiris. This location has a few homes and a large mill that once supported the community. It sites right next to the river, so it's a nice little stop and way to break up a long time in the car on a road trip. With so many towns that were full of miners and vagabonds, it's always a nice change of pace to find one with a form of industry based off the products of the mining.

Old Iron Town

Old Iron Town is located west of Cedar City. This town still has current residents living nearby, and the remaining buildings from Old Iron Town are from an old mining site. The highlight feature of this site, though, is the amazing beehive oven, the only one of two remaining from the original site. These unique kilns were used to burn wood, which then smoldered for several days and was used as charcoal for the iron making process. There is also a good variety of mining relics to explore and see.


An amazing fact about the state known for its potatoes is there are over 100 documented ghost towns spread out across the state. Sure, towns like Silver City have been fully preserved and welcome visitors all year long, but what about the other towns which made a name for this state during the mining boom? You might want to brush up on your Idaho history and take note of these.

Rocky Bar

J Day Photography
It's nearly impossible to imagine this was once one of Idaho's major metropolitan areas back in the 1860s. Spanish prospectors were the first to settle here, and the growth of the town was so explosive, it rivaled Idaho City as a contender for the title of Idaho's capital. When visiting Rocky Bar, just a few miles north of Featherville, add an extra dose of history to the journey by taking a side trip up to Atlanta on the outskirts of the Sawtooths.


Patty's Photos
This town was once home to Idaho's largest active gold mine. The original town had an ideal setting near Indian Creek, from which the mill processed low-grade ore for a major profit, but the community was set back in 1904 by a major fire that completely destroyed the plant and Ulysses' hope of riches. Today, a few dilapidated cabins and mining remnants are all that remain.

Yellow Jacket

Patty's Photos
No, it's not a town with an overwhelming presence of wasps and hives. This one was a 19th century gold rush camp that features a 5-story boardinghouse, an impressive mining relic with a charm that is fully "Idaho." The population only peaked around 200, and the town began to dwindle right after the turn of the 20th century, holding on until 1942, when both mine and mill operations fully shut down.


Bureau of Land Management
This town sprung up as a unique temporary community. Rather than hundreds of log structures, the landscape was dominated by the makeshift shelters that gave the town its original name: Tent Town. When cabins cropped up as necessary to protect workers from Idaho's frigid winters, local folklore and legend in stories says rags were stuffed into the cracks between logs to keep out the chill, giving rise to community's new name.

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* Are there any ghost towns in the state where YOU live? If so, share the state and the name of the town(s).

* Which one of the ghost towns above tickles your fancy the most and makes you want to visit?

* What was your favorite part about today's post?


Tiffany Amber Stockton has been crafting and embellishing stories since childhood, when she was accused of having a very active imagination and cited with talking entirely too much. Today, she has honed those childhood skills to become an award-winning and best-selling author and speaker who is also an advocate for literacy as an educational consultant with Usborne Books. Through personal development, she strives to help others become their best from the inside out.

She lives with her husband and fellow author, Stuart Vaughn Stockton, along with their two children and three dogs in Colorado. She has sold twenty (21) books so far and is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency. You can find her on Facebook and GoodReads.


  1. Wow! A 5 story building??? I think that is the most impressive factoid from today! Thanks for sharing all of your research!

    1. I know! I was surprised when I discovered that one too. Not common at all in these smaller towns, but certainly common in the cities at this time, where buildings at 5-7 floors were standard.