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Ghost Towns of Utah

Ghost Town.jpg
A ghost town could be many things; a near ghost town, semi-ghost town or completely vacant buildings or ground. These towns have greatly diminished from their once robust times. Some towns may still be quite active and residents may not favor the classification of a ghost town for their community. The definition of a ghost town is a town with big declines in population and activity. [1] They could be stagecoach stops, railroad camp town, mining community, military post or agricultural towns. When a gold or silver strike happened, towns would spring up, seemingly overnight and just as quickly fade away.

Once they were bustling with activity, becoming boom towns, then when the source of their posterity ebbs, they begin to fade and sometimes eventually die. [2] Some have remaining buildings, a few have a ‘skeleton crew’ that stayed behind to watch over things, and others disappear completely. Clusters of Ghost Towns dot the state of Utah some leaving behind a few relics and most leaving behind unmarked graves.

How To Classify Ghost Towns

Philip Varney, the author of several popular ghost town books defines these old communities as: "any site that has had a markedly decreased population from its peak, a town whose initial reason for settlement (such as a mine or railroad) no longer keeps people in the community." [3]

Type:

  • Mining towns – Mining operations brought in settlers that lived close to the mine. Utah miners dug for silver, copper, coal, lead, zinc, and tungsten.
  • Agricultural towns - the most numerous type of Utah’s ghost towns. Most were established during the initial colonization by Mormon Settlers.
  • Railroad towns - established as the Transcontinental Railroad was built. Hundreds of temporary camps were set up along the way. Most disappeared but some eventually developed into permanent settlements. The Central Pacific rail camps tended to be more permanent with homes of adobe and brick while the Union Pacific Camps were more of a tent city type.
  • Miscellaneous types - towns whose origins don’t fall into one of the above three types. [4]


Class:

  • 1...Towns with no trace to be found of the former site, only an estimated location.
  • 2...Barren site where nature has reclaimed the land, only a remnant reveals the location such as stone or brick rubble.
  • 3...Many ruins mark the site, roofless building, or leftovers from demolished buildings. Could have a cemetery.
  • 4...Uninhabited towns with boarded up or abandoned buildings (with roofs), no population, except perhaps a caretaker.
  • 5...Semi/near ghost towns. A small resident population, many abandoned buildings with close proximity to more recently built and occupied homes, farms and ranches.
  • 6...Entire towns comprised of many old, abandoned buildings but with a few residents still living there.
  • 7...Restored town, state park, replica of a former town, fort, or community. Towns could be full of deserted buildings may have a busy historic community. Town is functional, yet still dramatically much smaller than when at its boom years.[5] [6]

Ghost Town Records

Frisco Utah gone not forgotten.jpg
Check the closest city for public records about your ancestor. If not the neighboring city, try the local county offices. Try the following sources in neighboring communities.
  • Court House
  • Libraries
  • Genealogical Societies
  • Cemetery Records

Try state wide resources for information on this formally busy town:

Town’s Time Line

The opening and closing of a Post Office would give you approximate dates that the town was a thriving community.

  • The Post Offices of Utah [7] lists Utah Post Offices both past and current. It provides the dates of establishment for each post office and if a post office was discontinued. This source gives the date and the new post office designated to receive the mail.

Suggested Reading

  • Colorado and Utah ghost towns [8]
  • Ghost towns of the mountain West : your guide to the hidden history and Old West haunts of Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, Utah, and Nevada[9]
  • Some Dreams Die: Utah's Ghost Towns and Lost Treasures [10]
  • The American West : Overland journeys, 1841-1880 [11]
  • The Historical Guide to Utah Ghost Towns. [12] A history of towns that no longer in exist in Utah. It gives the approximate dates each town was settled and then deserted.

Ghost Town Names by County

Beaver


Box Elder


Cache


Carbon


Daggett

  • Bridgeport
  • Greendale
  • Linwood


Duchesne

  • Harper


Emery

  • Connellsville
  • Desert Lake
  • Mohrland
  • Victor
  • Woodside


Garfield

  • Asay
  • Eagle City
  • Osiris
  • Widtsoe


Grand

  • Castleton
  • Cisco
  • Dewey
  • Elgin
  • Miners Basin
  • Richardson
  • Sego
  • Valley City
  • Westwater


Iron

  • Iron City
  • Lund
  • Stateline


Juab

  • Diamond
  • Fish Springs
  • Joy
  • Knightsville
  • Mammoth
  • Silver City


Kane

  • Georgetown
  • Johnson
  • Paria
  • Upper Kanab


Millard

  • Black Rock
  • Clear Lake
  • Ingersoll
  • McCornick
  • Woodrow


Piute

  • Alunite
  • Bullion
  • Kimberly


Rich

  • Argyle
  • Round Valley
  • Sage Creek


Salt Lake

  • Bacchus
  • Bingham Canyon
  • Garfield
  • Lark
  • Modoc
  • Mountain Dell
  • Priesthood Camp
  • Rockwell's Station
  • Welby


San Juan

  • Home of Truth
  • Fry Canyon
  • Verdure


Sanpete

  • Clarion
  • Dover


Summit

  • Blacks Fork
  • Castle Rock
  • Grass Creek
  • Rockport
  • Upton
  • Wahsatch


Tooele

  • Ajax
  • Gold Hill
  • Iosepa[13]
  • Mercur
  • Ophir
  • Scranton
  • Sunshine


Uintah

  • Bullionville
  • Dragon
  • Dyer
  • Rainbow
  • Watson
  • Willow Creek


Utah

  • Colton
  • Dividend
  • Forest City
  • Homansville
  • Mill Fork
  • Mosida
  • Thistle
  • Tucker


Wasatch

  • Hailstone
  • Keetley
  • Soldier Summit


Washington


Wayne

  • Caineville
  • Fruita
  • Giles
  • Notom
  • Five Hundred Utah Place Names [14] This book provides the history and origin of the name of each place, including names of places and landmarks that no longer exist. It also includes Native American residences.
  • Origins of Utah Place Names [15] This source documents when places were settled, former names, altitude and population in 1941. There is information on the creation of each county and boundary changes, including square miles. It also includes a list of extinct counties.

Websites

Sources and Footnotes

  1. Ghost towns in Utah
  2. Thompson, George A. ;‘’Some dreams die Utah's ghost towns and lost treasures’’ Book: FHL 979.2 H2tg
  3. Varnery, Philip; Ghost towns of the mountain West : your guide to the hidden history and Old West haunts of Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, Utah, and Nevada WorldCat 320621725
  4. Utah Travel Secrets
  5. Varnery, Philip; Ghost towns of the mountain West : your guide to the hidden history and Old West haunts of Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, Utah, and Nevada WorldCat 320621725
  6. Carr, Stephen L. The Historical Guide to Utah Ghost Towns. Salt Lake City, Utah: Western Epics, 1972. Film: FHL 78162 Book: FHL 979.2 H2cr WorldCat 595478.
  7. Gallagher, John S. The Post Offices of Utah. Burtonsville, Maryland: The Depot, 1977. FHL 92242 Book: FHL 979.2 E8g
  8. Lambert, Florin Colorado and Utah Ghost Towns WorldCat 4047348
  9. Varnery, Philip; Ghost towns of the mountain West : your guide to the hidden history and Old West haunts of Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, Utah, and Nevada WorldCat 320621725
  10. Thompson, George A; Some Dreams Die: Utah's Ghost Towns and Lost Treasures WorldCat 9202286 FHL 979.2 H2tg
  11. Lester, Robert E.; The American West : Overland journeys, 1841-1880 FHL 973 W2Les 41513642/editions WorldCat 41513642
  12. Carr, Stephen L. The Historical Guide to Utah Ghost Towns. Salt Lake City, Utah: Western Epics, 1972. Film: FHL 78162 Book: FHL 979.2 H2cr WorldCat 595478.
  13. by Dennis H. Atkin A history of Iosepa, the Utah Polynesian colony FHL 979.243/I1 F2a
  14. Leigh, Rufus Wood. Five Hundred Utah Place Names. Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret News Press, 1961. Book: FHL 979.2 E2L FHL 979.2 E2L
  15. Origins of Utah Place Names. Salt Lake City, Utah: Utah State Department of Public Instruction, 1941. Film: FHL 57295 Book FHL 979.2 E2o fiche FHL 6046696

 

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  • This page was last modified on 2 April 2012, at 04:30.
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