Did you know that there are easily over 800 Texas Ghost Towns? Places that were once prosperous but have since fallen into isolated decay? Some may still have a few folks around but, in general, most are completely abandoned – and you can visit and tour many of them!
There’s something about an abandoned building that is as attractive as it is unnerving – this is doubly true of an entire town gone to seed. What happened? What attracted people to the area in the first place and then, why did they leave – and what did they leave behind? Texas ghost towns offer a fascinating view into history, wonderful photographic opportunities – and a potential case of the goosebumps!
If you’re interested in visiting some Texas Ghost Towns, we’ve got a list of a few good candidates around the state:
Belle Plain was founded in 1876 as the Callahan County seat and home to Belle Plain College. When nearby Baird took over as county seat in 1883, well, it was a downhill slide thereafter, with the college closing in 1892.
Shiloh, founded in 1834 but began to decline at the close of the Civil War. By the 1930’s, Shiloh was reduced to a church and just a few scattered houses. Today, only the church remains.
Indianola was a leading port on the Gulf Coast but, after two powerful hurricanes ravaged the town in one ten year period, folks saw the handwriting on the wall and moved for higher, drier ground, leaving the town to stand empty.
You know Dodge City – or you should – it’s one of the more popular “Old West” towns of legend. Reduced to just two cabins, Dodge City remains popular and still hosts western-style gunfight re-enactments.
Helena may be the only town killed by a gunfight: once a rowdy “Old West” town, legend has it that, when a local rancher’s son was gunned down here, he successfully persuaded the railroad to bypass Helena as a form of revenge. Bye-bye Helena.
Hill Country Texas
Crabapple was originally settled on Crabapple Creek, just north of Fredericksburg, by German immigrants in the 1800s. Now abandoned, remains of the 1897 St. John’s Lutheran Church and other buildings still exist.
Originally known as Hughes Stores, when an 1870’s state survey declared an old, live oak in town to be the exact center of Texas, the town changed its name to Center City. The town’s population began to decline in the 1940’s and, in 2003, it reported a population of just 15.
Clairemont, established in 1892 as the Kent County seat, lost said honor to nearby Jayton in 1954 despite a small oil boom in the preceding decades. Losing the county seat meant losing the courthouse and, that apparently, was the last straw. Clairemont lost its population, too.
We’re just scratching the surface here. There are many, many more Texas ghost towns waiting to be discovered and explored. A number of websites are dedicated to listing and talking about them, too, such as the Texas ghost towns page at texasescapes.com. Come on down and explore!
Just because you’re visiting Texas Ghost Towns doesn’t mean you have to sleep in one – brrrrr! For every abandoned town in Texas, there’s at least two other lively ones nearby – and a member Texas Bed and Breakfast Inn, as well. For real comfort and real service from real people, there’s no substitute for a Texas Bed and Breakfast Inn – check us out and see.
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