Ghost Towns of Texas
GHOST TOWNS 101
How to Survive a Ghost Town Visit
by Rusty Hinge
all sitting around waiting for the 2000 Census figures, we thought
it might be a good time to visit a few places where the inhabitants
are few and easy to count (although sometimes hard to see). Before
we visit our latest towns, let us warn you that Texas ghost towns
may not fit the image in your mind's eye.
Tumbleweeds are in short supply, so if you're a purist, you might
want to bring your own. Stop by your local nursery and get a few
of their drought victims. They're cheap and you can lash them to
the top of your vehicle. You may also want to bring a can of WD
40 to quiet those signs that always swing from half broken chains.
Real ghost towns underwent a slow, usually agonizing decline, so
don't expect to find still-warm coffee cups and half-eaten meals.
courthouse in Stiles
If a kindly couple offers you lodging for the night (and you accept),
leave a silver dollar on the coffee table so you can find it in
the burned out building the next day when you return with the skeptical
people from the diner where you had breakfast and mentioned you
had spent the night with the kindly old couple in the house on the
hill that had died in a fire 40 years before.
In other words: Follow the script.
Make sure you have had a recent tetanus shot and bring some pliers
to pull those pesky nails from the soles of your feet. We'd recommend
bringing some food, so you won't be competing with local coyotes.
We also recommend some extra water, and an unopened bottle of hot
sauce. A can of Spook-be-Gone would be comforting insurance. What
you don't use on this trip can be employed against trick-or-treaters
for Halloween. The hot sauce does double-duty as both an antiseptic
and a condiment.
Not all ghost towns are uninhabited. If you come across people who
live in the area, try to get them to approach your car and see if
you can see their reflection in any of your car's mirrors. If you
can't, then tell them you left a roast in your oven and get the
hell out of there. If you can see their reflection, do not, under
any circumstances, tell them Texas Escapes sent you.
Buy some of those self adhesive convention nametags that say "Hello,
my name is _____." Fill in your name and add the following: "My
blood type is_____." Then fill in your appropriate blood type. If
the ghost town you're visiting was founded by Transylvanian-Texans,
then don't add your blood type. Let's not ask for trouble.
simple guidelines should bring you back to your loved ones with
some nice memories and a few good stories. Be sure to come back
with everyone you left with and if you don't come back, be sure
to offer future visitors "lodging for the night." It's in the script.
See - Texas Ghost
Towns List »
Before taking a ghost town trip, please read Readers' Comments
& Warning below. - Editor
Readers' Comments (and warnings) :
on the way to Langtry, we stopped to visit Pumpville having just
read about it on your website. I would like to pass along a word
of warning to others who might be interested in "poking" around
old railroad ghost towns ... be extremely careful!
Be aware of the possibility of encountering illegal immigrants.
These sometimes desperate fellows ride the rails that pass through
these towns, unaware that the nearest highway may be miles away.
[After encountering a group of men] and with stories of the recent
"Railroad Killer" still fresh in our minds, we cut our adventure
in Pumpville short. .... - Ralph Kepp, Horizon City, Texas, June
I went to Doole
on Saturday, July 28. ..... I visited the bleachers and was welcomed
with shots from a rifle. No, I don't think they were shooting at
me, but they sure didn't stop! Everytime I walked away from my car,
the shots were more frequent and when I stepped back inside, I could
hear the rifle being reloaded. Wild! Needless to say, I left there
rather quickly! - Lisa, July 29, 2001
See - Texas Ghost Towns
Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing
Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history, stories,
landmarks and recent or vintage photos, please contact