From Booming to Ghost Town
Ghost Towns, you know of them or even know of one, heck you may even live in one yourself but what exactly is a ghost town? Sure, it could be a town inhabited by ghosts but that’s not what I’m talking about here, although the tv show Ghost Wars does a good job of this. In this case a ghost town is a town, usually a small one that gets destroyed, taken over, or in most cases the people leave out of their own free will or they are driven out. But why? What could possibly make people simply live in a town one minute and be gone from it the next? Well there’s a lot of factors here but the biggest one is that sometimes abandonment is inevitable or even necessary in order to live, it’s seen as a ways to move on. In this article we will find out what makes a town go from booming to ghost town but more importantly why it happened so much during the Wild West Era, an era that was cruel, rugged and in many cases, lonely and drove so many people from their homes. So what makes a small western town go from booming to a desolate and forgotten place?
The Wild West was a time where people would gun you down simply for looking at them wrong. It was a time where people were dirty, reckless, ruthless and savage. Also during these times it was so easy to build a town from scratch. Watch any western tv show from the fifties and look at the buildings. Sure these are tv shows and props of buildings and what not but to be honest, it wasn’t much different during the real western era. Buildings were usually all constructed the same and took little to no time to put up. So why were they left abandoned sometimes? There’s a few factors.
-Outlaws/Crime: We all love a good western story but knowing that outlaws were real sometimes hits all too close to home. One reason a town became a ghost town was because crime was just not unavoidable. Outlaws would come in, stake their claim and simply wipeout or run out the townspeople including the sheriff. They would either kill everyone, use guerilla warfare and burn the place down or in the most common fashion, run everyone out and leave themselves, leaving only the buildings of what used to be a promising town.
-Change/Reconstruction: During this time it was always about location. Sometimes were you set up a town may not have been the safest or financially the best, so when it became time people would move out all together and build elsewhere or go on their own way. What did they leave behind? Probably nothing, maybe everything but one thing they just left without a second thought was the town, becoming a ghost town, a shell of it’s former glory and lively populous reputation.
Booming during the wild west era was temporary. Many towns were like small businesses today, one day they could be on the top of their world but eventually time and bigger businesses will come along and just wipe them out of existence. What was once popular and the place to go or be will become sad memories and remnants of what used to be. Don’t let the wild west fool you though, ghost towns happened all over in many different eras not just the wild west to which they are mainly known; in fact some ghost towns are still popping up even today. Abandoned places are one of the most sad and yet most beautiful places you will ever come across as they have so much history left behind and if they could talk would tell you of many a tale. Ghost towns are just one of many abandoned places, they tell you of either a simpler time or a just as hard enough time if not even more hard time to live.
Ghost towns remind us that of the past but they also tell us that unless we want to end up just like them, we need to slowly adapt to our surroundings, to better ourselves, to make the most of our opportunities. A story called, The Ghost Town Gun Ghost by L. Ron Hubbard tells of a man who rides into a ghost town and finds another man. The man asks him where he can stay and if he can talk to the sheriff and finds that the man is the only one in town and serves all duties of the town. It’s an odd but fun story and the reason I bring it up is because it’s a great representation of not wanting to let go of the past. Even when only a ghost town surrounds you you try to make the most of it but in most cases people don’t stay they leave behind ghosts. So the next time you see an old western ghost town or perhaps your car breaks down in an old rundown town, take a look at it all and take it all in. Perhaps the history of the place will reveal itself to you, or you can create your own story of what it used to be like there.