Seven Texas Ghost Towns to visit

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Among the most interesting of the tours offered is the Texas Ghost Town itinerary. From San Antonio to El Paso, Texas offers a taste of the Old West. Mingled with the modern day marvels of shopping and fine dining are hints and memories of the dramatic history of the area. The Texas landscape is dotted with the remains of once-thriving towns that just "dried up and blew away".

Ghost Town Locations

1- Adobe Walls

Take a ride down nearly any highway, and the road will eventually take you past – or even through – a town that is only a ghost of its former self. Among the best: Adobe walls, six miles southeast of Chinati in Presidio County, is a classic Texas ghost town. The town was born as a farming community in the 1870s. By the 1930s, the town had irrigated more than 780 acres of farmland. Today, Adobe Walls is a melancholy vision of a Texas borderlands ghost town, lonely and abandoned with the ruins of buildings still standing amid the rocky, forbidding prairie.

2- Plata

Plata, another ghost town in Presidio County, was once a popular stopping place on the Chihuahua Trail. Visitors who weather the graded dirt road to find the site will also find a protective cover over the ruins and a historical marker explaining the significance and history of the town.

3- Casa Piedra

Casa Piedra is just down the road from Plata in Presidio. Its name means House of Stone, presumably named for the stone house built there by Domenico Mata in 1883. By 1900, there were 50 families living in Casa Piedra and in 1906, Lucia Hernandez Russell established a school in the town. The town was devastated by the combination of drought and depression that was the death of so many small western and Midwestern towns, and by 1933, the town reported a population of ten. The post office closed in 1956, and the town’s only store in 1958. In 1969, there was a reported population of 21 people. Today, visitors to Casa Piedra will find a single occupied home, well-maintained and cared for, complete with a small museum to the town that is open when the owners are home.

4- Lindsey City

Lindsey City, located in Big Bend National Park, is known as “the city killed by love”. Established on the Texas side of the Rio Grande by D.E. Lindsey in 1896, there were reports that the Mexican government would soon begin building a wagon road to the city. The general store at Lindsey City was the only place for hundreds of miles where workers on the mines and the railroad could buy American products. Prospects were bright for the town, until its founder fell in love and married. His partner took offense to the wedding and sold his interest in the town – who stayed with his wife for a few years more before moving away. Today, all that remains of Lindsey City is a small store across the river from Boquillas, exactly where the old general store of Lindsey City used to stand.

5- Lobo

Lobo in Culberson County is one of the most modern ghost towns in Texas. Lobo’s fortunes rose and fell with the water table, as is often the case with the towns that have been lost to history. During the 1880s, the town of Lobo was a water stop for the steam locomotives, and in the early 1900s, promoters and developers lured new residents with promises of new development that would make land prices rise and guarantee them a life of luxury in a Western oasis. The wells proved incapable of keeping up with the water needs of the town, and by the 1970s, population of Lobo was less than 40. In 1988, the entire town was listed for sale for the price of $60,000. All that remains of the town are the weed-choked ruins of a motel, a roadside store and an abandoned and unused swimming pool.

6- Girvin

Girvin is one of two towns in Pecos County by the same name. New Girvin, about a mile up the road from Old Girvin, the ghost town. Girvin was named after a ranch that was there when the railroad came through in 1911, and when the post office was established in 1912, Girvin was officially named. The little town grew so fast that the new brick schoolhouse was too small by the time it was finished, according to reports, and classes had to be held in a nearby lumberyard. Old town Girvin is the epitome of a Texas ghost town, with wooden ruins and faded signs still advertising Coca Cola and Oilzum.

7- Langtry

Langtry has the distinction of being the ghost town with the visitors center. Langtry was established in 1888, when the railroad drove the final spike into the rails there. Langtry may have been named for the civil engineer who oversaw the Chinese laborers building the railroad, but the more colorful story embraced by most Langtry residents is that the town was named after Lilly Langtry by her famous fan, the infamous Judge Roy Bean. The town today consists of a few buildings, the most modern of them being the Judge Roy Bean Visitor Center. There is also a Baptist Church that is still in use, and the Jersey Lily Saloon.

There are literally dozens of other towns along the scenic byways of Texas that are listed in the annals of Texas ghost towns. Take a trip out along any road and keep your eyes out, and you may just discover one that isn’t listed anywhere.

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