Talk:Ghost town

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
          This article is of interest to the following WikiProjects:
WikiProject Ghost towns (Rated B-class, Top-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Ghost towns, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Ghost towns on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Top  This article has been rated as Top-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Urban studies and planning (Rated B-class, Low-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Urban studies and planning, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Urban studies and planning on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Low  This article has been rated as Low-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Guild of Copy Editors
WikiProject icon A version of this article was copyedited by The Utahraptor, a member of the Guild of Copy Editors, on May 1, 2010. The Guild welcomes all editors with a good grasp of English and Wikipedia's policies and guidelines to help in the drive to improve articles. Visit our project page if you're interested in joining! If you have questions, please direct them to our talk page.
WikiProject United States / American Old West (Rated B-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject United States, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of topics relating to the United States of America on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the ongoing discussions.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.
Taskforce icon
This article is supported by WikiProject American Old West (marked as High-importance).
WikiProject Cities (Rated B-class, High-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Cities, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of cities, towns and various other settlements on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 High  This article has been rated as High-importance on the project's importance scale.

United States?[edit]

Why are all the ghost towns mentioned in the first part of the article in the United States? It is pointless and gives the impression they are the only ones who do it. Typical American history brainwashing stuff. Makes me mad.


This to this day, with the village of Etzweiler in northwestern Germany being abandoned in the 1990s to make way for a coal mine [2] [3].

I don't think this is a good example - Etzweiler was abandoned and destroyed, not just abandoned. --zeno 12:34, 24 March 2006 (UTC)

Hashima Island[edit]

Hashima Island was a Japanese mining town from 1887 to 1974. Once known for having the world's highest population density (in 1959 at 3460 people per square kilometer), the island was abandoned when the coal mines were closed down.

3460 people per square kilometer is a normal figure for a large or medium-sized city. The figure is incorrect. Swe 2 02:12, 18 July 2006 (UTC)


What about ghost towns where ghosts live?

Ghost do not exist and if they did they wouldn't live (that was a pun)


I've recently been starting articles for some of the small, historical towns in my community that have been extinct for many years, such as the Wabash River town of Baltimore, Indiana. Would this qualify as a ghost town? I'd be interested to know users' opinions.

(The reason I ask? To me, the term "ghost town" sort of implies that there are existing remnants of the town that are now abandoned, but in Baltimore's case there's no remaining trace.)

Huwmanbeing 20:46, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

It would seem to me that the word "town" would indicate a collection of buildings. One building abandoned, at least in my mind, is not enough to constitute a "town"; there would have to be like a dozen. If nothing remains of a town then it isn't a ghost town at all because nothing has been left vacant or abandon. --The_stuart 02:59, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
How then should a town that's completely disappeared be categorized? Extinct town? (It seems like the term "town" would still have be used in some way, despite the connotation of buildings, since that's what the place originally was.) "A town permanently abandoned by its inhabitants" is one definition I found for ghost town, which could apply in this case -- Baltimore was a town which was then permanently abandoned. --Huwmanbeing 12:31, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

I think there needs to be a better definition of "ghost town". To me, it's a place that was once inhabited and could be inhabited now, but isn't. There's some kind of choice in why people don't live there anymore. I think that's pretty different than the idea of say, the cliff dwellings of the southwest or Catal Huyuk. Ghost towns have habitable dwellings remaining, whereas archaeological sites are not habitable without serious work.


Azerbaijan has a couple of Ghost towns as Shusha, Agdam, Khojaly etc all due war with Armenia. It also has the largest ghost tonw in the world - Agdam, a city of 150,000 people but now nothing, thats gotta be a record! We need to get this information in this article!!

Sounds good to me, get a reliable source (see Wikipedia:Reliable sources) and put it in there. No need to clear it or anything, be bold! A mcmurray 14:05, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

Merge with Abandoned Village?[edit]

Are they the same thing? I found Abandoned village and thought it must be the same thing as a ghost town. Is there a disambiguation? Steewi (talk) 04:21, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

In England, it's not uncommon to see churches without villages, or churches that look much too big for their villages. That's often because all or part of the village has disappeared. For example, at Ninekirks the village was destroyed by 1284 to extend the demesne land of the local lord. Is that the same as a ghost town? I'd always thought a ghost town had substantial visible remains whereas an abandoned village might have competely disappeared, but now that I've read the entries, I'm no longer sure. Northernhenge (talk) 23:31, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

Don't merge with abandoned village[edit]

This meaning has gotten so broad that it is already nearly meaningless. Population migration, habitat and economy changes mean that many once-populated places have been abandoned. We're talking about deep time, right? To endlessly list every such place makes this ridiculous. I don't think an archeological site, where little remains above ground, is a ghost town. --Parkwells (talk) 22:09, 29 March 2008 (UTC)

Er, yeah, this is a reply to you and also the previous section, and in terms of where I come from a ghost town has pretty specific applications - although including now-invisible one-time towns, and even town surveys that never happened (this was, and is, frontier). The concept of ghost towns in the UK, or in Azerbaijan for that matter, is decidedly odd to me, as a North American, particularly from "the West", although Latin America and Appalachia and the Far North have their share. Other than Australia and maybe New Zealand, where similar lifestyles/boomtowns were also part of "Anglo-American culture", I don't feel the term is used at all, until this article, for most of the places outside of North America so listed. A ghost town is a cultural artifact, usually of the frontier and, like I said, of the West, particularly the mining West (and North). In BC they're also often abandoned company towns, which were mass-scale boomtowns owned by one company as opposed to being founded by hordes of speculators, e.g. Anyox, British Columbia, Ocean Falls, British Columbia and many others though those are among hte largest. I don't know what to wsay about the above/below ground context you've raised; why a quiggly hole town isn't considered a ghost town, I don't know - especially since some were "alive" in associated with the term, or it would have been applied to Chaco Canyon, or Cahokia and others like it; but they're not ghost towns, not in the sens that North Americans use that term anyway. Also some ghost towns in BC are "still alive", mere shadows of their former size, or as in some cases subsumed into a larger metropolis or other wise still distinct. Do Britons really speak of their abandoned towns/villages as "ghost towns"....or is this just an over-extension of the strict meaning as defined by the page; maybe what's needed is to redefine that strictness, huh? Towards that end I'll put the Gold Rush wikiproject template on the talkpage, if it's not already there, to see who might offer up some suggesetions about what's a ghost town and what's not.Skookum1 (talk) 22:22, 29 March 2008 (UTC)
I agree with you that ghost town has had a fairly specific meaning in North America, and it doesn't serve any interest to expand it to cover every abandoned place in the world, and to list some. There could be narrative to explain there are abandoned villages/towns/cities in every culture for the variety of reasons noted, but this article should stick to ghost towns. A different article should talk about heritage tourism around ancient sites that were formerly cities.--Parkwells (talk) 14:04, 30 March 2008 (UTC)

Submerged villages in reservoirs[edit]

The article mentions villages that have been flooded with the creation of artificial reservoirs. However, I could not find yet an example of such a village that has not been demolished before flooding. But doesn't the term "ghost town" imply that the structures are still there (although decaying with time)? And what is the reason for demolishing all the buildings before flooding the area (it must be a very good one to explain the apparent absence of any exception of this rule)?--SiriusB (talk) 16:09, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

The Sekani residents of Finlay Forks had to evacuate their homes as the waters of Lake Williston were on the rise; something about not having been notified properly, I remember this in an old Vancouver Sun article, sorry no date or columnist....they relocated to Fort Ware (Kwadacha). In BC most of the other flooded townsites were stripped of buildings, or the buildings relocated, in advance of flooding, as with waht was left of Minto City - the hotel, which got moved to Gold Bridge. Not sure what went down with Fauquier and other Arrow Lakes townsites; Nakusp was deliberately moved/relocated. I don't think the idea of a "flooded ghost town" is all that relevant in terms of flooding or not; easier maybe to say their sites were inundated after abandonment/relocatin; there are exceptions like Finlay Forks, however.....Skookum1 (talk) 16:30, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
What might be the reason of demolishing all the buildings in advance of the flooding? OK, in drinking water reservoirs like the Wahnbach reservoir near Bonn, Germany (that one I have visited myself) their might be contanimation issues from decaying materials (wood etc.), but what about hydroelectric reservoirs or others?--SiriusB (talk) 17:16, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
Scavenging materials and useful buildilngs; no reason to let good timber or appliances get waterlogged; pretty obvious in rural/remote communities such as those which typically get flooded; there may be exceptions to this in the case of the FDR reservoir and others on the American part of hte Columbia; I'll ask someone.....some buildilngs no doubt remain here and there in all cases - isolated cabins or even small hotels, as in the case of the old St. Leon Hot Springs hotel building which I believe was still standing when the Arrow Lakes were raised.....Skookum1 (talk) 17:21, 11 August 2008 (UTC)


To continue earlier threads. To me, as a Brit, "ghost town" is a specific type of abandoned settlement. It doesn't seem appropriate to use it for English plague villages, flooded cities, abandoned caravan cities in the Takla Makan, Zimbabwe, for example. If I had a choice, I'd do the following:

  1. rename the current project as "Extinct settlements" ("cities" would cause confusion, it already does on WPCities),
  2. link the project to Archaeology and Cities projects,
  3. retain this article and restrict its content, creating a new article to take the rest.

There's a breadth of subject matter for this, "ghost towns" is misleading, IMO Comments? Folks at 137 (talk) 20:42, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

What is a ghost town?[edit]

Proposed criteria to define a ghost town. —harej 01:30, 23 May 2009 (UTC)

The article needs a better definition of a ghost town. A town need not be completely abandoned to be a ghost town. A good example is Death Valley Junction, California, built to serve several hundred people, but which now has a population <10. I don't think any reasonable definition would hold that DVJ is not a ghost town even if it has never been devoid of habitation. In that sense, then, a ghost town is one that is a shell of its former self.

Here are some criteria I propose:

1. Town must have a fraction of its peak population -- no more than 10 percent, say.
2. Town must not exceed a certain threshold -- 30 people, say. (i.e., a well populated place is not a ghost town even if it is less than 10 percent of its peak population -- Detroit stays off list)
3. A substantial part of the town must consist of unoccupied real estate or real estate that is being de-urbanized (converted back to agricultural or grazing land, etc.)

What would others suggest vis-a-vis these criteria? Bellczar (talk) 07:42, 6 May 2009 (UTC)

  • Oppose. This is far too subjective. Creating our own definition of "ghost town" with arbitrary thresholds is not a good approach. If you want to contribute to an article on declining settlements, Urban decay is the place to go. Reserve "Ghost town" for abandoned settlements. Fences and windows (talk) 14:40, 6 May 2009 (UTC)
Or semi-abandoned, e.g. Bralorne, Sandon, Wells, Quesnel Forks, all in British Columbia, still have inhabitants but are defintely considered ghost towns; even Greenwood, which remains incorporated as a city, is described as a ghost town in writings on ghost towns in BC. Might I suggest that if a place is referred to as a ghost town in sources, then it's "in". There's other cases where there never was a town, only a survey e.g. Birmingham, British Columbia or Tipella, British Columbia ("Tipella City") which never even had residents, but which are listed/written up as "ghost towns". Semi inhabited, and never-inhabited "ghost towns" are fairly common; the only criteria possible in Wikipedia terms is "if a source calls it a ghost town, it's a ghost town". Total abandonment is not a citable critera, either.Skookum1 (talk) 16:13, 6 May 2009 (UTC)
  • Support. At least to some form. Fraction of peak population, absolute maximum number of people, buildings exist or not, etc.

The debate here on what is and what is not a ghost town has been going on for years. One side of the argument is that a ghost town must still have buildings standing and NO inhabitants. The other side goes so far as to say there need not be any buildings (including former towns that are now fields without even foundations and towns that were flooded to create lakes) and may still have inhabitants up to 20% of the town's former peak population.

The real problem is that there is no authoritative definition for a ghost town. As an American when I think of a ghost town I recall the traditional ghost town of the western United States, an image of small town that sprang up overnight due to some localized economic activity and is now abandoned because the source of that economic activity has dried up. This may not be what someone else thinks of when they hear "ghost town" and this definition is is far too narrow in my opinion.

What about a former settlement without buildings? One person may call it a ghost town while another says it isn't, but should be instead called an 'abandoned settlement'. On the other side of the spectrum some people consider if a site has even a single family or inhabitant it is not a ghost town.

I believe the criterion should be loose to allow the inclusion of sites that are colloquially known ghost towns. For instance take Picher, Oklahoma. This town is in the process of being abandoned because of contamination caused by mining. I believe it is a great example of a ghost town, though the population today is still over 1000, down from a one-time population of 9676. Other historic sites that important cities with thousands of citizens but today number less than 200. Should these sites not be considered a "ghost town" because there are still a number of inhabitants, even though almost every building at the site is boarded up and even falling down?

The best way to resolve the issue is to create specific criterion for what is and what is not a ghost town. My personal opinion is that a ghost town should have fewer than 20% of its former inhabitants, less than 2000 people, and can be completely reverted to open fields with no buildings present or completely flooded by water. I can support having only 10% of a site's former inhabitants if that is the consensus, but I think the absolute maximum number of people should be higher than 30 people.Narthring (talkcontribs) 17:31, 7 May 2009 (UTC)

I'll say again, we must not invent our own arbitrary definitions for articles. If editors decide on including places that are still inhabited but are called "ghost towns" in reliable sources, then OK, but please no "10% of peak population" definitions. We report on what reliable sources tell us, we don't invent new definitions. Fences and windows (talk) 21:46, 7 May 2009 (UTC)
I see the reasoning against artificially creating definitions and I now agree that the definition of what is or is not a ghost town cannot be arbitrarily set. At the time I first posted it seemed like creating a criterion that included all (or at least most) sites referred to as a ghost town would be helpful. As it has been stated, however, it isn't in wikipedia's authority to arbitrarily create criterion unless there is some already existing criterion somewhere.Narthring (talkcontribs) 17:26, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose The purpose of the wikipedia is to represent the world, not the other way around. By setting arbitrary limits on what a 'Ghost town' is or isnt here, we then expect the rest of the owrld to fall in line. What happens to the town that doesnt fit our criteria, but proudly proclaims itself as a ghost town? Are we wrong? Are they right? Who can say?

I have written and contributed to many articles on ghost towns in my local area, which are all considered ghost towns by the local populace, and in referenced literature - yet these do not necessarily meet the above criteria. one was abandoned, then the neighboring town over time grew, encroached, then enveloped the area. The original town is gone, yet if you go there you will find a city. Was that a ghost town? Is it still? Again - these subjective and arbitrary rules dont do justice to the real world. It seems kind of arrogant to have a few people craft a definition in a discussion thread on the internet, and try to make it stick in the real world.

Of course, that's just my $0.02 worth. Nothingofwater (talk) 22:53, 7 May 2009 (UTC)

  • Oppose any attempt to codify what is or is not a ghost town. Dlabtot (talk) 06:08, 13 May 2009 (UTC)
  • Oppose While I understand Bellczar's rationale for wishing to codify the definition, it's simply not our job at Wikipedia to do so. That said, if there are verifiable definitions published in reliable sources out there, then these would be helpful for the article. I would expect that no one definition is accepted, however. --PLUMBAGO 08:52, 13 May 2009 (UTC)
  • Comment. Perhaps we could consider in separate paragraphs two distinct groups of 'ghost towns' in the article:
(1) the completely uninhabited ones; and
(2) settlements that while not completely uninhabited are nevertheless regarded as 'ghost towns' in common usage according to reliable sources. Apcbg (talk) 12:59, 21 May 2009 (UTC)
Good plan. Fences and windows (talk) 17:51, 21 May 2009 (UTC)
A point to make - there is a big distinction between the usage of ghost town in books and academic sources, i.e. abandoned or nearly abandoned settlements, and the colloquial use of the media, which might call a town centre with some shops closed a "ghost town", despite it being in a well-inhabited area. I don't think we should let the colloquial, off-hand use intrude on this article. Fences and windows (talk) 21:43, 21 May 2009 (UTC)
I agree. Apcbg (talk) 05:45, 23 May 2009 (UTC)
  • I Oppose any novel attempt to define a ghost town. Without original research, feel free to cite definitions that others have used. Bluerasberry (talk) 20:01, 27 May 2009 (UTC)
  • Comment Find some reliable sources that say what ghost towns are. Joey the Mango (talk) 00:56, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
    • Response A dictionary definition perhapst may not conform to what is actually in use. Published material that refers to specific places as a ghost town would seem to be all that can be done re WP:RS and to avoid WP:OR. I agree that Babylon is a ruined city, not a ghost town btw; extension of the term into countries/eras where the word/phrase is unknown/unused locally seems very inapt and OR....Skookum1 (talk) 04:01, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
  • Comment: "Ghost town" is an inherently subjective, emotional term, not a term primarily used to give factual information. In this article, differing definitions ("MacMillan defines a ghost town as...") and inclusions ("Time Magazine referred to Chernobyl as a ghost town...") should be noted. I don't think the term should be used much outside this article, at least not in a factual sense; only to document a claim by some party or other. Similar to terrorism. – Quadell (talk) 20:55, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

Ghost Towns may include abandoned sites/archeological sites/ruins in some cases[edit]

There is an editing debate on what is or is not a ghost town focused on this line from the article:

"A ghost town may be an archeological site where little or nothing remains above the soil surface."

versus the newer

"A ghost town may be distinguished from an archeological site where little or nothing remains above the soil surface."

I have reverted the line to "A ghost town may be an archeological site" based on the broader definition of a ghost town as something more than the narrow image of a former mining town in the Western United States that still has buildings but no inhabitants. There are plenty of examples of places referred to as ghost towns even though there are no buildings left. As just a few examples:

  • Visiting Ghost Towns This site is a listing of Ghost Towns in the United States in Canada, the link goes to their definition of a Ghost Town, which includes abandoned sites.
  • In his book Ghost Towns of Oklahoma author John Morris defines a Ghost Town by three criterion. One of these is any "hamlets, villages, towns, and cities that are no longer in existence, all buildings and indications of existence having been either destroyed or covered by water". (page 3)
  • In Ghost Towns of Texas T. Lindsay Baker describes some ghost towns as nothing more than "bare sites in cultivated fields indistinguishable from any other nearby." (page vii)

There are many individual examples of places referred to as 'Ghost Towns' even though they are nothing more than an archeological site or ruin. Ghost towns can be everything from completely abandoned fields where a town once stood to cities that, while still populated, have far fewer citizens than they did at a previous time (usually caused by local economic conditions).Narthring (talkcontribs) 17:14, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

  • Comment Your first two links are goofy blogs with cheesy music, and are not reliable sources. The two books are reliable, but the first says that there is nothing but debate about the definition. This does not constitute a definition, but rather an anti-defintion. I would not object to the lead of the article being rewritten to explain this debate, but I remain opposed to the expansive defintion. Joey the Mango (talk) 17:39, 28 May 2009 (UTC)
At the risk of repetition, I reiterate my concerns raised, & not yet contradicted, that "ghost towns" is being applied beyond its original and widely understood meaning. It's difficult to tell whether the above debate is mainly or completely between US editors, but to me, "ghost town" refers to a particular subset of abandoned settlement - even the word "town" has differing definitions (both understood and legal) within the anglophone world. Dunwich is not described in England as a "ghost town"; neither is Verulamium nor Birchinlee (although this is closest to the old understanding of the term) and certainly not Pompeii! Speak to someone in Britain and "ghost town" is very specific in terms of period and geography.The tone of much of this is that the US term "ghost town" is appropriate world-wide; it might be genuinely helpful to ensure that this debate is representative of the wider anglophone community. Folks at 137 (talk) 17:28, 20 June 2009 (UTC)
I agree that the debate of what is or is not a "ghost town" should not be centered upon the United States term. The definition(s) for a "ghost town" should definitely be discussed and expanded upon in the article, backed up by reliable sources, so it is not too narrow in scope.
I would argue that the term can be applied to any site referred to in one or more reliable source as a "ghost town". As a side note I would exclude places that are only referred to as becoming "like a ghost town," a phrase that is popular in some news reports (in the United States at least) describing an area that is losing economic activity or population. Detroit, Michigan may "resemble a ghost town" but no reliable source (as far as I know) would call it an actual "ghost town".
One problem with this argument may be that for any sufficiently famous site, like Pompeii, that has many reliable references there will eventually be someone who refers to it as a "ghost town" in a reliable source/published book. While looking to see if any reference referred to Pompeii as a "ghost town" I found the book "Pompeii: Exploring a Roman Ghost Town" by Ron and Nancy Goor. I would be interested to know what the consensus is for this sort of thing. One could probably find at least one reliable source legitimately referring to sites like Babylon, Nineveh, etc. as "ghost towns." Though a few reliable sources may refer to a site as a "ghost town" that may not be what the scholarly community really thinks and may (or may not) just be an outlier.
Another problem may be if someone uses what may be the accepted definition for a "ghost town" in one area to other areas. An author in the United States, working from the United States concept of a ghost town, may call a certain British site a "ghost town", though locally, using the British definition, that same site would never be called a "ghost town".
The ghost town article really needs to be expanded. Specifically I believe it should mention the debate between reliable sources as to what is or is not referred to as a "ghost town," including what is or is not considered a ghost town in different regions. From what I have read there seems to be strong evidence to support a wider definition of what is a "ghost town" (at least in the United States) than the "original and widely understood meaning". If the definition is quite narrow in the British Isles, for example, I believe that should definitely be included and explained in the article as well.
As a side note while looking for information on Dunwich I noticed that its Wikipedia entry is actually a member of the category "Ghost towns in the United Kingdom." I found a few unreliable sources that call Dunwich a "ghost town" and there may actually be a reliable source that refers to it as such but I didn't find one. I would say this just shows that many people have many different ideas of what is or is not a "ghost town". In my opinion unless there is a reliable source that calls Dunwich a ghost town it should be delisted from that category.Narthring (talkcontribs) 00:01, 21 June 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for your comment. I'm not American (surprise?), so I cannot comment upon the understanding there of the term "ghost town" - the examples I gave may well be validly described thus in US English, but English Wiki covers a range of usages and I'm worried that a number of terms common to, and understood in, the US cause confusion elsewhere and give the impression of a US-centric work. "Ghost town" is one and "city" is another ("city" can have a precise legal meaning in some places). If "ghost town" implies that there remains some structure visible to a passer-by, then Dunwich cannot qualify since it has been eroded by the sea for several hundred years and nothing remains. I have deliberately not removed "ghost town" categories so as not to cause offence, but I have been adding abandoned settlements to the "Former settlements" family of categories. If you want to continue this discussion on my talk page, then you're welcome, as is anyone. Folks at 137 (talk) 20:20, 21 June 2009 (UTC)


In the Factors section, the first sentence seems to repeat itself "Factors leading to abandonment of towns include depleted natural resources (as was the case of Smeerenburg and Grytviken), or natural resources such as water no longer being available" I don't think there's much difference between depleted natural resources and natural resources no longer being available. (talk) 09:27, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

Tombstone as example?[edit]

I am trying to find in the references where it says that Tombstone is a ghost town. I am not finding it. Anyone care to point me in the right direction. I know there has been much discussion on what constitutes a ghost town, but Tombstone is actually up and running with a pop over 1000 and even in its own article it is said to have been "saved" from being a ghost town. Unfortunately I cannot find a reference for that either. I bring this up because if it is not a ghost town or only barely qualifies as such from one source perhaps it is not the best example in a lead. Though I understand how the town itself is well known. Comments or help? (talk) 10:20, 6 March 2010 (UTC)

A quick google search gave several examples such as [1] and [2]. A few more reliable sources would be books like William Carter's "Ghost Towns of the West" (page 238) and Gary J. Hausladen's "Western Places, American Myths: How We Think About the West" (page 285). I do see a lot of references that say it was "almost" a ghost town, but since the definition of what exactly a ghost town is is so subjective from source to source I would still say it's a ghost town. Narthring (talkcontribs) 04:07, 7 March 2010 (UTC)
Not bad, not bad. Good ta know. Thanks. (talk) 14:55, 7 March 2010 (UTC)

Copy Edit[edit]

Hello. I am a member of the Guild of Copy Editors. I just popped by to say I have copy-edited this article. Here are some issues I came across:

  • The main issue was with grammar. I have fixed most grammar issues; however, I am going to go over the article a second time to make sure I got them all.
  • Another problem was with red links. If you try to provide a wikilink to an article that does not exist in Wikipedia, the link shows up red. This makes for a terrible-looking article. I have fixed the red link issue.
  • I also came across some spacing issues with the inline citations. Typically, there should be no space between a punctuation mark or letter and the citation. In a couple cases, there was a space. I have also fixed these.

Thank you for taking the time to read this message. If there is anything I missed, tell me on my talk page or leave a comment here, and I'll fix the issue as soon as I can. Regards, The Utahraptor Talk 17:13, 1 May 2010 (UTC)


Doesn't the settlements of historic great empires not constitute ghost towns now? Persepolis...Machu Pichu andothers? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:55, 2 June 2010 (UTC)

If they are referred to in reliable sources as ghost towns, then yes. "Ghost town" is a subjective term. Narthring (talkcontribs) 16:59, 2 June 2010 (UTC)

The ghost towns of China[edit]

According to this article: Ghost towns of China (dailymail), some estimates the number of empty homes in china to be as many as 64 million. Satellite photos show large modern ghost towns.— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18 December 2010, 11:54

The cities described in the article as "Ghost Towns" (Erenhot, Zhengdong New Area and Kangbashi) are not ghost towns. It would be more accurate to describe them as newly constructed New towns that have not yet been fully populated. (talk) 21:50, 20 September 2011 (UTC)
Never let it be said that the Daily Mail allowed the truth get in the way of a sensationalist story — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:09, 22 September 2011 (UTC)
I study near Thames Town in Songjiang and this town truly is a spooky Ghost Town. Really Surreal! You walk through the streets and pass many wedding couples getting their pictures taken. And the shops have never been opened, there is only a finished store front which is slowly seeing cracks, but the inside is concrete. There are many wedding shops though, maybe ten or twenty! It is Chinas most popular wedding photo destination. (talk) 23:44, 7 January 2012 (UTC)
I would like to point out that Thames Town is actually a theme park, not a ghost town. Here's introduction from a large Chinese travel site: (last paragraph titled "Entrance Fee:" "门票:"
Trolly: 10 yuan/person 20 min ride; Cart: 15 yuan/person 20 min ride; Boat: 30 yuan/person 1 hr (north line) 20 yuan/person 30 min (south line).
Bobby fletcher (talk) 18:44, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
Can the New Benghazi site in Benghazi, Libya be mentioned as a ghost town then, I'm not sure whether they'll revive the project ? See (talk) 16:24, 12 June 2014 (UTC)

Tombstone, Arizona[edit]

I know Tombstone used to have a major population because of it's easy history. But how does a place where you can find over 1000 people on any day of the week count as a ghost town?--Dana60Cummins (talk) 00:00, 18 August 2011 (UTC)

The new ghost town in Japan, created by the nuclear disaster, are mentioned in the lead paragraph but not in the list of Japanese ghost towns. Perhaps this is something worth looking at? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:35, 2 November 2011 (UTC)

Definition of ghost town[edit]

T. Lindsay Baker's proposed characteristics of a ghost town is rather odd because in common sense a ghost town and a vanished or phantom settlement can be the same thing. Also worthy to note that phantom and ghost mean pretty much the same thing. For example, a phantom settlement can be a ghost town because a town is a form of settlement and they both refer to abandoned places. It also depends on how someone uses the term ghost town. It may also be used to refer to a townsite that no longer has any buildings just the foundations, land disturbances and other remnants simply because mostly everything is gone; once something is gone it's the ghost that remains and that would be the townsite where everything used to be. According to the Geographical Names of Canada, a dispersed rural community is a rural community with no readily recognizable central focus,[3] which can mean the same thing as an abandoned community. Yet, the article section Proposed characteristics of a ghost town mainly describes Baker's point of view and not a worldwide point of view. I have seen every statement I made used in texts. Volcanoguy 11:40, 19 December 2011 (UTC)

I think the idea was that a phantom settlement never did exist (for instance, a mapmaker's hoax or error) while a ghost town *was* a real settlement which is now abandoned. Nonetheless, Baker's criteria are arbitrary and restrictive:
  • The town's reason for being must no longer exist.
This would exclude towns which were abandoned not because demand for their products disappeared but because of natural or environmental disasters. For instance Pripyat, Ukraine had the four Chornobyl reactors; one melted down and burned. The remaining three nominally still existed as part of "the town's reason for being" but that doesn't mean that this is a particularly good place to live, so Chornobyl and Pripyat are ghost towns.
  • There must be tangible remains of the town for visitors to see.
This would exclude towns lost to dams and flooding, such as The Lost Villages of the Saint Lawrence Seaway. It would also exclude townsites wilfully demolished such as Argentia, Newfoundland (destroyed to build a US World War II military base) or Times Beach, Missouri (destroyed as part of a Superfund cleanup due to dioxin contamination).
These criteria would exclude many noteworthy sites which should be listed. (talk) 15:10, 26 May 2012 (UTC)
Baker actually only proposed a single definition of a ghost town - a town that no longer has a reason for being. He then set out three more requirements for inclusion in his book: tangible remains, public access, and even distribution throughout Texas. So, disregarding those three, we have one proposed definition, set out by one man. I really don't think this needs a section to itself. Not only is it undue weight, it gives the impression that we're using Baker's criteria to determine what to include in this article. I think this section should be reduced to a single sentence in the lead; something like "T Lindsey Baker, author of Ghost Towns of Texas, defines a ghost town as 'a town for which the reason for being no longer exists'" (awkward phrasing, but that's what the book says). I'll do this myself if no-one objects. DoctorKubla (talk) 15:49, 16 August 2012 (UTC)
I've created the section "definition of a ghost town", and reduced the emphasis on Baker's views while giving some alternate ones. I've had to use very US-centric sources, though, so it would be good if someone could expand the section with info on global usage. DoctorKubla (talk) 11:11, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

List of ghost towns[edit]

I think something needs to be done about the "Ghost towns around the world" section. The purpose of this article is to define and explain the concept of a ghost town, not to list every ghost town that exists. That's what List of ghost towns is for. This article's "around the world" section should discuss the topic of ghost towns around the world, by briefly outlining the most common types of ghost town in each region, and giving a few notable examples. Ghost town#Canada does this well, as do a few others. All the one- or two-sentence entries that amount to "X is a ghost town" should be split to List of ghost towns – granted, that article's a bit of a mess, but I'm willing to fix it up and merge all this article's list-y content into it, if there's consensus to do so. DoctorKubla (talk) 13:05, 31 August 2012 (UTC)

I'll take that as silent consensus, then. DoctorKubla (talk) 13:26, 14 September 2012 (UTC)

Ghost Town The Band[edit]

Ghost Town is also the name of popular Band from the USA. They are known for electronic music and are popular on YOUTUBE most of their fans / haunted youth / ghosts became fans after youtuber HaiLedaBear used their music in the backround of her videos. Ghost Towns first song was " You're So Creepy. " Ghost Town didn't show their faces until an interview with pure volume, They have one music videos also they have amazing art work from Allister Dippner. Ghost Town are also know for creating a love of rock music for someone you would not expect like a Sikh girl or Quite smart girl. The band has 2 full albums "Party In The Graveyard" and their most recent album "The After Party" — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:43, 15 March 2013 (UTC)

Wrong assignation of towns[edit]

The one half of the article is about US towns and the other half for the rest of the world! This is a pretty unfair assignation, I guess the rest of the world has ghost towns that deserve same analysis and reference to the article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:52, 28 June 2013 (UTC)

I don't think it's true that this article's dominated by the US; it strikes me as being pretty even in its global coverage. Still, you're welcome to add sourced content about non-US towns if you feel they need more attention. DoctorKubla (talk) 07:05, 29 June 2013 (UTC)
I'd have to agree with you, and to note that the global coverage is kinda scattershot at this point, and needs some cohesion/organization brought onto it. I'd question the inclusion of items like Alexandria; Constantinople in the 15th century was much the same...but was never a "ghost" town and either's current status more than belies the "ghost town" concept; the North American concept, until this century anyway, was already broad; now the inclusion of the "nuclear" ghost towns and others complicates things for sure......and some "listed" ghost towns in British Columbia were really only railway surveys that never were settled; others have been absorbed by municipalities (e.g. Fairview within Oliver BC) and others which were once very large don't even have a name listing with the government as a former settlement (Granite Creek, near today's Coalmont BC). All the different things that made African and MidEast and Chinese and Russian ghost towns are usually very different, as is the result. All that being said, it might be better to split this by continent and/or era...but I see that the China content was marged into here....Skookum1 (talk) 12:46, 29 June 2013 (UTC)


I am removing this, which seems to be a spoof. I haven't found any other sources that mention the town of Sjöstad (except that it's used as the translation of "Lake-town" in Bilbo), or indeed mention any war between Sweden and Denmark during the 13th Century. For instance, I checked "Jarlens sekel" by Dick Harrison, which surely would mention this.

"Sometimes, wars and genocide end a town's life; this happened to the Swedish town of Sjöstad, Närke, in 1260, when the town's 700 merchants crossed the ice of Lake Vättern and were cut down by the Danes. The Danes then proceeded to the town, ravaging and burning it. The town was never resettled." (talk) 03:43, 2 October 2013 (UTC)