Thursday, January 1, 2015

Ghost Towns of Texas

Lobo was mostly abandoned in the late 1960s. Cotton farming was the main activity, but when the cost of agriculture became too expensive, the town went into a rapid decline. By 1991, the city east of El Paso was completely abandoned.

Terlingua is one of Texas' most famous ghost towns. Howard Perry began his Chisos Mining Company with the discovery of cinnabar, from which the metal mercury is extracted, in the mid-1880s. By 1900 the city had 2,000 residents. After the mineral price fell after World War II, the city was abandoned.

Glenrio was once a booming town along the famous Route 66. The town was established in 1903, and grew through the years until Interstate 40 was built in the 1950s. By 1985, only two residents remained

Indianola was once envisioned as a competitor to Galveston and New Orleans. The town was founded in 1844 and was known as a port city. Population grew to over 2,500 by 1860. Two devastating hurricanes hit in 1875 and 1886, leaving the town in ruins.

Barstow. George E. Barstow founded the town in the 1890s. In 1900, the city had a population of over 1000, and boomed with its successful farming industry. In 1904 the Pecos Dam broke, damaging all the fruit and vegetable crops. With severe droughts following, the population rapidly dwindled. By 1930, the town was all but abandoned.

Bluffton. Normally at least 20 to 30 feet underwater, this gravestone has joined other remnants of old Bluffton, Texas as they resurface on a dry, sandy lake bed. Old Bluffton was abandoned when Buchanan Dam was constructed in 1937, forcing water to cover the town and its pecan orchards and cornfields.

Paducah. Drive through Paducah, in northwest Texas, and what you see is a dying town. The 1930s-era Cattle County Courthouse is hemmed in on all sides by abandoned brick buildings, several of them collapsed in on themselves. The population was 1,498 at the 2000 census.

Thurber was built by the Johnson Coal Company that was later bought out by The Texas and Pacific Coal Company in 1888. It's mining operation provided the fuel for coal-burning locomotives. At one time the coal deposits were thought to be inexhaustible. The switching of locomotives from coal to oil was in large part responsible for Thurber's demise.

Toyah began as a trading post for the large area ranches. Toyah reported a population of 771 in 1910, and the town became a major cattle-shipping point on the railroad. Toyah lost its shipping business to a new point on the line which was closer to the ranches. The population was 100 by 2000.