June 13, 2009

I Love Ghost Towns

There are ghost towns scattered all across our country. All of them were real towns at some time or another.

The book I'm writing for Summerside Press is set in what is now a ghost town. One building from the time period of my book is still standing and well cared for. The church.

A good friend of mine went to the area and took pictures of what's left for me. Some were ruins of rock walls where houses had stood. Broken fences and gates and other things can be found scattered over the area.

At the time of my book, the area was a thriving mining town with a couple of banks, a stock exchange, stores, and a stamping factory, among other things. But none of that is left. I've taken us back to that time when people loved the area and commerce reigned. In addition to the mines, the railroad ran close to the town, so the people could bring in all the products available from other areas of the country.

I've found another ghost town in a different state that I've written a proposal for. As happens with some of the ghost towns, people in the area saw the potential for making it a tourist spot. Old building have been brought in and there's a thriving tourist trade. I really hope the publisher shows an interst in this story, too. I have another friend who lives near this place and is willing to go take pictures of it for me. I can find pictures on the Internet, but I want pictures that we can use in the book.

This friend told me about another ghost town near where she lives. It dates back to the early 1830s. All the buildings are standing and in fairly good condition, but the whole town is empty. Not a soul lives there. She said it's spooky to drive through there, because everything looks so good, but no one is there.

When I find a ghost town anywhere I'm visiting, I always like to go see it, whether it's been turned into a tourist place, or not. You can find a lot of interesting things that tell you how people lived in that area in the past, and that's what I like to write about. We learn a lot about our own history that way.

I walk through whatever buildings are standing and ask questions like, Who lived here? What did they do? What happened to keep the town from thriving and continuing to the present day?

Answers to questions like that are often the beginning of another book.

Happy hunting for ghost towns near where you are. If you find any interesting ones, let me know about them.

Thank you,
Lena Nelson Dooley

1 comment:

Molly Noble Bull said...

I love ghost towns, too. I visited one once is West Texas, and I really got a creepy feeling just being there.