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Ghost Towns in California

Daisy Mariposa, a travel agent for several years, has occupational certificates in Travel Management and International Business.

Bodie, California was photographed by Jon Sullivan on September 6, 2004. This ghost town is located in Mono County.

Bodie, California was photographed by Jon Sullivan on September 6, 2004. This ghost town is located in Mono County.

What is a ghost town?

There are many resources online and many printed texts which explain what a ghost town is. In the context of this article, I consider a ghost town—many of which are located in the western part of the United States— to be a town which was once thriving due to its natural resources, but which is now deserted—or nearly deserted—because those resources have been depleted. In the case of California, the resources were gold, silver, and oil.

In this article, you'll view photographs and learn the history of some of these California ghost towns.

How many ghost towns are there in California?

There are more than 150 ghost towns in the state. Some towns have been reduced to being just a sign, as in the case of North Bloomfield (formerly Humbug) in Nevada County. Some towns are disintegrating, sinking into San Francisco Bay, and being allowed to die, as in the case of Drawbridge in Alameda County.

Bodie in Mono County has been designated the Official State Gold Rush Ghost Town and Calico in San Bernardino County has been designated the Official State Silver Rush Ghost Town.

Justin Smith took this photograph on October 8, 2008 of the area where North Bloomfield was located. The town was formerly called Humbug.

Justin Smith took this photograph on October 8, 2008 of the area where North Bloomfield was located. The town was formerly called Humbug.

COUNTYGHOST TOWNS

Alameda

Drawbridge

Amador

Drytown

Butte

Cherokee, Hamilton

Calaveras

Antelope House, Balaklava Hill, Blue Mountain, Brownsville, Buckeye Hill, Camanche, Camp Spirito, Carson Hill, Chichi, El Dorado Bar, Fremont Valley, Greasertown, Hodson, Independence Flat, Lower Calaveritas, Mammoth Cave, McLeans Bar, McLeans Ferry, Melones, Mill Valley, North American House, Norval, Oregon Bar, Pattees Ranch, Sandy Bar, Spanish Bar, Stony Bar, Stoutenburg, Taylors Bar, Tremont House, Yaqui Camp

Contra Costa

Nortonville, Port Chicago

Imperial

Picacho, Tumco

Inyo

Ballarat, Bend City, Cerro Gordo, Chloride City, Chrysopolis, Coso, Darwin, Dunmovin, Greenwater, Haiwee, Kearsarge, Keeler, Leadfield, Lookout City, Owensville, Panamint City, San Carlos, Skidoo, Swansea, White Mountain City, Zurich

Kern

Freeman Junction, Garlock, Goler Heights, Hatfields Camp, Lee Camp, Randsburg

Kings

Kingston

Los Angeles

Eldoradoville, Llano Del Rio, Mentryville

Madera

Grub Gulch

Marin

Dogtown

Mariposa

Agua Fria, Indian Gulch, Mount Ophir

Merced

Merced Falls

Mono

Bennettville, Benton, Bodie, Dechambeau Ranch, Halfway Camp, Mammoth City, Masonic

Monterey

Manchester

Nevada

North Bloomfield, You Bet

Placer

Deadwod, Iowa Hill, Westville

Plumas

Seneca

Riverside

Eagle Mountain, Midland, Temescal, Terra Cotta

San Benito

New Idria

San Bernardino

Agua Mensa, Amboy, Atolia, Bagdad, Calico, Chambless, Essex, Goffs, Hart, Kelso, Ludlow, Providence, Red Mountain, Rice, Rincon (Prado), Siberia, Silver Lake, Trona, Valley Wells, Vanderbilt

San Joaquin

Banta, Carnegie, San Joaquin City

San Mateo

Purissima

Santa Clara

Alma, Coyota, Holy City, Lexington, New Almaden, Patchen, Wrights

Shasta

Shasta

Sierra

Gibsonville, Port Wine, St. Louis

Siskiyou

Bestville, Guillion Bar, Negro Flat

Sonoma

Wingo

Trinity

Denny

Tuolumne

Chinese Camp

Yolo

Wycoff

Yuba

Timbuctoo