Ghost Towns. Washington is chock full of them. With a little help from Google maps, onlyinyourstate.com, and Tim Nyhus from Ghost Towns of Washington, we have planned your Ghost Town, USA road trip! Well - in Washington at least. As we've done quite a bit of coverage about road trips recently, it only seemed fitting to do something off the beaten trail...quite literally.
With seven locations, the entire route would take about eight hours and 21 minutes (not including drive time from Seattle to the first town). Depending on how long you want the trip to last, maybe pack a tent, (and some snacks) because who knows what will happen out there, kids.
FIRST STOP: Govan, Washington
Starting your trip along Highway Two, you will come across the former town, Govan. To be honest with you, this place looks very creepy. It was originally founded as a ranching community in the 1800s and has slowly been abandoned because the farming in the area crumbled. Once the roads were built and the cars hit the road, people started leaving and for larger towns. Bright lights, big city, right?!
So, what's left? An abandoned school house, post office, and a few other structures.
SECOND STOP: Sherman, Washington
Hop back in your car and find the next Ghost Town, Sherman, only a short 15 miles northeast of Govan. During the agricultural boom in the 1880's it was at one time or another a very successful destination. But, just like Govan, when the roads and cars made movement easier, the citizens of Sherman took a hike (or a drive, rather) and left it in their dust.
So, what's left? A Schoolhouse, church and cemetery. Sound like a horror movie? I know...
THIRD STOP: Bodie, Washington
Bodie was originally founded as a mining town around 1888. It recieved it's name because the town is located right by the mouth of Bodie Creek. Up until the 1930s, ore was processed and milled until the price of gold had the citizens running for the hills. Goodbye, Bodie.
So, what's left? Many old log buildings, and a feisty nightclub...I'm kidding! No nightclub in Bodie.
FOURTH STOP: Chesaw, Washington
Back in the car! You are about halfway finished with this thrilling and kind of creepy endeavor.. It's time to drive about 15 miles west of Bodie, where you will stumble upon Chesaw in all of its pride and glory!This town only lived for about 4 years from 1886-1890. Gone, but never forgotten.
So, what's left? Old buildings and cabins
FIFTH STOP: Molson, Washington
Close to the Canadian border, Molson was once a poppin' town back in 1900. After an influx of about 300 people, the town developed a newspaper, stores, an attorney, a doctor, a saloon, and a hotel (bets are off that it was a five star). As mining started to fail only 1 short year later, the population fell to 12. That was short lived!
So, what's left?: Molson was preserved as an "open-air museum" with pioneer buildings (including an old schoolhouse), farm machinery and other vintage artifacts.
SIXTH STOP: Nighthawk, Washington
You're almost there! Now you have reached Nighthawk. With a name like Nighthawk, why would you never want to leave?! Sitting by the Similkameen River, Nighthawk received its unusual name from a nearby mine that's, not surprisingly, now closed. In the early 1900s the town was full of hotels, a saloon and even a railroad depot. However, the mines were shut down because of operating expenses and the decline in metal value. Today, the population is now less than ten people.
So, what's left?: 10 people, several old structures.
SEVENTH & FINAL STOP: Dyer, Washington
Congratulations! You have officially survived the trip. Welcome tot he last and final destination on our eight hour road trip:Dyer! Dyer is a former community in Douglas Country that has the biggest population in the state of Washington... KIDDING! Just making sure you are paying attention. Although there is not a soul is in sight, it's still home to several deserted homesteads, old pottery and other relics.
And you've made it! Time to head home. Are you thoroughly creeped out yet or have you enjoyed the little trip through Washington's past?! Either way, it's crazy to think that these small towns exist all over our country.