Ghost towns are amazing places to learn about the history of places, because you can easily imagine what life must have been like there. Believe it or not, the state of Utah has over 100 ghost towns. Most of them date back to the days of the Wild West in the late 19th century, when people were moving westward to work in the mines and build the railroad. The towns they left behind are interesting to visit, and eerie, too!
Utah Ghost Towns: Plan a Fun Visit to These Five
Cisco is a somewhat-recently deserted town - it was declared devoid of activity in the 1990s. Founded in the 1880s, Cisco was a railroad town that also served as a valuable water stop for locomotives, as well as sheep farmers. The town had its second boom in the 1920s when oil and gas were discovered nearby, and the increase of car travel in the 1950s allowed Cisco to be a rest stop for weary travelers. However, the construction of I-70 caused motorists to go elsewhere for meals and Cisco’s residents eventually moved out of town.
Ironically named after the Egyptian god of the afterlife, Osiris was settled in 1910 by a family that constructed a large summer house and a creamery. The family’s attempt to convert the creamery into a grain bill proved to be a mistake, due to intense weather conditions and substandard farming practices, and the operation was abandoned in the 1920s. It is a particularly interesting place to visit because of its proximity to the Sevier River and location inside picturesque Black Canyon.
The abandoned town of Frisco, built in 1879, is the literal definition of the Wild Wild West! This was a practically lawless town that sprang up close to the mines. Miners enjoyed no less than 26 saloons as well as many brothels and places to gamble. Frisco was known as a murder capital until the sheriff showed up and declared that criminals could either leave the town or be shot. Apparently, the sheriff shot and killed six criminals that night and the town became more peaceful. After the main part of the mine, which had copper, silver, and gold, collapsed in 1885, miners gradually moved to find employment elsewhere. Frisco ultimately reached its demise in the 1920s.
Located in the remote Henry Mountains of southern Utah, Eagle City was settled as a gold mining camp around 1890. Its existence came to an end right around the start of World War I. After prospectors discovered gold in the nearby Bromide Basin, the town grew to 100 people and was complete with a saloon, doctor’s office, general store, and even a hotel. However, as miners dug deeper into the earth, the mines began to fill with water, and miners started to leave. Most others left to serve in the first World War. Today, there are ruins as well as complete houses that you can see in magnificent mountain scenery.
Built in 1862, Grafton is a strikingly attractive and well-maintained ghost town, which explains why it is the most photographed ghost town in the West. The town was founded as part of a cotton-growing experiment led by the Mormon settler Brigham Young. Unfortunately, the soil was not very good for growing cotton and a war with the Black Hawk Native Americans in 1866 caused most of the town’s residents to leave for good. By the 1940s, the town was completely deserted.
This article was written by Cathy Trainor.