When we hear the term “ghost town” we often think of books and movies but as it turns out they are more real than you might think. The state of Mississippi actually has several of these eerily quiet towns just waiting to be explored. So, if you don’t get creeped out too easily, check out the list below.
The town of Bankston, located in Choctaw County, was at one point a town filled with factories manufacturing supplies for the Confederate Army during the Civil War. Being that the town was so strongly affiliated with the Confederacy, the Union Army saw Bankston as a threat and decided something must be done. So, shortly after midnight on December 30, 1864, 11 soldiers burned down all of the factories in the town. As of today, the town is still practically abandoned with the exception of an old cemetery.
At one time, the Jefferson County town was thriving with dozens of stores, banks, and two newspapers - even making it comparable to Natchez and Vicksburg. Eventually, however, the once booming town began a downward spiral partially due to the Mississippi River changing course after the Civil War. As if that weren’t bad enough, the town suffered two severe fires as well as the yellow fever epidemics of 1843 and 1898.
Formed around 1819, this Lowndes County town was centered around the home of John Pitchlynn, an interpreter responsible for communicating with the Choctaw Indians on the United State’s behalf. Unfortunately for residents of Plymouth, the town was subject to repeated flooding. In just 20 short years, residents abandoned the town looking for a more ideal location to call home. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980, present day Plymouth includes a cemetery, village-site, and numerous abandoned buildings.
4. Electric Mills
Not surprisingly, this town received its name because it was the site of one of the state’s first electric saw mills. In about 1910, the mill was opened and with it came a bustling economy. The town had a theater, doctor’s office, gas station, and many more businesses. It has even been reported that Electric Mills was home to about 1,000 residents. By the 1950’s the mill had been shut down which led to the town dwindling away.
The seat of Jackson County government from 1826 to 1870, Americus consisted of a courthouse, jail, and general store, which also served as the "Courthouse Post Office." It is believed that the small rural community, located just south of Cedar Creek, was made up mostly of poor farmers. Eventually, the county courthouse was moved to Brewer’s Bluff most likely because of the town being ideally located near the newly constructed railroad. Once the courthouse was relocated, the town of Americus just dwindled away.
6. Brewton (a.k.a Brewer's Bluff)
At one time, this town seemed to be doing pretty well – it was a lumber town and the site of Jackson County’s second courthouse. Located near the west bank of the Pascagoula River, Brewton was reportedly comprised of stores, houses, a hotel and a bank. Today, all that remains is the basement of the courthouse which was allegedly burned down by the infamous outlaw James Copeland and his gang.
In the 1800’s, Gainesville was a lively, bustling sawmill town in Hancock County. The town was one of the most prosperous in the area due to the lumber and shipping industries – that is until the railroad was introduced and utilized as the primary means of transportation. Since the area relied heavily on transportation by water, the railroad caused the town to quickly decline. Fast forward to the late 1950’s, early 1960’s at which point NASA came to the area and constructed a test site. At the time of construction, the town had less than 50 families and only one store. Due to construction of the test site, much of the area was cleared forcing the remainder of the residents to vacate their homes.
Starting out, it seemed as if Holmesville was on its way to becoming a well-known, busy town. Not only was the town the site of Mississippi’s First Territorial General Assembly, it also served as the county seat of Pike County from 1816 until 1875. While at its peak, Holmesville’s economy was booming with numerous hotels, stores, and saloons. The good times ended for the river town when the railroad came to the area causing many to forget about the river and, in turn, Holmesville.
Are you going to make a trip to one of these towns or do you know of any other ghost towns in the state? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments section below!