Missouri offers tons of great road trip options, but none offer creepy thrills quite like a
jaunt on I-44 to walk through ghost towns where time has utterly stopped. You’ll start in either St. Louis or Springfield, stopping along the way at eight deader-than-dead abandoned spots.
1. Columbia Bottom Conservation Area
Start your trip with the Columbia Bottom Conservation Area. Now a huge conservation area at the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, the area was once the site of St. Vrain. When developers finally realized that the wetlands were not great for building on, the community was abandoned by 1870. No one knows how many once called it home. Although nothing of the town remains, it's an eerie testament to how quickly nature can erase the work of human hands.
2. Times Beach
Today, you can visit Times Beach's one remaining building—what was once a roadhouse is now the park's visitor center.
Head southwest awhile until you hit the Fort Leonard Wood area. Leave I-44 at Newburg, then travel the original two-lane Route 66 until you reach what remains of Arlington, once a bustling resort town that was established in the 1860s. One particularly popular destination was Stony Dell Resort, where visitors could swim, dine, fish, boat and more. When Route 66 was rerouted in the 1940s, the town began to decline.
Until recently, there was one remaining business: a caravan park that shuttered in 2008. Today, a few cabins, as well as Stony Dell's restaurant and gift store, remain.
About 45 minutes southwest of Arlington along I-44 is Bloodland, a ghost town that some say is haunted by the community's former residents. Bloodland ceased to exist in 1940 when Fort Leonard Wood was built. At the time, the town included a high school, two general stores and a population of around 100.
5. Possum Trot
Continue on I-44 until you're south of Springfield. Just eight miles southwest of Nixa, you'll find what remains of Possum Trot: a church and a house. Earlier in its history, the town was known as Self.
6. Monark Springs
Head west on US-60 until you reach Monark Springs. Now a state conservation area, the abandoned town was the source of an outbreak of typhoid fever in the 1950s. Specifically, the outbreak surfaced at a national Church of God meeting, which hundreds attended from all over the country.
Travel north on 59 toward I-44 and head east on Aspen Road until you hit the ghost town of Gerber. This small town is where Aunt Mollie and Old Matt from the iconic The Shepherd of the Hills (pictured) book and (now shut-down) stage play were from. Founded in the late 1800s, the community slowly grew until the 1920s, when trains ceased making a stop there. Cars became widespread, but the good roads necessary to use the new mode of transportation did not get built in Garber. In 1928, the town's general store and post office burned and the population slowly dwindled. Today, all that remains is a stone church.
8. Georgia City
Make your way 15 miles north of Joplin to all that remains of Georgia City—the cemetery. The town was founded in the 1860s by John C. Guinn. Although it prospered for a time, it eventually became abandoned.
Have you visited any of these spooky abandoned spots? What do you think? Let us know!