Summer is here and everyone seems ready for another road trip! If you’re one that loves visiting old ghost towns and abandoned places, you’ll definitely want to hop in the car or motorcycle and visit these ghost towns. The total trip will only take you a few hours (plus time spent in the ghost towns exploring). For the full map, just print this
Google map and choose your starting point.
Located on State Highway 18 in Pawnee County, Ralston first became a town when its post office opened in 1894. The town became connected to other towns by the railroad and was prosperous for many years. It operated many saloons, churches, schools and banks. Many residents still live in Ralston, but it is now considered a ghost town.
Also located in Pawnee County on Blackburn Road, this incorporated town of Blackburn got its start after the Cherokee Land Opening in 1893. A toll bridge for wagons and a ferry connected it to Osage Nation, since it sits on the south side of the Arkansas River. Before statehood in 1907, Blackburn was a whiskey town in Oklahoma Territory and it bordered the "dry" Indian Territory land. The town didn't flourish like others that were connected to other towns by railroad or state highway, but it still has several families that still live in town today.
Your third stop on this road trip will take you to the town of Skedee, also located in Pawnee County. Named after the Skidi band of the Pawnee tribe, Skedee welcomes you with a 25-ft. monument that reads, “BOND OF FRIENDSHIP.” And further down: “WELCOME TO SKEDEE.” Skedee was started by the railroad in 1902 as a place to stop and get water from Crystal Creek for steam engines en route from Newkirk to Pauls Valley. The train track was abandoned in 1957, when the bridge over Crystal Creek washed out. No businesses remain in Skedee and the population in the 2010 census was around 50 residents.
The fourth stop on the ghost town road trip will take you to Ingalls in Payne County. The town started in 1889 as a result of the "Unassigned Lands" land run. It became famous for the Battle of Ingalls - a shootout between U.S. Marshals and the Doolin-Dalton gang in 1893. A few abandoned, old buildings still exist, including replicas of the Ingalls Hotel, stable, saloon and general store. The town is still occupied by residents, mostly from three families that have occupied Ingalls for over 70 years.
Avery was officially started in 1902 with the establishment of its post office. It is located in Payne County just south of present day Cushing. Passenger trains passed through town every day in Avery's early days, which led to becoming a key agricultural and shipping center. Avery started to decline during the Great Depression and when oil was discovered nearby. Avery didn't reap any benefits of the oil and the larger oil boom towns took over. Avery's Post Office closed in 1957. Present day Avery still has a few homes, church, cemetery and the old Works Project Administration (WPA) school.
The last stop on your road trip will land you in the town of Shamrock in Creek County. This once booming oil town now sits abandoned with old buildings and only a few residents left. The town started in 1910 and took on an Irish theme with multiple streets named after Irish characters and buildings painted green. Shamrock began to decline after the oil workers moved onto bigger boomtowns, such as Cushing. Shamrock is still home to about 100 residents.