It can be spooky and even fun to visit a deserted ghost town. Sometimes it’s hard to picture the town when it was bustling and everything was brand-new. It’s haunting to imagine the hopes and dreams of the homesteaders in these 11 Wyoming cities that are now deserted ghost towns.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Piedmont, Unita County
Established in 1896, Piedmont was close to Byrne, a small Union Pacific railroad station. Because of its proximity to Fort Bridger, soldiers were frequent visitors to the saloons in Piedmont. The town died in the early 1900s after the Aspen Tunnel was constructed and the railroad no longer passed through the town. Originally, the town had a school, a general store, a post office, a newspaper, and a two-story hotel. All that remains today are roughly 12 dilapidated structures.
2. Point of Rocks, Sweetwater County
Back in the day, this was more of a railroad and postal stop than a town. Known originally as the Almond Post Office, Point of Rocks was essentially made up of the post office, the post master's house, and a stage station. Over the years, the railroad stopped in Point of Rocks less and less frequently until it bypassed the town altogether. Mostly, the buildings that remain are only walls, though a few structures do have partial roofs.
3. Atlantic City, Fremont County
Far smaller and completely less glamorous than the Atlantic City on the East Coast, this ghost town lived a short life. Established in 1868, it was practically deserted by 1878. Still, Atlantic City, Wyoming was a fast-paced boom town in its time. It's estimated that at its peak, over 2,000 people lived in and around the town. The majority were miners and the rest worked in the stores and saloons in Atlantic City. Many buildings remain, as well as sections of the original boardwalk.
4. Bosler, Albany County
From 1900 until 1907, Bosler, Wyoming was little more than a postal stop for the Union Pacific Railroad. The irrigation project of 1907, however, caused the population to explode almost overnight. Soon there was a post office, a bank, a church house, and many homes filling out the town. It all dried up when a new highway was built and the railroad no longer made stops in Bosler.
5. South Pass, Fremont County
South Pass sprung up in 1842 after gold was discovered in nearby Sweetwater Creek. By 1870, the population was estimated to be around 4,000 at the city's peak of prosperity. Soon afterward, people began moving away and South Pass was a ghost town by 1949. Many of the buildings have been restored and are still standing today.
6. Miner's Delight, Fremont County
Miners began settling in Miner's Delight, Wyoming in 1867. The town went through periods of bust and boom up until after the Great Depression, during which it enjoyed its last rebound. The Bureau of Land Management took over the town and, though the BLM did not restore any of the buildings, it preserved the buildings that were left to allow the public to see stables, a bakery, a blacksmith's shop, a bath house, and several homes from the mining era.
7. Jay Em, Goshen County
Established in the early 1900s, Jay Em got its name from the initials of a local rancher, Jay Moore. Though it prospered up until the late 1930s and boasted a bank, a general store, a lumber yard, post office, and gas station and repair shop, the city never did get around to paving its streets or putting in sidewalks. As highways were built and transportation improved, Jay Em began to dry up until the last business closed its doors. Many residences and commercial structures are currently standing, though boarded up.
8. Antelope Flats, Teton County
In 1893, pioneers from Kansas came west to settle in Antelope Flats at the base of the Tetons. They found it difficult to grow crops in the cold climate so, by 1912, the small community had been abandoned. Yet, the handful of buildings still standing today are well-known. The "Teton Barn" and the few outbuildings in the area are some of the most photographed structures in the country.
9. Gebo, Hot Springs County
Like many of the early towns in Wyoming, Gebo was a mining town, but it was coal and not gold or silver that was mined here. Named after the founder of the Owl Creek Coal Company, Samuel W. Gebo, the town had a good run from 1907 to 1938. At the height of it's prosperity, Gebo was the county's largest town with over 20,000 residents. By the late 1960s, most people had moved away and much of the town was bulldozed around 1971, though the cemetery and some larger buildings and houses remain.
10. Upton, Weston County
Not much was left of Upton, Wyoming by the 1990s, so the Old Town Project was established to find and relocate late 1800s to early 1900s structures to the site in an attempt to preserve Wyoming's history. A jail, fire hall, homes, and ranch buildings from around the county now stand along the dirt roads of the original city.
11. Jireh, Niobrara County
Jireh, Wyoming is where a denominational college was constructed in 1909. The remote location was possibly thought to be a good spot for a college town, but the idea apparently didn't take off. Few people that weren't attending or employed by the college moved in and, by 1920, the school was closed due to lack of financial support. A couple of buildings and the foundation of Jireh College are all that remain standing today.