Characters who grip your heart
Ghost towns are spread all across our country, but there does seem to be a larger number in the western states. What turns a thriving town into a ghost town?
A number of events can affect the life and growth of a town. Take for instance Golden, New Mexico, the setting for my latest novel.
This area was inhabited by Spaniards and Indians long before Americans became interested in the area. However, the first gold strike west of the Mississippi was in this area. Hence the name Golden, New Mexico. Miners struck gold there in 1825, years before gold was found in Colorado or California.
The area remained fairly quiet with just mining camps and placer miners. Shortly after these mining camps were formed, the San Francisco Catholic Church was built in about 1830. That building is still standing. Tourists along the Turquoise Trail from Albuquerque to Santa Fe like to take pictures of it. My publisher included the church building on my cover.
Decades later, several large companies put money into the mines. In 1870 Golden was chosen as the center for the mining district. At the time of my book, 1890, the town supported several saloons, businesses, a school, and even a stock exchange.
I believe the major influence that led to the later demise of Golden was when the railroad chose to go through Los Cerrillos far to the north of Golden. When the mines began to play out, the town declined. By 1928, the post office closed, and Golden became an official ghost town.
Perhaps you have areas near you where a town used to thrive. If so, please tell us about some of them.
Photos of Golden, New Mexico used by permission: www.ghosttowns.com
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