I Love Ghost Towns

Lena Nelson DooleyLena


   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.

General Merchandise 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.Golden Mine area

 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.

 Most of these ghost towns have interesting histories if a person wants to dig deep enough to find it. And that’s what I did with Golden.Golden New Mexico

 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



Lena’s exciting new book is available now!

Love Finds You in Golden, New Mexico


All that glitters is not gold.

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21 thoughts on “I Love Ghost Towns”

  1. Lena, welcome to Wildflower Junction. I’ve never been to Golden but I do love ghost towns. So many stories can be found among the ruins, all waiting to be told.

    Good luck with your new book. It sounds wonderful!

  2. Hi Lena, Thank you for visiting Petticoats & Pistols! It’s interesting how losing the post office signaled the official demise of Golden. I wonder how that would translate to today and the internet. No wiresless? No town!

  3. Hi Lena, welcome to P&P! Great post I love reading about ghost towns! I can’t say I have ever been to a ghost town but love reading about them. Your book sound fantastic!

  4. i’m pretty sure i’d be scared in a ghost town just b/c of the name 🙂
    that’s why i live in the midwest…none of those here

    checked out your page/book
    sounds like a great story
    love your cover!

  5. Love the cover, Lena, and the setting. Holcomb Valley, a defunct mining town in the San Bernardino Mountains in California is a fun place to visit. Ther’s a couple othr ghost towns I know about but have yet to visit.

    Thanks for visiting Wildflower Junction today!

  6. Hi Lena, it’s great to have you back to blog with us. You’ll find this of interest….I was born and raised in Eastern New Mexico. It’s the desert part of the state and not much there. I really love the mountains and the sections where pine trees reach to the sky. It’s very beautiful. Santa Fe is breathtaking. I’ve never been to Golden and have never even heard of it until you blogged today. What part of NM is it located?

    Your new release looks wonderful. I wish you lots of success.

  7. I forgot to say that I love the ghost town of Lincoln, NM. Lots of history happened there–Billy the Kid, the Lincoln County War among other things. It’s a really neat place to visit. My family went up there a lot when I was growing up.

  8. Hi, Lena! Welcome to Petticoats & Pistols. Love the post. We’ve got a sort of ghost town near us. Weird really. One family lives in this ‘town’ that is no more. Several houses, an old dance hall. They own it all.

    They had their children’s high school graduations in the dance hall. It’s HUGE and old and my in-laws remember Lawrence Welk playing there. IT was quite the buzzing place.

  9. My maternal grandparents settled in Gibson, New
    Mexico when they came to the U.S. in 1910 from Mexico. Abuelito Veloz went to work in the coal mine which was the main (only?) job provider.
    Several of their children, including my mother,
    were born there. ‘Lito and ‘Lita came to Houston
    when work in the mine slowed down. Gibson, which
    was in McKinley County near Gallup, is now on the
    list of New Mexico ghost towns!

    Pat Cochran

  10. Never been to a ghost town… always wanted to visit one though… a person’s imagination could go wild in one… create little stories about what it was like there before it was deserted…

  11. Hi Lena,
    I have never been to a ghost town but would love to visit. The history of the place and all those feelings of the past wold be great.I love your cover and now have it on my TRL.
    Carol L.

  12. Beautiful cover, Lena. You’re obviously a lady who does her homework.
    We have quite a few ghost towns here in Utah. My favorite is Kimberly, an old mining town set in a beautiful mountain canyon. Haven’t been there since I was a kid — have no idea how much of it is left.

  13. I like the cover on your book. I have seen several churches in New Mexico that looked similar.
    I live in Arizona and there are a lot of old ghost towns here. Oatman, Az is one I have visited. They have a big parade there yearly complete with burros that roam the town freely. They seem to have the right-of-way.

  14. Ghost towns have very intersting buildings sometimes that are really fun to paint. I like to imagine who lived there and what exciting things happened in those old towns. Ghost towns are fun to visit.

  15. Uh…I don’t mean the people who LIVE in the ghost town are weird. They’re lovely.

    It’s the town being deserted. Please read my comment in that spirit. 🙂

  16. Hey, everyone, sorry it took me so long to leave a comment. James and I drove up to Oklahoma City, where I’m speaking at Mardel Christian Store in Edmond tomorrow afternoon at 1:00 pm. If anyone lives close enough, visitors are welcome.

    Thanks for saying you love the cover. I do, too. Summerside Press really does a good job with their covers.

    Linda, Golden is on the Turquoise trail from Albuquerque to Santa Fe, but much closer to Albuquerque.

    Elizabeth, you’re right. I even teach authors how to do the research to find the information to make their stories authentic.

    I hope you all like the book when you read it.

  17. Thank you for an interesting post. Here in the mid-South, there are many small communities that once had a school, stores, mills, blacksmiths, and post offices. Today, the schools are closed, sometimes used as Ruritan buildings or community centers. The stores for the most part are gone. We live in one of those communities. It had a school and two stores and one of the bigger houses also had a blacksmith shop. Both stores are gone. The school is closed and in need of serious repair if it will be used by anyone. The blacksmith shop is long gone, however my son and husband their own forge and woodworking shop. All that remains are 4 of the original houses dating back to the late 1800’s. It is not the community it used to be, just a bunch of neighbors now.

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