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Birth of a Ghost Town March 23, 2011

Posted by bobv451 in death, ghost towns, New Mexico, sci-fi, science fiction, sense of wonder, westerns, Wild West, writing.

Fascination is the only way I can describe how I feel about old west boom towns, their sudden rise and all too often instant fall due to mines or other sources of $$$ failing. In the canyon east of Albuquerque are quasi ghost towns, former coal mining towns now populated by tie-dyed T-shirt wearing, gimcrack selling hippies left over from the ‘60s (1960s, of course). If not for them Golden and Madrid would be full ghost-blown towns.

Something similar to the coal, silver or gold mines closing occurred during the 1950s and ‘60s. For a while there were anti-bypass laws demanding that the interstate highways not take the straightest route but having to go through all the tiny towns not fortunate enough to be situated along the proposed roadways. When that law died, so did the smaller towns unlucky enough to be bypassed. Mesilla in southern NM made a bad decision to gouge the railroad for right of way. Las Cruces, only a few miles off, gave the land for free. Mesilla is a subset now (and has been for some time) of Las Cruces.

Stories abound in such towns and former towns. It is with some amazement I read about American cities becoming shadows of their former selves as we watch.

If this can happen to major centers like Las Vegas, Orlando, Phoenix, Detroit (now about the same size as Albuquerque), what is going on with smaller towns? All this is for economic reasons–no jobs. Same as in the Wild West days.

Modern society is in the process of adding a new reason to create a ghost town. This abandoned atom lighthouse is curious but understandable, considering it is Russian.

I suspect Fukushima is likely to be concreted over and buried deep, unlike most ghost towns where people simply walk away. But this will be an instant ghost town? Ah, the story possibilities, both from the old west and current headlines.


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