View Full Version : Latitude and Longitude

02-18-2004, 07:45 AM
Why not include Latitude and Longitude coordinates for each ghost town on your web site?

This seems like a very easy thing to add that would be extremely useful to everyone involved.


02-18-2004, 08:46 AM
I don't know how ghosttowns.com feels about including lattitude and longitude for the ghosttowns, but I personally am against it. Part of the thrill of ghosttowning, is researching and finding it on your own. I also feel that people that are going to take the time to find a place on their own are less apt to go out there and vandalize these historical places.

Ryan Hill
02-18-2004, 08:59 AM
I completely agree with you, Cecile. Searching for the sites IS Ghosttowning, and this makes up a huge part of my vacations and I find it extreemly enjoyable.
L and L would make things too easy, and would spoil my fun!


02-18-2004, 10:36 AM
Well, our view on that hasnt changed since day 1 - For the complete pages along with tutorials on how to find the town and read the maps etc go here http://www.ghosttowns.com/visiting.html

Otherwise here is the section dealing with directions:


Visiting our historic past can be one of the most rewarding experiences we can have. However, some people don't take it very seriously. You will find that most ghost town sites have been mostly or completely vandalized or shot to pieces. For the sake of preserving our history we have not given the exact directions to any of the ghost towns on this web site. We feel that if you are serious about visiting ghost towns you can take the information we give you together with a small amount of work and locate the towns. Individuals who take the time to do this will hopefully enjoy an awesome visit to our past and not take or destroy it. It might be good to point out here that there are federal and state laws governing "ghost towning". Federal law states an individual can be imprisoned and fined for so much as digging a small hole or removing anything at an archaeological site. Unfortunately this rules out all metal detecting. The only thing you can legally take at a ghost town is pictures! With that said, here is all the information you need to locate ghost towns, as well as other use full information. Happy ghost town hunting!

02-18-2004, 02:03 PM
I agree with Cecile and Ryan but also figure most well-known sites are easy to find. What I love is the difficult ones where the USGS GNIS location is off by miles. When you bag on of those, you feel like you've done something. Besides, if you really try and fail, someone will usually point you in the correct direction.

High Desert Drifter
02-18-2004, 10:20 PM
Why not include Latitude and Longitude coordinates for each ghost town on your web site?

This seems like a very easy thing to add that would be extremely useful to everyone involved.


I remember when I first started ghost towning, I would sometimes become so frustrated that I could not locate information or directions to a certain historic location. My views have since changed on this. Now the hard work and sweat put in to finding some of the harder ghost towns becomes all the fun. Besides, if we as ghost towners blurt it all out there for everyone and anyone, it won't last long and future generations will likely miss it. Vandalism and carelessness is a ghost towns number one enemy. My advice to you is to get some mapping software, a gps and a few good map books.... and of course, keep networking with those who love to explore !

High Desert Drifter

02-19-2004, 01:46 PM
Okay, here's the problem with those of you who love to spend hours trying to find a ghost town -- some of us don't have that precious time.

I will be traveling about 3000 miles this summer on a road trip. We might have an hour or two to spend looking at a ghost town -- I don't want to spend two hours LOOKING for the darned thing, and never find it.

Please, I want to introduce my kids to ghost towns -- Latitude and Longitude for Alabama ghost towns would be a HUGE help. I am not looking to desicrate or otherwise spoil the ghost town -- I just don't have a lot of time.

Finally, if you don't want ghost towns to be easy to find, what is the point of this &^%$#@! web site? This web site is an oxymoron!


Ryan Hill
02-19-2004, 03:04 PM
It has already been explained why the Ghost Towns have not been made easy to find. This site is not an oxymoron as the process of Ghosttowning (which has also bee explained if you've even bothered to look, or perhaps you don't have the time???) is what makes this site what it is. It's all rolled-up into the fascinating ball which is ghosttoowns.com.
The changes most likely will not be met to suit the needs of one person, unfortunately.

Anyhow, I'm not gonna jump on a plane and fly 8+ hours to the US simply to spend 5 minutes to effortlessly find a Ghost Town which everybody else has probably visited, taken photos of, as well as vandalised.

Sometimes precautions have to be taken to insure the saefty of GTs., and anybody can vandalize or steel from a Ghost Town. In my opinion trust seams to wear a bit thin these days.

02-19-2004, 03:43 PM
Somehow I think you miss the point of ghosttowning. While there are a few ghosttowns that you can just drive to and stop in and visit for a couple of hours, many ghosttowns involve a lot of driving out in the middle of nowhere on rough dirt roads. It might take a half day or more to get there, and then more than a couple of hours just to enjoy it after you did. Even if we had lattitude and longitude for these places to give you, it might not be as simple as you are expecting it to be. If there's not an obvious road or foot trail to get you where you want to go you might spend a lot of time driving up and down several routes and still not get to that lattitude and longitude. Often you find that the trail has suddenly disappeared due to weather or or whatever, then you have to backtrack and find another route, you can't blaze your own trail. And do you know what to look for when you get to that spot where you are expecting the ghosttown to be? What may have once been a cabin, may only be the remnants of a rock foundation buried in overgrown brush or trees, and you may not recognize it as such. Tin cans, pottery and glass shards, old bricks, and other bits & pieces may look like trash to you, but I may see the remnants of a whole mining town and be able to tell you something about the people that lived there and perhaps be able to lay out the town as it once was, at least in my mind. There are books out there that help with those kind of ghosttowns, by the way. One in particular is "The Mining Camp Speaks: A new Way To Explore the Ghost Towns of the AmericanWest" by Beth and Bill Sagstetter. This should be readily available on amazon.com, if anyone is interested in that. Other books tell histories and have old pictures of particular ghosttowns to help you but the pieces together, and often these books do provide information how to get there.

In my opinion a site like ghosttowns.com is a place to come talk about the adventure and passion of ghosttowning. We can discuss the history of these places, share our visits to them with each other, make new friends to go out and explore with,and give out enough information so you can learn to ghosttown yourself if you are interested. It's also a place to talk about the proper vehicle and the supplies you need to survive trips to remote areas. Depending on where you want to go, you may need 4 wheel drive, and should be traveling with at least one other vehicle. You need to be prepared if an emergency arises. I can tell you what I'm outfitted with, others here may have different ideas of what to take.

It also might help if you tell us exactly what places you want to go to. If someone here has been there, they can tell you if it is still in existence or not and if it's worth your while to try and find it. It might even be a place that people are happy to share "how to get there" info.

02-19-2004, 04:36 PM
I know of perhaps 2,500 hundred ghost towns in Nevada alone. Many of these are real lucky to see ten people a year. There are numerous ghosts (like Rhyolite) that accurate lat/longs can be easily had. Well over a 1000 in Nevada alone and the smallest amount of effort (USGS GNIS, Google, Numerous Ghost Town Books) will get you to them. Less than 1% of the USGS locations are seriously flawed and then its pretty obscure sites.

The sites that USGS doesn’t have, those are the sites that require work. I read maybe 20 hours a week, spend time perusing old maps and microfilmed newspapers, chase down mining records, etc.. These other sites are not for everyone. They haven’t been looted, vandalized, destroyed except by time and nature. If they have structures still standing, they may still have glass in their windows and furniture inside. If you think we are going help any bozo with a GPS and SUV find those your naivete is showing.

Now, if you have a couple of sites you’d like to bag this summer, now is the time to use this (and other) resource to inquire. Have you tried the USGS GNIS nameserver? Have you done a Google Search on that site. Have you asked if others had trouble locating or accessing the site?

02-20-2004, 07:02 AM
Okay... Let me start at a different point, and maybe I can somehow *magicly* prove to you that I'm not going to vandalize a ghost town...

I'm 35 years old. When I was a kid, my father took me to several ghost towns in Texas and Colorado. I have no idea how he found them, but I really enjoyed them, and have some great memories. NOW it's my turn -- I have two young kids of my own, and I want to give them the same FUN, memorable experience.

I feel like a bad father because I can't figure out how to find these darned places. My father somehow just knew where they were, and we drove up to them -- there was no "blazing our own trail", as these ghost towns were all very easy to get to in his Datsan 280Z.

To make matters worse, I find a very informative web site, which I believe might help me with my shortcoming (disability?), and I ask for some help. The response I get is extremely harsh, and accuses me of being a vandal. How can I possibly prove I'm not a vandal? In the USA, you are innocent until proven guilty!

I have every intention of protecting history. I watch the history channel for hours on end (just ask my wife) -- why would I destroy it?

I own a 4x4 Expedition. I've driven through 1.5 miles of 2-foot-deep mud after two days of rain in Leakey, Texas. We were vacationing at a remote spot (N29° 49.227', W99° 45.356') and two other vehicles could not get out -- I took everyone to town. Trust me -- I can blaze my own trail, if I must.

Here's the deal. You're looking at someone who is interested in your hobby. I'm asking questions. Do you want to keep your hobby alive by introducing new people to it, or do you want to chase them away and have the hobby die out? If so, what's the point of this web site?

Someone asked where we were intrested in going. I will be visiting the following cities in Alabama: Florence (1 day), Huntsville (2 days), and Mobile (1 day). According to the web site, there are nine (9) possible ghost towns in that area:

Barnsville - 1
Battelle - 1
Beaver Mills - 7
Blakeley - 7
Boston - 1
Carrolton - 1
Centerdale - 1
Morgan Stream - 2
St. Stephens - 7

I am interested in finding one or two that are easy to get to. Hence, I need information on all of them to make my decision on which one or two to visit with my wife and two kids (no spray paint, guns, or gasoline).

To be honest, some of these towns don't seem to exist on my Street Atlas mapping software. For example, there is no "Carrolton, Alabama" but there is a "Carrollton, Alabama" which seems much too big to be a ghost town. So, GPS coordinates would be nice to have to figure out what the heck is going on.

Do you see my point? Am I *really* asking too much? If you still think so, e-mail me privately, and I will CALL you on the TELEPHONE to discuss. This is really important to me. Please don't just disregard me as a vandal. Please don't chastize me for not reading your web site -- I did read your web site, and I don't understand why your group is so selective. (Check your IP logs, and you'll see that I've spent a LOT of time here in the last few months.)


Ryan Hill
02-20-2004, 09:22 AM
Nobody has accused you of being a vandal, and it may surprise you to know that the US isn't the only 'democracy' on this planet.

Your father sounds like an admirable man to have introduced his son to Ghost Towns. In fact, my father introduced me to Ghost Towns, only 2 years ago. And I am also impressed that you wish to let your own children experience Ghost Towns too. As far as I can tell, Alabama is not renowned for it's Ghost Towns, so I'm not suprised that you'e having a tough time locating the sites.
Yes, my dad drove our Ford Explorer. However, I found the sites, I researched the history and the directions without the aid of a GPS or books or old maps, but with the vague locations given on gt.com. At believe me, people are very stingy with directions on the WY pages! Doing this for myself was very, very rewarding. The hard time and effort had paid off and I was filled with an uncomparable sence of pride and accomplishment. It would surely be a delight to see smiles on your kids' faces.
Anyhow, Standard GPs software will not show the locations of every settlment/site in the US. My advie is to buy a book or old maps. You cannot go wrong with a good book, but be cautious with old maps, as roads appear to vanish over the years. Or, as I learnt to do the first time I went looking for Ghost Towns was to ask small-town locals. They know the area better than any standard issue map or run-of-the-mill GPs device. Give the 'old fashioned' techniques a try! Oh, and let your children get involved if you do, they'll enjoy it.

Try amazon.com for books, put a 'wanted' notice on the message board, or simply scour the internet or ask around.

I'm sorry that we both had to get-off on the wrong foot. I didn't mean to upset you, and believe me, I understand your feelings of unrest believing that someone has accused you of being a vandal. It has happened to me before, and also to the best of us here at this message board.

Useful GT links for you to try out, good luck!:

02-20-2004, 09:51 AM
I think one of the problems we are having here is that you asked us about lattitude and longitude and we gave you our answers as to how we felt about that and why. If you had started out your conversation asking us how to go about finding the ghost towns you are looking for for, if anyone here knew anything they would have jumped in and helped you figure out how to find these places. I personally doubt if you are a big bad vandal, but just because you tell me something doesn't mean that it's true - remember people can be anything they want to be over the internet.

Now, that you've presented us with a list of the places you are looking for, perhaps someone around here knows something that could help you out. I personally, don't know anything at all about Alabama. I do know that in California and in Nevada, you aren't going to find much information about a ghosttown in a street atlas. Ghosttowns usually are in remote areas away from modern towns, usually on public lands. It may take a couple of different type of maps combined to find the areas you are looking for. One of the most useful is a topo map.

You also need to find out if there are any books available on the areas you want to go to. Many books do give information telling you how to get to these places. Checking with any visitor centers, ranger stations, chambers of commerce, places like this, in nearby existing towns, can be helpful also. Have you done a google search using the actual name of each ghosttown you are looking for? The information you need could still be readily available on the internet.

Most of us here do spend many long hours researching before we even get out to the dirtroad. Then once we have the info, depending upon the remoteness of the ghosttown we are looking for, it may take more than one trip out there to find the place. Sometimes we have exact information given to us, and it still takes more than one trip to find a place, because there are so many roads that can appear to fit the description we are looking for. Backcountry travel is not at all like traveling on a normal highway or paved road in town. Of course, not all ghosttowns are that difficult to find, but you may find out that the one's you are looking for are.

If any of ghosttowns you have listed are as easy to get to as you hope they are, then you should not have any trouble finding info about them by doing a more extensive research on the internet. It's still highly possible that someone here can help you now that you've finally asked the right questions.

02-20-2004, 11:14 AM
To make matters worse, I find a very informative web site, which I believe might help me with my shortcoming (disability?), and I ask for some help. The response I get is extremely harsh, and accuses me of being a vandal. How can I possibly prove I'm not a vandal? In the USA, you are innocent until proven guilty!


Here's the deal. You're looking at someone who is interested in your hobby. I'm asking questions. Do you want to keep your hobby alive by introducing new people to it, or do you want to chase them away and have the hobby die out? If so, what's the point of this web site?

.... I did read your web site, and I don't understand why your group is so selective. (Check your IP logs, and you'll see that I've spent a LOT of time here in the last few months.)


I had a half hour while a program was running so I decided I’d see what I could locate on the web in a quick fashion.

Barnsville. Well, I don’t see your point yet, Reading the write-up in GT I then searched the USGS GNIS in Marion County finds Barnesville at 34° 08' 23"N, 88° 04' 40"W (WGS84/NAD83), and the Barnsville cemetary at 34° 08' 34"N, 88° 04' 37"W (WGS84/NAD83) a little (about 4 ˝ miles) southwest of Weston. Couple minutes to verify that this was the correct Barnsville.

There is a Battelle located at 34° 38' 58"N, 85° 33' 55"W (WGS84/NAD83) and associated with an Underground Mine located at 34° 39' 05"N, 85° 33' 40"W (WGS84/NAD83) that appears to have at one time had a post office in DeKalb County? 30 seconds using the USGS GNIS

Beaver Mills - I read the description and didn’t attempt to locate a lat/long as I think I could find it with this description and something like Delorme’s Alabama Gazetteer. No residents. Stone walls of the paper mill and Civil War uniform Depot. US Hwy 45 north from Mobile to Old Gulf Crest Rd. Follow until it dead ends into a berm where the bridge has been removed to protect the site. Secondary access: Continue north on US Hwy 45 to the next marked dirt road on the right. Turn right and follow over small wooden bridge. Town site is just over the bridge in the flat area. Road to the right with the beaver pond on the left takes you to the old road bed where the second bridge was removed to protect the main site.

Blakeley about 30° 44' 32"N, 87° 55' 27"W (WGS84/NAD83) State Park. Off Alabama 225 on east bank of Tensaw River, north of Spanish Fort, Alabama. War between the States annual enactment. Search time about 30 seconds USGS

Boston in Franklin County has the school at 34° 30' 09"N, 87° 36' 45"W (WGS84/NAD83) (USGS GNIS) and the cemetery at 34° 30' 09"N, 87° 36' 14"W (WGS84/NAD83) (Topozone) Took me about a minute to weed out all the non-Franklin County returns at USGS.

Carrolton - The Pickens County Courthouse is located at 33° 15' 42"N, 88° 05' 42"W (WGS84/NAD83) (USGS GNIS) and I agree, it doesn’t look much like a ghost town to me.

Centerdale - The Center Dale school is located at 34° 19' 17"N, 86° 43' 28"W (WGS84/NAD83) (Thank you USGS) and a quick glance at topozone reveals the an intersection 200 feet east of the school appears to be Center Dale.

Morgan Stream is described as not worth visiting so I didn’t search Etowah county but given the description in the GT writeup, I have little doubt 10 minutes and a gazetteer could locate it.

St. Stephens Off US Hwy 43 north of Mobile near Leroy Alabama, on west bank of Tombigbee River. Paved road to town of St. Stephens old town and fort is dirt road. There is now an historical/recreational park there. Checking the website found in the description offers a printable road map. http://www.oldststephens.com/visit_st_stephens.htm Again, why chase this down.

My Program is still running but I’ve had enough fun. Ryan and Cecile have stated it nicely. I’m usually very nice and willing to help someone who asks a question including sending them lat/long directions via email after establishing that they are trustworthy. I know nothing of Alabama but it took me less than 15 minutes to gather all this information. I did take umbrage at you suggesting that our group was being selective. IMHO I have concluded you protestations are not valid.

02-20-2004, 11:42 AM
I had a half hour while a program was running... My Program is still running but I’ve had enough fun.Still using punch cards to compile? ;)

02-20-2004, 12:03 PM
Too funny, Bob, I started doing the same thing, but so many of the links came back to ghosttowns.com, that I decided there was pretty much enough information here for Freelancer to figure things out on his own. I did find these two sites:



The information is out there, you just have to do your home work. That's what ghosttowning is all about. Good luck and have fun! And please be safe! If you are truly going to remote areas where no one is around, you really should have another vehicle with you, proper communications, first aid, water, food, maps, etc., and tell someone where you are going. Remember cell phones don't always work in remote areas - most of us at least have cb's, but ham radios are better. Even the best of us get stuck once in awhile or get disoriented on a road, and we need to be prepared to know what to do in the event it happens. Believe me, I know about this stuff, I'm a tour guide, I take people to ghosttowns in California and Nevada. I've seen people do some pretty stupid stuff out there, and even those of us that really know how to do this once in awhile get caught off guard. Your statement about making it out of a road where others didn't, alarms me, because I've usually found that he who brags most is the most likely to get in to trouble. Not trying to be mean, or make fun of you, just want you to be sure you know what you are doing out there and are prepared. Never think "it can't happen to me", because it could, even if you are an expert.

Ryan Hill
02-20-2004, 12:09 PM
Way ahead of you Cecile, I already found those links and more.


02-20-2004, 12:24 PM
Ryan, Bob, sounds like we need to organize a ghosttowning trip to Alabama, huh :D
Too bad I'm too busy here in California ghosttownsmost of the time.

Ryan Hill
02-20-2004, 12:37 PM
Well Cecile, I may hold you to that offer in the future! But only on one condition:
we invite Freelancer :rolleyes:!

02-20-2004, 12:55 PM
Actually, I was going to suggest Freelancer, and everybody else involved in this conversation meet my husband and I in the Eastern Sierras for some ghosttowning sometime. Bob's in Nevada which is not that far away, and you have to hop on a plane anyway, Ryan, so it doesn't make all that much difference where you land in the US so long as there's a ghosttown or two, right? Not sure where Freelancer is coming from, but it doesn't sound like he minds traveling long distances either. The chances of me getting to Alabama are pretty slim, but I'm happy to have people join me on adventures here. Well.... then there's Dezdan.... hmm...... do I want him along? He seems to know about computers, :rolleyes: but not sure he knows anything about ghosttowns :D

Ryan Hill
02-21-2004, 06:14 AM
ooooh! ***burn*** on Dezdan!
Is Arizona (& vacinity) a good location for a 'gatherin' for you guys? That's where I should be going on vacation later this year. There's plenty to see and do down Arizona-way.


02-21-2004, 12:13 PM
Hot Topic! - Well, without trying to make anyone mad lets look at the facts only. If you only have an hour to go to a ghost town, then the only ones you can go to will easily be found on your Rand McNally map.:D

02-21-2004, 06:59 PM
If you only have an hour to go to a ghost town, then the only ones you can go to will easily be found on your Rand McNally map.:DAgreed! :)

Ryan Hill
02-22-2004, 03:45 AM
Oh, and try www.placesnamed.com (http://www.placesnamed.com)
I use this site all the time. Simply type in the name of a location and the results should be returned with the coordinates, and often with a population count.

02-23-2004, 08:38 PM
Okay! I'm glad to see we can all be friends! :)

I'm sure I could have posed my original comments in a better light. I still don't fully understand where you go to look up these coordinates. I think it must be something you learn over time, which we all know is not on my side at the moment... ;)

In any event, thank you for the great information. I will certainly stick around and learn more about ghost towning.

Oh -- and driving 3000 miles to see a ghost town is not a normal thing for me to do. The 3000 mile trip is from Oklahoma to Orlando (Disney and NASA for the kids) and everything we can possibly do in between. However, I appreciate the invitation. Heck, if it ever works out, I'd be happy to meet you guys! :D


02-24-2004, 05:47 PM
To be honest with you, we have gps, and use it to mark waypoints along the route to new ghosttowns so we can find them again next time, but we've never had coordinates to tell us where the ghosttown was in the first place. To me that's like taking the fun out of it. Two big books that provide maps, and coordinates are the Back Country Adventures books by Massey & Wilson. there is one for Southern California and one for Northern California. I have these books, but do not refer to the coordinates to get to where I am going - I use them for the other information.Don't know if they have other editions for other states.

10-29-2004, 07:20 AM
Yes! Cecile, and Bob, we agree Going to these remote aeras and going prepard with all the right aquipment is very important we are glad you to posted that also as we did lately.

Johnnie & Sheila

10-31-2004, 08:21 AM
The caving community also practices secrecy on cave location.
There is a reason caves are not listed on maps anymore.