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View Full Version : Definition of "ghost town"--dumb newbie question



OhioGuy
04-01-2007, 07:59 PM
Hi everyone. Really love the site. I've long been curious about ghost towns and am seeking to develop my interest in this area. There's a lot of good information in the lists of ghost towns. I do have one dumb newbie question, though--how exactly does one define the term "ghost town?" I'm from Ohio, and places in my state like Utopia and Knockemstiff don't seem to rate as ghost towns, which I've always taken to mean formerly populated places that are now completely devoid of people. Utopia probably has fifty people at most, far fewer than the optimistic folks who tried for a "utopia" there in the 19th century, but it isn't completely deserted. It's been a while since I've driven through there, but there are some houses and probably a convenience store or two. Knockemstiff probably never was very large, but it, too, has its residents. In fact, the entries on this site acknowledge that there are people living in these places.

Don't misunderstand--I think the info on such places is still valuable and has a place on this site. And some entries state that a place is a "partial" ghost town. But where do you draw the line? For example, does a place that goes from 5,000 people down to less than a hundred qualify as a "ghost town", but wouldn't qualify if 500 or more still lived there? Any thoughts?

bad bob
04-01-2007, 09:17 PM
Hi everyone. Really love the site. I've long been curious about ghost towns and am seeking to develop my interest in this area. There's a lot of good information in the lists of ghost towns. I do have one dumb newbie question, though--how exactly does one define the term "ghost town?" I'm from Ohio, and places in my state like Utopia and Knockemstiff don't seem to rate as ghost towns, which I've always taken to mean formerly populated places that are now completely devoid of people. Utopia probably has fifty people at most, far fewer than the optimistic folks who tried for a "utopia" there in the 19th century, but it isn't completely deserted. It's been a while since I've driven through there, but there are some houses and probably a convenience store or two. Knockemstiff probably never was very large, but it, too, has its residents. In fact, the entries on this site acknowledge that there are people living in these places.

Don't misunderstand--I think the info on such places is still valuable and has a place on this site. And some entries state that a place is a "partial" ghost town. But where do you draw the line? For example, does a place that goes from 5,000 people down to less than a hundred qualify as a "ghost town", but wouldn't qualify if 500 or more still lived there? Any thoughts?



A true ghost is minus people, however, a ghost town can be defined as "any town which is a shadow of its former self."

GaryB
04-01-2007, 10:30 PM
Too me, it really depends on your opinion. Some folks think places like Virginia City, NV are ghost towns, as they "area a ghost of their former self", while others think only places like Rhyolite, Tempiute and Logan City, NV are truly ghost towns as they have none (or had no) inhabitants for a long time.

Myself, I'm in the "former self" category. Rhyolite, NV had inhabitants into the mid 1980's (or later, I forget), so you could say it wasn't a true ghost town till then, even though it was pretty much empty for most of the 1900's. Goldfield, Pioche, and Tuscarora, NV are similar examples of town's were population booms dropped off to the point only a few folks lived there, but have more recently had small boosts in population.