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Thread: Empire: Nevada's next and newest ghost town?

  1. #1
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    Default Empire: Nevada's next and newest ghost town?

    Josta

    Big Bear Lake, CA

  2. #2
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    Wow, sad story.
    I lived there as a kid, my Dad worked at the plant.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the link. A well written, but sad story about what happens when a one employer town essentially becomes a ghost town because of factors beyond the control of the owners, management and the workers. Chances are the plant will never reopen, because it is older and transportation costs for the finished product are higher, because the end users are not nearby. I suspect that most product was shipped by RR, but even then the nearest loading point is about 60 miles south of Empire.

  4. #4
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    I'm new to this forum and Empire was what I immediately thought of. It was a true company town and so with the company gone there's not much there to support folks. I've noticed that the life cycle of a ghost town seems to go something like...

    1) Town is abandoned because industrial reason for its existence is removed.

    2) A few codgers remain for the next 30-40 years.

    3) The town is truly abandoned

    4) The town is either developed as a park or vandals pick it apart.

    It seems like the best time to visit is step 3, but if you're willing to expand your definition of ghost town to something modern, then you have the chance to visit a ghost town right after it's "death". I need to take some pictures but there are three of these modern, newly abandoned ghost towns standing empty in the San Francisco Bay Area.

    The Black Rock Desert has considerable draw compared to many wilderness areas, because it is popular among hunters, offroaders, model rocketeers, land speed enthusiasts, festival goers, and various other esoteric pursuits like looking for rusty old mining camps. There is potential for some kind of survival for Empire, but I don't know what it is. It's a very geothermically active area so I bet you could generate your own electricity, there's at least one plant out there doing just that. I'd love to have a summer home there.

  5. #5
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    OK - Now you have my curiosity aroused. What are the names of the three abandoned towns in the SF Bay area and why were they abandoned?

  6. #6
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    The answer is the Clinton Administration. They are all Navy towns standing empty after the shutdown of the major Bay bases. While they aren't traditional ghost towns per se, they did have a complete town for the families, with schools and shops. You can see a Google Streetview shot of the edge of one, within the Alameda Naval Base:

    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&sour...,74.64,,0,4.43


    The second is the Point Molate base:

    http://www.pbase.com/robinlew/ptmolate

    Mare Island was never completely abandoned and now has redevelopment activity but there are still miles of vacant streets and many many bunker ruins:

    http://maps.google.com/maps?client=u...,0.052314&z=15

    Two significant features of this place are 1) the Mothball Fleet is being cut up here and 2) the former officers quarters each had a little bomb shelter out front, you can see them along Walnut street in the Streetview.

    Long abandoned but with recent redevelopment activity is the Oak Knoll Naval Hospital:

    http://www.explorethebay.net/BASE/20...ital-part-one/

    Each of these places give you a Twilight Zone feel with their block after block of empty houses, empty schools, and carless streets.

  7. #7
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    In this morning's news, more about Empire:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/43368809...ience_monitor/

    John
    Josta

    Big Bear Lake, CA

  8. #8
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    Reno, Nv.
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    thanks for the update.
    I travel to and through Gerlach a bit, passing by Empire every time, so it's going to be interesting to see the changes going on to the town and the area.
    I try to stop by the Empire store every time I pass through, just to be one more customer. I'm know the people of Gerlach still use the store quite a bit, as it's the closest store in 60 or so miles. I wonder if it will survive until the Burning Man participants come through with their money, and if so, how much longer after that.
    I wanted to do a photo-report on Empire's status one of these trips (possibly papa-day weekend), but don't know how limited my access will be.
    If and/or when I have some, I will post updates.

  9. #9
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    Empire update- the town is encircled by an eight-foot chain link fence. No maintenance will be performed and the desert will be allowed to reclaim the town. The USPS is discontinuing zip code 89405.

    As the workers left town they tossed their hard hats up into a tree. Look for the golden ones, awarded after 25 years of service. The man who had to shut down the line did so after not missing a day of work for 39 years 7 months.

  10. #10
    Tsarevna's Avatar
    Tsarevna is offline Rawk Crawlin GPS Totin Ghost Towning Expert
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    That's a shame about Empire. And to think we imported cheap China crap: New! Now with more formaldehyde! Instead of keeping American companies like this one up and running.
    Trade decisions made by politicians have real consequences. (Sorry I'll get off the soap box now.)

    Thanks for sharing the article.

    johnny, those are some great links too. I had no idea the Bay Area had so much to offer!

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