Ghost Towns of West Texas

There must be dozens of ghost towns in West Texas, and I’m excited to catch a couple of them along the way: Terlingua and Shafter.
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The modern day version of Terlingua lies just north of the United States/Mexico border along the Rio Grande, at the intersection of Highway 118 and Farm Road 170, or at least most of it seems to. The town runs west on the 170 toward the Big Bend Ranch State Park and the old ghost town part of Terlingua is further west than that.
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In the mid 1880s cinnabar was discovered here, and it was a source from which mercury was extracted. While probably very lucrative to sell, and unbeknownst to the people of the day though, mercury was extremely toxic. The graveyard near the ghost town is filled with miners who lived and died before that was understood.
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The view this town had over the mountains and valleys to the east and south is beautiful.
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Shafter was a silver mining town having been developed by two officers stationed at Fort Davis who found silver there.
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It grew to a fair-sized town for west Texas until the early 1940s but then was so affected by demand, the shortage or workers, and other factors that the town was all but abandoned.
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Today there aren’t many people around but there is still an active Catholic Church and I saw a Padre strolling along a gravel road as I check out the town.
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This part of the world is absolutely beautiful, and well worth the ride.

Categories: TravelTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Great posts from Texas. I’m glad you were able to see a bit of our neck of the woods…

  2. Ghost towns always make you question the permanence of anything…

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