In the almost 4000 kilometers of Route 66 we will find several ghost towns. Some of them are actual abandoned ghost towns, others have very few inhabitants and others have transformed themselves into tourist attractions.
In this post we will tell you about some of the ghost towns on Route 66, not all of them here, but they are the ones that have caught our attention the most. I hope you like it and enjoy Route 66 as much or more than us!
Ghost Towns on Route 66
The gruesome Trail of Tears (1831-1838), passed through Arlington, which later became an oasis for tourism with its resort called Stony Dell Resort. Today its population is about 20 people and it is becoming quite difficult to follow the Route 66.
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Between Halltown and Carthage (Missouri)
Between Halltown and Carthage, you’re going to pass through ghost towns with very few inhabitants, such as Paris Springs Junction where you can see an old abandoned barn or the lonely village of Spencer.
You will also pass through Heatonville, Albatross, Phelps, Rescue and Avila where you will see the remains of a different era, with old gas stations, workshops, buildings, etc. If you’re on time, be sure to visit Avila’s restored gas station.
Warwick is another ghost town on Route 66. We can see Seaba Station, a gas station dating back to the 1920s and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
As Warwick is a ghost town, it’s assigned the address in Chandler. This gas station is 5 years older than Route 66. It kept repairing military trucks until it was closed in the 90s. It is frequently used by the Oklahoma Route 66 association for its meetings. Address: 336992 OK-66, Chandler.
Bridgeport is almost a ghost town since it has a few residents and still has things left to offer Route 66 travelers.
Such as the remains of a post office, a water tank and an original stretch, one of the longest on Route 66.
Foss is practically a ghost town, although there are still some houses that appear to be inhabited.
In Foss we can see a prison that was built in 1918, which looks like a box made of steel bars. We can also see the ruins of Kobel’s Gas Station.
Texola is the last town in Oklahoma before you reach Texas (or the first, it depends on where you come from). It was founded in 1901. Many of its residents were from Texas and Oklahoma, so its name came from a mix between Texas and Oklahoma.
Today fewer than 10 people live here, so many consider it a ghost town, however, there is still a bar that is still in operation. Magnolia Service Station is fully restored and was included in the U.S. Register of Historic Places in 1995. Address: Grand Ave. Route 66, Texola.
Conway is practically another ghost town where you can still see some remnants of what was the life on Route 66 in its golden years. The Trading Post is a modern attraction on this stretch of Route 66. You can stop for a drink, buy a souvenir or just take a picture.
The intention of its owners is to divert some traffic from the interstate to Conway and revive the area a bit.
The Bug Farm, 5 Volkswagen beetles are buried near post trading, Cadillac Ranch-style. I-40 Exit 96
Glenrio (New Mexico-Texas border)
Glenrio is on the Texas-New Mexico border. It was a town that grew up in two states at the same time. For example, the post office was established on the New Mexico side, but mail was left on the Texas side because there was a train stop there.
There was never a gas station on the New Mexico side, because taxes were very expensive, etc. So this little town generated a lot of disputes between these two states, to see which of the two states receive the taxes. It belongs to Texas and is a real ghost town.
Montoya (New Mexico)
Montoya is a ghost town. Here you will see ruins and abandoned buildings. You can explore it if you like, but be careful! Some of its attractions are:
1936 Bridge. Approximately 1 kilometer before reaching Montoya it crosses with an old bridge of Route 66 that is from 1936.
Cemetery. It passes through an ancient cemetery, typical of the American West.
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Hendren Home. Here are the remains of the building that belonged once to the Hendren family. Sylvan R. Hendren and Maria Ignacia Ulibarri Hendren were pioneers who settled in the area in the early nineteenth century.
Richardson’s Store was a gas station, but now there are neither the pumps left and it is closed off with a fence. Despite this, it is on the register of historical sites. If you go on I-40 it’s on exit 311.
Cuervo (New Mexico)
Cuervo looks like another ghost town, which lived better moments years ago. You can see some abandoned buildings of old businesses that no longer cater to the public. However, Catholic church that was built during the First World War still stands.
Madrid Ghost Town (New Mexico)
The town of Madrid was officially founded in 1869. But it was inhabited by Native Americans and Spaniards many years before this date.
Madrid became a ghost town from 1953 to 1973, but was recovered and most of the buildings have been restored, such as the Old Catholic Church, the Coal Mine and most of the store fronts. You can still see some buildings in their original condition. In total you can see about 40 businesses, including quite a few art galleries.
It’s got a lot of ghost stories. It is said that the whole area is haunted. There have been a multitude of sightings of ghosts, most of them from La Llorona and a Cowboy.
In Madrid you can see the Ghost Town Trading Post, the Gypsy Plaza or the Madrid Old Coal Town Museum.
Golden (Turquoise Trail – Santa Fe-Albuquerque)
Golden is one of the first gold rush cities west of the Mississippi. It was originally called Real de San Francisco.
Around 1880 several mining companies were set up and renamed golden. However, the results were not as expected and the population fell. It has the Henderson Store that sells, manufactures, and hand makes items by natives of quite good quality. In case you fancy a souvenir. But it’s all there is, it’s an authentic ghost town.
Bellemont is the highest city of the entire Route 66, it is 2200 meters high, crossing a nature reserve, formerly Apache territory, and do not hesitate to stop from time to time and enjoy the views!
Some of its points of interest are:
Grand Canyon Harley-Davidson, is a shop that sells clothes, accessories and souvenirs from the famous motorcycle brand. Address: 1-40 exit 185, Bellemont.
Route 66 Roadhouse Bar & Grill, is a typical place to stop for a drink, it is just before you enter the village. Address: 11840 West Route 66, Flagstaff.
Pine Breeze Motel, it’s completely abandoned.
Hackberry is a town that was founded in 1874. It was a mining town (it had a silver mine) but is now dedicated to cattle. It had a reputation for being a town of gamblers and shootings.
With the advent of I-40 it became a ghost town, but in 1992, Bob Waldmire bought the General Store and reopened it.
The village is virtually deserted, but the General Store brings it back to life and welcomes all travelers from Route 66.
The General Store is a classic on Route 66. You can stop for coffee, buy a souvenir or take a picture. Address: 11255 East Route 66, Hackberry.
Amboy is located in the Mojave Desert. It is known by the Roy’s Café sign. In his good times Amboy had an airport, a church, and a car workshop, all of which are no longer in operation.
The town became a ghost town many years ago. In 2003 its population was 7 people and that same year they put the village of Amboy on sale on Ebay for $1.9 million. In the end it did not sell, as the highest offer was less than $1 million.
In 2005 the town was bought by Albert Okura, who also owns a restaurant chain called Juan Pollo and the first McDonalds (now the museum) located in San Bernardino.
The ghost town of Calico is California’s official “The Ghost Town of Silver Fever,” as it was designated by law in July 2005.
Calico is an old west mining town, started with mining in 1881. It had more than 500 working mines, of which more than $20 million in silver was mined over twelve years. When the silver lost its value in 1890, Calico lost its population, which took away all its belongings leaving the village in search of better living conditions and so Calico became a ghost town.
Today it is a village that is restored, that can be visited and you can get an idea of what the village was like more than 100 years ago. There are also shops where you can buy souvenirs, eat at restaurants and sleep at the local camping area.
Are you going on Route 66? If you want to know in more detail the ghost towns of Route 66, you will find them in our Guide to Route 66. (Spanish) Don’t miss it!
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Prepare your trip to US Route 66
- Route 66 planning and budget
- 20 spot you should visit when you’re traveling on Route 66
- The 25 most important cities on Route 66
- Day 1. Travel preparation. Malibu, Santa Monica, Los Angeles.
- Day 2. Los Angeles. California – Amboy. California. 209 Miles.
- Day 3. Amboy California – Kingman. Arizona. 143 Miles.
- Day 4. Kingman. Arizona – Holbrook. Arizona. 239 Miles.
- Day 5. Holbrook. Arizona – Grants. Nuevo México. 157 Miles.
- Day 6. Grants. Nuevo México – Santa Rosa. Nuevo México. 247 Miles.
- Day 7. Santa Rosa. Nuevo México – Amarillo. Texas. 172 Miles.
- Day 8. Amarillo. Texas – Clinton. Oklahoma. 176 Miles.
- Day 9. Clinton. Oklahoma – Bristow. Oklahoma. 160 Miles.
- Day 10. Bristow. Oklahoma – Springfield. Missouri. 213 Miles.
- Day 11. Springfield. Missouri. – St. Louis. Missouri. 216 Miles.
- Day 12. St Louis. Missouri – Bloomington. Illinois. 162 Miles.
- Day 13. Bloomington. Illinois – Chicago. Illinois. 134 Miles.
- Day 14. Chicago Illinois. Visit Chicago
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