What is a Museum Ghost Town?
Its an abandoned town that has been lovingly restored to what it was in its heydey. Welcome to the museum town of The Grove. Its been closed down for many years as it waited for a new owner to hopefully one day open it back up to the public. As of now, its a museum piece as much as it was once a museum.
The Grove was established sometime around 1859. Its name came from a grove of Live Oak trees near the center of the town. By the 1870’s the town boasted a post office, 2 general stores, a saloon, blacksmith shop and a sheriff’s office.
When a major highway came through, The Grove was bypassed and by the late 1940’s. Several farmers were also forced to leave the surrounding farms due to the building of an Army training center at Fort Hood. This caused the population to further decline to the point where the post office was shut down. in 1946, The Grove owners, W. J. and Martha Dube (DOO-bee) sold the town to a man named John Graham who owned it until 1972, when Moody Anderson an antiques dealer, came to town one day and asked if it was for sale. Graham didn’t like the idea, but it was Graham’s daughter who talked him into selling it. For the next 38 years, Anderson packed the little town with antiques.
Moody Anderson had so many antiques that he ended up leasing them to several film production companies and even to the movie Lonesome Dove.
As of 2010, the 82 year old Anderson placed the town up for sale at an auction. The town was sold to the granddaughter of W. J. and Martha Dube, Fran Moyer, of San Jose, California for $200,000.00 in 2010. Her plan so far is to not do anything with it other than preserve it. There is talk that the town will be open to concerts. The town has been closed for many years since it became a museum town back in the 1970’s and is designated as a historical town by the Smithsonian Institute. The town was highlighted by Forbes magazine in a 2008 cover story.
Here is a gallery of the above images:
If you go, please be respectful of the town and the residents who live near it. Its a really quiet and beautiful place in the hill country of Texas.
“We are not ghosts!”
The lady said as she was walking toward me. “Do I look like a ghost?” She asked. I said “No you look real to me. Wait, let me take a photo to make sure.” I snapped a quick photo and looked in my viewfinder and sure enough she was there. She was only kidding of course, but she told me it’s frustrating that Keeler is considered a ghost town when in fact it still has residents. Some are even descendants of the original settlers in the area. She told me about 30peope still live there full time.
I have passed through this area many times on my way to Death Valley and decided that it needed to be explored and documented. Owens lake is now a dry lake bed, but unlike many of the lakes in the area that have been dry for thousands of years, Owens Lake actually had water in it up until 1924, when the Owens River was diverted into the Los Angeles Aqueduct. This area around the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range proved to be an excellent location for processing ore from the nearby mines. The lake and the river also provided a way for shipping and before long the towns of Lone Pine and Keeler sprang up to meet the needs of the mining operations.
The Carson and Colorado Railroad Company built two sets of tracks on either side of the river to meet the demand for ore processing. A train depot and large mill were constructed near the lake in Keeler.
There are no services in Keeler! Apparently people have stopped at the abandoned gas station before and asked for gas and even if there was a place to stay! If you go, be respectful of the remaining residents and no, they are not ghosts!
Near the town of Blanco Texas is the ghost town of Peyton Colony. Save for the church, its completely abandoned. The settlement was founded around 1865 by Peyton Roberts who acquired the land by preemption. According to the Preemption Act of 1841 just about anyone could obtain federal land and claim it.
The Colony is unique in that it was built solely by black freed men at the end of the civil war. Between 1872 and 1874 Peyton Colony built its first church on land donated by a man named Jim Upshear, who came with his wife to Peyton on a wagon train from Virginia. Around that same time a schoolhouse was built. Peyton Colony existed well up into the 1990s and many of the residents at that time were descendants of the original settlers.
Here are some interior shots of the school. I was able to gain access to the inside. Really serene spot on a small bluff overlooking the hill country.
All that is left in Peyton Colony is the school and the church and some overgrown foundations. Its definitely worth a trip out to see it.
I was out visiting the family for a week this past Christmas and decided to see what I could find around the area. Two places popped up: Shamrock and Kendrick Oklahoma. Shamrock was an oil boom town in the early part of the 20th century thanks to the nearby town of Cushing, which at one point, contained one of the largest oil reserves to date. After the oil boom came and went, so did Shamrock. There isn’t much there and what you see here is about all that is left of the place. It was a bit eery being here. Its sort of like people came and built the town and then left abruptly. I really wish I could have gotten inside the Gymnasium here, but the doors were locked and overgrown with trees and weeds.
Down the road from Shamrock is the old town of Kendrick. There is not much to this little town, but it does have a nice general store.
I spotted this old house on the way to Kendrick. Pretty cool and well preserved.
Winston New Mexico
As I was exiting the Gila National Forest, I was super low on gas. I found a park ranger who told me the nearest gas station was 20 miles away at the only gas station around. That town was Winston. Winston is abandoned save for the general store thats next to a ranger station. I was worried about running out of gas, but the ranger assured me that I could coast into Winston since it was all downhill.I made it to the general store, but they had closed for the night. I ended up spending the night and waiting until the next day to fuel up and get going. The next day the store opened and I was able to get gas. They also offer showers to use for 8 dollars. Great place for a quick sleep or even overnight(but there are no facilities other than the general store).
Chloride New Mexico
What started out as a mining camp blossomed into a full blown mining town. I found this town on my way out of the Gila national Forest. Its a cute little town, but needs much work to restore many of the buildings. The residents here are very particular about their little town and the history, so I won’t attempt to give you a history lesson. For more information you can always go to the page associated with the town by clicking here. There is not much to see in either of these towns and its not worth the trip unless you happen to be in or near the area.