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Author Topic: Off the beaten path - Tiny towns that time forgot  (Read 10156 times)

brianreynolds

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Off the beaten path - Tiny towns that time forgot
« on: July 07, 2013, 11:25:00 PM »

The route to Reno and back took me down lots of "roads less traveled."  Occasionally, I passed through small towns where the ambiance  seemed to evoke an earlier era.  These towns could serve as the set for a mid-20th century movie.

One was Strang Nebraska, on the shortcut from northbound US-81 to eastbound NE-74 (distance-wise, but not time-wise).  Another was Leonard Missouri, on MO-151 north of US-36 in Shelby County.  Each of these towns looks like nothing has moved or been improved in 50+ years.

They are not ghost towns, but feel like it driving through.  Maybe these were thriving communities whose best years were a very long time ago.  It is always a pleasant surprise to find these towns.  They make the travel that much more interesting.

Got any favorites?
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bugo

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Re: Off the beaten path - Tiny towns that time forgot
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2013, 03:53:34 AM »

Potter, Arkansas.
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Brandon

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Re: Off the beaten path - Tiny towns that time forgot
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2013, 10:30:43 AM »

Welcome to Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
Here's a smattering of towns that time forgot:
Calumet
Republic
Champion
Gay
Paavola

There's a lot more.
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Re: Off the beaten path - Tiny towns that time forgot
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2013, 03:43:33 PM »

The town I grew up in, Atwood (KS), has most of its streets still showing concrete pavement from the 1950s; rebar is visible at many points.  Some of the streets even have asphalt from before the 1950s; it's basically just little dots of asphalt in otherwise sandy streets.

Aside from pavement, the town that gave me the biggest "does not change with time" feeling was nearby Rexford, Kansas.  Street view here.
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Re: Off the beaten path - Tiny towns that time forgot
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2013, 11:56:10 PM »

Pretty much everything I saw on US 66, which is why that drive really isn't overhyped at all. Locally, Helmetta, NJ is a blast from the wayback past. It almost feels southern.

corco

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Re: Off the beaten path - Tiny towns that time forgot
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2013, 12:05:09 AM »

A lot of those western Kansas/eastern Colorado towns seem just abandoned. Pritchett, Colorado is my favorite. Take the cars away, and it could very well be 1940 again. Big, wide road. You could tell they had big plans for that place.

http://goo.gl/maps/1aSqy

Honestly, I'd even submit where I live now as one of those sorts of places. When I moved here, my parents said "I think this is going to be a lot like living in 1965" and having not been alive then, I see where they're coming from. The dominant industry here is the prison industry, there isn't much money here but people make do with what they have, and it doesn't seem like anything has been built besides a new prison in the last 40 years. The average vehicle age is probably 1992 or so and a decent chunk of people are still using 70s vehicles (mostly trucks) as their daily drivers.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2013, 12:15:29 AM by corco »
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empirestate

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Re: Off the beaten path - Tiny towns that time forgot
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2013, 07:31:58 AM »

Mt. Carmel, PA is by no means a ghost town, yet to me it still has a sort of 1961-ish feel to it.
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oldparoadgeek

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Re: Off the beaten path - Tiny towns that time forgot
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2013, 10:22:09 PM »

Mt. Carmel, PA is by no means a ghost town, yet to me it still has a sort of 1961-ish feel to it.

A lot of towns in that area around Schuylkill Co. PA have not had much progress in the last 30-40 years since the hard-coal industry went into a severe decline and not much has replaced it.
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empirestate

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Re: Off the beaten path - Tiny towns that time forgot
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2013, 11:02:57 PM »

Mt. Carmel, PA is by no means a ghost town, yet to me it still has a sort of 1961-ish feel to it.

A lot of towns in that area around Schuylkill Co. PA have not had much progress in the last 30-40 years since the hard-coal industry went into a severe decline and not much has replaced it.

Absolutely; although the distinction I've noticed is that the decline didn't equal the death of the towns. They still operate; people still go about life in them, but in a time-frozen sort of way. If it were Upstate New York, on the other hand, the town activity itself would have fizzled out over time.
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Re: Off the beaten path - Tiny towns that time forgot
« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2013, 12:54:45 AM »

Plenty of them across northern New England.  I'll be living in one in 8 months.
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formulanone

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Re: Off the beaten path - Tiny towns that time forgot
« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2013, 06:57:28 PM »

Everglades City and nearby Choloskee seem to be rather unchanged by the passage of time. Their remote location near Everglades National Park and distance from other towns has a lot to do with this.

CapeCodder

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Re: Off the beaten path - Tiny towns that time forgot
« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2014, 01:35:46 PM »

Clarksville, MO.

When I was sandbagging up there in the June 2008 floods, the town, even though it was flooded/ing looked like something from the 1940's. The pavement was rough and worn, and there were patches of newer asphalt, but I guess Pike County's budget didn't call for repaving of the roads. Some streets were nothing but gravel. I remember driving my Ranger down what appeared to be an alley, but that was a main thoroughfare. You turn right and go down a really steep grade.

http://goo.gl/maps/Dafs6

Depeyster, NY

More of a collection of farms, this town has an awesome town hall, plus an awesome lighting sculpture.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2014, 01:46:49 PM by CapeCodder »
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formulanone

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Re: Off the beaten path - Tiny towns that time forgot
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2014, 06:38:51 PM »

Mt. Carmel, PA is by no means a ghost town, yet to me it still has a sort of 1961-ish feel to it.

A lot of towns in that area around Schuylkill Co. PA have not had much progress in the last 30-40 years since the hard-coal industry went into a severe decline and not much has replaced it.

Absolutely; although the distinction I've noticed is that the decline didn't equal the death of the towns. They still operate; people still go about life in them, but in a time-frozen sort of way.

Most of Greensburg, PA had that feel to it when I was there a few months ago.

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Re: Off the beaten path - Tiny towns that time forgot
« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2014, 01:43:03 PM »

a lot of town have an old downtown surrounded by a "ring around the collar" district full of Walmarts and what have you.

one within recent memory that pleasantly does not, and is just an old downtown, is Baker, MT.
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Jardine

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Re: Off the beaten path - Tiny towns that time forgot
« Reply #14 on: January 05, 2014, 05:31:30 PM »

Frasier, Iowa
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Re: Off the beaten path - Tiny towns that time forgot
« Reply #15 on: January 05, 2014, 07:01:36 PM »

Mt. Carmel, PA is by no means a ghost town, yet to me it still has a sort of 1961-ish feel to it.

A lot of towns in that area around Schuylkill Co. PA have not had much progress in the last 30-40 years since the hard-coal industry went into a severe decline and not much has replaced it.

Absolutely; although the distinction I've noticed is that the decline didn't equal the death of the towns. They still operate; people still go about life in them, but in a time-frozen sort of way.

I spent a few months in Schyulkill Haven and have to disagree (in part)—the coal region towns are either dead, dying, or they're zombies. With some notable exceptions (like the Yuengling brewery in Pottsville), these cities don't really resemble their old selves. It used to be that people had jobs, built homes, and raised families—and more importantly, had some sense of purpose in life and pride of citizenship. Today, young people with even the slightest measure of ambition leave town, never to return. Of the middle aged and older people in this region, most have lived there forever, are fearful/suspicious of the outside world, and would never leave. They cash their Social Security and disability checks at Wal-Mart (most of the downtown shops are gone) or Weis, go home with groceries, and then they slowly decompose while glued to free over-the-air TV—from Judge Judy straight through late-night newscasts of street violence in Wilkes-Barre.

It's such a shame, too, because this region, with its steep hills, rich forests, and winding rivers, is among the most beautiful in the state. Or it would be, if it wasn't scarred by strip mines, slag dumps, derelict industrial buildings, junked cars, and trailer trash homesteads.

Back to the original topic, about a year ago, I took NV 160 through Pahrump and US 95 northward to Reno. On this route, you pass through Beatty—where my only option to refuel was the kind of freaky "Eddieworld", whose logo featured both the dreadful Comic Sans and a photo of a kid that looked straight off a "Have you seen me?" milk carton. I went into the "candy shop" and much of it was expired by nearly a year or more. Anyway, the town itself didn't show much evidence of the past few decades having transpired.

On US 95, you also go through Goldfield, which is, essentially, a ghost town and still looks much as it did in the teens.

That entire route is so remote, so devoid human contact, cell coverage, Internet access, and modern conveniences I think it must be rank close to US 50 among the most lonely, forgotten routes.
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nexus73

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Re: Off the beaten path - Tiny towns that time forgot
« Reply #16 on: January 05, 2014, 08:42:14 PM »

Powers OR is where time stood still.  It is in the middle of the Coast Range in SW Oregon.  When the timber industry was at it's peak, this small town boomed!  Those days are long gone but the town is still there looking like it did in the day with only a very few modern buildings to break the "time machine" spell.  Access the city of Powers (about 1000 people) from 42, which is a route between the Roseburg and Coos Bay areas, by driving 18 miles south along the Powers highway.  After the first three miles expect lots of curves (over 200 are on this road) and a very narrow 2-lane road.  There's no great place to eat but if you are looking for a N-S Coast Range road, this is one of the few to let you enjoy that kind of view. 

You can then proceed south of Powers to Agness and the Rogue River but be warned a goodly part of that is just a gravel road.  Once at the river you then head west to Gold Beach on the coast, a distance of about 36 miles.  It would make a good diversion from 101 for those who have already seen the stretch of that highway from 42/101 to Gold Beach.

Rick
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formulanone

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Re: Off the beaten path - Tiny towns that time forgot
« Reply #17 on: January 05, 2014, 11:11:19 PM »

one within recent memory that pleasantly does not, and is just an old downtown, is Baker, MT.

Micanopy, Florida - ignoring the strip club which operates 100 feet from the interstate and 500 feet from the town's limits.

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Re: Off the beaten path - Tiny towns that time forgot
« Reply #18 on: January 05, 2014, 11:32:00 PM »

Stony Creek and Jarratt, Virginia, despite I-95 being right there. Same for McKenney and I-85.
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Re: Off the beaten path - Tiny towns that time forgot
« Reply #19 on: January 05, 2014, 11:49:23 PM »

There's a lot of old railroad towns in eastern SD (from when the trains needed a town every six miles) that, since the railroads have gone, just up and died. They are too numerous to list.
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Alps

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Re: Off the beaten path - Tiny towns that time forgot
« Reply #20 on: January 06, 2014, 06:19:56 PM »

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Re: Off the beaten path - Tiny towns that time forgot
« Reply #21 on: January 07, 2014, 01:34:17 AM »

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Re: Off the beaten path - Tiny towns that time forgot
« Reply #22 on: January 10, 2014, 10:34:35 PM »

Alberta, VA

My college roommate Jill's family was from Alberta. Whenever it came up in conversation, she would speak in an elderly-sounding (i walked ten miles uphill both ways) voice and say "It was a thrivin' town until I-85 bypassed it and then they ripped up the railroad tracks and that was the end of that."
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Re: Off the beaten path - Tiny towns that time forgot
« Reply #23 on: January 11, 2014, 05:18:30 PM »

Alberta, VA

My college roommate Jill's family was from Alberta. Whenever it came up in conversation, she would speak in an elderly-sounding (i walked ten miles uphill both ways) voice and say "It was a thrivin' town until I-85 bypassed it and then they ripped up the railroad tracks and that was the end of that."
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