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The ghost town of Bodie in Mono County, California, USA. It became a boom town in 1876 following the discovery of a line of gold, but began to decline in the early 20th century.

Noun edit

ghost town (plural ghost towns)

  1. A town which has become deserted, usually due to failing economic activity, especially one that still has substantial visible remains.
    • 1916 April, W. L. Morris, “The Town that Died A-Bornin’: Grays Harbor City, a ‘Ghost Town’ in the Forest”, in Sunset: The Pacific Monthly, volume XXXVI, number 4, image caption, page 41, column 1:
      Mr. and Mrs. Adolph Jueger, pioneers of Grays Harbor City, and sole inhabitants of the "ghost town".
    • 1938, E. M. Rowalt, “Cotton, Corn, Trees, and Grass”, in Soil Defense in the South (United States Department of Agriculture Farmers’ Bulletin; no. 1809), Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, →OCLC, page 5:
      Crop failures in 1925 and 1926 ended the life of the trading center. The stores closed, and the merchants moved away. In one store the goods still rest on shelves, dust-covered reminders of a better day. The folks nearby now call it the Ghost Town.
    • 1975, Richard Newbold Adams, “Power Domains and Levels”, in Energy and Structure: A Theory of Social Power, Austin, Tex., London: University of Texas Press, →ISBN, part 1 (The Nature of Power), page 93:
      The reduction of power in a system will necessarily lead to a reduction in levels of articulation, just as depopulation will reduce the number of domains. This reduction can be seen in former provincial-rural centers in the American Midwest and West and in the Argentina pampa. In their most exaggerated form they have been totally deserted, have become "ghost towns."
    • 1993, “Campground Host”, in Volunteer Opportunities 1993, Ogden, Utah: United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Region, →OCLC, page 13:
      Campgrounds are located approximately two miles south of the "ghost town" of Jarbidge, Nevada.
  2. (figuratively) Anything that has been deserted or abandoned, or has been empty all along.
    • 2014, D. C. Johnston, chapter 31, in Celtic Treasure: A Mick Scott Adventure, [s.n.]: Johnston Enterprises, →ISBN, page 195:
      It was the Friday evening before Christmas and ASU was a ghost town. Most everyone had left for the holiday several days earlier, including all of Professor Brinkerman's students.
    • 2015, Richard Price writing as Harry Brandt, The Whites: A Novel, New York, N.Y.: Henry Holt and Company, →ISBN, page 332:
      At this hour, the canyoned street was a ghost town, and Billy easily spotted the late-model Nissan Pathfinder slowly approaching from three blocks south.
    • 2020 August 18, “Empty spaces in Tsz Wan Shan amid Hong Kong’s third wave of coronavirus”, in South China Morning Post[1], →ISSN, →OCLC, archived from the original on 2021-09-06:
      One of the areas in Hong Kong most profoundly impacted by the city’s third wave of coronavirus is Tsz Wan Shan. The usually bustling streets of the working-class neighbourhood in Kowloon now resemble a ghost town. Tsz Wan Shan has been the epicentre of a recent cluster of Covid-19 cases.

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