7 Abandoned Ghost Towns You Must Visit In New York

New York is not only famous for its bustling city life, but also for its rich and diverse history. Some of the most fascinating places to explore in the state are the ghost towns – abandoned settlements that once thrived but now lie forgotten. Whether you are looking for a spooky adventure, a historical lesson, or a scenic getaway, these seven ghost towns in New York are worth a visit.

1. Tahawus

Tahawus, meaning “cloud-splitter” in the Native American language, was a mining town in the Adirondack Mountains. It was established in 1826 to extract iron ore from the nearby mountains, and later became a hub for titanium production. The town had a blast furnace, a railroad, a post office, and a school. However, by the 1960s, the mining operations ceased and the town was abandoned. Today, you can still see the ruins of the furnace, the railroad tracks, and some of the buildings. You can also hike to the nearby Mount Marcy, the highest peak in New York.

2. Doodletown

Doodletown was a small hamlet in the Hudson Highlands, dating back to the 18th century. It was home to about 300 residents, who worked as farmers, woodcutters, and quarrymen. The town had a church, a school, a cemetery, and a few shops. However, in the 1960s, the state of New York acquired the land to expand the Bear Mountain State Park, and the residents were forced to leave. Today, you can walk along the Doodletown Loop Trail, where you can see the remnants of the town, such as stone walls, foundations, and signs. You can also spot some wildlife, such as deer, birds, and snakes.

3. Love Canal

Love Canal was a neighborhood in Niagara Falls, built on top of a toxic waste dump. It was named after William T. Love, who envisioned a canal project that would connect the Niagara River to Lake Ontario, but never completed it. In the 1940s and 1950s, the abandoned canal was used as a landfill for chemical waste by a company called Hooker Chemical. In the 1970s, the residents of Love Canal started to experience health problems, such as cancer, birth defects, and miscarriages, due to the leakage of the waste into the soil and water. The neighborhood was declared a federal disaster area, and the residents were relocated. Today, you can see the fenced-off area where the canal once was, and learn more about the environmental disaster at the Love Canal Museum.

4. Bannerman Castle

Bannerman Castle is a striking structure on Pollepel Island, in the Hudson River. It was built by Francis Bannerman, a Scottish-American businessman who dealt with surplus military equipment. He bought the island in 1900, and constructed a castle-like warehouse to store his inventory. He also built a smaller castle as his residence, and a garden. However, in 1920, a massive explosion destroyed part of the warehouse, and in 1969, a fire gutted the rest of the buildings. The island was abandoned, and the castle fell into decay. Today, you can take a boat tour to the island, and see the ruins of the castle. You can also join a guided tour, or attend one of the cultural events that are held on the island.

5. Centralia

Centralia is a ghost town in Pennsylvania, but it is close enough to New York to make it a worthwhile trip. It was a coal mining town, founded in 1866, and had a population of over 1,000 people. However, in 1962, a fire started in one of the coal mines, and spread underground. The fire has been burning ever since, creating sinkholes, smoke, and toxic gases. The town was evacuated, and most of the buildings were demolished. Today, you can see the graffiti-covered highway that leads to the town, and the steam that rises from the cracks in the ground. You can also visit the few remaining structures, such as the church, the cemetery, and the municipal building.

6. Glenwood

Glenwood was a lake resort town in the Catskill Mountains, popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It was known for its mineral springs, which were believed to have healing properties. The town had several hotels, cottages, and a casino, where visitors could enjoy the scenery, the spa treatments, and the entertainment. However, by the 1930s, the town declined due to the Great Depression, the competition from other resorts, and the pollution of the lake. The town was abandoned, and the buildings were either burned down or collapsed. Today, you can see the ruins of the Glenwood Hotel, the casino, and the spring house, along the shore of the lake.

7. Rensselaer Iron Works

Rensselaer Iron Works was an industrial complex in Troy, on the banks of the Hudson River. It was founded in 1846 by Erastus Corning, a prominent businessman and politician. The complex produced iron rails, pipes, and machinery, and employed hundreds of workers. The iron works also played a role in the Civil War, supplying the Union Army with weapons and ammunition. However, by the late 19th century, the iron industry declined, and the complex was shut down. The buildings were either demolished or converted into other uses. Today, you can see the remains of the iron works, such as the blast furnace, the rolling mill, and the water tower, in the Riverfront Park.


New York is a state that has a lot to offer for those who are interested in exploring its past. The ghost towns that dot the landscape are a testament to the history, culture, and nature of the state. They are also a reminder of the impermanence of human endeavors, and the resilience of nature. If you are looking for a unique and adventurous experience, these seven ghost towns in New York are definitely worth a visit.

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