consider a third ghost town book, one that profiles towns that had their boom and bust during the period 1900 to 1950.
When the topic was introduced the first thing that came to mind were the towns of the desert basins of eastern California, central Nevada, and western Arizona. Many of the towns established in these rugged, forbidding landscapes during this period represented a new era in the history of the southwest.
Towns such as Rhyolite, Goldfield, and Tonapah, unlike their frontier era cousins, may have been rough and tumble mining camps at their core but they were also modern, bustling communities of brick and stone construction.
Residents enjoyed running water and electricity. Most had railroad stations, movie theaters, and a few even had automobile dealerships.
Perhaps this is one reason their demise is so fascinating. For all intents and purposes these were modern towns with promising futures. In my mind this makes their empty streets even more haunting as it seems as though they represent the ghost of Christmas future.
Somewhere in the back of my mind thoughts of the project must have been circulating. As I was organizing some photo files this one of a sunset on Route 66 near Kingman grabbed my attention and in an instant I had a working title – Ghosts of the Purple Sage, a nodding tribute to Zane Grey.
It makes me wonder what other loose things are rolling around in there and where they will surface.