As I finalize work on Ghost Towns of Route 66, and seeing Ghost Towns of the Southwest climb the rankings on, my thoughts again turn towards ghost towns and why they are so fascinating. This is not a recent phenomena, after all Roman historians wrote extensively on the ruins of Egypt and Greece.
Still, there is something uniquely American about the ghosts along Route 66 and the fascination we have with them. Perhaps it is because they seem so modern but yet so ancient as they mirror the evolution of our love/hate with the automobile.

During a recent visit to Hackberry, I reflected on memories of my trips along Route 66 forty plus years ago, and listened to the chatter of tourists as they thronged around the various remnants that make the old general store a veritable time capsule of life as it was.
Perhaps our fascination with what once was lies in part with how far removed we are from the world of travel without the comfort of air conditioning. From that perspective these surving remnants are a fascination because they are exotic, an opportunity to experience the frontier without having to endure the trials and tribulations.
For me the fascination is a bit more personal. I have long been of the opinion that without historic context an individual can not really know if it is the best or worst of times.
It is for that reason I attempt to present the past with a fresh as today’s news approach in my writings. That is also the foundational element that fills me with a passion for sharing the history of places such as Hackberry.
I also derive a balance from visiting the lost world of the past by visiting the forgotten places, driving the lost highways, and seeing the world through a windshield that is older than I am. All of these prevent an inflated sense of self importance and also help me to focus on just how short life really is, which in turn sharpens my attention to the things that are of real importance.
This is not the first time I touched on this theme or shared these thoughts. Nor has the moral of the story changed – seize the day, visit the past for context, and look toward the future with vigor and anticipation.
In a nut shell, this spring and summer take to the road less traveled. Quicken the spirit with adventure, make memories, and savor the moment for soon it will be the past that fascinates a new generation.
Okay, with philosophy 1010 out of the way here is an update on Ghost Towns of the Southwest from It looks as though we have a winner. Who knows, at this rate my dream of becoming a writer when I grow up may yet become a reality! Sales Rank: #20,170 in Books (See Bestsellers in Books)
Popular in these categories: (What’s this?)
#2 in Books > History > United States > State & Local > New Mexico
#2 in Books > History > United States > State & Local > Arizona
#3 in Books > Travel > United States > States > Arizona

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