Americans and visitors to America are always enthralled and mesmerized by the birth and deaths of the Western Ghost Town, but they miss out on some interesting places, including the first ghost town in America. You say, “Where, and what are you talking about?” It is simple–the ghost towns of the Eastern United States. If you love visiting ghost towns, climb aboard the “Examiner Express,” have a seat, and enjoy the ride.
The first stop on this adventure is Cotton Gin Port, Miss.. This town, which no longer exists, was the first town in north Mississippi. The original town was located on the banks of the Tombigbee River, near the present town of Amory.
A cotton gin was built at this location in 1801 by the United States Government, thus giving the settlement the name, Cotton Gin Port. It was also part of a plan to make the local Chickasaw Indians civilized, as the government called it. The Gaines Trace, was built to the town in 1811 and 1812. When the railroad was built through nearby Amory, it was a death blow to the town, and thus, Cotton Gin Port is no more, except for some of the ruins, which can still be found between the Tenn-Tom Waterway and the Tombigbee River. Also there are some relics of the town at Amory Airport.
Okay, the Express has picked up steam again, and is approaching Loyston, Tennessee, but if we visit the original town, we would need to switch to a submarine, for the fact that Loyston is now part of Norris Lake.
With the planned building of the Norris Dam on the Tennessee River, the residents of this town of over 70 residents were forced to sell their property to the Tennessee Valley Authority, and abandon their homes, post ofrfice and several small business, making the location of Loyston a submerged ghost town.
Getting back aboard the Express, we travel to Flagstaff. No–not Arizona, but rather Flagstaff, Maine. Again, progress took its toll on another community when the town was physically abandoned and dismantled (and legally disincorporated) in 1950. This was done in order to build another dam; this one on the Dead River. This enlarged the existing Flagstaff Lake and submerged the site of the town of Flagstaff.
Last, but not least on this tour of ghost towns is a place that predates all other ghost towns in America, and is known for its mysterious demise, with no one being able to say what happened to its people. It is the Lost Colony Roanoke Island, which is now part of the state of North Carolina.
In the late 16th Century, Queen Elizabeth I sent Sir Walter Raleigh with a group of over 100 men, women and children to America to begin colonization. The colonists were left on what was r named Roanoke Island by the captain. Later when another expedition returned to Roanoke, they found that the colonists had vanished without a trace.
If you like the Ghost Town Series of the Small Town Travel Examiner, please email me at ggjones.writer@ gmail.com, and let me know.