Saturday, April 12, 2014

Texas Ghost Towns. Part II: Independence and Gay Hill

Today I had an occasion to visit Washington County (about 1.5 h drive northwest from Houston) and explore two places that are listed as ghost towns in Wikipedia - Independence and Gay Hill. Originally I was not planning visiting these ghost towns, but fortunately they were on my way. So I stopped there and now can share some of my fresh photos from these destinations. Both places worth visiting, especially if you are interested in history of Texas.

Independence is more historic site than a ghost town. Many families are living here today. This place is rich of Texas history and attracts numerous tourists every weekend. Today the town was really crowded, so I have not experienced a feeling of ghost town at this place. But it is really nice destination to go. I am not going to go into much details about the history since you can get this information on official historic websites, but some of the photos below provide important historic remarks. So far, Independence is my favorite 'ghost town' in Texas. 

Gay Hill
Gay Hill is located within few miles west from Independence on the same road FM 390. The name of this town has nothing to do with LGBT movement. Gay Hill was established in the middle of 19th century and was named after Thomas Gay, a local businessman and prominent resident. Today Gay Hill is a small rural community. 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Texas Ghost Towns. Part I: Houston area ghost towns

I love exploring ghost towns. Texas has many ghost towns to offer and some of them are located not far from Houston. The best guide for Texas ghost towns is
I studied this website carefully before planning my trips and picked promising places within reasonable driving distance. The photos below were taken during two separate trips in February and December 2013.

1. Mackay, Texas
This ghost town is located straight on busy US59 highway within about 1 hour drive from Houston. This is probably the only real ghost town among all the three places shown in this article. Because other towns are still partially inhabited. Despite completely abandoned status of Mackay, there is a lot of agriculture surrounding this ghost town:

According to the information from, Mackay was completely abandoned in 1970s. Now there are few decaying houses remaining:

2. Newgulf, Texas

Newgulf is located only within 20 miles from Mackay so I explored both ghost towns in one day.

Newgulf was originally founded by sulfur mining company in 1928 and was officially abandoned in early 1990s. However, I was really surprised to see many inhabitants there in 2013: there were several modern populated houses with people hanging around but status of them is unknown.  

Abandoned workers' houses in Newgulf: 

 Some modern families living in Newgulf today:

Remains of the sulfur plant:
Now the territory of the sulfur company is occupied by some farm, so the agriculture is booming in Newgulf today:

3. Indianola, Texas

On Indianola is called 'Texas' Queen of ghost towns' so I expected to see something really special at this place. Unfortunately, the reality is different: this is just another boring small settlement. There is well paved road going to Indianola so it is not hard to get there. About 2.5 hours drive from Houston. Because of the paved road, presence of people is obvious there, so I would not call this place a ghost town. Several modern houses exist in Indianola. However, real ghost towns without any people around but some remaining abandoned houses are really hard to find in Texas so these 'ghost towns' like Indianola are better than nothing. Hopefully, next time I will have luck to see some really exciting ghost town in Texas.