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Ghost Towns

The Oklahoma Territory of the mid- to late-1800's prior to the Land Rush days, was littered with small towns. Many others sprang up after the Rush in the early 1890's while "Tent Cities" were prevalent during the oil boom days of 1900-1935. Some, like Benton, which was located east of present-day Beaver on the Beaver River in the Panhandle region, flourished for a time--to the point where populations approached 1,000 residents. Their demise was often triggered by a catastrophe such as a fire, when a natural resource such as a gypsum field played out or, as was Benton's case, when the buffalo disappeared. Some lost their fight with the Dust Bowl of the early-to-mid 1930's while others along Route 66 dried up when the Interstate Highway System was constructed.

With an incredible 250 (or so) ghost or near-ghost towns on record, this page, instead of being the definitive source of Oklahoma ghost towns, will present thumbnail sketches and brief anecdotes of a sampling of these towns.




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