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Exploring Wisconsin’s Ghost Towns

Ghost towns have always fascinated people, as they hold a glimpse into the past and the lives of those who once called these abandoned places home.​ One of the most intriguing ghost towns in Wisconsin is Pendarvis, located in Iowa County. Founded by Cornish immigrants in the mid-1800s, Pendarvis was a mining community that flourished during the lead and zinc mining boom.​

Researching ghost towns in Wisconsin can be a fascinating endeavor. There are several resources available, such as the book ″Ghost Towns of Wisconsin″ by William F.​ Stark, that provide valuable insights into these forgotten places.​ Stark’s book offers a comprehensive exploration of Wisconsin’s ghost towns, shedding light on their history and the stories of the people who once lived there.

The Definition of a Ghost Town

Defining what constitutes a ghost town can be subjective.​ Some believe that a ghost town should only be classified as such if the reason for its existence no longer exists.​ Others argue that tangible remains should be present.​ However, in general terms, any abandoned settlement, city, town, or village with visible remains can be considered a ghost town.

Wisconsin is home to several eerie and captivating ghost towns.​ Some of the most prominent ones include Fort Howard, Fort Crawford, Dover, Cooksville, Ceresco, and Pendarvis.​ Each of these towns has its unique history and stories to tell.​

Fort Howard holds historical significance as a former military outpost during the early 19th century. Fort Crawford, on the other hand, was a vital military and trading post on the Mississippi River.​ Dover, Cooksville, and Ceresco were once bustling communities that faded away with time.

Preserving Our Past

Preservation efforts play a crucial role in ensuring that these ghost towns are not forgotten.​ Pendarvis, for example, stands today as a preserved town, serving as a monument to the once-thriving mining community.​ It serves as a reminder of the hardships and accomplishments of the early Cornish immigrants.​

Exploring these ghost towns can be a thrilling adventure for history enthusiasts.​ Keep in mind that some ghost towns may be on private property or have restricted access.​ Respect the historical integrity of these places and obey any rules or regulations that may be in place.​


Wisconsin’s ghost towns offer a fascinating glimpse into the past.​ Whether you are drawn by the allure of abandoned places or interested in uncovering the stories of those who came before us, exploring these ghost towns can be an enriching experience. Through preservation efforts and a continued interest in our history, we can ensure that these ghost towns remain a part of Wisconsin’s rich cultural heritage.​