Empty buildings, streets regained by nature, and a general sense of decay. A ghost town is a once-vibrant settlement that has since been left deserted and empty.

These eerie remnants of the past offer a glimpse into Minnesota history and the lives of those who once lived there.

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Explore six ghost towns in Minnesota - some eerie, others touching, but all filled with mystery.

Dorothy

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Dorothy was a town in Red Lake County. According to Wikipedia, Dorothy was initially established as a railroad station in 1916–17, and for a time sputtered toward prosperity, with a grain elevator, a Catholic church, a school, and several houses.

In 1973, the railroad was abandoned and the grain elevator closed, and with it, the town's reason for existence was gone.


Elcor

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Elcor was inhabited between 1897 and 1956. It was built on the Mesabi Iron Range near the city of Gilbert in St. Louis County, according to Wikipedia. 

Also See: Minnesota's Most Haunted Hotels Will Send Chills Down Your Spine.

Elcor was a mining location, built by the mining company to house the workers for its mines. People were allowed to own their homes, but the land on which the houses stood belonged to the mining company.

After the Corsica mine closed in 1954, the residents were ordered to vacate the property so the mining company could reclaim the land. By 1956, Elcor was completely abandoned. Now, the Minorca mine sits directly over the site.


Dale

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Wikipedia says, at one time the village had a town hall, a jail, an elevator, and numerous private homes. Another town that lost it's luster when the train quit making stops there.

Don't blink, you might miss it!


Forestville

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Forestville is in Fillmore County by Wykoff and Preston. It was founded in 1852, but the town's population began to drop after the railroad bypassed Forestville in 1868 according to Wikipedia.

By 1880, the town's population was only 55 and most businesses had closed. As families left town, the Meighen family, some of the first Forestville settlers, began buying up cheap property, and by 1889, they owned the entire town and its surrounding area. By the early 1900s, even the Meighen family had left Forestville, and their general store's doors were closed in 1910, marking the end of the town's life.


Leaf River

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Leaf River is in Wadena County. According to Wikipedia, today the town has a population around 50. There is a restaurant, a golf course, an old school house, and a residential community.

It doesn't fit the classic definition of a completely abandoned ghost town, but it definitely gives off that vibe. Leaf River is listed as a Minnesota ghost town, likely because of its significant reduction in its population and activity compared to its peak.

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Gallery Credit: Carly Ross