Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Ghost Towns of the Southwest

Ghost Towns of the Southwest: Your Guide to the Historic Mining Camps and Ghost Towns of Arizona and New Mexico
by Jim Hinckley [917.91 Hin]

I admit it; I am a sucker for ghost towns. There is something about the remnants of these old places that intrigue me. I love prowling them with my camera and I love reading about them. The author, Jim Hinckley describes these towns that are shells of their former selves in lyrical prose. He portrays communities such as Oatman as "towns that cling to life with dust swirling along once busy thoroughfares". He also gives historical tidbits. For example, Oatman is linked to Hollywood. Several movies were filmed here, most notably How the West Was Won in 1962. And Clark Gable and Carole Lombard spent their first night as husband and wife in the Oatman Hotel in 1939. Hinckley also gives careful attention to ghost towns such White Hills, which are only wind-blown memories. The only tangible remains are weather beaten wood claim markers. Many of these dusty time capsules started their lives as mining camps and grew into towns as the mines prospered. When the gold, silver and copper veins were exhausted the residents drifted away in search of better opportunities. Some communities, such as Bisbee redefined themselves and are now thriving. Bisbee is a photographic gem nestled in the colorful canyons of the Mule Mountains. Other towns such as Elizabethtown, New Mexico are simply picturesque ruins. Hinckley teamed up with travel photographer, Kerrick James to produce a book that is rich in visual as well written detail. There are easy to follow maps and explicit driving directions if you interested in visiting these relics. [If you enjoy this, you may also wish to try Dust to Dust: Ghost Towns of Eastern Nebraska by Lowell Greunke, Black Hills Ghost Towns by Watson Parker, Colorado Ghost Towns -- Past and Present by Robert Leaman Brown, and Ghost Towns of Kansas by Daniel Fitzgerald.] -- recommended by Donna G. - Virtual Services Department

[ official Jim Hinckley blog ]

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