Not many people can say that they are a ghost town expert—but then again, Bruce Raisch isn’t most people! He has explored over 60 ghost towns in the Black Hills alone and wrote a guide to these ghost towns called Ghost Towns & Other Historical Sites of the Black Hills.
“I explore these towns to learn about the unique American western history. These towns are especially prevalent in the Black Hills because both mining and railroad industries produced ghost towns. The Black Hills had plenty of both,” said Bruce. “The feeling you get when you walk the empty streets or when you set up your cot in the town’s cemetery is something that draws me back.”
His favorite ghost towns in the Black Hills are Ardmore, Igloo, and Tinton. These towns are somewhat intact and have an interesting history that isn’t from gold mining. His “second-tier” favorites are Moon and Mystic, as these sites have good buildings and fascinating history.
Ghost Towns & Other Historical Sites of the Black Hills contains maps of the areas, a glossary, history, and tips. His book can be purchased at over 70 retail locations throughout the Black Hills or on his website theghosttownhunter.com.
Tips for Beginning Ghost Town Hunters
- If the ghost town is on private property, get permission.
- Don’t rely on your GPS, use maps and find good directions.
- Finding the site might require some hiking. Get good hiking boots. Nothing is worse than trying to explore an old building, full of splintery wood and rusty nails, while wearing flip flops.
- Know about ghost town and hiking safety. Always tell people where you’re going and when you’ll be back, bring plenty of water, and don’t enter old mines or unsafe buildings.
By Kelsey Sinclair