Fall of an Empire

Sign at the Empire petrol station

The blog Irregulars might remember I have a thing for ghost towns and derelict places, so it’ll be no surprise that I’m fascinated by the story of Empire in Nevada: America’s newest ghost-town.

One of the last company towns in the US, built around a gypsum mine & drywall factory in operation since the 1920s, it has two churches, a pool and its own airstrip. The one thing it no longer has is residents.

When United States Gypsum mothballed the plant at the end of 2010 due to the recession and downturn in building trade, they gave residents a few months to move out of their homes (although several employees remain to keep an eye on the factory and houses – and, interestingly, to mow the lawns – and the store, just outside the town, is still open: close enough to the Burning Man festival to hopefully supplement any passing trade from the area.)

Perhaps most striking of all, the town’s Zip code, 89405, has been retired: a stark reminder that even in the modern world – just like us, body and soul – towns can die.



    1. Thanks for those – I’ve definitely spent some major procrastination-time on one of them, but I’ve not really looked at the others much. This must change! (Warning duly heeded…)

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