Abandoned Towns in Oklahoma

Abandoned Towns in Oklahoma: A Journey Through History

Abandoned towns in Oklahoma are an intriguing sight for those who love to delve into the past and explore forgotten places. An abandoned town is a place where the population has decreased to the point where the town is no longer functional. This may be due to various reasons, such as natural disasters, economic factors, man-made disasters, or changes in transportation.

Oklahoma has a rich history of settlements, and exploring abandoned towns is a unique way to learn about the state’s past. The purpose of this article is to highlight some of the most notable abandoned towns in Oklahoma, including their history, reasons for abandonment and current status.

Reasons for Abandonment

There are various reasons why towns may become abandoned. Natural disasters such as floods, tornadoes, and earthquakes can make a place uninhabitable. Economic factors such as the closure of a major industry or the inability to sustain a population can also lead to abandonment. Man-made disasters such as oil spills or nuclear accidents can cause permanent damage to a town, leading to its abandonment. Changes in transportation can also make a town obsolete if it is no longer on a major trade route or railroad.

Examples of Abandoned Towns in Oklahoma


Picher is a ghost town in Ottawa County, Oklahoma. It was once a prosperous mining town that produced lead and zinc. The town had a population of over 20,000 in the 1920s, but by the early 2000s, it was almost entirely abandoned. Picher is one of the most toxic towns in America due to decades of mining activity that has left behind large piles of chat, a toxic byproduct of mining.

The Environmental Protection Agency declared the town a Superfund site in 1981, and by 2009, the entire town was evacuated due to the danger of collapse from the chat piles. Today, Picher is a ghost town with few remaining structures, and the chat piles loom large over the deserted landscape.


Swink is a ghost town in Beckham County, Oklahoma. It was established in 1901 as a railroad town and was once a bustling community with a school, post office, and numerous businesses. However, the town began to decline in the 1930s, and by the 1960s, it was almost entirely abandoned. The main reason for Swink’s decline was the closure of the railroad station, which was the town’s primary source of transportation and commerce. Today, Swink is a quiet and peaceful ghost town, with a few abandoned buildings still standing as a testament to its past.


Ingalls is a ghost town in Payne County, Oklahoma. It was established in 1893 as a settlement for the Cherokee Strip Land Run. Ingalls was once a prosperous town with a hotel, newspaper, and numerous businesses. However, the town’s fortunes declined in the early 1900s, and by the 1930s, it was almost entirely abandoned. The main reason for Ingalls’ decline was the shift in transportation routes away from the town, which caused a decline in commerce. Today, Ingalls is a quiet and peaceful ghost town, with a few remaining structures that offer a glimpse into its past.


Exploring abandoned towns in Oklahoma is a unique way to learn about the state’s past and the various factors that can lead to a town’s abandonment. Picher, Swink, and Ingalls are just a few examples of the many abandoned towns that can be found in Oklahoma. Each town has a unique story to tell, and visiting them offers a glimpse into a bygone era. These abandoned towns are a reminder of the fragility of civilization and the importance of preserving history for future.

Abandoned Towns in Oklahoma

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