5 Abandoned Towns in Georgia: Exploring the Peach State’s Ghostly Past

Written by Kristin Hitchcock
Updated: August 7, 2023
Share on:

Advertisement


Georgia has a rich history and culture. But it’s also home to several ghost towns hidden throughout the state. These ghost towns became deserted for various reasons, usually due to economic collapse, natural disasters, or disease.

You can still explore many of them today, allowing you to get a glimpse of the past. However, others are simply ruins and rubble with little to mark that they were once thriving towns.

These 5 towns in Georgia have become ghost towns!

In this article, we’ll explore some of the most fascinating and eerie abandoned towns in Georgia.

Auraria

Home in Auraria, Georgia, a Ghost Town

A home in Auraria, Georgia, a ghost town.

©Hellohowareyoudoing/CC BY-SA 3.0 – License

Auraria was founded in 1833 after a handful of gold miners discovered gold nearby. The town’s population reached over 10,000 people. However, it didn’t last long after the gold rush ended in the 1840s.

This town was located near the confluence of the Chattahoochee and Chestatee Rivers. Sources conflict with the exact location of the original town, though. We do know the name of the town likely came from the gold mining town of Auraria, California.

Auraria was a pretty bustling town when the gold was still in the ground. There were several businesses, including saloons and stores. There were even a number of schools and churches in town.

However, the gold rush eventually ended, and the town began to decline shortly afterward. It was abandoned by the 1850s. Today, you can still see a few ruins of the buildings still standing.

Ebenezer

Jerusalem Lutheran Church in Ebenezer, Georgia

As of 1974, Ebenezer and Jerusalem Lutheran Church are listed on the United States National Register of Historic Places.

©Bubba73 (Jud McCranie)/CC BY-SA 4.0 – License

Emigrants from present-day Austria founded Ebenezer in 1734. The town and nearby areas were home to several important people from America’s history, including George Whitefield and John Wesley. Unfortunately, after the American Revolution caused severe damage there, it never recovered, and inhabitants abandoned it in the mid-19th century.

Those who founded the town were Salzburger emigrants who fled to America to escape religious persecution. They named the town after the town of Ebenezer from the bible. The emigrants established it on the banks of the Savannah River, which became a center of trade and commerce. Eventually, this town built several schools and churches.

After the town suffered damage in the American Revolution, hope sprung for it when it became the county seat of Effingham County. That seat transferred to Springfield just two years later, though. It never recovered, and the town’s population began to decline shortly thereafter. Finally, it was all but abandoned by 1855.

High Falls

high falls state park jackson Georgia

The site of High Falls is the current High Falls State Park, which became a ghost town when the railroad bypassed it, resulting in the failed industry there.

©Georges_Creations/Shutterstock.com

High Falls was a later town that was founded in the early 1800s. It was an industrial town that was home to several mills and factories. However, it was abandoned soon after the Civil War, which disrupted the industry of the area.

The town was named after the high waterfalls in the area. It was a bustling town at its height, with many saloons, hotels, and stores.

However, the population began to decline, and the Civil War provided the final blow. It was eventually abandoned in the 1870s.

Scull Shoals

Lake Oconee, Georgia, USA from above in the afternoon.

Lake Oconee is a reservoir in Georgia on the Oconee River. Along the Oconee River is where settlers founded Scull Shoals as a watermill village.

©Sean Pavone/Shutterstock.com

Scull Shoals was a mill village that was founded in the 1850s. The town largely centered around the mills. However, they were destroyed in a flood in the 1880s, which led to the town being abandoned.

The town was situated near the Oconee and Chestatee Rivers, where the strong water flow helped the mills turn. On top of the mills, the town was home to several other businesses, too.

The town’s industry was disrupted by the Civil War, and then the flood destroyed many of the remaining businesses in the town. There are a few ruins still standing of the town today, though there isn’t much left due to the flood and lack of rebuilding afterward.

White Sulphur Springs

US state Georgia seal flag painted on concrete hole and cracked wall facade structure

There is not much remaining from White Sulphur Springs even though it was once a resort town.

©Bennian/Shutterstock.com

This resort town was founded in the early 1800s. This town was quite popular with wealthy travelers, which was the original point. However, after the disruption of the Civil War, the town saw a lack of tourism and eventually declined past the point of return.

As a resort town, White Sulphur Springs had many hotels, spas, and similar businesses. It was also considered a popular destination for hunting and fishing.

Not much of the town is left today, though there are still a few ruins remaining.

What Led to the Ghost Towns in Georgia?

Several factors led to the abandoned towns in Georgia. There are likely many abandoned settlements that aren’t maintained by a historical society or even known about. For instance, the Native Americans had many towns in the state that were abandoned when the European settlers arrived. Many of these settlements are not on any map.

The first European settlers founded many towns that became ghost towns. Not all of these were well documented and may be lost today. Usually, economic decline and natural disasters led to these towns being abandoned.

The Civil War created many ghost towns that are well-known today. This war disrupted Georgia’s industry, leading to declining industry-centered towns. Many were destroyed by the fighting and not rebuilt, as well.

The 20th century saw more towns abandoned, usually because of economic decline and environmental problems.

No one factor is to blame for all the ghost towns in Georgia. It varies widely from town to town.

Summary of 5 Abandoned Towns in Georgia

NumberAbandoned Town
1Auraria
2Ebenezer
3High Falls
4Scull Shoals
5White Sulphur Springs

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Georges_Creations/Shutterstock.com


Share on:
About the Author

Kristin is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering dogs, cats, fish, and other pets. She has been an animal writer for seven years, writing for top publications on everything from chinchilla cancer to the rise of designer dogs. She currently lives in Tennessee with her cat, dogs, and two children. When she isn't writing about pets, she enjoys hiking and crocheting.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.