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13 Ghost Towns In Minnesota [MAP]

    ghost towns in Minnesota

    If you’re searching for ghost towns in Minnesota, we’ve got you covered! Below are 12 different ghost towns you can explore across the great state of Minnesota along with their status and exact GPS coordinates.

    We rate ghost towns in Minnesota based on their status. Here’s how our system works:

    • Abandoned: Is abandoned with ruins and structures in a decayed state. Great for urban explorers.
    • Historic: Preservation efforts have been made and sometimes plaques installed. Great for everyone.
    • Barren: Almost nothing remains of the town. Ideal for metal detectorists.
    • Commercial: Is commercially owned with amenities, restaurants, and stores. Great for families.
    • Semi-Abandoned: Abandoned areas with a small population in the area.
    • Privately Owned: Tours might be available but not open to the general public.


    1. Taconite Harbor

    47.52132, -90.92837
    Status: Abandoned

    Photo Credit: TravelingOtter – flickr.com

    History:

    In the 1950s, the Erie Mining Company established operations in the area, where the company built housing for its workers. In time, the community grew and became the town of Taconite Harbor.

    During the late 1980s, residents of Taconite Harbor were told that the town no longer supported its residents and were being offered $1 for their homes. But the plan was ultimately scrapped, and the remaining homes were packed on trucks and moved to other locations. 

    What’s Left?

    Now, the town sits deserted and abandoned, but the remnants of the town remain, including rusty street lights, overgrown streets, and an old basketball court. Of all the ghost towns in Minnesota, Taconite Harbor is by far my favorite.


    2. Leaf River

    46.51429, -95.09326
    Status: Abandoned

    History:

    Before Leaf River was a real town, it was an unincorporated town in Martin County, Minnesota. The town’s name was derived from the famous actress Imogen from Shakespeare’s Cymbeline. In 1900, the town was platted and had a post office. It was operated until 1913.

    What’s Left?

    Today, this quiet town has a history that goes back almost two centuries. Its population is now around fifty. In addition, Leaf River is home to a golf course and restaurant, and has a residential community. Urban explorers can still shoot the old town hall, as well as the cemetery, and a few abandoned structures nearby.


    3. Pelan

    48.64358, -96.39336
    Status: Abandoned

    Photo Credit: J. Stephen Conn

    History:

    The first settlement was in 1880, named Pelan after a wealthy Englishman. In 1889, the town’s first postmaster disappeared with his mail sack. In 1903, the town’s second postmaster, Frederic W. Clay, also vanished with his mail sack. By the year 1909, Pelan simply ceased to exist. 

    What’s Left?

    In its place now stands Pelan Park, which has a few buildings and is home to a nesting Western Wood-Pewee. While Pelan isn’t the most exciting of ghost towns in Minnesota, the park and few ruins still make it a great casual exploration on the weekend.


    4. Radium

    48.22941, -96.61366
    Status: Abandoned

    Photo Credit: Andrew Filer – flickr.com

    History:

    Radium was settled in 1905 along the Soo Line Railroad. To no one’s surprise, the town was named after the infamous Radium element. Not much is documented about the town online, so we can’t verify is Radium was processed here. By 1984 the town had dissolved and its post office was officially terminated.

    What’s Left?

    Today, there are various abandoned buildings along the rail line as well as scattered across the town. A few people live in the nearby area and there is an active grain silo just off by the tracks.


    5. Beaver

    44.15253, -92.0199
    Status: Abandoned

    History:

    The town is named for beavers, which inspired settlers to dam part of the creek. The town was platted in 1856, but by the 1950s, much of the town had been eroded by hillside farming and was a swamp.  Several structures were built in the town, including a flour mill. It also had a hardware store, Methodist church, school, saloon, and cheese factory. 

    What’s Left?

    Today, the site is mostly a nature preserve with any surviving buildings vacant and being reclaimed by mother nature. Of all the ghost towns in Minnesota, Beaver is among the most remote.


    6. Old Crow Wing

    40.165833, -87.441944
    Status: Abandoned

    History:

    Located in Crow Wing County in Fort Ripley Township, Old Crow Wing is the northernmost European-American settlement on the Mississippi. It was long occupied by the Ojibwe people. The town of Old Crow Wing, Minnesota, was founded in 1830 and was populated by over 600 people by 1840.

    What’s Left?

    Today, the town is mostly vacant, but you can visit the site and see what it was like. Urban explorers can find a few abandoned structures along the Wabash River, and explore the nearby Roger Cemetery.


    7. Splitrock

    47.18277, -91.40777
    Status: Abandoned

    History:

    The town was founded in 1899, when the Split Rock Lumber Company began logging red and white pine. At the time, it employed about 350 men, and had its own coal dock, railroad, post office, and store. The town also has a ghostly lighthouse, which is still standing on the site.

    What’s Left?

    Split Rock Lighthouse is a great reminder of the dangers of the shoreline in the past. It is one of the best-preserved Great Lakes lighthouses in the country, and the living quarters are the most photographed. You may even be able to see the lighthouse’s ghostly residents.


    8. Winner

    48.59808, -95.44035
    Status: Abandoned

    History:

    Winner was a small town that didn’t last too long. The government forced out the town’s residents as the town encroached on a part of a protected state forest.

    What’s Left?

    The roads in the area are still maintained and explorers can still check out the original cemetery of Winner. Outside of a few structures, very little remains of the town.


    9. Huot

    47.86528, -96.42306
    Status: Barren

    Photo Credit: Wonderal – flickr.com

    History:

    Huot was initially settled in the early 1940s as a small river village along the Red Lake Oxcar Trail. A decade later, the village grew to include a trading post, schoolhouse, store, and church. Unfortunately, when the Northern Pacific Railroad skipped Huot as a stop, the population dropped sharply as residents looked for better opportunities.

    What’s Left?

    Today practically nothing is left that resembled the town of Huot. However, vigilant visitors may find some foundations and small ruins in the area.


    10. Old Wadena

    46.42208, -94.82601
    Status: Barren

    History:

    Old Wadena is possibly the oldest of ghost towns in Minnesota, dating all the way back to 1782. Numerous trading posts were located on the property. White settlers and local Ojibwe natives would trade furs and other goods but this didn’t last long. The post was attacked by nearly 200 Dakota tribesmen, however, they were no match for the trading post’s firearms.

    Despite a win for the traders, they packed up and left the area to never return.

    What’s Left?

    Today the area is primarily of forest land and trails. Many remnants of the town can be found underground, and are currently being studied by archioligsts.


    11. Dorothy

    47.92777, -96.44638
    Status: Semi-Abandoned

    History:

    Dorothy was a small town that slowly faded with time over the years. By 1980 it was already in the midst of a rapid decline. The town’s railroad spur and abandoned grain elevator were both factors in the town’s demise, which began in the early 1970s. In 2014, a fire ravaged the town and destroyed its last remaining home. While the town’s population still exists, most of its businesses and residences have long since disappeared.

    What’s Left?

    Few homes remain in Dorthy, however, explorers can still find a few abandoned homes and an old barn.


    12. Mckinley

    47.51309, -92.41057
    Status: Barren

    History:

    In the past, McKinley was home to a mining community, Sparta. This town was located in Chippewa County west of the Twin Cities. However, its past is now only represented in the archives of the Iron Range Historical Society. 

    What’s Left?

    The ruins of the town are located in the vicinity of the former railroad station. Visitors will find it easy to imagine how people lived here. McKinley was once a vibrant mining town, but now it is little more than a ghost town.


    Go out and explore!

    That concludes our list of ghost towns in Minnesota, but that doesn’t mean that’s all there is to find. Take the back roads, follow train tracks, and find some places for yourself. There are plenty of places I kept off this list so get out there and explore.

    If you’re having trouble finding ghost towns be sure to check out our Ultimate Guide to Finding Abandoned Places, or explore other ghost towns across the country.

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