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12 Ghost Towns In Tennessee [MAP]

    ghost towns in Tennessee

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

    We rate ghost towns in Ghost Towns In Tennessee 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. Cades Cove

    35.594167, -83.841944
    Status: Abandoned

    Photo Credit: Ken Lund – flickr.com

    History:

    The Elkmont Historic District was built in the 1910s for elite families to socialize in the mountains. It contains individual cottages, the Wonderland Hotel, and the Appalachian Clubhouse. Many of the buildings have been abandoned or are in shabby condition, and it’s easy to imagine that these places once hosted busy workers and well-off families.

    What’s Left?

    Cades Cove is now a tourist attraction, and its eerie atmosphere makes it a must-see when you’re in the area. While you’re there, take a walk along the Elkmont Nature Trail, which takes you past the old church and other historic structures. 


    2. Fork Mountain

    36.126667, -84.42
    Status: Abandoned

    History:

    Fork Mountain is a ghost town in the mountains of East Tennessee that is a former mining community. Curiously, It is also the birthplace of Ohio Senator Bill Harris. In the early 1950s, there were six underground mines, and a substantial population lived here. Fork Mountain was served by a post office, the Devonia, established in 1920, but closed in 1975.

    What’s Left?

    Today, the ghost town is managed by the National Park Service as part of the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. Of all the ghost towns in Tennessee, Fork Mountain is one of the best preserved and is open to the public, making it great for the whole family.


    3. Big Greenbrier

    35.70177, -83.38309
    Status:
    Abandoned

    History:

    Big Greenbrier was settled in during the 1800s between the rocky outcrop of the Smokey Mountains. Early settlers made their living farming and logging the resource-rich land. At the town’s peak, there were two churches, four grist mills, and multiple stores scattered around town.

    What’s Left?

    Today, Big Greenbrier is one of the most authentic ghost towns in Tennesee, with only ruins and abandoned buildings left behind. Urban explorers can rediscover the old Messer Farm as well as the overgrown stone structures and cemetery nearby.


    4. Newsom’s Landing

    36.07986, -86.99616
    Status: Abandoned

    History:

    Settled in the early 1800s, Newsom’s Landing enjoyed a brief period of prosperity before being completely wiped out by a flood. The town’s resurgence began in the 1860s when a nearby mill reopened and a large community grew. The town was a short-lived fixture in Tennessee.

    What’s Left?

    If you’re interested in history, Newsom’s Landing is the perfect place to do some metal-detecting. Besides the abandoned buildings, you can also find 19th-century artifacts and other remnants of this former settlement.


    5. Wheat

    35.93575, -84.37176
    Status: Abandoned

    History:

    Wheat was a bustling little town established in 1846. The town was not named after the crop, but named after the first postmaster Frank Wheat who delivered all the mail. The little town survived until the 1940s when the United States began its race to develop nuclear weapons.

    To support the workers on the Manhattan project, a rural area was needed to build a secret city. The area where Wheat once stood was the perfect place. Residents were relocated and the town of Oak Ridge took its place by 1941.

    What’s Left?

    The George Jones Memorial Baptist Church and its cemetery are all that remains of the town of Wheat. While this isn’t the most exciting of ghost towns in Tennesee, it certainly has a captivating story.


    6. Sunshine

    35.68404, -83.79231
    Status: Abandoned

    Photo Credit: Kellie Walls Sharpe – One Lane Road Photograhy

    History:

    If you’ve ever wanted to explore one of the ghost towns in Tennessee, you might consider heading to Sunshine. The former tourist town once was a thriving one, but its fortunes changed after a fire destroyed the hotel and the local lumber company closed its doors.

    What’s Left?

    Today, Sunshine is a ghost town, with no living souls to be seen. The last surviving reminder of its former life is the George Jones Missionary Church. Explorers can check out the original bridge that goes over the Little River, and can find some abandoned structures on the bluff just south of the highway,


    7. Elkmont

    35.655556, -83.584444
    Status: Historic

    Photo Credit: Jimmy Emerson, DVM – flickr.com

    History:

    In the upper Little River Valley of the Great Smoky Mountains lies the region of Elkmont, Tennessee. Historically, Elkmont was a pioneer Appalachian community and logging town, as well as a resort town.

    What’s Left?

    The area is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and visitors can explore its historical sites and museums. While you’re in Elkmont, be sure to visit the ghost towns, which are filled with historic buildings, murals, and other remains of the community’s past.


    8. Elkmont

    35.655556, -83.584444
    Status: Historic

    Photo Credit: Wayne Hsieh – flickr.com

    History:

    Although only a few families still call Galena home, the town is not tracked by the U.S. Census Bureau, making it a ghost town in South Dakota. In fact, the town is so small, the U.S. Census Bureau is unable to keep track of the number of people living there.

    What’s Left?

    The area is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and visitors can explore its historical sites and museums. While you’re in Elkmont, be sure to visit the ghost towns, which are filled with historic buildings, murals, and other remains of the community’s past.

    While some of the cabins may not be open to the public, the setting is divine. Some cabins are located near streams, making them a perfect getaway for anyone seeking solitude. Alternatively, you can camp in the campground and explore the abandoned buildings along the river. Of all the ghost towns in Tennesee, Elkmont is among my favorite.


    9. “Old” Butler

    36.3328, -82.002369
    Status: Underwater

    Photo Credit: CLUI.org

    History:

    Old Butler is located on the edge of Lake Watauga. The town was relocated in the 1940s as the river created a new lake. This historic community was once owned by the coal company, railroad, flatboat, early routes, and the Tennessee Valley Authority. Now, the town is permanently flooded by the TVA’s lake project.

    What’s Left?

    The town residents saved many artifacts during the move, including a horse-drawn hearse and the interior of the post office. You can still visit the town’s museum and view the artifacts from the past. Unless your equipped with scuba gear, there’s nothing left visible of Old Butler.


    10. Loyston

    36.265278, -83.95
    Status: Underwater

    History:

    Loyston was a small town built during the early 19th century. It was a hub for farmers, travelers, and those looking to put down roots. The town had a population of about 70 before it was flooded after the construction of the Norris Dam in 1930.

    What’s Left?

    Loyston now lies at the bottom of Norris Lake near the widest end. Structures and relics lie below the surface of the water but nothing remains on land. Given its depth, Loyston is one of the most inaccessible ghost towns in Tennesee.


    11. Morganton

    35.643333, -84.227222
    Status: Underwater

    History:

    The town of Morganton, Tennessee, became a Civil War hot spot and became mostly deserted by the late 1960s. The town was also the site of a vital ferry crossing, but by the 1970s, there were only about 20 buildings remaining.

    What’s Left?

    Today, many of the historic buildings and landmarks are permanently submerged because of the Tennessee Valley Authority’s lakes and reservoirs. While these former communities are no longer inhabited, you can still learn about their past by visiting them today.

    The only standing remnants of Morganton are the cemetery which sits right on the Little Tennessee River.


    Go out and explore!

    That concludes our list of ghost towns in Tennessee, 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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