If you’re searching for ghost towns in Virginia, we’ve got you covered! Below are 7 different ghost towns you can explore across Virginia along with their status and exact GPS coordinates.
We rate ghost towns in Virginia 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. Ca Ira
Kicking off our list of ghost towns in Virginia is the town of Ca Ira. The town was founded in 1796, but soon fell into disuse after the American Civil War. Before the American Civil War, Ca Ira was a small farming community in Cumberland County. The General Assembly named the town Ca Ira, based on a popular French marching song. This reflected the popular enthusiasm of the French Revolution in Virginia.
Today, it is home only to an old Grace Church and a handful of houses. Historic artifacts from the Ca Ira Mill’s former dam and canal can be found in the surrounding area.
2. Upper Pocosin Mission
The community that lived in Pocosin Mission once flourished as a small mission with a schoolhouse and chapel. However, as better opportunities presented themselves, the community declined – and it has been abandoned since the late 1800s.
Today, you can see the ruins and crumbling walls of this ghost town in Shenandoah National Forest. Pocosin Mission is one of the more remote ghost towns in Virginia, so be sure to prepare accordingly when visiting.
3. Elko Tract
Elko Tract was a decoy airfield built in the 1940s to trick German bombers into wasting their munitions while preserving the legitimate airfields.
The tract was first put up for sale by the State Hospital Board in the 1950s, but that deal fell through. The state rejected bids to develop the tract, and its infrastructure was in danger. The state finally put it up for sale in 1963, but sadly the development never came to fruition.
Now urban explorers can check out the old airfield buildings, and abandoned water tower, and walk along the old overgrown streets. Of all the ghost towns in Virginia, Elko Tract is my personal favorite.
Lorraine is one of the least known ghost towns in Virginia. Lorraine was settled in the late 1880s and named after Edward Lorraine who was the chief engineer of the nearby canal. The town became a station stop along the Richmond and Allegheny Railroad which helped kickstart its population.
However as time went on, the rail line eventually discontinued their route to Lorraine by the 1950s.
While not much remains, vigilant explorers can still find ruins between the James River and along Tuckahoe Island.
Matildaville, Virginia was incorporated in 1790 by the General Assembly. It served as the headquarters of the Patowmack Company and housing for laborers.
This town was sixty feet below the bedrock. It was named after the first wife of Virginia governor, Henry Lee III, who planned to establish an industrial town with northern investors. By the late 1790s, most of Matildaville’s structures had been razed, and the only remaining structures are the ruins of buildings.
Today history lovers, hikers, and photographers can explore the only remaining ruins of Matildaville by taking the path south of the Great Falls Visitors Center.
During its heyday, Lignite was home to a company store, churches, a school, a post office, and a main street theater. In the early 1900s, the Alleghany Ore and Iron Company moved operations to neighboring Coachville, Pa., where Lukens Steel Company remained, leaving the town without a source of income.
Today, Lignite is a part of the Jefferson National Forest with only the main street and theater ruins left behind.
Jamestown is easily one of the most historic ghost towns in Virginia, with a history dating back to the 1600s. Jamestown is one of three towns that make up the Historic Triangle of Colonial Virginia.
There’s tons to explore in Jamestown including old homes, the ruins of the Jamestown Church, numerous mass graves, and preserved artifacts in the local museum.
Go out and explore!
That concludes our list of ghost towns in Virginia 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.