Frisco: A Utah Ghost Town

Ruins of Frisco, Utah, a ghost town in Beaver County.(Image: © Michael Gäbler / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0. Ruins of Frisco, Utah, a ghost town in Beaver County.)

As with other Old West boom towns of the 19th century American gold rush, the sudden rise of Frisco, Utah was mirrored by its decline just a few short decades later. (Related: uncover more historic ghost towns.)

Founded a few years after the 1875 discovery of tens of millions of dollars worth of metal ore, including gold, silver, lead, copper and zinc, the Beaver County camp swiftly grew into a thriving mining settlement which, at its zenith in the mid 1880s, was home to as many as 6,000 residents.

(Image: Gerth Michael)

At its heart was the Horn Silver Mine, which saw metals extracted and shipped across the region. It wasn’t long before Frisco boasted a post office. The settlement also stood at the end of a Utah Southern Railroad branch line.

But like many contemporaneous settlements in America’s fabled Wild West, Frisco was no place for the fainthearted. Life in the Beaver County mining town was tough and violent crime was reportedly a factor of Frisco’s daily routine. With more than 20 active saloons, the alcohol flows and tempers often flared.

Abandoned charcoal kiln in Frisco ghost town, Utah.(Image: Bureau of Land Management. Abandoned charcoal kiln in Frisco ghost town, Utah)

And like other boom towns of its era, Fricso’s prosperous years were short, and its decline swift. When the Horn Silver Mine collapsed, literally, in 1885, the writing was on the wall. The beginning of the end was nigh.

Charcoal kilns in the Old West.(Image: HABS. Charcoal kilns)

A church was established during the first decade of the 20th century. But as an increasing number of the district’s mines were closed and jobs were lost, the congregation was forced to move on and the church closed its doors. By 1929, the year of the stock market crash, Frisco, Utah was little more than a ghost town.

Interestingly, however, this wasn’t to be the final chapter in the abandoned mining town’s story. According to Legends of America: “In 2002, a mining company began to rework the mines of Frisco, so only the charcoal kilns and cemetery are accessible today. Frisco, Utah, is just off route 21, 15 miles west of Milford.”

The smelter in Frisco, Utah(Image: HABS. The smelter in Frisco, Utah)

Related: 20 Haunting Ghost Towns of the World (Part Two)

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