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Tombstone, Bodie, St. Elmo, Silver City: these are some of the most famous of the Old West ghost towns and mining camps that dot America's landscape and provide hints to the country's history. But literally thousands more are scattered throughout the West, with some states boasting hundreds of abandoned boomtowns.

Attracting thousands of visitors every year, many of these are protected by public and private parties alike, and visits are carefully regulated in order to preserve these valuable historical relics. Clint Thomsen describes various types of ghost town, explains their histories, and outlines ongoing research and archaeological study into decaying towns and mining camps.

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