6 Ghost Towns in South America
The people at Urban Ghosts took a tour of some of the creepiest places in South America. From abandoned factories, to desolate Ghost towns. The following is what they found.
An impending volcanic eruption forced residents to evacuate the small town in May of 2008. Anticipating a return, they saw their hopes shattered when the collected debris and mudflow overwhelmed a nearby river and flooded the town, causing so much damage that the town was deemed uninhabitable.
Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works, Chile
The Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter works are two former saltpeter refineries in northern Chile, established in 1872 while the region was still part of Peru. Before being forced to sell due to effects of the Great Depression, busy towns grew around both works, and despite Santa Laura not enjoying great success, Humberstone became the the most successful saltpeter in the region. Both plants were abandoned in 1960, and are now UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The Armero Tragedy is one of South America’s most tragic ghost town stories. An eruption of the Nevado del Ruiz Volcano destroyed the town, which until then, was the seat of the region, killing around 23,000 of its 31,000 inhabitants. Survivors were relocated to neighboring towns. The incident made international news.
As a reminder of the tragedy, survivors constructed an extensive cemetary on the site, constructing tombs with epitaphs where their homes used to be. The symbolic city is now called Camposanto.
One of the most infamous incidents in modern history was the Jamestown “Revolutionary Suicide”. Led by cult leader Jim Jones, 918 members of the People’s Temple cult died at his settlement as well as at a nearby airstrip, and in Guyana’s capital Georgetown on November 18, 1978.
Jonestown was never inhabited again and lies in ruins to this day. The events that took place there are considered the largest single loss of American civilian life in a non-natural disaster before 9/11.
Founded in 1904 by Braden Copper Co., this colorful Chilean ghost town presided over the largest underground mine in the world. Sewell was home to over 14,000 people by 1918, and enjoyed many decades of prosperity.
The “City of Stairs” lacked many roads, and their workers, as well as families, reached Sewell by train. The camp began to fall silent in 1977 when the company started relocating workers to another site, but in 1988 the Chilean government declared Sewell a National Monument, and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Fordlândia is an abandoned, prefabricated town in the Amazon rainforest. Purchased by Henry Ford in 1928, it was intended to supply cultivated rubber for the Ford Motor Company. Several factors contributed to the site closing down before even producing anything, a few of which were unfavorable weather conditions, and the manufacturing of synthetic rubber. Henry Ford’s grandson sold the site for a $20 million loss, and to this day remains an abandoned site.