Photo Essay

America's Newest Ghost Town

Picher, Oklahoma

Picher, Oklahoma was the home to a large lead mining operation; making bullets for soldiers in World Wars 1 and 2. After the mine was closed, the acid from the mines started leaking into the nearby water supply causing lead poisoning. Sink holes started forming, swallowing up homes. The mountains of chat brought up from the mines was just dumped all over the town. As those particles get into the air it created breathing problems for the people that lived there. The government declared the town too toxic to live in and offered residents $55 per square foot to move. Most did. The few stragglers that remained got wiped out by a large tornado a few years ago. Picher has sat empty ever since. You can walk through cafes, schools, Churches, funeral homes, and private residences. All open to explore.

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12 responses

  • Mark Nelson

    Mark Nelson (Deleted) gave props (14 Nov 2010):

    Got my vote, excellent set of photos!!!

  • Paul Lavallee

    Paul Lavallee gave props (15 Nov 2010):

    Great place, great images!

  • Tip Crowley

    Tip Crowley said (15 Nov 2010):

    Great photos and a worthy story. I'm looking to take a photo trip up there sometime soon.

  • Lizzie King

    Lizzie King gave props (16 Nov 2010):

    interesting little story and wonderful pictures. you capture the town wonderfully! GMV

  • Devin Hayes

    Devin Hayes gave props (17 Nov 2010):


  • jen bellefleur

    jen bellefleur gave props (19 Nov 2010):

    i like this story and wish i could be there. the drive in sign is THE BEST.

  • Megan Green

    Megan Green gave props (1 Dec 2010):

    My vote, great shots.

  • ♥ Cairenn ♥

    ♥ Cairenn ♥ said (8 Dec 2010):

    **YES** Vote - !WoW!

  • Luiza Florenzano

    Luiza Florenzano said (8 Dec 2010):


  • Jon Matthies

    Jon Matthies gave props (9 Dec 2010):

    GREAT photo essay! Voted.

  • Bruce Kliewe

    Bruce Kliewe said (10 Dec 2010):

    Except for the classroom shot, I wish I got more of a sense of it being a ghost town. Is this all you shot??

  • Rachel Alfonso-Smith

    Rachel Alfonso-Smith said (3 Jan 2011):

    There was a really interesting article about this in Wired magazine last month (a little more details). There are actually some people who still live there! Great photos here that Wired could've used.

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