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Take the time to visit some of Georgia’s most interesting ghost towns, including Auraria and Ebenezer. These locations have rich histories, and you’ll be taken through some of Georgia's most charming scenery along the way.
Georgia has a number of small towns with populations under 100 people, as well as a few locations that are now abandoned. There are numerous ghost towns that are as spooky as they are interesting, and all are worth checking out!
However, these towns and locations are called ghost towns for a reason: they are difficult to visit due to their remote locations and run-down conditions.
Get ready to tour some of the best Georgia ghost towns without any stress by using the car insurance super app Jerry to stay protected on the road.
What is the story of Auraria?
This area used to be densely occupied by settlers looking for gold. The Auraria gold rush began in 1832 with one of the first gold discoveries in the country. The boom lasted until gold was discovered in California around 1848.
During its heyday, mining operations were established, and the town prospered, with over $20,000,000 in gold mined. However, over time, the gold rush spread to other states, and there was less gold to be found in Auraria. It was abandoned and quickly turned into a ghost town.
What makes Auraria special?
Though much of the town lies in ruin, there are still a few interesting sites worth checking out:
- The Graham Hotel (initially built in 1826!)
- A cemetery next to the Auraria Church with tombstones dating back to the founding of the town
- An abandoned general store
- A number of abandoned houses
Pro Tip A word of caution—many of these buildings are so run down that they are dangerous to enter. Their walls and flooring are generally unstable, so for your own safety, we recommend staying outside.
How to Visit Auraria
Auraria lies in the northern part of Georgia, and it’s only about an hour’s drive from Atlanta. To get to Auraria from Atlanta, take US-19 N to Burnt Stand Rd, and continue on till you reach Auraria Rd.
You’ll know you’ve reached the right place when you spot an old red house on your left-hand side—this is what remains of Auraria’s bank!
If you’re in need of anything, the nearest town where you can stock up on food and supplies is Dahlonega, which is only a 10-minute drive northeast.
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What is the story of Ebenezer
Ebenezer—also known as New Ebenezer—was the first settlement in Georgia for religious refugees, founded in 1734 as a military defense for Savannah. The first colonists came from Salzburg in central Europe (now Austria), where they had been banished for their religious views in the early 1730s.
Ebenezer prospered for a time, thanks in part to the establishment of a silk operation, a number of mills—including the first rice mill in the nation—and a growing population.
The town was severely damaged by the British invasion in 1778, and it never fully recovered. Ebenezer was eventually abandoned in 1855, making it one of the state's oldest ghost towns.
Every year, descendants of the Salzburg Protestants pay a visit to this town in their honor.
What makes Ebenezer special?
Though there isn’t much still standing in Ebenezer, what remains still makes for an interesting visit:
- The Jerusalem Lutheran Church, completed in 1769, is one of the oldest buildings in Georgia. It’s also the oldest Lutheran congregation still operating in the nation.
- A Salzburger home dating back to 1755.
- The Old Parsonage, originally built in 1835.
- The Georgia Salzburger Museum is also located in the ruins of Ebenezer.
How to visit Ebenezer
Ebenezer is located in Effingham County, about 30 minutes north of Savannah. To get there from Savannah, get on the GA-21 N, following it to Old Augusta Rd S. Continue on from there until you reach GA-275 N.
There isn’t really any place to stay overnight in Ebenezer. Rincon is the closest town where you can rest, get some food, and stock up on supplies, and it’s only a 10-minute drive south of town.
MORE: Road trip essentials
White Sulphur Springs
What is the story of White Sulphur Springs?
After its founding in 1846, White Sulphur Springs was a popular hotel and resort destination for residents of the Southeast. Thousands of people descended annually to this hotspot, owned by J.W. Oglesby.
When the stock market crashed in 1929, Oglesby could no longer afford to maintain White Sulphur Springs. The hotel kept declining until it was eventually destroyed by a fire in 1933, with only a few architectural elements still left standing.
What makes White Sulphur Springs special?
Although a fire destroyed most of White Sulphur Springs, there are a few elements still standing:
- The building’s foundation
- Steps and stone walkways
How to visit White Sulphur Springs
White Sulphur Springs is situated in the northeastern end of Georgia, close to Gainesville and about one hour away from Atlanta.
To reach White Sulphur Springs from Atlanta, follow I-85 N and I-985 N until you reach exit 24. Take Old Cornelia Hwy to White Sulphur Rd and you’ll arrive at the ruins of the hotel!
There is some private property around White Sulphur Springs, so be respectful of your surroundings, and don’t loiter.
What is the story of Scull Shoals?
Scull Shoals, in the Oconee National Forest, was once a bustling mill community in the nineteenth century. The village not only had a sawmill, grist mill, and paper mill at one point, but it also manufactured cotton textiles until the late 1800s.
The mill had 500 workers tending to 4,000 spindles at its peak. Dr. Lindsay Durham of Scull Shoals also created medications and maintained a sanatorium from his huge herb garden.
The mills were destroyed by flooding in the 1880s, and the town was eventually abandoned by the 1920s.
What makes Scull Shoals special?
While much of Scull Shoals was destroyed by floodwaters, there are still a number of interesting sights worth exploring!
- Georgia’s first paper mill
- A prehistoric mound complex dating from 1250 to 1500 AD
- Beaver ponds and streams
- Partial building remains, viewable from outside fenced areas
How to visit Scull Shoals
Scull Shoals is a few miles east of Atlanta, with the closest town being nearby Greensboro.
In order to get to Scull Shoals from Atlanta, follow the I-20 E to GA-44 in Greene County. Take exit 130 and continue on GA-44 E to arrive at your spooky destination!
Keep in mind that the removal of historical artifacts or any other objects from this site is strictly prohibited.
Why you need good car insurance
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