The Best Ghost Towns to Visit in Nebraska

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Take a scenic drive through rural Nebraska while you visit the abandoned sites of the once-booming ghost towns of Antioch, Minersville, St. Deroin, and Angus. Each one of these townsites has its own alluring history and will give you a unique glimpse into early pioneer culture. 
Nebraska is often associated with farming and agriculture, but this largely rural state is also home to several historic ghost towns. Nebraska’s ghost towns are often abandoned mining centers or once-thriving communities that dried up with the railroads. Some of the sites have a haunting history to match. 
Keep in mind that the roads leading to these abandoned towns can be tricky to navigate—especially during the harsh winter months. And some of the towns may not be safely accessible unless you have a 4WD vehicle. 
The car insurance super app Jerry will help you find the car insurance coverage you need to leave your worries behind when visiting the best ghost towns in Nebraska. 
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Antioch 

Dark sunset view of a lake in Nebraska, there are trees on the skyline.
View of lake in Nebraska at sunset

What is the story of Antioch?

The town of Antioch was initially founded during World War I and was once the potash capital of the world. In its heyday, the small city was home to 2,000 people. But as the demand for potash subsided, there were only 39 people left by 1939. 
So what is potash, you ask? Potash refers to a group of potassium-rich salts used to make fertilizer. The sandhill region where Antioch is located has ample potash deposits due to alkali lakes in the area. 
During its high point, Antioch was home to five potash reduction plants, the ruins of which still jut up over the otherwise barren landscape. 
The end of WWI meant renewed US trade agreements with Germany, and it was cheaper to import foreign potash. So the Antioch plants closed, and most of the residents moved. The last plant in the area shut its doors for good over a hundred years ago, in 1921—and the remaining were broken down and sold for scraps. 

What makes Antioch special?

The eerie ruins of the Antioch potash plant are reminiscent of a sci-fi movie set. The jutting foundations of what was once a booming potash plant have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1979. 
  • The plant was torn down before the ruins became protected, but the partially-destroyed structures that remain are probably more creepy than intact buildings.
  • Many original buildings remain in the nearby townsite, although most were abandoned up to a century ago. A few of the buildings are still occupied. 
  • Check out the monument erected near the ruins of the potash plant to dive deeper into the area’s history. 
  • Tourists can visit the ruins of the Antioch potash plant for free. 
Pro Tip About 25 residents remain in the once-booming community of Antioch today. So be respectful of private property when viewing the ruins. 

How to Visit Antioch 

The ghost town of Antioch is located in Sheridan County along Nebraska Highway 2. You will find the townsite and ruins about 15 miles east of Alliance.
Today, Antioch is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Visiting the site is also a great way to learn more about potash mining. 
There are original buildings on site, and some are still occupied. Other top attractions include a large concrete processing facility and other concrete structures along the railroad line. There are two mobile trailers with residents within the bounds of the settlement, so be respectful when visiting the area.  

Minersville

View of a river cutting through fields in Nebraska during sunset with trees on either side.
River in Nebraska

What is the story of Minersville?

As the name suggests, Minersville was once a bustling mining settlement, first established in the early 1850s. It was originally set on the banks of the Missouri River, but the town moved from its original site after the U.S. Army Corps rerouted the Missouri River.
Minersville came into existence following the discovery of coal deposits in this area, which is now Otoe County. The town initially went by the name Bennett’s Ferry, after the owner of a local ferry service, but it was renamed Otoe City when it was officially registered in 1856. 
Later, large coal deposits were discovered in the area, and the name changed once again—this time to Minersville. 
At its height, this boomtown was home to 1,000 people and various local businesses. However, a traffic shaft cave-in and the low quality of the extracted coal led Minersville to decline over time. The post office officially shut its doors in 1923 as the town’s population dwindled.  

What makes Minersville special? 

Today, all that remains of Minersville’s site is a very run-down downtown area, cemetery, and some intact coal shafts.
  • In 1901, a tragic shaft cave-in killed all but 14 employees and was one of the main factors precipitating the town’s rapid decline. 
  • In 1984, a group of young drivers joyriding in the area plunged into a mine shaft, killing all six occupants of the vehicle.
  • The cemetery is the only intact part of the town that remains, but nobody has been able to find it in years—so don’t get your hopes up. 

How to visit Minersville 

The Minersville townsite is located about two miles east of the Nebraska City Municipal Airport
To access the site from the airport, Head east toward US-75 S, then turn right at the first cross street onto US-75 S. About a half mile later, turn left at the first cross street onto N Road. From there, continue onto S 70th Road and straight onto Noble Road until you reach the site. 
The roads may not be well maintained, so it's best to have a 4WD vehicle if you attempt to visit the area. It’s also a good idea to check the local weather conditions before heading out. And be sure to watch for potentially hazardous mineshafts when navigating the area. 
The best time to visit Minersville is during the summer when the roads are more likely to be dry and easier to navigate. 

St. Deroin

A ferry boat on the river at sunset with mountains in the background.
Ferry Boat

What is the story of St. Deroin?

St. Deroin is an old townsite perched on the banks of the Missouri River. The settlement was officially established in 1854 and remained an active community until its decline in the late 19th and early 20th centuries
St. Deroin was once home to a popular ferry crossing and trading post that served as the primary source of income for residents. But as the river shifted course and the railroads began to decline, the residents of St. Deroin gradually started to filter out of the area. 
After being struck by a series of floods, the settlement was left completely abandoned by 1920
What makes St. Deroin special? 
St. Deroin is a great place to visit if you want to get a real taste of what life was like for residents of this once-thriving community. 
  • A restored schoolhouse, log cabin, and general store will give you a first-hand peek into an early settler’s point of view. 
  • There are two cemeteries to check out—and one is said to be haunted. Some of the old gravestone markers still remain. 
  • History enthusiasts won’t want to miss out on the living history events hosted annually every fall. 
  • The site is located on the grounds of Indian Cave State Park, and you’ll have to hike to get there. The cave and the stunning Missouri River viewpoint are some other must-sees. 

How to visit St. Deroin

St. Deroin is one of many sites in the beautiful Indian Cave State Park located in Southeast Nebraska. You will need to purchase a Park Entry Permit to access the town of St. Deroin. If the park is closed, you won’t be able to get to the townsite. 
There are a variety of hiking trails that you can take to access St. Deroin ghost town. The easiest way to get there is to drive directly down toward the river after crossing the park entrance. You should be able to see the townsite as you approach. 
There are over 20 miles of gorgeous hiking trails to explore in the park, so be sure to bring plenty of snacks and water if you want to take in more of the sites. 

Angus

A long hilly country road with green grassy fields on either side.
Long hilly road in Nebraska countryside

What is the story of Angus? 

Angus was never exactly a boomtown, but it was home to about 650 people at its peak. The post office was established on the site formerly known as Ox Bow in 1873 and was discontinued in 1977. The town’s original name was likely inspired by a steep bend in the nearby river. 
There were a number of businesses located in Angus, including a flour mill, bank, hotel, lumberyard, livery stable, depot, and hardware store. There were also three general stores and two churches, not to mention the first concrete swimming pool in the county. Some of the old buildings are still standing today. 
The community was also home to Fuller Car Company, which operated from 1902 to 1907. A train came through town until 1942, and the old train depot was removed in the 1980s. 

What makes Angus special?

Unlike the Nebraska ghost towns mentioned earlier in this list, some original buildings still stand in Angus. You can check out the remains of some houses, as well as one of the general stores and repair shops.
  • The Angus car factory building is now located in nearby Nelson, Nebraska. It has been repurposed and is still in use as a city building. 
  • Angus was the town that the stepfather to iconic frontierswoman Martha Jane Cannary (aka Calamity Jane) called home. 
  • The town had largely died out in the 1980s but still made headlines when somebody was caught raising two African lion cubs in the area.
  • A 14-foot mastodon fossil that now sits in a museum in Denver was also discovered here. 

How to visit Angus 

Angus is located just a few miles Northeast of Nelson, Nebraska. It is also just a couple of miles from the famous Oregon Trail
To get to Angus from Nelson, follow NE-14 N for about 5 miles out of town, and then turn right onto Road V and continue onto Road 4050 for about 4.5 miles. Then turn right again on Road V
Angus is free to visit, and you should have no trouble accessing the site with a 2WD vehicle in dry summer weather conditions. However, roads may be hazardous in the winter or during wet weather. 

Why you need good car insurance

If you are a spooky thrill-seeker, visiting ghost towns in Nebraska is probably on your bucket list. But a lot can happen on unfamiliar roads, and you certainly want to make sure you are covered with a great car insurance policy when visiting these often isolated locales. 
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