Ghost Towns of Merced County
Thursday, September 22, 2005

To commemorate the sesquicentennial of Merced County, the Merced County Courthouse Museum will open a new exhibit titled Ghost Towns of Merced County on Thursday, September 22. This exhibit, based on Herb Wood's historical reference handbook, will feature over 150 historical and current photographs and maps of towns and settlements that were once essential to the growth of the county. There were over forty of them in Merced County including Athlone, Buhach Colony, Central Point, Cottonwood, Dover, Merced Falls, Yam, and Union.

"Everyone has in their mind a vision of what they consider a ghost town to be…. In an agricultural county such as Merced, when a town had outlived its usefulness it often faded away. Buildings were commonly moved to new locations or disassembled for the lumber. Land was plowed under and returned to crops." This is Herb's definition of a ghost town. Herb will have a book signing and a PowerPoint presentation titled "Searching for Ghost Towns" during the exhibit opening on Thursday, September 22 from 5 to 7pm. The event is free to the public. The book is available for sale in the Museum Store for $9.95.

An author-autographed copy of the book will be given as a door prize. For more information, please contact the museum office at (209) 723-2401 or visit our website at

Color Picture: John C. Fremont House near Le Grand.
General Store from Central Point (left), Yosemite-Sugar Pine Lumber Mill at Merced Falls (center),
Associated Gasoline Station at Athlone (right).