“Only place in the US where silver was discovered in sandstone!”
Rich veins of silver were discovered in the hills north of what is now the town of Leeds, along I-15 about 15 miles NE of St George. A boom occurred in the 1870 and a town sprang up, rapidly becoming the largest community in southern Utah. At its zenith it boasted some 9 stores, 6 saloons, a bank, several restaurant, a hospital, 2 dance halls, 2 newspapers and 3 cemeteries. By 1891 the mines had produced about 25 million dollars worth of ore. But the veins played out quickly and the town went bust. The old Silver Reef Wells Fargo Express office is on the National Historical Register and is now houses a small museum. Foundations of a few other old buildings can be seen. Tailings from mines can be seen in the surrounding area. New mining efforts are undertaken now and again, and much of the area is closed to exploration. A few dangerous open shafts dot the countryside and so explorers need to use caution. Silver Reef has appeared in American films since the late 1960s. The area was scouted by corporate executives from Twentieth-Century Fox for use in the 1969 film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and served as a backdrop in the 1979 film The Electric Horseman. Silver Reef was featured in the 1998 documentary Treasure House: The Utah Mining Story.
Cool ghost town (even though there are many new nice houses all around it) The museum is open Mon, thurs, fri, sat 10-5pm. Www.silverreef.org is the correct website. There is a map you can grab for a on your own walking tour of 10 places in this old town.
Not really a ghost town. Nothing truly abandoned. The museum is nice though (pictured above). There is a cool dirt road behind the town if you want to do some off roading but I didn't see anything abandoned.
As other people mentioned, Silver Reef isn't really an abandoned ghost town considering all the ritzy houses in the surrounding area. It is, however, a fine place to check out if you've got some time on your hands in between Zion and St. George. The museum is supposedly pretty cool, but unfortunately was closed when I drove by. It's free to walk around and explore the area, and $3/person (or $10/family) to take a guided tour.
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Silver Reef Ghost Town
- Mon, Thu - Sat: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
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