Goldfield, AZ This gold town thrived in the 1890s, then died and was reborn a number of times between 1910 and 1926. In the 1960s, it was reconstructed as a tourist stop. Goldfield offers perhaps more kitschy fun than historical preservation: you can visit the Superstition Museum, ride a narrow gauge railroad, or see folks in period costumes stir up a reenacted gunfight in the street.
Thurmond, WV This coal town from the late 1800s went from several hundred residents to 7 by the year 2000. Once a big stop on the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway, its depot has been turned into a museum, and the town is now part of the New River Gorge National River. In 2005, 6 of its 7 residents reportedly ran for public office. You can check out the restored train depot and museum, but most folks come here for river rafting.
Gunkanjima, Japan. This island is one among 505 uninhabited islands in the Nagasaki Prefecture. As petroleum replaced coal in Japan in the 1960’s, coal mines began shutting down all over the country, and Hashima’s mines were no exception. In 1974 Mitsubishi officially announced the closing of the mine, and today it is empty and bare, with travel currently prohibited.