When we talk about ghosts, we are often discussing the forgotten people. Their names and identities have been erased, replaced with the translucent image of someone who was once alive. Sure, there are some famous ghosts, who are as well known in death as they were in life, sometimes more. But, for the most part, the ghosts we encounter are those who have not moved on in death, even as those who knew and loved them have moved on. But not all ghosts happen to be living entities.

In this case, we are talking about ghost towns. While a ghost town isn’t by the strictest definition a ghost, in a manner of speaking, they are incredibly similar to ghosts, and not just because of the name. A ghost town is a place that has been forgotten by time. They were once relevant, once active, and now forgotten. The identity that the town once held is no longer remembered, the bustling, active location now replaced with dilapidated buildings and despair. Those who loved and cherished the place are long gone, they moved on when the town did.

One such location is Frontier Town in North Hudson, NY. Located in the Adirondacks, Frontier Town was built by Art Benson in 1951. He had a long-held dream of building an amusement park that would allow families to experience the Wild West. When he started building the town he had no construction skills, no income, no real business plan, but he managed to turn all of this into a successful business.

At its peak in the 1960s and 70s, Frontier Town was continually improving. In an effort to bring the Wild West to New York, Benson and his partners built a town square area, populated with storefronts, a rodeo arena, a grain mill, and pens for steers and buffalo. A replica Native American Village, train station, and fort completed Frontier Town.

Benson wasn’t happy with just allowing families to wander through Frontier Town and absorb the atmosphere of the place. He wanted to them to experience what life on the Western Frontier was like.  Frontier Town provided children with opportunities to ride a stagecoach, a steam train, canoes, and horses. A rodeo would be held twice a day, and children would be allowed to participate. Additionally, special events would occur throughout the day that would take place throughout the park. These events would include an attempted stagecoach robbery, a shootout with the robbers, and a demonstration of how the Pony Express would have been run.

In 1983, Art Benson sold Frontier Town to another development firm. The park was closed until 1989, at which time it reopened with some additions, such as a miniature golf course. In 1998, Frontier Town closed its doors for good. The buildings are now slowly decaying, as a result of the lack of attention.

There is an organization forming to restore Frontier Town, and have it labeled as a historic landmark. Only time will tell if they are successful. Often, we are unable to give a ghost its identity. Any information that could have allowed them to be identified has been lost. If Frontier Town is able to be restored, then one ghost will have successfully had their identity restored.

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