Saturday, January 21, 2017

Ghost Towning

After running the State Games of Oklahoma Trail Run, I made a little side trip on the way home. I was googling old dilapidated barns and stumbled onto a list of ghost towns in Oklahoma--listed by counties. So I found a county map and picked out a couple in counties that were more or less on my way home. Turns out I only had time to explore one town--the forgotten town of Fallis.

Fallis is north and west of Wellston, home of an exit/entrance gate to the Turner Turnpike. From there, my GPS led me directly to the heart of the ghost town. The streets are gravel but are in good shape. There are still a few residents in and around the several decaying buildings--old metal mobile homes with parts of the walls missing or tarped over is a common site. Because I had a strong feeling they would not like their haciendas photographed, I stuck to the century-old abandoned buildings.

According to the Abandoned OK website, 
Fallis was an unusual little town. Located in a wooded area and “on a long red hill,” it became an agricultural center, a railroad town, and an oil community. More importantly, however, it was the home of five nationally recognized authors plus two well-known state poets. The original natural setting was beautiful, and, as one author noted, it was a source of inspiration. Founded in 1892 at the western edge of the Iowa Reservation, Fallis developed as an agricultural trade center. Cotton was the principal crop, and two cotton gins were in operation. In 1902 the Katy railroad built through Fallis when completing its line from Bartlesville to Oklahoma City. In 1903 the Katy built a line from Fallis to Guthrie. Also in 1903, the tracks of the Fort Smith and Western Railroad from Fort Smith to Guthrie crossed the Katy line at Fallis, making the community a trans-shipment center.

This house apparently had been occupied in recent years due to the window air conditioner set over the front door. Tall weeds covered any walkway or driveway to the house.

This two-story house was a gem in its day. An old clawfoot tub lay broken in the side yard, and a kids bicycle leaned against the remains of the fence and had a tree growing through it. Just down the street was remnants of a block stone building--possibly a store. Most of the walls had long ago fallen, but a metal lean-to and bracing had been put in place, and the resulting space was used as an auto salvage, or junkyard. I had stopped to get a picture when a green dodge pickup drove slowly by, and I felt like I was being glared at and I wisely moved on.

This is the Fallis Community Center, a few hundred yards east of the main part of town. From the outside, this brick building still stands tall and proud. The old wood windows are gone, boarded over, and in a place or two, chain linked over. The side double doors were unlocked and slightly opened, and I had not seen any NO TRESPASSING signs--so of course I went inside. 

The wood floors were soft. Layers of decaying plywood were covering what was surely completely rotted out flooring and joists, so I didn't tour the place. I found it odd that a circle of chairs was arranged as if here had been a recent city council meeting, or a gathering of a haven of witches, or maybe a grass roots political rally. Next door to this building was a 30-year-old metal replacement community center. Boring.

My guess is this was an old school house. A prominent NO TRESPASSING sign was nailed to the door, and...I debated snooping anyway but refrained and headed for home.

I have my eye on another ghost town to explore, and a cemetery that has a gravestone describing a death by "human wolves" to check out. Another weekend trip.


  1. are very adventurous! Thanks for the share!

  2. This is amazing! I have to admit, I had forgotten about ghost towns until you mentioned them yesterday. I'm so glad you went and got pics! Thank you :)

  3. Love old schools. They just seem eerier for some reason.

  4. You should come hang with the ghosts at my house.

  5. If you go check out some cemeteries, you better invite me. I love them. They are the most peaceful & calming places, I can ever go to.

  6. Fun blog! What a fun way to end a trail racing day.

  7. If you are doing 30k at Greenleaf next week, we can finish last together;-)

  8. Oh I love ghost towns and exploring!