This Abandoned California Town is Considered One of the Most Contaminated Sites in the Country

Travel Maven

California is filled with history but perhaps one of the most fascinating relics of its storied past are the long-abandoned places that dot its landscape.

Covered in overgrown brush, decaying, and sometimes rumored to be haunted, these are some of the most fascinating places you'll find within the entire state.
Photo byJamie Weingarten/Unsplash

The toxic ghost town of New Idria is one of those places. Located in San Benito County, in the middle of the state, the town was named after the New Idria Mercury Mine, which closed in 1972.

New Idria was founded in 1854 as a community for people who worked inside the mercury mine, which went on to become one of America's chief producers of metal.
Photo byMarie Thomas/Unsplash

By the mid-20th century, the town was a bustling hub that was home to dozens of shops, a post office, a school, and a church.

After nearly one hundred years of service, the mine eventually closed down in 1972 which led to a mass exodus of workers and their families. New Idria quickly became a deserted ghost town.

Then, in the 1990s, concerns over contamination in the area began to rise.

Since then, alarming levels of mercury and other toxic chemicals have been detected in the town and surrounding areas of the former mine.

In 2010, a fire blazed through the abandoned structures on the settlement's north side and two years later the town was officially fenced off. Unfortunately, several former residents including the last mining supervisor Mark Ward, were known to visit periodically during this time.
Photo byAmy Silver/Unsplash

Clean-up operations have been underway since 2012 but despite this, the area remains toxic and uninhabitable. As of today, New Idria is deemed an Asbestos Hazard Area making this a place you definitely want. to steer clear of.

Have you ever heard of the abandoned town of New Idria? To learn more about this fascinating town and the history that surrounds it, check out this video from 2018.

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