The abandoned ghost town of Rush, Arkansas leaves many mysteries behind. Why did people leave so quickly?
When I see an abandoned place in Arkansas, a building or a full ghost town, I always wonder what makes people leave. I know sometimes it’s their jobs, or the loss of an industry but I always wonder why there isn’t a small population of people who stick around to farm or start a new business.
I feel that once people make the effort to settle down in an area and build homes, that some of them would make a point to stay.
However, that is not the case at all in Rush, Arkansas. There was a rush into this town and a rush out.
In the 1880s, zinc ore was discovered on Rush Creek. Like any town where something valuable is found, people started coming in droves. Everyone wanted to stake a claim in the area. Of particular interest was The Rush Valley and neighboring Clabber Creek.
Homes and businesses were quickly built and a thriving community was established lickety split.
The most famous mine in the area was the Morning Star Mine. Zinc Ore was mined here and “extraordinarily large masses of smithsonite were encountered here.” -source
At one point, Rush Arkansas was home to 10 different mining companies operating 13 separate mines.
“One of the biggest obstacles the mining companies faced was getting the zinc ore out of Rush so that it could be taken to a processing plant. Unfortunately, the Buffalo River was not deep enough to float ore boats and there were not any railroads close to Rush. The only option for hauling zinc out of Rush was by horse and mule teams on the rough dirt roads. These rugged roads led to Summit, the closest railroad access, or to Old Buffalo City where the ore could be loaded onto a barge and floated to Batesville on the White River.” -source
During World War II, some of the processing mills were dismantled for salvage. It was all downhill from there. Amazingly, the post office did not close until the 1950s.
It is said that the last remaining residents left in the 1960s. Today, Rush Arkansas stands as a ghost town.
“The ghost town, mines, and waste piles visible on the bluffs immediately set the flavor of the district as an abandoned mountain mining community. The buildings, structures, ruins, and sites in the district exist in the same relationships as they did during the mining era.” -source
You can view the Rush Historic District for free and even enjoy a great hiking trail that takes you through the abandoned town and elaborates on the history through signage.
A favorite trail is the Morning Star Mine Interpretive Loop Trail. It is a very short loop trail through the forest. The mines are closed off by fences or rails but it’s still amazing to see this history for yourself.
It is unfathomable to think about the amount of work that went into digging these mines. When I peer down into them, all I can think about is what the walls would say if they could talk.
Note: Included along the trail, you will also see the 1920s Morning Star Mill.
Take a visit to the abandoned ghost town of Rush, Arkansas and experience the history for yourself. There is always something amazing to learn in Arkansas!
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Do you want to learn more about abandoned places in Arkansas?
There are several more abandoned places in Arkansas.
Read more here: 6 Abandoned Places in Arkansas that might give you the creeps