Lost America: Vanished Civilizations, Abandoned Towns, and Roadside Attractions

Lost America: Vanished Civilizations, Abandoned Towns, and Roadside Attractions

by Don Rauf


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Breaking History books offer a front row seat to history as it broke (like “breaking news”) and give the blow-by-blow of historical discovery—what we learned, when we learned it, who made the discovery, and how. Lost America is an illustrated look at fascinating places in the United States that have existed only in myth and have never been found, those that were abandoned and why, and those that were lost to social upheaval or natural disaster. The book reviews the history behind these places—how they began, how long they endured, why they were lost, and how many have been rediscovered. Included are accounts of the mysterious disappearance of the Anasazi from the Southwest, the abandonment of the Roanoke Colony in 1590, the environmental disaster that caused the population of Centralia, Pennsylvania to evacuate the town in the 1980s, and the nearly-intact ghost town of Bodie, California. The book also includes places that were thought to exist, but did not—or not yet, anyway: legendary Norse settlements, lost cities of gold, and The Fountain of Youth.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781493033966
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 01/15/2019
Series: Breaking History
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 806,361
Product dimensions: 7.50(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Don Rauf is the author of more than forty books, the most recent of which are Schwinn: The Best Present Ever and American Inventions: Big Ideas That Changed Modern Life. With a background in journalism, he’s interviewed such celebrities as Johnny Depp, astrophysicist Neal deGrasse Tyson, songwriter Tom Lehrer, fashion designer Liz Lange, and celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson. He lives in Seattle, Washington.

Table of Contents

Introduction 9

Part I Lost Kingdoms of Early America: The Mythical and the Real 11

CAHOKIA: North America's First Great City 12

QUIVIRA and the Seven Golden Cities of Cibola 33

The Fountain of Youth 44

NORUMBEGA: The Viking City of New England 47

Part II Abandoned America: Communities that Flourished and Faded 59

The Vast Anasazi Civilization of the SouthWest 61

ROANOKE: America's First Colony 72

BODIE: One of America's Most Famous Ghost Towns 96

NORTH BROTHER ISLAND: New York Center for Quarantining the Sick 113

Part III Mother Mature Strikes: Towns Lost to natural Disaster 129


GONE FOR GOOD-OTHER US TOWNS DESTROYED BY HURRICANES: Isle Derniere, Indianola, and Hog Island 142

VANPORT: Flood Washes away Oregon's Second-Largest City 147

OTHER DROWNED US TOWNS: Old Cahawba, Alabama, The Catskills Underwater 158

Part IV Man-Made Disasters: Towns Too Polluted to Survive 163

LOVE CANAL: America's First Toxic Ghost Town 165

CENTRALIA: The Town that Never Stopped Burning 174

GILMAN: A Deadly Water Supply Drives a Town to Extinction 194

Part V Lost Iconic America: Famous Sites that Have Disappeared 205

ROUTE 66: America's Road to Nowhere 207

TWO OTHER LOST HIGHWAYS: The Oregon Trail, The Lincoln Highway 220

OTHER LOST ICONS: Disappearing Drive-Ins, Adieu to Drive-In Diners, Too, Abandoned Amusement Parks 222

Bibliography 228

About the Author 236

Acknowledgments 236

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