Ghost Towns Scrapbook Carver County Scrapbook
Ghost Towns

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When was the last time someone suggested heading over to Oberle's Corners for a bite to eat? Oberle's Corners is one of the county's numerous ghost towns. Ghost towns bring to mind images of long deserted buildings with boarded up windows, but that's not what most ghost towns look like.

One lost town is the village of San Francisco. This small town once boasted the county seat, even if it was only for one year. The place where the settlers chose to put this town was a bad spot along the Minnesota River. The river flooded nearly every year and the rapids just above the town made it difficult for steamboats to reach the town. In the 1860s there was a big flood that destroyed some of the buildings. After that, most people moved away.

There are many reasons why a town might not survive: being circumvented by the railroad, poor location, or being enveloped by a neighboring town. For whatever reason, the community did not become, or could not remain, a town with a governing body. But even if they cannot be called towns, some are still used as reference points in the county.

Here's a map to help you orient yourself as you wander through our county's past.

The photographs that follow are most of what the museum has for pictures of these lost cities. Some of these cities disappeared quickly, others were swallowed up by larger, faster growing cities.

Village of Benton

West Union Guys and Girls
A group of West Union picnickers clowning around for the Camera. From left to right: (standing) Elin Johnson Nord, Ruth Alexander, Esther Remling. (Sitting) Geo. Alexander, Hilding Anderson, Levi Nelson, Frank Nord, Nonard Anderson, E. Sandquist.

neighborhood gathering at the Aug. Tengblad home
This is a photo of a neighborhood gathering at the Aug. Tengblad home in West Union. It was taken sometime around 1908.

West Union Reunion
Another photo of a West Union gathering. This photo was taken about 20 years later in 1928 and is a Pioneer Reunion.

Helvitia - Reinhold Zeglin and his General Store
Helvetia was an ancient name for Switzerland. Reinhold Zeglin and his General store served the people of Helveita. This photo was taken about 1878.

C.W. Hillstrom farm home in San Francisco Township.
C.W. Hillstrom farm home in San Francisco Township.

AB Johnson Logging Crew
Here's another photo from West Union. This one was taken on April 11th, 1887. It's A.B. Johnson's logging crew.