Thurber Ghost Town, Thurber

Several years ago I read about the ghost town of Thurber, located between Fort Worth and Abilene on I-20, and one October day we set out on a road trip to see the remains of what was once one of the most modern towns in Texas, being the first town to be completely supplied with electricity.  The town of Thurber was actually owned by the Texas and Pacific Coal Company, as were all the homes, buildings and businesses in the town.
Immigrants from all over the world worked in the coal mines of Thurber for over 30 years, providing coal to the railroads.
There is SO much history on the town of Thurber that can be found online, but the best way to experience this ghost town is to spend a day walking around the area!  It can be a short stop on the highway, or a day trip, depending on how much time you want to spend.


1.   Visit the Smokestack

The smokestack is one of the only remains of the town still standing.


2.   The Smoke Stack Restaurant

Housed in the old Texas & Pacific Mercantile Building, the Smoke Stack Restaurant is a terrific place to grab a bite to eat.


3.  Thurber Bricks

Explore around the town for traces of Thurber Bricks, which were produced in Thurber.  The bricks can also be found in Fort Worth’s Stockyards and Camp Bowie Blvd, the Seawall in Galveston and Congress Ave in Austin, among other places!  Now, we always check any old bricks for the Thurber stamp.



4.   Thurber Cemetery

Obtain a key from the Smokestack Restaurant to the gate of the Thurber Cemetery (leave your driver’s license) and explore the lives of those who lived, worked and died in Thurber.  There are many unmarked graves, and many of the graves are over 100 years old.  The cemetery is divided into 3 sections, African-American, White Protestant and Catholic, and makes a very realistic history lesson for older children.


5.  W. K. Gordon Center

Learn about the history of Thurber through photos and items from the town at the W. K. Gordon Center.  Open Tue – Sun., click HERE for times and more information.

6.  New York Hill

New York Hill, so named because it was home to the nicest homes, is on the south side of the interstate.  It includes the W.K. Gordon Center, and the New York Hill Restaurant, which has many photos and artifacts from Thurber.

For more history on this location, click HERE.


7. Thurber Historical Park 

Located on the south side of I-20, the Thurber Historical Park is the home of a Miner’s House and a church, as well as a train car.

Things to do in the Thurber area


Ringling Lake Park in nearby Eastland offers hiking trails, fishing and an archery club on land once owned by the circus king, John Ringling.  Click HERE to read more.


Thurber is home to both the Smoke Stack and New York Hill Restaurants.

Mary’s Cafe in nearby Strawn always seems to make the BEST OF list by various food critics around the state for both their chicken fried steak and their hamburgers.  They don’t have a website, facebook page or anything else, but they always have a line.


The turrets of Greystone Castle can be seen from the I-20 on the South side of the highway, almost covered by the tops of the trees.  It’s a 6,000 acre game ranch, which also offers facilities for tours and weddings.  Click HERE to visit their website.

Keep Having Fun in the Texas Sun! 


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