A ghost town is typically thought of as a community that, over time, faded from its bustling heyday to emptiness.
But as referenced by national author Gary B. Speck, who created a classification system for ghost towns, there are many different types.
Kathryn Davidson, a Yuba City native who has traveled the world visiting and documenting different ghost towns, said Marysville can be classified as a ghost town due in part to its once storied historic past and recent decline. Using Speck’s system, Davidson classifies Marysville as a city with a small resident population but many abandoned buildings.
She also sees a revitalization in Marysville’s future.
“Basically the idea of the study of ghost towns is preservation. To bring awareness to them,” Davidson said. “If you want preservation to happen, you have to convince people that there is economic value in historical preservation.”
Now of Portland, she still has relatives in this area, and visits frequently.
Davidson said Marysville has all the necessary ingredients to have tourism success. She said there’s a historic importance dating back to the mining and Gold Rush Days, the city’s infrastructure is old and charming and the location is ideal.
“So long as Marysville does not destroy (its historic assets) it will boom again,” said Davidson.
Davidson is in the process of creating a book and website to document area ghost towns for preservation and tourism purposes.
She wants people to know that Marysville is the central hub and starting point for several other ghost town tours in the area.
“I see Marysville as a new and better Queen of the West,” Davidson said.
Making the transition to “Queen of the West” depends most on community planning and tourism, Davidson said.
“I feel personally that tourism is the only way to save most ghost towns for future generations,” she said.