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7/29/11

Urban Exploration - Welcome to Atomic City, Idaho

When venturing into a city named Atomic City, you expect some pizzazz.  You expect some flair.  Or maybe at least a tongue-in-cheek satire of radioactive man...

The goggles... they do NOTHING...

Not a one. But what I did find was interesting nonetheless.

I found a city that looked abandoned.  Like everyone in the town simply disappeared, leaving buildings, farmland and crops behind.

According to 2000 census data, Atomic City Idaho has a population of 25.  Honestly, that was about 20 more than I would have guessed.  The only thing that showed any signs of life was the fire department.  New asphalt, newish building, but that was it.

So many abandoned buildings, so many homes that looked as if they were left behind in a moment's notice...

A nearby farm had dozens of bales of hay.  Stacked in piles and pyramids, that slowly began to rot and dissolve over the years.  Some were still formed in a bale, melting and dying.  Others were in a heap of rot and twine.

Wikipedia and news stories don't have any mention of a mass exodus, but the town tells a different story.  I wonder if it has anything to do with the reactor meltdown of the nearby nuclear plant, back in 1955?  That was 56 years ago...  this abandonment looks more recent.

Establishments like the Twin Buttes Bar look almost frozen in time.  While the doors were completely sealed shut, peeking in make me think the bar has only been abandoned for 10-20 years.  Not 56.  There isn't that thick layer of dust or cobwebs.  Granted, the elements can get inside, but the furniture and decorations look merely old.  Not ancient.

Homes.  Bars.  Businesses.  All emptied out.  A lot of items were left behind, as if the people left in a hurry.  This makes no sense at all.

{insert massive government cover-up conspiracy here, because I can't think of anything else}

Maybe one day this will all be considered historic land?  Like a museum of sorts?  Maybe that's why the fire building looks less than 5 years old.  Maybe that's why the asphalt looks recent.  Like 'this year' recent...

One interesting thing about Atomic City is their raceway, which is still used from time to time.  It even has a website, a facebook (with 198 likes, that's 173 more people than the population of the town...), and an upcoming race this weekend.  I'm tempted to go, to see this town of 25 hustling and bustling.

While the city was mostly abandoned, there were a few people out and about.  One older lady was mowing her lawn.  One gentleman was down a 100 yard road, riddled with "No trespassing" signs.  He was staring at me, almost daring me to cross his line in the sand.

I know better than to mess with boondock-townies with trespassing signs.  That's like asking for a shotgun sammich...

If you're ever in Southeast Idaho, and want to see a trippy abandoned town, I recommend Atomic City.  Take the I-15 to Blackfoot, and take US Highway 26 toward hell.  Drive to the middle of nowhere, take a left at the shoddy bar, and drive for about a mile.

And there you are.  The atomic ghost town of Eastern Idaho.

Welcome to Atomic City.  Where nobody can hear you scream...
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24 witty retorts:

A Beer for the Shower said...

This town holds a race? If you're living in a town of 25 people, what are you racing? A 1979 Honda Civic? A 1966 Ford Pickup that's missing 2nd gear? A tractor?

Hell, I'd go just for the curiosity factor.

Pickleope said...

No mutant, 6 legged rabbits or Incredible Hulk or even reanimated corpse of Bill Bixby? I demand they change their name to "Everybody in Town Gets a Chance to Be Mayor, Idaho" but that's a bit long winded.

Bart said...

twin buttes bar!?!?!?!? what!! i must buy that and open my bar there!

Mama Spaghetti said...

How bizarre! It makes me really want to know what happened.

I'm a sucker for abandoned towns, though. Probably a by-product of growing up in NV.

Byakuya said...

Crazy post, a population of 25 wtf?

Haven't been here in a few days, nice to see some well written content!

LoneIslander said...

Up and Atom?

D4 said...

That sounds appealing to me.. I'd search for vacationing somewhere like that.

Jewels said...

Beer for Shower- you race your John Deer of course. Have you ever seen a supped up mower! Look out!

Not going to lie an abandoned building that reads "Lubrication" scares the shit out of my sheltered white girl ass! literally.

BigOryx said...

lol that place looks kinda fucked...
but I would love to go there

Astronomy Pirate said...

Hehehe, twin buttes. Hehehe, cornholio, I need TP for my twin buttes!

(Yes that was Beavis and Butthead joke.)

Michael & Carissa said...

It's just that time took it's toll...The town did house some site workers but they either moved away to live in IF or Blackfoot, or just retired and moved away. Then the small family farms gave way to corporate farming. The kids that grew up there mostly moved to the city for work, leaving behind their parents and grandparents (the few old folks left). The town wasn't that great of a place to begin with, and it was a long drive just to buy food.

howtoskinnyacat @ blogspot said...

I have to Google that town now! Fascinating to me because I am reading 'Alas, Babylon' so this is timely (to me).

I also wanna know what that "lubrication" place was up to! LOL

Zombie said...

Betcha anything that place is haunted. lol.

middle child said...

Sounds a little Stephen King-ish to me. Cool. Go there at night. I dare you!

Bouncin' Barb said...

Southeastern Idaho in the 70's was fun, fun, fun. Rupert, Paul and Burley Idahohoho. I love the names on these buildings. Too funny.

Smart Ass Sara said...

Dude... that IS creepy. Kind of like "The Hills Have Eyes" kind of shit. Yikes. It's probably best to lock your doors, roll your windows up and haul ass straight through!

The Frisky Virgin said...

Oooh, this is freaky...but in a cool and mysterious way. I would go all Nancy Drew and check out the speedway and the town's pop. of 25. There's a story there!!!

Chunky Mama said...

Are you sure you weren't in Silent Hill?

Melanie said...

soooooooo creepy! i love it!

Mooner Johnson said...

Brandon. It looks like a glimpse into the future of most rural America if those silly shitballs in DC don't get it together.

Thanks you one more time for the great work you did on my products.

FUCK RICK PERRY!

Chess said...

How very intriguing! I'll have to look it up.

I'll give you one better: Moore, Utah, pop. 5 (2000 census). When we drove past it, the game was 50 points if you could spot a human. Hahaha! Pretty sure no one is there now. :)

Thank, Q said...

I'm with Beer for the Shower. What exactly do you race in a town with only 25 people? Do they race against each other? If you're only 25 deep, are you really a town? Isn't it more like a village or a tribe? LOL! Brandon, your Great Northwestern stories are very informative to someone from the Deep South.

Anonymous said...

funny thing is theres a place in idaho that has a population of like 3 or 4 "Shoup" idaho

Anonymous said...

remember kids, when you hear banjos... run, JUST RUN!!!

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