New photographs of Rush Historic District, an abandoned mining town in the Ozark Mountains
Like a lot of photographers, I love to find and photograph the texture and decay of abandoned buildings — all the better when they can be found en masse, like in a ghost town. In some ways, photographing these buildings feels like a form of preservation because the elements are actively helping nature work to reclaim them.
About the Rush Ghost Town
The Rush Historic District (map) is the remains of an old Zinc mining community that operated from the 1880s through the 1940s. What makes Rush interesting is that it's the only ghost town between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains (source) and it's nearly untouched — with the buildings, mines, and other evidence of mining activity all intact in their historic locations in the valley and hills along the Buffalo National River in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas.
At its height of production, there were 13 mines in the district. The population reached 5,000 people and it was incorporated as a city in 1916, making it the most prosperous city per capita in the state (source). Fortunes turned after the end of WWI, and the mines and community began to decline. The post office closed in the '50s and Rush was a ghost town by 1972. Now the remaining structures are protected by the National Park Service as part of the Buffalo National River, and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987.
This page from the University of Arkansas has historic photos and other fascinating information about the site.
The mines are barricaded and off-limits, but keep in mind that entering the mines would be quite dangerous.
Black and white photographs of the Rush Historic District ghost town
Fine art black and white prints are available. Click the photograph to learn more.
Abandoned Buildings at Rush Ghost Town Black and White Photograph by Keith Dotson. Click to buy a fine art print.
Abandoned House with Huge Tree in the Yard: Black and White Photograph by Keith Dotson. Buy a fine art print here.
Black and White Photograph of a Collapsing General Store in a Ghost Town by Keith Dotson. Buy a fine art print.
Black and white photograph of an abandoned wooden building along a backroad in the woods. Buy a fine art print.
Behind-the-scenes video from the Rush historic mining ghost town
Books about the Rush mining community
(Amazon links will open in new tab. Check your pop-up blocker if the tab refuses to open.)
by Vicki Roberts, 2016
Researcher Vicki Roberts, of Marion County, Arkansas, takes readers on a tour through the historic ghost town of Rush, Arkansas through the photos and stories of the town residents.
Archeological Investigations at 3mr80-Area D in the Rush Development Area, Buffalo National River, Arkansas, Vol. 2
by Randall L. Guendling, 2017
Atlas Obscura, "Rush Ghost Town"