Ghost Towns in Upstate New York – Brownville and Groton City

    April 10, 2013 at 4:30 am

    I embarked on a journey to find two ghost towns in upstate New York: Groton City and Brownville (outside of Monticello, New York). I didn’t find any ghosts, but I did discover a wealth of illegally dumped, illegally hunted animals, a dirty mattress, a baby carriage and some shotgun shells. If you’re planning on visiting either Brownville or Groton City, here’s what you can expect.

    Ghost Town of Groton City, New York

    We’ll get the crappiest one over with first, so that means reviewing the ghost town — or lack of — that is Groton City. A few websites, including, lists Groton City as a ghost town that is ‘partially dead’ and home to ’10-20 residents.’ But Groton City is not a city, nor is it its own town. It’s just a part of Groton and/or Cortland, both a five to ten minute drive from the city that, in actuality, is just a road with some houses in it. Some lived-in houses. There was maybe one abandoned building among the farms and houses, and it was part of someone’s property that was clearly lived in and well taken care of. Groton City “ends” at the top of a hill and the view is pretty nice, albeit nondescript to someone who has traveled through a lot of rural areas and is searching for a creepy, eery ghost town. The church looks relatively new, as do the houses.

    If you want to check out the nonexistent ghost town of Groton City, turn up Groton City Road from Cortland Road, also named Route 222.

    This peeing goat is more interesting than the "ghost town" of Groton City, New York

    The Ghost Town of Brownville, New York

    Brownville was much more exciting as far as ghost towns — and places in general — go. Brownville is located above Monticello, New York, and in Wawarsing, deep inside Minnewaska State Park. To get into Brownville, take Lundy Road off Route 55/209. You’ll pass a cul-de-sac of houses and begin a foray into the park on a paved road. The road winds through the park beside a large stream full of small waterfalls and the occasional Doritos bag or empty Four Loko can. Almost immediately, dilapidated structures will begin to appear (starting with three stone walls on the right and followed by some manmade rock piles that used to be chimneys, pillars and the like, also on the right hand side). Most of the ‘houses’, or what’s left of them, appear on the right. If you walk alongside the stream on the left, you will find some pretty sweet (but ultimately useless) shell fossils imprinted into large rocks, some discarded garbage, and a few buck corpses that were obviously illegally hunted, sheared of their antlers, and dumped out of plain sight.

    Sounds pretty boring so far, but after ten minutes of driving through a totally silent and serene patch of woods the road will break down into gravel and reveal a large cobblestone house on the left. It’s easy to tell that this house is the main attraction in the ghost town of Brownville, and also highly trafficked by people using it to par-tay. The ground is littered with cigarette packs, beer cans and tiny fire pits. The inside is heavily vandalized. Graffiti around the door frame leading to the old living room says “BEHIND THIS DOORWAY LIES YOUR MOM’S HAIRY, HAIRY VAGINA.” Spray painted on the outside wall is “PARTY BOYS” and the door frame holds a lot of “Douglas <3 Steph 4Eva” type messages. Around the back of the house is a pile of garbage and a lot of shotgun shells. The insides are empty.

    If you keep going, you’ll see a big tin roof on the right. Forget about this one; someone lives in a house behind this broken structure, which is hard to see until you’re already in their driveway and trespassing on their property.

    Ghost Trees

    Further down lies some more non-houses, the bare structural remnants, as in the beginning. This is state land, but if you keep going you’ll eventually stumble upon a large bridge that warns you via multiple signs to stay the hell away from it. This private bridge leads to what you can see through the trees to be a gigantic mansion, complete with stables and most likely a dungeon that holds all the out of towners who have never seen deliverance and decided to disobey the signs. Past the bridge is a dark, creepy trail in the state park that ends in a mystery. It’s a mystery for two reasons: first of all, a giant and deep puddle prevented me from driving down it. It was also about to get dark and, not wanting to become a ritual sacrifice, I decided it was time to turn around.

    Brownville is definitely worth checking out; the surrounding woods and streams are beautiful, and the old houses are fascinating even if just to examine the remnants of party havers and graffiti doers.

    Ghost mansion

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