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12 U.S. places where your visit could double the population

By: Laura Moss on Aug. 1, 2011, 11:06 a.m.
Bonanza, Colorado

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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Bonanza, Colo.

This Colorado silver mining town is largely abandoned. The majority of it burned down in 1937 — today, deteriorated structures outnumber those that still stand. Bonanza doesn’t have a single business and it has no post office, but according to census data, it has a population of seven. Writer Antonya Nelson and her husband began buying up parts of the town in 2005, and today they own three blocks of Bonanza as well as an abandoned mine and a graveyard. Nelson says she doesn’t have a street address and can’t seem to acquire one because none of the buildings she owns is officially on the grid.

While Bonanza doesn’t have addresses or cellphone service, it does have characters. Nelson says the town is inhabited by hermits: “You never see two together. Ever. For all I know, it's one guy with a lot of costumes." But Nelson has learned a few things about her handful of neighbors. One is a priest from Trinidad who lives in Bonanza to escape his parishioners. Another is a woman with a landline and a phone-sex service.