A Ghost Town in Reverse? Welcome to Winkelmann, Texas
Around four miles east of Brenham, Texas near Chappell Hill in Washington County, there is a weird little ghost town with a strange history.
In fact, Winkelmann, Texas was never even a real town to begin with, according to the definition of what makes one.
How to Build a Ghost Town in Texas
In 1983, Ray Winkelmann, a Brenham developer and antiques dealer, had an idea to bring more people to the area. He purchased a five-acre lot outside the City of Brenham, and started buying historic buildings. Winkelmann eventually managed to own about 150 structures.
His goal was to create a town made up of restored historic buildings and make it a tourist destination. He moved his collection of nineteen restored buildings to the site, including schoolhouses, plantation houses, a saloon, and a general store. There were even a few homes, and at one time, the area had 93 full-time employees.
Why Did Winkelmann Fail?
The Texas State Historical Association says Winkelmann lost the property to the Washington County State Bank in 1986. The town was auctioned off in 1989, going through several more changes of ownership. By 1994, the historic structures were not in use, falling down due to lack of maintenance.
As a result, Winkelmann, Texas became a ghost town...without ever being an actual town in the first place.
According to roadsideamerica.com, everything in Winkelmann is mostly gone now and the property's current owners are in California.
While you might be tempted to explore this area, be careful! There are many 'No Trespassing' signs still posted, and trespassing is illegal in the State of Texas.