Every ghost town has its interesting origin story. For many, people flock to an area seeking fortune. Over time, people move out and the town eventually dies leaving behind empty buildings and legends.

For one Texas ghost town, the story of its beginning looks a lot like way others end.

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Welcome to Winkelmann, Texas. A Ghost Town In Reverse.

On Highway 290 in Texas, somewhere around Brenham, is the site of what sounds like a ghost town in reverse. Instead of being an old town full of old buildings, it was a new town full of old buildings.

A Man Who Collected Whole Entire Buildings

According to the lore that's out there, it was sometime around the early '80s when a man by the name of Ray Winkelmann started moving historic buildings he collected to a five-acre lot near Brenham.

Supposedly he was a developer and antiques dealer. Apparently he had an affinity for buildings.


Legend has it he was going to build his own town. Some say the town was intended to be a refuge for artists with bed and breakfasts, and some cafes.

No matter the reason, Ray moved those buildings out there and started his own "town."

If You Build It, It Turns Out They Really Will Come

Supposedly Winkelmann had somewhere around 150 historic buildings in his collection. To start his new "town", Winkelmann moved some nineteen restored historic buildings to the property.

There were schoolhouses, plantation houses, a general store, and of course there was a saloon.

Adam Grumbo via YouTube
Adam Grumbo via YouTube

Legend has it ol' Winkelmann ran the saloon himself.

Tourists started pouring in. Local business leased out some of the buildings. Winkelmann, Texas was on its way.

Supposedly, at its peak, Winkelmann, Texas was constantly attracting tourist groups and had over 90 full-time employees.

What Happened To Winklemann, Texas?

Winkelmann, Texas didn't last long. Just like most ghost towns.

Adam Grumbo via YouTube
Adam Grumbo via YouTube

Times got tough economically in the mid-80s. The slowdown eventually cost Winkelmann the land, according to the stories. The town was then auctioned off.

Ownership changed hands several times, and by the mid-90s the future of the town was in doubt. Most of the buildings were sitting empty.


Jump on Google Maps and you'll see that as of June of this year, all that's left is one building and the "restaurant sign."

While it may not have the stories of outlaws and lawmen, or fortunes made and lost like some ghost towns do; it's still a fascinating story. Winkelmann, Texas; a ghost town in reverse.

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