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Ghostly Waters

Like Sulphur 40 miles to the west, Bromide (Johnston County, Oklahoma) was a spa town at the turn of the 20th century. Nestled inside rolling hills not too far from Durant and Tishomingo, hundreds of people would make the trip via railroad to sample the sulphuric waters. Oddly, the train didn't stop in Bromide. It ran from Durant to Bromide Junction, where men with buckboards would take visitors to the downtown. Hotels spread out all over Bromide, so that at the peak of the summer, this little town would swell to well over a thousand people.While today's Bromide seems a little off the beaten path - OK Highway 7D, the only main road, dead-ends into the town - it used to not be that isolated. The Wapanucka Academy, opened in 1852, was just to its east, and the town of Wapanucka lies just a few mile away. Bromide made money not just as a spa town, but also as a rock quarry. Promoted as "the best health resort in the southwestern United states"(Chronicles of Oklahoma), Bromide was set to become a fairly busy and prosperous town.But things didn't work out for little Bromide. The Wapanucka Academy closed for good in 1911. By the 1920s, the spa vacations had dropped sharply, and the Missouri Oklahoma Gulf Railroad stopped running excursion trains. Other spa towns in the greater region attracted those who were able to afford more elaborate vacations - Hot Springs, Arkansas, and Mineral Wells,Texas, thrived while Bromide withered.The many springs that fueled Bromide's early economy have been capped, but are still visible in backyards all around the town. The hotels are long gone, and the shells of a few buildings are the only remnants of the once-busy city center. Today's Bromide, in the broad definition, is a ghost town.

Bromide advertises itself on its hillside.

Once a busy spa town, Bromide is now a ghost town (OHS).

Bromide's first hotel was run by Ms. Johnston (OHS).

Only the floor remains of Bromide's bank.

A capped bromide spring in someone's front yard.

Discover more ghost towns in my book!

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