Smack dab in The Big Empty region of Texas is a sleepy town called Gilliland. Nestled in the remote, rugged terrain of northern Knox County, Gilliland was a bustling little community in the years following World War II, but decades of decline have since taken their toll, and the village is now considered a ghost town.

During our most recent trip to Dallas, my family took a slight detour from our normal route in order to pay Gilliland a visit. We were not disappointed.

First we checked out the town cemetery, where some graves are nearly 100 years old.


Then we explored a real gem: the town’s elementary school, which was abandoned 40+ years ago.


From the outside, the school looks like the type of decrepit place you might see in a horror movie. Broken windows, overgrown vegetation, chains on a creepy swing set swaying back and forth.

img_8230But then we ventured inside, and oh my was that an experience! Crumbling floors. Decaying books and furniture. Classrooms slowly succumbing to the elements.




The school gymnasium was particularly eery. When we first walked in, three huge owls were there to welcome us.

img_8214Check out the school stage, complete with tattered curtains:


The sounds of the school were especially spooky—creaking floors, groaning wood beams, loose roof shingles shifting in the wind.

img_8221I can only imagine what this place must be like at night.

img_8203After poking around for a few more minutes and snapping several pictures, we loaded back into our vehicles and resumed our trip to Dallas. We all agreed: Gilliland was a fun diversion, a worthwhile place to see.

It was also a haunting reminder that all manmade things will slowly but surely be erased by the hands of time.


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