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.

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

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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.

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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:

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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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