Buxton, Iowa - A Historic, and Possibly Haunted, Townsite

Published: Oct. 30, 2020 at 9:39 PM CDT
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BUXTON, Iowa (KYOU) - It feels almost out of place now, the ruins of a town in the middle of a field. There’s not much left standing.

It was called Buxton, and it was a diverse and almost one of its kind coal mining town developed by the Chicago and Northwestern Railway. At its peak, Buxton had around 5000 people. I spoke with Rachelle Chase, who’s an author of two books about the town - “Lost Buxton”, and “Creating the Black Utopia of Buxton, Iowa”.

“Blacks were treated equal to whites, there was no segregation, and not even that, they were leaders in the community. It was predominantly black in a state at that time that was 99.3% white or foreign born.”

It had hotels, a dozen churches, stores. A two story YMCA with a heated swimming pool and movie theater. But as prosperous as Buxton seemed at first, a little over a decade later, things were changing.

“In 1918 they started moving operations to Bucknell Hada Console that’s because the mines had played out around Buxton. So by 1922, everyone was almost gone.”

And it didn’t take long for most of the buildings to go along with them.

“They sold the land to people that some of the miners stayed in the area and farmed. There was nothing left in Buxton. They literally sold everything off.”

The two structures that remain look ready to fall over. The other two are just foundations now.

The diverse coal mining town now lies empty in a field. A shell of its former self, and its inhabitants gone with time.

But according to some in the paranormal community, Buxton is a ghost town in more than one way. I spoke to Sarah with Seek. Experience. Educate. Paranormal, a paranormal research group out of Marion, who took her crew out here a few summers ago.

“Probably the most significant thing is the EMF hits. When you’re out tin the wilderness around a building that has no electricity, nothing running in it...there’s nothing that should be putting off those waves.”

But Sarah’s crew experienced more than EMF readings that night. They also saw what they thought was a plane, up in the sky.

“It was going and it looked like it was going relatively fast...I think that was what initially drew our attention to it. All of a sudden it switched directions...and we watched it for a while and it just kinda got really random in its pattern. We still don’t know what it was...eventually it just went away.”

And then, their crew went to the little shed off in the distance Rachelle called the company vault. When Sarah and her crew went up to it...suddenly they had a feeling she described as “fight or flight”.

“So we were all kinda feeling like we should get out of here...but none of us were moving. We didn’t pick up any readings, we didn’t hear anything specific, we didn’t see anything out there. It was just a very creepy feeling that we probably shouldn’t be there and we should leave.”

I asked Sarah if she thinks Buxton is haunted.

“I do. I do. We got a really nice taste of what could be out there, but I think if we go back more and more we’ll get a little more comfortable and may see an increase in activity. There’s still some activity out in Buxton.”

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