Regency: Humphreys Gold Mine Ghost Town

by Tim Gilmore, 6/25/2012

Southside Boulevard and State Road 9A, near Regency Square Mall Shopping Center, land reshaped into cavities, sand dunes, lakes, unfinished roads. 1940s and ’50s. Humphreys Gold Corporation strip-mined titanium, zirconium, and other minerals here. 1960s. Longhaired kids riding dune buggies around the lakes, long before most of “the Dunes” is developed into chain stores and prefab condos.

Immediately before the Great Recession began, construction began on a new “business park” in the remaining acreage of the old mine, but only streets, curbs, gutters, and storm drains appeared before the project ran out of money. Fast food bags and coupon booklets blow down the stillborn streets.

Standing atop a small grassy mound, the hitchhiker who wandered off the highway sees two abandoned couches, a dead Christmas tree, and a television, a mock living room. The TV, however, has been burnt to a crisp. He says to himself, “An apocalypse is what you make it.”