Red Oak II – Carthage, Missouri - Atlas Obscura

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Red Oak II

When he found his hometown was no more, Lowell Davis decided to recreate a "new" ghost town from scratch.  


Located not far from Route 66, travelers are in for a treat when they come across this very real, fake ghost town. 

Lowell Davis grew up in the original Red Oak, Missouri, a town that faded into obscurity. Following World War II, many rural communities ceased to exist amid increased urbanization and more people relocating to cities. After a few years away from his childhood town, Davis returned in the 1980s to find it was nothing more than a mere memory. Davis eventually settled about 20 miles from the site of his original hometown and in 1987, decided to rebuild the community on his farm. The town would be known as Red Oak II. 

Davis bought buildings from other rural ghost towns and hauled them to his farm to begin restoring the structures and creating a quaint faux village. Davis lives in Red Oak II in the restored home of the infamous outlaw Belle Starr. The site is also home to several of Davis’s original sculptures and other works of art. Davis is now commonly referred to as the, “Norman Rockwell of Rural Art.” 

Red Oak II is complete with a diner,  jail, smithy, general store, a Phillips 66 station, a schoolhouse, a town hall, and several homes. The blacksmith shop is where Davis’s great grandfather honed his skills and the general store, once owned by Davis’s father, is where he discovered his love of art.  

Update: Lowell Davis died in late 2020

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January 24, 2020

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