Ghost Towns of the Colorado Rockies by Robert L Brown
Ghost Towns of the Colorado Rockies by Robert L Brown
Ghost Towns of the Colorado Rockies by Robert L Brown
Ghost Towns of the Colorado Rockies by Robert L Brown
Ghost Towns of the Colorado Rockies by Robert L Brown
Ghost Towns of the Colorado Rockies by Robert L Brown
Ghost Towns of the Colorado Rockies by Robert L Brown
Ghost Towns of the Colorado Rockies by Robert L Brown
Ghost Towns of the Colorado Rockies by Robert L Brown
Ghost Towns of the Colorado Rockies by Robert L Brown
Ghost Towns of the Colorado Rockies by Robert L Brown

Ghost Towns of the Colorado Rockies by Robert L Brown

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Ghost Towns of the Colorado Rockies by Robert L Brown
Ghost Towns of the Colorado Rockies by Robert L Brown
Includes Sectional Fold out Map in Front of Book
Soft Cover
401 pages
Copyright 1990
1. Alma  31
2. Alpine And Alpine Tunnel  36
3. Bonanza   44
4. Boreas54
5. Brownsville61
6. Buckskin Joe  68
7. Camp Bird  76
8. Camp Frances  82
9. Como  86
10. Crested Butte  91
11. Crestone   104
12. Crystal City  110
13. Custer City   115
14. Dallas City   119
15. Dyersville  124
16. Eclipse   132
17. Eldora   136
18. Elkton  145
19. Fairplay  152
20.  Fall River  158
21.  Forks Creek   163
22. Freeland   168
23. Gillett  173
24. Gilson Gulch  179
25. Goldfield   184
26. Jasper   189
27. King City   193
28. Kokomo  198
29. Leavick  205
30. Lulu City  211
31. Marble  217
32. Montgomery  224
33. Mound City   230
34. Mountain City   235
35. North Empire  246
36. Oro City  251
37.  Ouray   260
38. Pandora  266
39. Perigo   272
40. Pitkin   277
41. Platoro  282
42. Puma City  286
43.  Quartzville   291
44. Ruby  295
45. Russell Gulch   301
46. Sacramento   307
47. Salina   312
48. Scofield City  317
49. Silver Cliff   323
50. Silver Plume  331
51. Silverton   339
52. Stunner   344
53. Tarryall And Hamilton  348
54. Telluride   355
5 5. Tomboy  362
56. Tungsten  371
57. Turret  375
58. Vanadium  379
59. Virginia Dale  383
60. Roads To High Adventure  389
Looking west toward the Mosquito Range, this early photograph
shows Alma at the height of the mining boom  33
Alma today appears to be fully as large as it was in the old
picture above  33
In 1906 Alpine still had a few buildings and the stage still
ran along the road above Chalk Creek  41
At the west end of the railroad tunnel, the town of Alpine
Tunnel may be seen  41
The historic palisade of the Denver, South Park and Pacific Railway43
The abandoned right-of-way still offers a thrilling Jeep ride - - -43
An early photograph of Bonanza on Kerber Creek  53
Bonanza still has many of its original buildings  53
A part of Boreas is visible at the left  59
Very little of old Boreas can still be seen  59
Brownsville, on both sides of Clear Creek  67
Brownsville today, as taken from atop the old mud slide - - -67
Buckskin Joe, as it was photographed by George Wakely in the
The site of Buckskin Joe a century later  75
In 1912 George Beam photographed Camp Bird and its reduction
Vastly changed but still operating, the Camp Bird is an
interesting place  81
Here, at the lower end of Camp Frances, we see a Colorado and Northwestern train and some of the Big 5 mine buildings - -85
Just the old grade of the railroad, the large mine dump, and the
Big 5 office building serve as points of comparison - - - -85
Looking across South Park. The town of Como reposes in the foreground89
From the same vantage point, many of Como's original structures
are visible  89
An early photograph of Crested Butte  103
Crested Butte is now an exciting ski resort  103
This old photograph of Crestone shows the town at its peak as
a mining camp  109
Today Crestone still has a small resident population  109
In this early picture of Crystal City, the town's main street is
visible in the center background   113
An unusually lush growth of trees now precludes an exact
match of the above picture   113
Custer City, showing the statue of General Custer   117
By 1966, Custer City was no more  117
Dallas City once stood on the flats north of Ridgway- - - - 123
Note the line of cliffs and hills in the middle background,
pinpointing the site of the former Dallas City   123
This is the sheltered, wooded site of Dyersville 131
Here is the likeness of Rev. John L. Dyer which appeared in
his autobiography, The Snow-Shoe Itinerant   131
An early view of the Economic Gold Extraction Company Mill at
Eclipse   135
Today, the empty site of Eclipse lies below the highway
between Victor and Cripple Creek   135
A typical stagecoach, drawn by six horses, was a common sight
on the main street of Eldora   141
With the same mountain backdrop, Eldora today presents a far
different picture   141
During the 1904 labor wars, troops of the state militia posed
at Elkton  151
Elkton now. Note the same false-front building in both pictures - 151
Fairplay, in South Park, as it appeared in 1879   157
When this picture was made in August, 1965, the old stagecoach
road could still be seen in the foreground   157
Fall River, a very small town at the mouth of Fall River Canyon - 161
The old site of Fall River, west of Idaho Springs   161
At Forks Creek, two locomotives headed downstream toward Denver 167
Highways 6 and 40 now separate at the site of Forks Creek- - 167
A photograph of Freeland taken in the 1880's   171
A large dump, roads, and scattered cabins are all that remain
of early Freeland   171
In its heyday the principfil business street of Gillett was lined
with many double-storied buildings   177
Today's paved highway passes through the old site of Gillett- - 177
In its heyday Gilson Gulch was a busy and prosperous place - - 183
The site of Gilson Gulch now shows few signs of its former activity 183
Goldfield, the family town of the Cripple Creek Mining District - 187
With Pikes Peak on the horizon, a few families still carry on
life in lofty Goldfield   187
Jasper, on the Alamosa River south of Del Norte   191
Many trees now obscure the terrain at what remains of Jasper - - 191
King City, the old coal-mining town in South Park  197
Apart from the mountains and the dump, King City is only a
memory  197
Looking down Ten Mile Avenue in early Kokomo  201
A contemporary view of Kokomo in the 1960's  201
With the school as a backdrop, here was a D. & R.G. train
waiting at the station in Kokomo   203
In April of 1966 only the school remained of the group of
buildings shown in the photograph above   203
In this early photograph of Leavick the two mills are at the
right and the town is at the left   209
Leavick as it looks today, photographed from the same angle - - 209
Lulu City flourished briefly   215
Lulu City is practically gone now, and the area is a part of
the Rocky Mountain National Park  215
In this early photograph of Marble the extensive business
district is clearly visible below the cliffs   223
The full extent of the mud slide that buried the commercial
portion of Marble is apparent   223
Montgomery, as photographed by George Wakely in the early 1860's 229
The watery grave of Montgomery, with Mount Lincoln rising
behind the site   229
This early photograph shows the short-lived community of
Mound City  233
Here is the site of Mound City in 1966   233
Stretching up the hillside, above Gregory Gulch, was Mountain City 245
Mountain City in the winter of 1966   24S North Empire, high on a mountainside above present Empire - - 249
With vacant streets, North Empire is now an empty wooded shell of its former self   249
Here, in the early 1860's, was the first and original Oro City- - 2S3
In May of 1966, lower California Gulch contained this dump - - 2S3
William H. Jackson made this early photograph of the second
Oro City  259
All traces of Oro City are gone now  2S9
Looking north from Fifth Avenue in Ouray shortly after the turn
of the century   265
Several original buildings stand along the business street of
picturesque Ouray  265
With many of its neat little cottages, here was Pandora-Newport
in its infancy   271
A wide variety of mining activities has done much to alter
the present appearance of Pandora   271
In this early photograph of Perigo we see the settlement with
its clusters of small log cabins   275
Except for the background and the curves in the road, Perigo,
today, bears little resemblance to its former self- - - - 275
An early picture of Pitkin, looking toward the northeast- - - 281
Pitkin, today, is a busy logging camp   281
Looking along the main street of Platoro  285
A few original structures still line the old road through Platoro - 285
This early picture of Puma City shows some of the typical
Western architecture   289
Puma City is now called Tarryall  289
Here are some of the ten or fifteen remaining structures at
Quartzville   293
Here is Quartzville, under a mantle of fresh snow   293
The old town of Ruby had a mile-long street  299
Being able to observe Colorado bighorn sheep in their natural
habitat is one of the fringe benefits   299
Russell Gulch was once a busy and prosperous place  305
To match these pictures, start with the outline of the hills - - - 305
A rock retaining wall held these two houses up   311
These crumbled buildings are typical of the remains of Sacramento 311
J. B. Sturtevant, early photographer of Boulder County, took
this fine old photograph of Salina  315
By September of 1965, a growth of trees had done much to
obscure the view of Salina  315
Scofield, high above the Crystal River Canyon in Gunnison County 321
Only a few scattered foundations now remain to mark the site
of old Scofield   321
This was Silver Cliff in the 1890's   329
Here is Silver Cliff in 1966   329
Silver Plume as it looked prior to the turn of the century- - - 337
Silver Plume in June of 1965   337
With Sultan Mountain as a backdrop, Silverton looked
prosperous in 1909   343
Greene Street in August of 1965 showed many changes - - - - 343
Stunner, photographed by George Beam when it was trying to be
a prosperous mining camp  347
Stunner today  347
This photograph shows some of the structures of
Tarryall and Hamilton in 1880  353
Here is the empty site of the two towns in 1967,
Boreas Pass crosses the mountain at the right of the picture - 353
The author and his son Marshall are shown here on the sheer
ledge over the vertical cliffs above Telluride   356
Taken from across the valley, the zigzag switchbacks of the
Black Bear Road are clearly visible   357
Pack mules, loaded with timbers, crossing Main Street in Telluride 361
Today, Telluride still has most of the original structures
seen in the picture above   361
Picture shows both sides of the medal awarded to Colorado
National Guard members following the labor wars- - - 365
Above Tomboy, the 13,114-foot crest of Imogene Pass - - - - 36S
Evelyn Brown and a friend at Fort Peabody, above Imogene Pass - 367
Ghost town souvenirs. From the collection of Evelyn Brown - - 367
Beyond the Smuggler-Union Mine, there was the Tomboy - - - 369
Empty ruins mark the Tomboy site   369
A panoramic view of the settlement of Tungsten   373
From just below the highway, barely east of Barker Dam, one
may match the view with that in the picture above- - - 373
C. E. Skinner, of Salida, made this early picture of Turret- - - 377
Empty ruins now mark the site of Turret, west of Salida- - - 377
Vanadium, on the Rio Grande Southern north of Telluride - - - 381
Vanadium is now an empty shell beside the highway  381
William H. Jackson made this early plate of Virginia Dale- - - 387
Virginia Dale, a bit off the beaten path, is still there   387
A snowshoe trip makes for an interesting method of visiting
ghost towns in winter   391
On a hiking trail to a ghost town   391
Cinnamon Pass was first used by Charles Baker in 1860 - - - - 39S
In August of 1965 the east side of Cinnamon Pass showed
little change  395
Engineer Pass was constructed by Otto Mears and first opened
to traffic in August, 1877  397
This vastly improved Jeep road now traverses Engineer Pass- - 397
SINCE THE PUBLICATION of Jeep Trails to Colorado Ghost Towns (Caxton, 1963), I have often received letters from and been confronted by many persons who have neither the desire nor the audacity to own or operate a four-wheel-drive vehicle. Nevertheless, these same people express a profound interest in Western history, an incidental concern with the mining period, and a specific fascination with the mystery associated with our ghost towns. With only minor variations in their approach, the desire has almost always been expressed for information about ghost towns and early mining camps that can be reached on a weekend or single-day outing in the family sedan, or perhaps this coupled with a very short, easy hike.
The idea seemed appealing to them, and to me, and a file of materials for possible inclusion began to grow during the preparation of another book (An Empire of Silver, Caxton, 1965). Serious work started on this project in October of 1964. A wide variety of communities with interesting histories grounded in the mining period were considered. Some, like Leadville and Central City, were rejected as being too obvious. Others were deleted due to my failure to find enough interesting material that could be documented in the text, to geographical conditions, to the present status of the site, or to changes in routes-to name just a few.
Although most of the towns in this book were selected for their accessibility, a smaller number of prime places where a four-wheel-drive vehicle is needed for access have been included just to keep things interesting. I might add, however, that a hike to these locations is not out of the question.
Seeking the locations of Colorado's myriad array of true ghost towns is often a frustrating experience. The multiplicity of old and unlabled mountain roads or trails may lead you up countless blind alleys, and it may require hours or even days for you to reach your destination-and this only by the complicated process of elimination. Often these "freeways" wind about in all directions at once and a compass actually becomes more useful than your road map, or the directions from natives. And then, assuming that you finally do get there, your town may have been totally obliterated by the natural environment indigenous to our Colorado mountain winters. The history of most early Colorado mining camps is liberally punctuated with an extremely high incidence of their destruction by rockslides, snow avalanches, fires, mud slides, and a few floods. Assuming that a given camp may have escaped, to a degree, the rigors of these destructive forces, its remains must still somehow survive contemporary Colorado's high mountain winters.
Woodstock was obliterated when a train, approaching the western portal of the Alpine Tunnel, started a snowslide which took the lives of fourteen of the town's seventeen inhabitants who, unfortunately, were in the right place at the wrong time. A mud slide buried Brownsville, just west of Silver Plume. Three mud slides thus far have submerged parts of Marble and the end is not yet. Three fires and two Hollywood motion picture companies on location have left a sadly depleted shell of once attractive Rosita. Snow avalanches terminated the life of Tomichi and were so common in southwestern Colorado that the "white death" became the most dreaded single aspect of living in the San Juan camps. Rockslides interrupted the way of life at Eureka with a frightening degree of regularity. Colorado's history is replete with many other similar examples but these few should suffice to make the point. What one may or may not find at any given location may change radically from year to year or, in a few instances, from day to day.
Searching for ghost towns may also be rewarding. There's a real thrill in store when one tops a ridge or rounds that last curve to find an abandoned town spread out below in some remote meadow. It's a silent and empty place now with streets overgrown by grass and weeds. Tiny fenced yards, once proudly kept, are now filled with restless, ugly spheres of sagebrush. Once upon a time, hundreds (or thousands) of people like ourselves lived here. Now there is no one.
By way of providing a modicum of background material against which this book is to be read, I'd like the reader to consider with me a series of four questions which, it is hoped, will enrich and enhance y