On a quiet July morning in July 1864 nine gaunt, half-starved men appeared on the streets of Canon City in Colorado Territory.  Mounted on the backs of skin and bone horses, each haggard man, with lips cracked and skin bronzed by the summer sun, carried two pistols and a rifle. The nine strangers wore a ragged melange of Union blue, Confederate gray, and civilian calico. The Canon City locals thought that one or two of the men seemed strangely familiar. Silently, the men passed through town, disappearing into the sandy hills along the Arkansas River to the west.

Over the next month these mysterious visitors would commit a series of robberies along the old Fairplay-to-Denver stagecoach road. Dubbed “The Reynolds Gang” their escapades would come to a violent crescendo high in Geneva Gulch where they a shootout with a pursuing posse would send the gang scattering into the night. But before The Reynolds Gang dissolved, they buried a treasure of gold, coin, and paper money worth an estimated $40,000 in 1864- a treasure which has never been found…or has it?

The deeds of The Reynolds Gang have morphed into one of Colorado’s greatest Old West legends- a legend of violence, murder, and buried treasure that still captivates the minds of people today. But is the story we have been told for the past 160 years the truth?

The answer to all of the questions regarding The Reynolds Gang can be found in the newly released book The Reynolds Gang Unmasked- The Legend, The Truth, The Treasure by Jeff Eberle. Over a decade of research has revealed, for the first time ever, the true story of The Reynolds Gang- who they were, where they came from, and why they came to Colorado in the summer in 1864.

Part history, part mystery, and packed with rare Civil War era documents, illustrations, maps, and records The Reynolds Gang Unmasked- The Legend, The Truth, The Treasure is a must have for Old West and Civil War history buffs as well as treasure hunters.

6×9, softcover, 474 pages, hundreds of illustrations, photos, maps, and records.

Get your copy here- The Reynolds Gang Unmasked- The Legend, The Truth, The Treasure

The Reynolds Gang Unmasked- The Legend, The Truth, The Treasure is the definitive history of The Reynolds Gang containing material never before published!

After a mistake between the publisher and myself which saw the wrong, unedited revision published and released a few weeks ago, the CORRECT revision has now been printed. My apologies for the mix up and to anyone who purchased a copy a few weeks ago- Your copy is the same as this release, unfortunately that first run will contain a lot of typos and errors.

Anyhow, here is a link to the CORRECT revision-


In the summer of 1864 a gang of outlaws dubbed “The Reynolds Gang” carried out a series of robberies in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Their escapades came to an end with a wild shootout in a secluded gulch, and the subsequent arrest, trial, and execution of the gang members. Along the way, The Reynolds Gang buried a treasure of gold and currency that is still searched for today in the foothills west of Denver, Coilorado.

The Reynolds Gang Unmasked is the very first in-depth work regarding the gang, and covers the legend, the truth, and the treasure hunt. The author positively identifies the members of The Reynolds Gang, and conclusively proves they were Confederate soldiers from the 3rd Texas Cavalry Regiment carrying out clandestine military orders far behind enemy lines in 1864. Also solved is the true identity of brothers Jim and John Reynolds, leaders of the gang.

Over a decade in the making The Reynolds Gang Unmasked is treasure trove of long-forgotten, supressed, and material. Exhaustive research supported by historic military documents, census records, newspaper articles, and family genealogical data make The Reynolds Gang Unmaksed the definitive history of The Reynolds Gang, their buried treasure, and those who have sought their hiden fortune. A must have for any Colorado, Old West, or Civil War history buff!

This blog is admittedly a steep departure from my usual topics, but I feel it so historically significant and interesting that it is has to be shared. For a little bit of background, another interest/hobby of mine since my childhood has been World War 2. That interest led me to begin collecting authentic World War 2 photographs, having bought my first over 30 years ago at the age of 12. Over my three decades of collecting World War 2 photos, I have accumulated thousands of images, private snapshots taken by frontline soldiers of all nations, most of which have never been published. I also have a smaller collection of what is known as “Press Corps” photos which were taken by professional war correspondent photographers.

On rare ocassions, when the subject matter warrants it, I will purchase copies/reprints of photographs when either the “original” photo is not for sale, or the price of the original photo is prohibitive, as a rule though, I really try to avoid copies/reprints. Recently though, my source in Germany (an estate broker and antique dealer) came into possession of roughly 300 color slides (known as farbdias) of the Battle of Stalingrad which was fought between August 1942 and February 1943. These farbdias are attributed to Dr. Chaplain Alois Beck, a Catholic Priest and Doctor of Austrian birth, who was drafted into the German Army in 1939. Dr. Beck held the rank of Kriegspfarrer (War Chaplain) and was assigned to a field hospital unit attached to the 297th Infantry Division of the German 6th Army, and, as an amateur photographer, documented the unit’s advance across the Soviet steppe and into the city of Stalingrad in the late-summer of 1942. Dr. Beck conducted Catholic Mass for soldiers preparing to enter battle, wrote letters home for wounded and dying soldiers, performed Last Rites, collected the identifications of the dead, and delivered eulogies for the fallen. He was also credited with establishing and overseeing 21 cemeteries in Stalingard for soldiers killed in the battle. Obviously, this was a case where my “hobby” budget would not allow for the purchase of the originals, so I purchased photographic copies of 45 of Dr. Beck’s farbdias. Dr. Beck and his farbdias survived the Battle of Stalingrad through a twist of fate- In the autumn of 1942, Dr. Beck contracted hepatitis and fell seriously ill. He and his belongings were airlifted out of the battlefield and removed to the safety of a hospital far behind the front lines.

Dr. Chaplain Alois Beck, photo from the public domain

Shortly after Dr. Beck was airlifted to safety, the Red Army launched a counter offensive which cut off and encircled the German 6th Army between the Don and Volga Rivers, in what would become known as the “Stalingrad Kessel” or “Stalingrad cauldron.” German, Rumanian, Italian, and Hungarian axis troops in the “kessel” fell back from their positions on the Don River Steppe and consolidated with the German forces inside Stalingrad and its suburbs. Surrounded on all sides by the Soviets, and cutoff from supply columns on the ground, the Axis troops in Stalingrad faced a grim fate. Aerial supply drops intended to keep the entrapped the 6th Army alive until German ground forces could attempt a rescue operation were hamstrung by horrible winter weather, and were largely unsuccessful.

Axis troops in the besieged city were shelled mercilessly by the Red Army artillery, and endless attacks were launched by Soviet foot soldiers., many of whom entered the battle without guns, simply scavenging rifles from the corpses of the dead within the cauldron. On the northern end of Stalingrad, in the factory district, Soviet workers at the Dzerzhinsky Tractor Works assembled tanks and drove them directly onto the battelfield, the front lines being just outside the doors of the facility. The most horrific and savage hand-to-hand combat ever winessed by humanity took place in the fatories, apartments, cellars, and sewers of Stalingrad. It was not uncommon for German and Soviet soldiers to occupy different floors or rooms of the same building.

Temperatures soon dropped below zero, and with little shelter, no food, inadequate clothing, and little water, Axis soldiers slowly began showing the effects of starvation and exposure. A German panzer force attempted to break through the encirclement and rescue the trapped 6th Army, but was reprelled by superior Soviet armor. Many Axis troops knowing there was now no way out of Stalingrad other than the long march to a gulag in Siberia chose to commit suicide with their last bullet, others simply took off their helmets and calmly walked into Soviet gunfire. Some resorted to cannibalism as a means of survival. Thousands more held on, but succumbed to starvation and hypothermia in the closing days of the battle. Of the 190,000 who survived the battle and marched into Soviet captivity in February 1943, only 5,000 would ever return home to Germany. Photos taken following the battle show mountains of German corpses stacked like cordwood on the outkirts of the city. When the spring thaw came, the bodies of dead soldiers, both Soviet and German, clogged the Volga River like jams.

Having narrowly escaped this grim fate, Dr. Beck returned home after the war and continued his duties with the Catholic Church. Dr. Beck authored two books (both in the German language) one titled “MesserklärungNach dem Rundschreiben Papst Pius XII. Mediator Dei”  (1953) a religous text, and the second titled “Bis Stalingrad” (1983) which documented his military service and showcased many of his farbdias. Both books are exceedingly rare and hardto find today. Dr. Beck is said to have delivered over 700 public speeches following the war, but he only displayed his farbdias of Stalingrad around a dozen times.

Here are some of the 45 copies of Dr. Alois Beck’s farbdias that I recently purchased, as well as additional black and white photographs of the Battle of Stalingrad from my personal collection which I have acquired over the years. I have provided descriptions of the photos when possible as well as crediting the original photographer/source when possible. Also included is the translation of a single page from an unkown German veteran’s diary/memoir I acquired detailing his experiences at Stalingrad.

The Battle of Stalingrad raged from August 23, 1942 to Febraury 2, 1943 and is recognized as the deadliest battle in the history of human conflict. Nearly 2,000,000 (two million) wounded and dead were recorded by the warring factions, as well as 40,000 civilian dead. Of the 190,000 German prisoners taken following the February 2, 1943 surrender, a further 185,000 would die in Soviet captivity, the 5,000 survivors would be released from Soviet POW camps between 1949 and 1955. Stalingrad marked the turning point of World War 2, giving the Soviets the upper hand.

German Panzers on the steppe as the 6th Army advances towards Stalingrad. Dr. Alois Beck photo
Soviet KV-2 and T-34 tanks mired in an irrigation ditch on the steppe. Dr. Alois Beck photo
“General Pfeffer Bridge” in the Ukraine as the 6th Army advances towards the Volga and Stralingrad. Dr. Alois Beck photo
Sunflowers on the Don River steppe, taken by an unknown soldier of the 295th Infantry Division which was destroyed at Stalingrad. There is one account of a Stalingrad survivor who had filled every pocket of his tunic with sunflower seeds as the 6th Army crossed the steppe. After food supplies were cutoff to Stalingrad in November 1942, the man stayed alive by eating these seeds. Photo: J.Eberle Collection
A destroyed Soviet Polikarpov I-16 “Rata” fighter plane on the steppe just outside Stalingrad, August 1942. Photo: J.Eberle Collection
Destroyed Soviet BT series tanks. Dr. Alois Beck photo
A German 6th Army solcier inspects a knocked out Soviet KV-1 heavy tank. Dr. Alois Beck photo
Red Army POWs taken during the advance on Stalingrad. Dr. Alois Beck photo
Soldiers of the ill-fated 295th Infantry Division. Photo: J. Eberle collection
Soldiers of the 295th Infantry Division pose for a group photo in the summer of 1942. Photo: J.Eberle collection
Wounded Soviet POWs being interrogated by German Officers. Dr. Alois Beck photo
German soldiers trailed by Soviet “HiWis” or “volunteers: carrying ammunition boxes. HiWis were POWs who volunteered to serve in the German Army doing menial taks in exchange for better treatment and larger food rations. Hundreds of thousands of HiWis served in the German Army during the war, and most were executed by the Soviet government as collaborators following the conflict. Dr. Alois Beck photo
A German General (left) possibly Moritz von Drebber, confers with another Officer. Don River Steppe. Dr. Alois Beck photo
A Soviet soldier, merely a child, taken prisoner on the Don Steppe, summer 1942. Dr. Alois Beck photo
Soviet T-34 tanks entrenched as a defensive barrier along a railroad track between the Don River and Kalmyk Steppe. Dr. Alois Beck photo
A German soldier gallops through a village near Stalingrad, summer 1942. Photo: J.Eberle Collection
6th Army soldiers relax in a village, unaware of the hell that awaits them in coming months. Photo: J.Eberle collection
A Soviet bomber captured intact during the advance on the Volga. Dr. Alois Beck photo
German artillery troops enter the suburbs of Stalingrad, the outskirts of the city just visible in the distance. Dr. Alois Beck photo
German artillery advances past a burning dwelling. August 1942. Dr. Alois Beck photo
A German foxhole on the steppe outside of Stalingrad. Dr. Alois Beck photo
A German Officer, winner of the Knight’s Cross, poses at the door of his bunker. A bear skin hangs from a pole. Dr. Alois Beck photo
Two German Generals and staff Officers discuss the situation in the suburbs of Stalingrad, August 1942. The round-faced General second from left is Hans Hube, who would was adored by his men, and never backed away from a fight. Hube had lost an arm in World War One and was fitted with a prosthetic limb. During the street fighting in Stalingrad, Hube confronted a Soviet T-34 tank face-to-face, the Soviet tank crew leveled their 76mm canon at Hube and fired, it blew his fake arm off, and Hube, unphased, calmly drew his pistol with good arm, and walked toward the Soviet tank firing at it. The Soviet tank commander, terrified by the seemingly invincible German soldier, ordered his driver to retreat. Dr. Beck photo
General Friedrich Paulus confers with Officers as Battle Stalingrad Commences. Dr. Alois Beck photo
Stalingrad “the city on the Volga” from the outskirts. The grain elevator which would play a central role in the battle can be seen clearly in the center/left of the photo with a black smoke plume rising behind it. The Volga River is the whitish/gray stripe along the uper center/right of the photo. The heaviest fighting would take place just beyind the grain elevator in the facotry district. Dr. Alois Beck photo
General Paulus and General Alexander Edler von Daniels (?) in the suburbs of Stalingrad. Dr. Alois Beck photo
Dr. Alois Beck performs Mass for soldiers about to launch an attack on the city of Stalingrad. Dr. Alois Beck photo
Generals Hans Hube and Moritz von Drebber, outskirts of Stalingrad. Photo: J. Eberle Collection
The Tsaritsyn (Zariza) Gorge and suburb south of Stalingrad by the same name. German troops would dig into the sandy clay of the gorge, and this would become both home and graveyard to thousands of soldiers during the battle. Dr. Alois Beck photo
A German warning sign on the edge of the Tsaritsyn (Zariza) suburb. It reads “Venturing into the city (Stalingrad) forbidden. Curiosity endangers your own life as well as the lives of your comrades. DETOUR” Photo: J.Eberle collection
Another view of Stalingrad from the vicinity of Tsaritsyn. Dr. Alois Beck photo
German troops advance through the rubble. The grain elevator in the distance. Photo: Public Domain
German soldiers at Stalingrad. Dr. Alois Beck photo
Major Rolf Wuthmann (left,front) and General Otto Korfes (right) walk past “Pavlov’s House” in Stalingrad. Photo: J. Eberle Collection
The remaining wall of “pavlove’s House” today- Now a war memorial. Photo: Public Domain
Artillery troops using a range finder among the rubble of Stalingrad. Photo: J. Eberle Collection
Another view of Stalingrad and the grain elevator. Dr. Alois Beck photo
German artillery fires near the grain elevator. Photo: Public Domain
Motorcycle troop in Stalingrad as civilians and livestock flee the fighting. Photo; J.Eberle collection
Chimneys remain where homes once stood in Stalingrad. Dr. Alois Beck photo
An interesting juxtaposition of freshly planted flowers as smoke clouds billow in the distance. Dr. Beck photo
Civilians flee the coming armageddon in Stalingrad. Dr. Alois Beck photo
A Children’s Khorovod (dance) statue in Stalingrad with fresh German graves and destoryed houses in the background. One of several such sculptures to be found in the city, which gave a macabre, surreal, aspect to the post-apacolyptic hell of the battle, Dr. Alois Beck photo
The most famous Children’s Khorovod statue in Stalingrad was outside of the train station. Photo: Public Domain
General Paulus and General von Daniels (2nd and 3rd from left) walk through the Stalingrad rubble. Photo: J.Eberle Collection

Diary/Memoir of an Unknown Soldier in My Collection (translated from German)

“After November I was relocated to a platoon in the city of Stalingrad. Our position was located on the Volga River where it had been relatively quiet. To our left the Soviets had established a small bridgehead. The Soviets arrived at our position on Christmas and broke through our flank. My unit was pulled out of the city, and we recieved seven days rest.

On January 7th I was reactivated, this time to the north end of the city, in the area of the Red October factory. It was a long, rough journey to get through the city. The Soviets were well-informed of our movements, and were all over our radio waves for the next few days. They knew we were desperately in need of repalcements around Red October.

My company was situated among the remnants of a bread factory. My platoon stayed in the old kitchen area. My platoon consisted of six Germans and four Rumanian soldiers. The Rumanians had fought gallantly throughout the entire battle. There was very little left of the bread factory, just the rubble of the outer walls. I held a machinegun position in a window hole, open and exposed to the enemy.

At 5:30 am (no date given) the Soviets began a long bombardment that lasted three hours. They pounded us with every concievable weapon. Through my window hole they even tossed hand grenades. In short, it was hell.  The Soviets were about 45 feet away from our positions, and a German platoon even occupied half of the building the Soviets were in.”

The entry ends at this point (next page(s) missing) and picks up in March 1943 after the soldier was transferred to Rzhew, indicating he was one of the lucky ones who was airlifted out of Stalingrad after the encirclement.

German soldiers cautiously advance through a workshop in the factory district of northern Stalingrad. Photo: Public Domain
Dr. Alois Beck holds Mass for soldiers about to enter the battle. Dr. Alois Beck photo
German dugouts in the Tsaritsyn Gorge south of Stalingrad. Dr. Alois Beck photo
German dugouts and shanties at Tsaritsyn Gorge made of scavenged wreckage from the battlefield. Photo: J.Eberle Collection
Dr. Beck performs a funeral service on the steppe. Dr. Alois Beck photo
Wounded soldiers from the battle are unloaded at field hospital in the suburbs. The grim faces on the men say it all. Dr. Alois Beck photo
Dr. Beck watches as severely wounded men are loaded onto a plane to be airlifted out of Stalingrad. These men would later prove to be the lucky ones, as nearly all of those wholived to tell about the battle were those who were airlifted out. Dr. Alois Beck photo
Dr. Beck writing letters home for wounded soldiers at a field hospital. Dr. Alois Beck photo.
Dr. Beck performing a funeral service. Dr. Alois Beck photo
A German mass grave. Dr. Beck established and cared for 21 such cemeteries around Stalingrad. Dr. Alois Beck photo
German trucks arrive at the train station. Photo: J.Eberle collection
Soviet prisoners taken in the battle are evacuated to the rear. Dr. Alois Beck photo
Wpunded men mull around the perimeter of a field hospital. Dr. Alois Beck photo
Dr. Beck records the identities of soldiers killed in the battle. Dr. Alois Beck photo
Fores rage in Stalingrad after dark. Survivors of both the German and Soviet armies often described the constant red glow and the howl of the fires that never stopped burning in the city during the six month battle. During the day, smoke from the fires would block out the sun. Dr. Alois Beck Photo
Stalingrad, late-1942 Photo: Public Domain
German troops at the Stalingrad railyards after the first snows. Photo: J.Eberle collection
Soldiers with whitewashed snow camo helmets in formation prior to entering battle. Photo: J.Eberle collection
Troops at the railyards. Photo: J.Eberle collection
A destroyed train. Photo: J.Eberle collection
Destruction of the city of Stalingrad. Photo: J. Eberle collection
A view of the city center from a German position. Photo: J.Eberle collection
Red Army soldiers advance through the wreckage of the city. Photo: Public Domain
Soldiers trapped on the steppe with a Russian HiWi. Winter 1942. Photo: J.Eberle collection
Soldiers trapped on the steppe. Winter 1942. Photo: J.Eberle collection
Soldiers in village near Stalingrad. Winter 1942. Photo: J.Eberle collection
6th Army soldiers trapped inside the city. Winter 1942. Photo: J.Eberle collection
German troop column retreating from the steppe towards Stalingrad after the Soviet encirclement. Canned food dropped in boxes by the Luftwaffe to sustain the soldiers can be seen in the center of photo. Photo: J.Eberle collection
Soviet troops in rooftop positions in the city. Photo: Public Domain
Freshly promoted to the rank of Field Marshall, Friedrich Paulus surrenders the remnants of the once mighty 6th Army to Soviet forces 2-3-1943 Photo: Public Domain
AP Wire Photo of captured German, Rumanian, and Italian Generals at Stalingrad. February 1943. Photo: J. Eberle Collection
German prisoners taken in the suburbs of Stalingrad, February 1943. Photo: J. Eberle Collection
Prisoners begin the long trek into Soviet captivity in SIberia. Photo: J. Eberle Collection
The march into captivity, February 1943. Photo: J. Eberle Collection
Mounds of dead German soldiers stacked on the outskirts of the city. February 1942. Photo: Public Domain
Remnants of the German 6th Army, February 1943. Photo: Public Domain
German POWs being marched out of the ruins of Stalingrad, February 1943. Photo: Public Domain.
German POWs ecorted past the grain elevator by Red Army guard. Photo: Public Domain
Rumanian POWs at Stalingrad. Of the 190,000 Axis POWs taken in1943, only 5,000 would survive and return home. Photo: Public Domain
After the battle, orphaned children were put to work collecting the arms discarded and dropped among the rubble. Photo: J.Eberle Collection

It has been far too many months since I was able to get out and do some exploring- The high cost of being dumb enough to buy a Jeep, having mistakenly interpreted the term “off-road vehicle” to mean “4×4” when, in relation to Jeeps, “off-road” actually means “broken down and in the garage all the time, thus off-road.” Anyhow, with a loud bang followed by a shower of hot oil across my windshield and cloud of black smoke, my hapless and maddening three year learning experience with Jeep products came to a not-soon-enough end as the innards of my engine splattered out onto Interstate 70. I’d never been so happy in my life knowing the Jeep was finally dead, and soon I’d have another vehicle capable of taking me to the back country for adventures. My first journey in my new, brighter, post-Jeep apocalypse world would be to a little-known ghost town in Gunnison County Colorado named Vulcan.

A bird’s eye view of Vulcan in the late-1890s

Vulcan had long been on my list of Colorado ghost towns to visit. There is one old photo of Vulcan (see above) that appears on numerous other sites across the internet that shows the town during it’s boom days in the late-1890s. Vulcan sprang up on the site of an dormant geyser, the walls of the cavern where the geyser once emerged from the ground were lined with rich, gold-bearing ore. Soon the extinct geyser site became a mine, and Vulcan became the richest gold producer in Gunnison County. Around 1930 the last of the gold ore was finally extracted, and Vulcan was abandoned, joining the growing list of Colorado ghost towns.

Vulcan today is a mere shadow of it’s former glory- Just a few scattered log cabins along the sagebrush dotted rise that leads to the mound of yellow tailings where the mine once was.  The road in to Vulcan is dirt, and can easily be navigated in dry weather if you take it slow- But be warned, it looks like it could become a quagmire oin a rainy day. Another challenge in finding Vulcan is that none of the marked roads in the area correspond to the markings on popular maps and atlases which leads to some confusion- Although the roads all looked right, and followed the correct path, the numbers did not coincide, and it led to me warrying that I had taken a wrong turn somewhere, but I hadn’t.  Please note: All of the buildings at Vulcan are located on PRIVATE PROPERTY which is clearly marked, please stay on the main road and respect other’s land.

Elkhorn, dating to the 1880s, in the hills of northern Larimer County was nearly lost in the recent Cameron Peak Fire, the largest forest fire in Colorado history. Heroic efforts by fire fighters, and a little help from Mother Nature slowed the fire just before it consumed this old mining camp and supply depot along Elkhorn Creek, although it does appear that some structures were lost to the flames.

Historic Photo of Elkhorn, Colorado

Very little gold was ever discovered in Larimer County, Colorado- A few deposits in paying quantities were located along Manhattan and Elkhorn Creeks in the Poudre River drainage about 40 miles northwest of Ft. Collins. Two small camps by the same names appeared- Manhattan and Elkhorn. Manhattan, the larger and more important of the two, became the namesake for the Manhattan Mining District which boomed and busted between 1890 and 1905.


Miner’s shacks at Elkhorn in 2018
Current Map of the Cameron Peak Forest Fire- Red Area is burnt area- This indicates the two small shacks pictured in previous photo may have been lost to the fire.

So little gold was found along Elkhorn Creek that the town of Elkhorn never grew to be much more than a few miner’s shacks, a general store, Post Office, and school. Gold fever, which never truly panned in Elkhorn, soon gave way to ranching and logging operations. Elkhorn eked out an existence as a small supply depot for the area. Logging continues in the area to this day…or did prior to the devastating Cameron Peak fire.


One of the old stores at Elkhorn, used as a storage barn today

Elkhorn today is a wide spot in the road along County Road 68. An impressive log store dating to Elkhorn’s boom days can’t be missed as you pass through- Today it serves as a storage barn. A few other miner’s shacks and old log buildings can be seen scattered along the meadow and the hillsides around the old store. All of the area is private property, fenced, and marked. Photos can be taken from the County Road of what remains, although that is unclear following the forest fire.


Elkhorn Store on a sunny day
Elkhorn Store in the fog
Another old shop at Elkhorn- This building and those in the background may have been lost in the Cameron Peak fire according to Forest Service maps showing the fire’s preimeter in the area of Elkhorn.
Elkhorn in the fog
Another shot of Elkhorn on a foggy day




Abandoned Colorado Book Series by Jeff Eberle- CLICK HERE!


Photo Blog- 25 Picturesque Abandoned Buildings in Colorado

Photo Blog- Ghost Town of Balfour, Colorado- Vanished as Fast as it Appeared!

Photo Blog: Ghost Town of Brandon, Colorado

Ghost Town Photo Blog- Caribou, Colorado

Photo Blog- Galatea, Colorado Plains Ghost Town

25 (More) Abandoned Buildings in Colorado You Must See Before They Are Gone

25 (More) Abandoned Buildings in Colorado You Must See Before They Are Gone

Very few visitors who spend a weekend in the booming tourist town of Breckenridge, Colorado are aware that there is a ghost town within walking distance to explore- Preston. Preston is a tiny mining town located at the head of Gold Run Gulch in the pine tree covered slopes right next to the Breckenridge Municipal Golf Course. Preston can be reached by a short hike, mountain bike, or 4×4 using Gold Run Road/Forest Road 300 near the Jessie Mill.

Preston dates to around 1874 when the Jumbo Mine began to pay big dividends, and a couple hundred miners and their families brought the camp to life. There was general store, lumber mill, bunk house for bachelor miners, and an on-and-off Post Office at Preston which operated intermittently between 1874 and 1890. Preston was stopping point for supply trains and miners heading in between the mining towns of the Swan River valley, and the camps located in French Gulch.

A few old cabins nestled at the base of towering stands of pine trees remain at Preston today. The tumbledown walls and boards of other once-important buildings are scattered around the town site as well as the customary rusted bits and pieces of yesterday. A sign at the edge of the site gives a brief history of Preston and its mines. If you find yourself with an afternoon to kill the next time you visit Breckenridge, take the short and scenic journey to nearby Preston.




Photo Blog- Sunshine, Colorado a Forgotten Gold Camp

Photo Blog- 25 Picturesque Abandoned Buildings in Colorado

Ghost Town Photo Blog- Caribou, Colorado

Photo Blog- Ghost Town of Balfour, Colorado- Vanished as Fast as it Appeared!

25 Abandoned Buildings In Colorado You Must See Before They Are Gone

25 (More) Abandoned Buildings in Colorado You Must See Before They Are Gone

Sunshine, Colorado, located just west of Boulder in Sunshine Canyon, sprang to life between 1870 and 1873, after George A, Jackson (who first found gold at the spot which is now Idaho Springs back in 1859) discovered rich gold deposits in the sandy terrain of Sunshine Canyon. George A. Jackson was a lucky man in many ways- He had made the first big gold strike in 1859 at what became Idaho Springs, and can be considered one of the “Founding Fathers” of Colorado, alongside William Green Russell and John Gregory- Were it not for the gold strikes of these three men, the Gold Rush of 1859 might not have happened. Jackson fell in with the secessionist crowd in the months prior to the Civil War breaking out in 1861, and he soon found himself arrested and languishing in the Colorado Territorial Prison in Denver for his allegiances to the rebel cause. In February of 1862, Jackson escaped the prison and made his way to Texas, where he joined a Confederate Cavalry unit. During this period, Jackson was a wanted man in Colorado, and had a $100 price tag on his head- A hefty sum in the 1860s. Jackson survived the war in the Red River country of west Texas, in relative anonymity. Jackson returned to Colorado following President Johnson’s general amnesty of 1868, which restored full citizenship status to former members of the Confederate Army, and absolved them of any charges they may have have been facing for wartime activities. This is when Jackson began prospecting again, and had the uncommon fortune of striking it rich a second time in Sunshine Canyon!  


George A. Jackson- Had Luck on His Side

By 1874 Sunshine had a population of over two hundred, and seven mines operating in the surrounding area. Sunshine canyon is narrow and steep, and homes of every configuration sprang up in unusual places at odd angles and on steep inclines. Mine workings intertwined with the residences giving the town a chaotic look. Down towards the bottom of the narrow gulch was the business district with a haphazard row of false-fronted shops and saloons. It is said, at its peak, Sunshine even had seven hotels! In 1900 a beautiful stone school house was built towards the head of Sunshine Canyon which still stands today.



Sunshine at its peak
Old dwelling at Sunshine today

Today not much is left of the “old” Sunshine- Much has been torn down or lost to flooding and forest fires in the past 100 years. Much new construction has gone on in Sunshine Canyon in recent years, and most of the homes and buldings in the area are of more recent times. A keen set of eyes can, however, pick out a few remants of the past scattered in among the new at Sunshine. The school house is a must see.  All of the property and buildings in Sunshine canyon is privately owned, so please respect the locals and their privacy if you plan to visit.


On a small, grassy, knoll above the canyon is the tiny Sunshine Cemetery where many of the early pioneers of the town are buried. There are a handful of recent burials for current residents as well. A small parking lot is open to visitors, and a simple gate allows access to the graveyard.





Photo Blog- 25 Picturesque Abandoned Buildings in Colorado

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Photo Blog- Fondis, Colorado- In the Pine Hills of Elbert County

25 Abandoned Buildings In Colorado You Must See Before They Are Gone

25 (More) Abandoned Buildings in Colorado You Must See Before They Are Gone

Since forest fires have most of the National Forest closed down in Colorado and we can’t get out and explore much, here is a completely random collection of 25 picturesque abandoned buildings from across the Centennial State. Enjoy!

1. Crosson’s Store- Yampa, Colorado
2. Coal miner’s home- Engleville,Colorado
3. General Store- Andrix, Colorado
4. Farm house- San Acacio,Colorado
5. The Soda Shop- Pritchett, Colorado
6. Home- Ironton, Colorado
7. General Store- Rugby, Colorado
8. Miner’s cabin- Geneva City, Colorado
9. General Store- Garo, Colorado
10. School/General Store/Post Office- Elkhorn, Colorado
11. Trading Post- Gardner, Colorado
12. Store Fronts- Como, Colorado
13. Farm House- Baca County, Colorado
14. Bunkhouse- Buckskin Gulch, Colorado
15. Miner’s Cabin- Boston, Colorado
16. Ranch House- Park County, Colorado
17. Jail- Berwind Canyon, Colorado
18. Home- Arbourville, Colorado
19. Fancy House- Cripple Creek, Colorado
20. Miner’s Shack- Cameltown, Colorado
21. Assayer’s Office- Rollisnville, Colorado
22. Mine Office- Derry Ranch Placer, Colorado
23. General Store- Eldora, Colorado
24. Masonic Lodge- Central City, Colorado
25. Home- Stringtown, Colorado




Ghost Town Photo Blog- New Cardinal, Colorado

Ghost Town Photo Blog- Caribou, Colorado

Photo Blog- Fondis, Colorado- In the Pine Hills of Elbert County

Colorado’s Lost Highway- A Photo Voyage Down Highway 350 From La Junta to Trinidad


25 Abandoned Buildings In Colorado You Must See Before They Are Gone

25 (More) Abandoned Buildings in Colorado You Must See Before They Are Gone

25 Forgotten Cemeteries and Burial Plots of Colorado


25 Abandoned Colorado Homes/Homesteads/Cabins To See Before They Are Gone

Powderhorn, Colorado- Ghost Town In the Gunnison Country

Cardinal is a realtively unknown ghost town by Colorado standards. Located in Boulder County just west of Nederland on the road to Caribou. (Check out my blog on the Caribou Ghost Town)


Cardinal could tachnically be called “New Cardinal” because there was once another Cardinal,or “Old Cardinal” a mile or two up the road from the present town site. Old Cardinal was the weekend recreation camp for miner from Caribou- Caribou residents had voted to make Caribou a dry town with no saloons or brothels, so enterprising bar keepers and sporting ladies set up shop down the hill from Caribou in a small meadow along the railroad tracks. Miners from Caribou could catch the ore train down the hill to Old Cardinal for a wild weekend, then ride the ore train back up to righteous Caribou.


In the late 1800s, an ore vein was discovered a couple of miles below Old Cardinal, and a new mining camp sprang up which did not harbor the same puritanical values of Caribou. It only made sense for the working girls and booze peddlers of Old Cardinal to move on down the hill to the new camp.  As they abandoned Old Cardinal, they even moved their buildings down the hill to the new camp, which soon took on the monicker of “New Cardinal.”


A freighter hauling mining equipment into the New Cardinal town site

New Cardinal boomed for a few short years around the turn of the last Century. An enormous stamp mill was constructed, an Assayer’s Office overlooked the mine workings, and bunk houses and private homes sprang up, and of course there were the saloons and the brothel.

Assayer’s Office
Mill building around 1920

New Cardinal, as all mining towns do, eventually faded away and was abandoned. The old buildings at the sight fell into decay, and some wetre occupied in the 1960s. In recent years the better homes at the site have been renovated and once again occupied. For a short time, someone was even renting the old Assayer’s Office as a weekend getaway.  


In the early 2000s Boulder County Open Space invested substantial time, labor, and money into the restoration/preservation of the mill building at Cardinal in hopes of opening it up as historic park/museum.  Unfortunately, all the restored mill building attracted was unscrupulous rock climbers who scaled the outer faces of the freshly restored building, and Boulder County closed the site to the public, and it has remained closed.



The mill at Cardinal after restoration efforts
Boiler at Cardinal

I have only visited Cardinal once, using an old guide book that said the site was open to exploration. When I reached the spot, I was unaware that the site had been closed by Boulder County. All of the land and buildings at Cardinal are now privately owned, and at least two houses are occupied. I was met by one of the residents who was friendly and allowed me to look around the old town site as long as I stayed on the dirt road, and took photos from a distance. I appreciated their hospitality, but it was clear that Cardinal is private and the owners would like to keep it that way- I can respect that.






Photo Blog- Historic Gold Hill, Colorado

Ghost Town Photo Blog- Boyero, Colorado

A Rare Glimpse of Baltimore- Colorado’s Lost Ghost Town Taken in 1957

Atchee- Photo Blog Colorado’s Least Known Ghost Town- Thank You Gilsonite!

Powderhorn, Colorado- Ghost Town In the Gunnison Country

Took my yearly trip up to Gold Hill a few days ago. Such a great little town!  I am surprised that so few people know about it, but I guess that is also a blessing!

Located in Boulder County in the foothills west of Denver, Gold Hill is an old-timer among Colorado towns, dating all the way back to 1859. Gold Hill is so old in fact that it was once part of Nebraska Territory!


As the name obviously suggests, Gold Hill was a mining town from the great Colorado Gold Rush of 1859. Massive deposits of gold ore were found in the hills and gulches surrounding the town site. Prospectors flocked to the spot and the town sprang to life.



“Mountain District Number 1 at Nebraska” aka Gold Hill has been plagued by forest fires and floods since it’s very beginnings- The first documented forest fire that threatened the town was recorded in 1860, another huge fire in the 1890s ravaged the town, torrential rains caused flooding that threatened Gold Hill in 2013, and as of my typing this in October 2020, a forest fire caused the evacuation of the town yesterday. But somehow Gold Hill always manages to hang on.


Today Gold Hill is home to around 120 residents. There town has retained it’s historic feel and very little modern-era construction exists in the town. There are no paved streets in Gold Hill, only narrow dirt roads wide enough for one car to travel. Old trucks af every make and model are scattered around the streets and hillsides of Gold Hill.


Gold Hill has an Inn that hosts live bands outdoors in the summer months, an old two-story log hotel, a General Store/Coffee Shop/Cafe and the photogenic Red Store on the eastern edge of town. There is also a school house, museum, and outdoor display of old rusted mining equipment. South and east of town a short distance is the tiny Gold Hill cemetery which was ravaged by forest fire, and still shows the scars.


Gold Hill is a true gem and a fun place to explore, but can get crowded on weekends in the summer time. I’d suggest visit on a weekday in the off-season when you can really take in the beauty of this old mining town.

Check Out My Photo Book- Abandoned Western Colorado- Click Here!

Photo Book- Abandoned Southern Colorado- Click Here!

Photo Book- Abandoned Northern Colorado- Click Here!