I first became aware of Hoyt, Colorado around 20 years ago when a friend and I went and bought a Model T Ford roadster and some other old car parts from a farmer who lived there. Hoyt struck me as strange even back then, it was an hour or so east of Denver, and situated near the dry, cottonwood lined bottom of Bijou Creek. About every third house or ranch was occupied, leaving the other two abandoned.

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This old house in Hoyt was torn down some time since my last visit

There was no actual “town” of Hoyt left, just scattered dwellings in every direction. In what seemed like it might have once been Hoyt’s business district were a number of abandoned homes and garage type structures. Old cars in various states of decay ranging the 1920s to the 1960s littered the pastures and lots. One auto wrecking business on a short, dirt spur road seemed to be the only commerce left in town 20 years ago, and we stopped in for a look. I do not remember anything spectacular other than a 1958 Cadillac collecting dust on a far corner of the salvage yard.

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This block beauty can be found north of Hoyt

My friend and I located the farm we were seeking and loaded up the Model T. We were then led to another nearby property and were shown a line of rusted Model T Fords tucked discreetly into a row of trees, and then were allowed to scrounge through an old barn through a mountain of antique Ford parts. With a full trailer we left Hoyt.

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A small building on the road to Hoyt

A couple of months ago I decided to return to Hoyt, with another friend riding shotgun, to snap some photos of the abandoned buildings around the area. Much like last time, Hoyt just seemed “strange” you can’t help but feel like you are always being watched when you drive through.

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It always feels like someone is watching you as you approach Hoyt

 

We were slowly driving up and down the two or three streets that roughly mark the center of Hoyt, taking photos of abandoned buildings. One lot had a number of particularly photogenic buildings, and I wanted to get shots from different angles so, I made a number of passes by. 

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One of the more picturesque buildings at Hoyt

When we reached the far end of Hoyt, and stopped in the Hoyt Community Center parking lot, and I looked over my map for any other place nearby that would be worth a look. We pulled back on to the county road in search of a dot on the map called “Leader.” As I turned onto a southbound dirt road, I stopped again to admire a 1956 Chevy station wagon next to an old storage building. Out of nowehere a Jeep appeared in a cloud of dust and slammed on its brakes next to us. I rolled down my window and the driver of the Jeep angrily asked “Can I ask why you are staking out my property?”  I told him I was merely taking photos of the abandoned buildings around the area. The man in the Jeep did not seem to believe me, and explained that he did not appreciate us “staking out” his land. Again, I reassured him that I was only taking photos of abandoned buildings, showed him my camera, and apologized. He continued to glare at me from his Jeep. I decided it would be best to just drive off at this point, as we did, a ATV began to approach at a high rate of speed from an adjacent dirt road, and the driver stared us down as we drove by. It was clear that visitors are not welcome in Hoyt, or at least not on the day we visited!

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Another of the buildings left in what looked like the town center at Hoyt

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Comments
  1. Kyle says:

    I actually live just west of Hoyt, and it’s understandable how they reacted to you. Generally we all know everyone’s vehicles in the area and when we see someone suspiciously driving around taking pictures of everything without permission we tend to get a little protective. There have been plenty of thefts in the area and people dumping trash. I can’t say who you interacted with but be understanding that when you don’t ask for permission to do something on someone else’s property, they’re gonna get upset, I would too. Even though I would’ve handled the situation differently. Even though you had a bad experience, Hoyt is a very nice small community where everyone watches out for each other. I just happened to come across this looking up history on the doctor that Hoyt was named after.

    • J.D. Eberle says:

      Thanks for your response. I fully understand people looking out for their neighbors and their property. For clarification, I never, ever, as a firm rule, set foot on anyone’s property, all of my photos, including those taken in Hoyt, are taken out of the window of my vehicle, from public/county roads. I do not ever trespass onto private property, as I would not want others trespassing onto mine. I try to make it clear to the followers of my blog that trespassing onto property,or entering any clearly posted building is unacceptable and not condoned by me. I always talk to locals in my travels if I am aware they are present, and I honor their wishes if they do not want me around. I am a very strong supporter of privacy and private property. Had I seen the guy who stopped and questioned me out on his property earlier, I would have certainly made contact with him. In my travels I’ve run into a mixed bag of reactions, the overhwhelming being positive, but once in a while there is a tense confrontation, that’s just the costr of doing business when you do what I do for a hobby. Thanks again for your input, this response is more for my readers to reiterate to them that I do not trespass, and I strongly oppose anyone who violates other’s private property.

      • Kyle says:

        I understand that but it’s also about preserving history. What I mean is when you post things like this online, people see these pictures and want to see them for themselves. So they drive out there to look, and not everyone is as respectful of others properly as you are. One of the houses in one of your pics is going to be torn down soon because of just that. Not just from your picture, plenty of others have posted it and people go to it constantly and trespass. So the neighbors are going to tear it down because they’re afraid someone will get hurt trespassing and sue them. Which has happened in the past. Most of us enjoy our seclusion for a reason and want to keep it that way. The internet has caused something special to not be special anymore because everyone goes to it and end up destroying it.

  2. J.D. Eberle says:

    Well, you can’t please everybody. I’ve done nothing wrong, all of my photos are taken legally from public roads. If others choose to trespass that is their choice, and I have nothing to do with it. I always have and always will condemn trespassing. I can not control the actions of others, and I hardly think my blog, which has a very small audience, is the cause of vandalism and trespassing in Hoyt. Hoyt is not on anyone’s “must see” list. I’d have a closer look at locals who know where these buildings are,because they are not easy to find, nor are most of the spots I visit. Mentioning a place by name is much different than posting exact GPS coordinates, which I will not do.Nor do I give directions to people who ask- If they want to visit a location,it is up to them toi find it for themselves. If someone is using my blog to plan vandalism in rural Colorado they have a lot of work ahead of them pouring over satellite images and old maps to track these places down. I’d suspect bored local youth are the more likely culprit behind much (not all) of the vandalism and trespassing. I preserve history as well through photographs before these buildings succumb to nature or the bulldozer.

  3. Naomi says:

    Hoyt Colorado was named after my grandfathers uncle, James Albert Hoyt and my Great Great Grandmother Sydney Davis Hoyt. My grandfather Reginald Hoyt is buried in the Hoyt cemetery as is his maternal grandparents, Joseph M Rawlings and Julia Foster Rawlings. Sydney’s brother was Rhodes Davis and was the post master in Hoyt, he is also buried there.
    I have traveled to Hoyt several times and have never had a problem with anyone, although I usually stay on the roads.

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