A Ghost Town a Day For 30 Days- Day #25- Twin Lakes, Colorado

Posted: April 25, 2020 in Cemeteries and Graves

Day # 25 features Twin Lakes, Colorado

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Founded in 1865 as a mining camp near two, large, natural lakes at the eastern foot of Independence Pass, the town was initially called “Dayton.”  Around 1878-1879 silver was discovered on the western foot of Independence Pass and the town of Aspen, Colorado was born. Prospectors and merchants, many coming from Leadville, flooded through Dayton on their way up and over the pass to the new boom town of Aspen. Around 1880 the name of Dayton was changed to “Twin Lakes.”

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Twin Lakes became a vital supply station on the route between Leadville and Aspen, and the town grew in size. As fortunes were made in the silver mines, wealthy mine owners their families came to Twin Lakes for rest and relaxation in its idyllic setting between snow-capped peaks and the beautiful twin lakes. A lodge called Interlaken was built on an island in one of the lakes, and boats would ferry guests from Twin Lakes to the lodge.  Visitors could fish the lakes for native cutthroat trout, and until around 1900, the much larger yellowfin trout, which was found only in the waters of Twin Lakes, and which is now extinct.

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This was once a saloon

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Original Dayton Hotel built in 1865, now part of the Twin Lakes Historic Park

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With the silver market crash of 1893, and the demonitization of precious metals in ensuing years, Twin Lakes faded into shadow of its former glory. The lodge at Interlaken now sits abandoned on its island, getting a few curious fisherman who stop by for a look each year. The town of Twin Lakes itself remains a sleepy community, a cafe and historic hotel dating to the town’s prime remain open in the summer months for tourists. A single gas pump and a fishing tackle shop round out the town’s current services.

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Twin Lakes has a few seasonally occupied homes, and a large number of vacant and abandoned buildings. An historic park free to visit features a number of abandoned buildings to explore, including a two-story log saloon, and an adobe hotel dating to 1865- Remnants of the original town of Dayton. Across the street tucked in the far corner of a tree-lined street behind the cafe and hotel is the old school house, preserved by locals with a fresh coating of white paint with green trim. The best time of year to visit Twin Lakes is in mid-September when the summer tourists have gone home, and the aspen and Gilead trees have turned gold and orange. Twin Lakes is a true beauty among the many small towns of the Rockies.

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Twin Lakes school house

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