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.

 

 

 

THANKS FOR VISITING!

CHECK OUT MY OTHER GHOST TOWN PHOTO BLOGS-

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

Comments
  1. […] Ghost Town Photo Blo… on Powderhorn, Colorado- Ghost To… […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s