Archive for the ‘Cemeteries and Graves’ Category

Took advantage of the first snow of the season to go grab some photos of the historic Knights of Pythias Cemetery above Central City, Colorado. Enjoy!

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Several times throughout the course of the year I am contacted by individuals asking me about metal detecting or relic hunting at ghost towns, numerous times I’ve also had individuals who want to share their finds with me, or ask that I share them on my Facebook page or on blog. Unbeknownst to many, metal detecting and relic hunting at ghost towns, mining camps, old structures, etc. on public lands is a felony offense.

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It has been my standard practice to politely inform these people of the Federal laws protecting historic sites over 50-years-old, and inform them of the harsh consequences they face if caught in the act- A felony charge with fines ranging from $500 to $20,000 and/or up to one-year in prison. In most cases those who have contacted me are unaware of these laws, and thank me for alerting them prior to their planned adventures. In some instances however, I get the more confrontational types who want to challenge me (as if I am the one who wrote the law) and argue the law. And, often, I get the lame old “Well I won’t get caught” or “Does anybody really enforce it?” response, which is discouraging.

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A rusted button at an old mining camp, tempting to pocket, but by the word of the law it is illegal

Lately, I have experienced a noticeable increase in people asking about metal detecting and relic hunting at ghost towns. One of the cool, behind the scenes features of my blog is a record of “search terms” people have used while visiting my blog, and “metal detecting ghost towns” has become a popular search term much to my dismay. I understand the allure of snooping around an old cabin or town site and seeing what you can find- I’ve been there, done it. It is a romantic vision in many of our minds that we’ll be the one to stumble across a rusted Colt pistol, or an old gold coin under the floorboards of a cabin. We are not vandals out to destroy anything, our intentions are good and it is a fun hobby, we are focused people looking for something cool to hang on the wall. I get it, I’ve done it, but I now know we can’t do it. Relic hunters, as harmless as our intentions are on the surface, take a severe toll on our historic sites, and, by the word of the law, relic hunters and metal detectors are one in the same with the vandal who tears down the wall, or the arsonist who burns the old building. If it is on public land, i.e., National Forest, State Lands, or BLM lands, we can look, but we can’t keep, and we can’t excavate. If we find relics we can enjoy them, but we have to leave them at the site where we found them.

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It is frustrating, and there is great temptation, after all, who will notice if I take a handful of square nails, or it won’t hurt that building at all if I take that old doorknob, or somebody threw these bottles in the dump a hundred years ago, what’s the big deal if I take them home? If it was only one of us who did that, it would not be a big deal, but multiply that by one hundred or one thousand and in a decade there will be nothing left of our ghost towns and historic sites- And this does not even take into account the natural ravages of time and weather, forest fires and floods, and the still rampant vandalism and arson that has always plagued our ghost towns.

I myself was unaware of these laws until the last ten years or so,  and I myself am guilty of taking objects I found on public lands prior to my knowledge of the laws. There are several on the books- the American Antiquities Act of 1906 and numerous revisions to said law, the National Historic Preservation Act 1966 with revisions in 1980 and 1992, the Archaeological and Historic Preservation Act, Archaeological Resources Protection Act, Abandoned Shipwreck Act, and the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.

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The Wapiti Mine Office and General Store 2016

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The Wapiti Mine Office and General Store after vandals ripped it down 2017

All of these laws were designed to protect our cultural heritage and our Nation’s rich history, so that it may be enjoyed by our children, grandchildren and generations yet to come, but many do not know about these laws, and some do not care, viewing the laws as largely unenforceable measures, and governmental overreach.

As my involvement in the historic site/ghost town field has grown over the years I have become acutely aware of the reason for, and the need for these laws- Recently, in the last three years, I have witnessed the destruction of several historic structures in Colorado, I have witnessed a family of four, mother, father, and two young children, deface an historic and clearly marked “PROTECTED” mill building with graffiti, I have seen an entire rusted automobile disappear from the Sego ghost town in Utah…after it had been defaced with graffiti the year before, and I have stood in shocked disbelief as I watched a family from Minnesota climb over a well-marked, protective fence erected by the Forest Service so they could “touch” ancient Native American rock paintings with their hands.

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This old coupe which had sat at Sego, Utah for 60 years was illegally hauled away in 2017.

As our society grows increasingly ignorant, uneducated, and self-serving, the need for these protective laws will only increase, unfortunately, enforcing these laws is nearly impossible without the help of others- As ghost-towners, road trippers, and history buffs, we all need to help spread the word that metal detecting, relic hunting, defacing, damaging, or taking anything, even the tiniest nail or shard of pottery from historic sites over 50 years located on public lands is illegal. Permits to metal detect and relic hunt at historic sites are available and are Federally monitored- Normally, permits are only issued to actual, historic or archaeological research parties, and not private citizens. What you do on private land is entirely up to the discretion of the land owner and the parties involved.

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Vandalism right next to a sign asking visitors NOT to destory the historic Magnolia Mill in Montgomery, Colorado.  This is not art, this is vandalism.

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Furthermore, we are the first line of defense of America’s history, our history- If you see someone relic hunting, defacing, or destroying a historic site, either kindly inform them of the law, or if you do not want to confront someone, get photos and their license plate number and turn it over to the Forest Service in the area. It is a difficult thing to do, but the Forest Service can not possibly patrol every site every day, so it up to us to protect our historic and cultural heritage.

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A family I witnessed defacing the Magnolia Mill right in front of the signs. I turned their license plate number into the Fairplay Ranger Station and they launched an investigation.

Take only pictures. Enjoy our heritage, don’t destroy it!

American Antiquities Act of 1906

16 USC 431-433

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That any person who shall appropriate, excavate, injure, or destroy any historic or prehistoric ruin or monument, or any object of antiquity, situated on lands owned or controlled by the Government of the United States, without the permission of the Secretary of the Department of the Government having jurisdiction over the lands on which said antiquities are situated, shall, upon conviction, be fined in a sum of not more than five hundred dollars or be imprisoned for a period of not more than ninety days, or shall suffer both fine and imprisonment, in the discretion of the court.

Sec. 2. That the President of the United States is hereby authorized, in his discretion, to declare by public proclamation historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest that are situated upon the lands owned or controlled by the Government of the United States to be national monuments, and may reserve as a part thereof parcels of land, the limits of which in all cases shall be confined to the smallest area compatible with proper care and management of the objects to be protected: Provided, That when such objects are situated upon a tract covered by a bonafied unperfected claim or held in private ownership, the tract, or so much thereof as may be necessary for the proper care and management of the object, may be relinquished to the Government, and the Secretary of the Interior is hereby authorized to accept the relinquishment of such tracts in behalf of the Government of the United States.

Sec. 3. That permits for the examination of ruins, the excavation of archaeological sites, and the gathering of objects of antiquity upon the lands under their respective jurisdictions may be granted by the Secretaries of the Interior, Agriculture, and War to institutions which the may deem properly qualified to conduct such examination, excavation, or gathering, subject to such rules and regulation as they may prescribe: Provided, That the examinations, excavations, and gatherings are undertaken for the benefit of reputable museums, universities, colleges, or other recognized scientific or educational institutions, with a view to increasing the knowledge of such objects, and that the gatherings shall be made for permanent preservation in public museums.

Sec. 4. That the Secretaries of the Departments aforesaid shall make and publish from time to time uniform rules and regulations for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this Act.

Approved, June 8, 1906

We’ve all heard of Wall Street, Boston, Hollywood, London, and Manhattan, but did you know Colorado has a Wall Street, Boston, and Manhattan too? Wall Street in Boulder County and Manhattan in Larimer County were small mining towns in the late-19th and early-20th Century, Boston, in Summit County, was a seasonal mining camp in that same era. London (there were actually two “North” and “South” London) were a pair of camps located a mile apart on Mosquito Pass in Park County, and were inhabited until the 1930s. Hollywood began it’s short life as a suburb of Victor, Colorado in Teller County, and was swallowed up by Goldfield as that town expanded. The names of these tiny communities represented the high hopes of the miners and their families who once called them home- High hopes that faded and vanished when the veins of gold and silver played out.

Wall Street still has a small population and is home to a quaint mining museum housed in the old Assay office. All that remains of Manhattan is a tiny cemetery, high on a hillside, with the graves of a handful of miners killed in an underground explosion in 1892 which spelled the town’s doom. What remained of Manhattan’s structures were burned to the ground by the Forest Service in the 1930s, and only a few photos remain. Boston, high above timberline, surrounded by snow-capped spires of rock at the head of Mayflower Gulch between Copper Mountain and Leadville still has a scattering of cabins, the fragile remnants of the log boarding house, and rusted relics of mining machinery.

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Wall Street, Colorado- Boulder County

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Wall Street

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Wall Street in the boom days

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The monstrous chlorniation mill used for seperating gold from host rock at Wall Street- The first of it’s kind in the United States, and cutting edge technology in it’s day

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Remains of the chlorination mill today

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The “fancy house” at Wall Street, heavily damaged in the floods of 2013 and since torn down

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A glimpse of Boston, Colorado in Summit County, located high above timberline

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Boston

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Relics of yesterday in a miner’s cabin on the trail to Boston

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Boston

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The awe inspiring setting of Boston, Colorado

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Boston

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The boarding house at Boston

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Boston

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Hollywood, Colorado- A far cry it’s more famous namesake!

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Hollywood

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Hollywood

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London, Colorado

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Boarding house at London

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London

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Mosquito Pass from the inside of the mill at London

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Miner’s cabin at London

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This tiny, hillside cemetery is all that remains of Manhattan, Colorado

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Grave of George Grill, one of the miners killed in the 1892 Manhattan explosion

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Another Manhattan burial

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Manhattan

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A tiny fleck of gold from Manhattan Creek

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Manhattan at it’s peak around 1890

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Manhattan, Colorado in better days

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Manhattan circa 1930

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Manhattan around 1930- It had been abandoned for 30 years by the time these photos were taken, the Forest Service burned the buildings shortly after, nothing remains today

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Manhattan, Colorado

Thanks For Visiting!

If You Enjoyed This Please Share With Your Friends

Checkout My Other Photo Blogs!

Photo Blog: Colorado’s High Alpine Mining Camps- What Remains Today

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

Photo Blog: Coal Towns of Colorado- Ghosts of the Southern Foothills

Abandoned Faces of Colorado’s San Luis Valley and Northern New Mexico.

The Gray Ghosts of Colorado Book- $19.99 CLICK HERE!

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As Colorado’s past is swallowed up daily by the manic, urban, insanity that has overrun the state, it is easy to forget about those who came before us- But there were thousands of them, and their final resting places can be found tucked away in the trees or in isolated corners of the prairie. Here is a quick look at 25 of Colorado’s forgotten grave sites and cemeteries. (Click on images to expand)  Enjoy!

1. Red Wing Cemetery

Huerfano County, Colorado

2. Sligo Cemetery

Weld County, Colorado

3. Dory Hill Cemetery

Gilpin County, Colorado

4. Tijeras Cemetery

Las Animas County, Colorado

5. Captain Silas Soule’s Grave

Denver County, Colorado

Silas Soule disobeyed orders and refused to fire on the Cheyenne people during the Sand Creek Massacre on November 29, 1864. Soule was assassinated in Denver in 1865 after testifying against Colonel John Chivington during an investigation of the massacre.

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6. Bald Mountain Cemetery

Gilpin County, Colorado

The Gray Ghosts of Colorado Book, Only $19.99! Click Here To Order!

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7. Martinez Cemetery

Otero County, Colorado

8. Gold Hill Cemetery

Boulder County, Colorado

9. Bordenville Cemetery

Park County, Colorado

10. Odd Fellows Cemetery

Gilpin County, Colorado

11. Norton Cemetery

Elbert County, Colorado

12. Como Cemetery

Park County, Colorado

13. Marble Cemetery

Gunnison County, Colorado

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14. Virginia Dale Pioneer Cemetery

Larimer County, Colorado

15. Vasquez Cemetery

Clear Creek County, Colorado

16. Parkville Cemetery

Summit County, Colorado

17. Confederate Veterans Plot

Fremont County, Colorado

18. Russell Gulch Cemetery

Gilpin County, Colorado

19. Sunshine Cemetery

Boulder County, Colorado

20. German Veterans of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871 Plot

Denver County, Colorado

21. Central City Catholic Cemetery

Gilpin County, Colorado

22. Prospector McKee’s Grave

Gunnison County, Colorado

23. Civil War Veterans Plot, Riverside Cemetery

Denver County, Colorado

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24. Idaho Springs Cemetery

Clear Creek County, Colorado

25. Farasita Cemetery

Huerfano County, Colorado

A collection of photos I’ve taken through the years capturing fall colors in various Colorado ghost towns, mining camps, and historic cemeteries. Various Olympus cameras from 7mp to 16mp, at various points in my life over the past decade, even a few taken on my phone.  Featured are scenes from Crystal City, Ashcroft, Central City Catholic Cemetery, Stringtown, Beaver City, Grover, Winfield, Knights of Pythias Cemetery- Central City, Idaho Springs Cemetery, Nevadaville, Ironton, Dayton, Bull Hill and Buckingham.

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Stringtown

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Ashcroft

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Central City Catholic Cemetery

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Near Grover

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Knights of Pythias Cemetery- Central City

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Ironton

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Bull Hill

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Crystal City

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Central City Catholic Cemetery

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Dayton

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Idaho Springs Cemetery

Buckingham School

Buckingham

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Central City Catholic Cemetery

Prize Mine

Nevadaville

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Idaho Springs Cemetery

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Dayton

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Ironton

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Crystal City

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Beaver City

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Central City Catholic Cemetery

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Ashcroft

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Crystal City

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Winfield

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Ashcroft

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Central City Catholic Cemetery

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Nevadville? Russell Gulch?

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Beaver City

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Central City Catholic Cemetery

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Winfield

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Aschcroft

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Crystal City

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Dayton

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Ironton

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Idaho Springs Cemetery

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Central City Catholic Cemetery

Enjoy!

 

 

For those of you who are interested here are links to my 2017 calendars, Colorado Ghost Town Guide Books, and subscription information for “Ghost Towns of Montana and Beyond” magazine which I contribute articles and photos to.

I thank you all for your continued support and once the snow melts I’ll be back at it in 2017!

Also stay tuned for my upcoming book “The Gray Ghost of Colorado” which is the definitive true history of “The Reynolds Gang” a Confederate Cavalry company from Texas which raided the South Park region of Colorado in the summer of 1864. Their story is an intriguing tale of exiled Colorado miners who returned to Colorado on military orders to disrupt Union supply trains and mail deliveries and steal Colorado gold and currency to fund the Confederacy late in the Civil War. The Reynolds Gang left behind a buried horde of stolen gold and paper money worth an estimated $3.5 million which remains to be found today.

The gang was ambushed, and several men made harrowing escapes, and those who were captured were murdered on illegal orders of Colonel John Chivington by members of the 3rd Colorado Cavalry. Many legends have sprung over the years about the Reynolds Gang, but my book is the only true account of events and is based on the cold, hard, facts with the sources and documentation to prove all of the “accepted” versions of the story to be lies. My book will rewrite the history of The Reynolds Gang with irrefutable evidence.

“The Gray Ghosts of Colorado” should be available by May 1, 2017 and I will post updates here.

All 2017 Calendars by Jeff Eberle are $14.99 each+shipping

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2017 Ghosts of Colorado Calendar. Click Here to Order!

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2017 Hot Rods Calendar  Click Here to Order!

2017wild

2017 Wildlife Calendar Click Here to Order!

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$15.99 Guide Book to the Ghost Towns of the High Rockies Click Here to Order!

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$19.99 Guide Book to the Foothills Gold Belt Region Click Here to Order!

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Ghost Towns of Montana and Beyond Magazine

One-Year Subscription (4-issues)

$12.00 for U.S. residents

$15.00 for Canada

$48.oo for all other foreign subscribers

Make Checks Payable to:

Jolene Ewert

P.O. Box 5188

Bozeman, MT

59717

Sandwiched in between the Sangre de Cristos to the west, and the Wet Mountains to the east in Southern Colorado, a few miles west of Gardner, Colorado I came across the forlorn and tattered remains of an old settlement about a year ago. (I’m certainly not “on to” something new here, these ruins have appeared in books and in photos across the web for years.) Tucked in close at the foot of a rocky bluff near the Huerfano River, surrounded by ranches sat this little gem with no name. I have searched high and low for information on this settlement and have found a few, vague leads, but no definitive answer as to what this place was called…or if it was ever called anything.

 

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Rito Oso? Archuletaville? Sharpsdale?

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According to Colorado Ghost Town aficionado Ken Jessen, for a short time in the late-1960s and early-1970s the site was occupied by members of a hippie community that named the site “Archuletaville” but the buildings were there long before the 1960s. When the hippies arrived, the buildings were being used as goat pens by a local rancher who agreed to let the hippies live at the site. This is the most recent account of the site’s history.

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Prior to the arrival of the hippies and the establishment of Archuletaville, the site is shrouded in mystery. Many have claimed it to be the ruins of “Sharpsdale” an 1800s era supply stop on the route over Mosca Pass into the San Luis Valley. But evidence suggests that Sharpsdale was located nearby and closer to Tom Sharp’s “Buzzard’s Roost Ranch” which still stands today a few miles down the Huerfano from Archuletaville.

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Colorado Ghost Town Travels- The Gold Belt Region Book by Jeff Eberle Only $19.99!

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Another possibility is that the ruins are the site of Rito Oso an old Mexican settlement dating back to the era when Southern Colorado was still a part of Mexico. A walk through the broken and crumbling ruins at the site lend credence to this possibility- Clearly, some of the structures are newer and date to, or have repairs and improvements that were made in the “Archuletaville” era of the 1960s, but a look around reveals a handful of much, much older structures of stone, log and adobe brick at the site.  A rough hewn log cabin without a single iron nail present, it’s logs splintered and dry rotted in a way that only decades of exposure to the elements can produce. Stone pens and sheds for animals. The location- Tucked in at the base of a bluff, on a prominence overlooking the vast plain of the Huerfano- An excellent defensive locale if you were concerned with attacks from roving Indians and bandits. Perhaps the most compelling evidence is the ranch across the road from the site which bears the name “Rito Oso”  but nobody seems to know for sure what the ruins were called or when they date to. Does anyone out there know the facts about this enigmatic site on the Huerfano?

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Colorado Ghost Town Travels- The High Rockies Book by Jeff Eberle Only $15.99!highrockies

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