Archive for the ‘old west’ Category

Day #24 features Grenville, New Mexico

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Grenville, New Mexico dates to the 1880s and was founded as a camp for workers laying the new tracks of the Denver & Fort Worth Railroad, which would eventually be absorbed by the Burlington Railroad.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA\OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A town plat was filed in July 1888, several years after the camp had already been established. and a full four months after the last spike in the Denver & Fort Worth line had been driven at the site on March 14, 1888.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Grenville, located on the barren high plains of eastern New Mexico 27 miles northwest of Clayton on present-day US-87, was a typical western railtroad town featuring the usual businesses and amenities for railraod travelers.  The town was also a supply and shipping center for nearby ranches and farms, beans being the top producing crop until the Dust Bowl years.  A combination of the Dust Bowl and the end of the railroad era led to the decline of Grenville.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Grenville today is home to a number of abandoned residential dwellings, stores, and a school house which is one of the most photogenic I have come across in my ghost towning adventures. An old restored Texaco station on the edge of town recently housed an antique store, but it too has now closed its doors.

Grv2

 

 

Thanks for visiting my blog! Give us a “share” on your social media pages!

Colorado Ghost Town Guide- The High Rockies Order- Order Here!

MyBook3

 

Day #23 features Lincoln City, Colorado

Rox12

Lincoln City is one of the oldest settlements in Colorado, dating to 1861. A man named Harry Farncomb discovered enormous amounts of gold in the gravels of the creek in French Gulch, in the unusual form of strands and clumps of wire. “Wire gold” as it is known is of fine purity, and most could be used immediately in the minting of coins and manufacturing of jewelry, which made it even more valuable than “regular” gold which normally required some sort of refining. Farncomb knew the source of the wire gold must be the hill above French Gulch, so, even before staking claims, he bought the hillside, and much of the bottom land in French Gulch.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

An example of wire gold, similar to that found in French Gulch

lincoln6

When Farncomb began mining operations in French Gulch, and news spread of his discovery of pure wire gold, a mad rush into the gulch followed. Fortune seekers were irate to find that Harry Farncomb already owned all of the land in upper French Gulch and violence ensued.  Gunfights were common between Farncomb and would-be prospectors who felt he had unfairly grabbed the land. Cases were taken to Court, but Farncomb had legally purchased the land, and the prospectors had nothing legal to stand on in their complaints.

lincoln3

lincoln4

Tensions eventually reached a crescendo one day, and a shootout between the warring parties took place in Frenchg Gulch that lasted seven hours! Three prospectors were killed and numerous others were seriously wounded by Farncomb and his allies that day. After the battle, Farncomb agreed to sell parcels of his land in French Gulch, and he was paid handsomely for the rich claims. Today, Farncomb Hill at the head of the gulch bears his name.

lincoln5

 

The town that sprang up around the claims Farncomb had sold was called “Lincoln City” in honor of President Abraham Lincoln, and as a slight to the nearby town of Breckinridge, which was named after former Vice President John C. Breckinridge, who had recently joined the ranks of the Confederate Army as General, and who would go on to become the Confederate Secretary of War under President Jefferson Davis. The town fathers of  “BreckInridge”Colorado quietly changed the spelling of its name to “BreckEnridge” in 1867 to hide this inconvient truth. (Breckenridge is now a fashionable ski resort and summer recreation spot, and few knows of the town’s controversial name change.)  

John Breckenridge

General John C. Breckinridge, Former Vice President of the United States, Confederate Secretary of War, whom “Breckenridge” Colorado was named after, the town fathers altered the spelling in 1867 to hide this fact

lincoln9

Passions were strong in the Civil War days as roughly 40% of the population in Colorado at the time was southern-born, and fights oftne broke out in the mining camps based on regional alliances between northern and southern factions. Such was the case between the townsfolk of Lincoln City, and the people living in Georgia Gulch on the other side of the mountain from them. Bands of drunken men would leave one gulch and appear in the other where fist fights, broken noses, and the occassional gunfight would erupt between the opposing groups. The “war” between Lincoln City and Georgia Gulch carried on for years with no serious loss of life, but plenty of spirited jawing and bruises.

geogulchsecesh

Old newspaper article about the pro-south faction in Georgia Gulch, Colorado near Lincoln City

lincoln2

In the 1880s the gold deposits around Lincoln City began to play out, but silver and galena ores were discovered which kept the town alive. Around 250 people called the spot home in the mid-1880s. A smelter was built to process the lower grade ores and the silver now being mined. Dredges were scraping the last of the placer gold from the creek below. Mills crushed hard rock on the hillsides around the town for the last specks of gold to be found. Lincoln City boasted a general store, Post Office, and two hotels. In the decade between 1885 and 1895, Lincoln City all but died, dwindling from 250 residents to only 25.  In the 1940s when ghost towning legend Muriel Sibell Wolle visited, only two old grizzled prospectors remained at Lincoln City.  Today, Lincoln City is no more, it is just a cluster of tin-roofed and tin-sided shacks, some cabins, mining debris, and a lone grave nestled in amog the pine and aspen trees. Modern-day Breceknridge has absorbed the old Lincoln City townsite, and modern luxury homes dot the pines all around the old shacks and cabins. Sadly, some have even called for the removal of the lone grave so they spot can be turned into a parking lot for the mountain bike and hiking trails that begin at the old town site. The future does not look bright for the sparse remnants of one Colorado’s oldest towns.

lincoln11

Some have called for the removal of this tombstone dating to 1864 so a parking lot can be built for hiking and biking trails that start near the Lincoln City town site

lincoln7

Thanks for visiting my blog! Guve us a “share” on your social media pages!

Please see my other blogs for more ghost town photos and history!

Colorado Ghost Town Guide- The High Rockies- Click Here!

MyBook3

Colorado Ghost Town Guide- The Foothills – Click Here!

mybook2

Colorado Ghost Town Photo Book- Click Here!

MyBook

 

 

Day #22 feautures Holland, Colorado

jun17

Holland, Colorado dates to 1874 when a smelter was built at the site to handle the silver, gold, and iron ores being extracted in the Mosquito Range a short distance to the west. Two theories exist on how the town was named- One claims it was settled by Dutch immigrants from Pennsylvania who named the town “Holland”, but the other, more plausible story is that the smelter was built by two brothers Park and Dwight Holland, and the tiny settlement was named after them.

holland2

Several log cabins were built in a small, circular, meadow around the smelter, and one large, luxurious, two-story home, said to belong to the smelter owners was built in a forested area just south of the main cluster of cabins, near the smelter. A Post Office was opened at Holland in February of 1874, but lasted less than one year, closing in December 1874. The smelter was a failure as well, and was sold at auction to pay off taxes only a year after its construction in 1875.

holland4

Holland remained occupied until around 1890, the inhabitants working in nearby mines, or in the surrounding towns of Alma, Alma Junction, and Park City. In the mid-20th Century Holland, like many Colorado ghost towns, was “rediscovered” and some of the cabins were restored for seasonal use, and newer homes and cabin were built nearby.

holland1

Today around six cabins remain at Holland, some buried deep in the trees require a keen eye to spot. Near the smelter site the brick chimney of the Holland Brothers house remains, obscured by pine trees, but the rest of the house is long gone. An old stage barn  which may date to Holland’s prime can be seen on the northern end of the town site, next to a newer home on private property.  All of the Holland site is privately owned and accordingly posted, but can be viewed from the public road.

 

Thanks for visiting my blog! If you enjoyed this, please give it a “share” on your social media pages!  Thanks Again for Stopping By!

 

Check Out My Book- Order Here!

MyBook

COMING SOON!

NoColoGHPcover

Colorado Ghost Town Guide- The Foothills Region

mybook2

Colorado Ghost Town Guide- The High Rockies

MyBook3

Day #21 features Dyersville, Colorado

dy4

In 1880 Father John Dyer, an itinterant Methodist preacher and Colorado legend, along with two other prospectors staked claims on a silver vein near the headwaters of Indiana Creek on the west slope of Boreas Pass near above the town of Breckenridge.  The Warrior’s Mark mine was built on the vein and Father Dyer and his partners built cabins at the site.  Over $10,000 worth of silver ore was hauled out of the Warrior’s Mark in the first six months of operations, and soon the small town of Dyersville sprang up to house the miner’s and their families.

Dyer

Dyersville had a church, where Father John would preach the gospel, a branch of the Breckenridge-based Adamson’s Blue Front clothing store,  a large mess hall, a saloon called the Angel’s Roost, and a school house. Mail was brought to Dyersville via Breckenrdige, but no Post Office was ever established in the town.  The Warrior’s Mark continued to produce until around 1900 when the vein played out, and Dyersville was abandoned.

dy0

dy24

dy9

dy8

dy6

dy25

dy23

For decades Dyersville was lost to time, buried in the dense timber along Indiana Creek, its whereabouts known only to a few old-timers.  Dyersville was “found” again a few decades later, virtually untocuhed since it was abandoned around the turn of the 20th Century.

dy10

dy1

dy2

Today, Dyersville still retains about a dozen log cabins in verious stages of repair, the roofs are gone on all, so it won’t be long until they vanish. In the last five years, vandals have damaged some of the esier to locate cabins at Dyersville. The ruins of the Warrior’s Mark can still be found nearby. Ruts from the old wagon road that once serviced thre town can still be seen cutting through the trees.

dy18

dy12

dy13

You can see where there the mess hall was, broken plates, rusted cans, and bones from meals gone by litter a slope adjacent to the mess hall ruins. Another log building tucked away in the trees has the looks of the saloon based on a slit-trench dug along the back wall of the building running downhill- So saloon patrons could relieve themselves without having to step outside into the elements!

dy16

dy21

dy5

dy14

Thanks for visiting my blog!  Give us a “share” on your social media pages!

Check out My Book- Order Here!

MyBook

COMING SOON!

NoColoGHPcover

 

 

Day #20 features Summerville, Colorado

sv6

A view down Gold Run Road as it cuts through the center of Summerville

Summerville is a seldom mentioned ghost town on Gold Run Road between Salina and Gold Hill in Boulder County, Colorado. Dating to around 1870 when gold deposits were discovered, Summerville eked-out an existence on low grade ores for a few years until it became unprofitable. In the early-1900s when better refining and extraction practices were developed, Summerville came to life again, albeit shortly.

crisman1

One of the first ghost town photos I ever took was of this, of a Summerville shack

sv7

Summerville shacks, some are still used seasonally, others appear to be vacant

sv2

One of the vacant shacks at Summerville

sv8

sv1

Embossed tin siding on this miner’s shack

 

Summerville was abandoned for a time, then peope returned restoring the small cabins and shacks for seasonal use. An impressive two-story, part log, hotel was built in 1877 and had served as a private residence in its final form. Sadly, a devastating forest fire swept through Summerville in 2004, and the historic hotel burned to the ground, today only an empty lot marks the spot. In 2013 Summerville was hit by a flood, but its position at the high head of the canyon limited damage. A handful of shacks, cabins, and out buildings in varying stages of decay remain today, all are private property.

Summer

The historic Summerville Hotel, built in 1877, before it burned to the ground in a 2004 forest fire. Photo Credit: www.rockymountainprofiles.com

sv4

One of the seasonally occupied cabins at Summerville

sv3

sv5

Sandbags piled high, remnants of the massive floods of 2013 that swept through Summerville and the canyon below causing much damage and devastation the length of its path

Check Out My Book- Order Here!

mybook2

Day # 19 features Engleville, Colorado

SoColo146

A solitary sunflower contrasts with the ruins of two Engleville homes

 

Engleville lays just a short distance southeast of Trinidad, Colorado at the base of Fisher’s Peak- A local landmark which can be seen for miles signalling one’s approach to Raton Pass and the New Mexico border.

SoColo144

Engleville, in the shadow of Fisher’s Peak

Engleville was a coal town dating back to around 1877. Locals in the trinidad area had always supplied their stoves and furnaces with the plentiful coal found in the region, simply loading carts with it from the open coal seams that dotted the hills around town. In the 1876, when the Sante Fe Railroad reached El Moro, a town just north of Trinidad, Colorado Coal and Iron, which would later become the famous Colorado Fuel and Iron Co., took note, and established large coke ovens at El Moro to supply the railroad. Sortly thereafter, Colorado Coal and Iron developed the coal seams at the foot of Fisher’s Peak and the company town of Engleville sprouted. A peak production figure at Engleville was recorded in 1881 when the mine there produced 200,000 tons of coal for the ovens at El Moro.

eng8

A crumbling adobe at Engleville, piles of leftover coal from the mine can be seen in the background, slowly being reclaimed the earth

Engleville remained a steady producer through the early days of the 1900s, then faded as the railroads were replaced by the automobile and airplane, and gas and electric replaced coal as the nation’s top heating sources. Today, five or six abandoned dwellings remain at the Engleville site in the shadow of Fisher’s Peak, all on private property, but easily viewed and photographed from the county road. One old dwelling peers out over the vast expanse of the southeastern Colorado prairie offering an amazing view for countless miles. There is also a cemetery at Engleville, located beyond the fence line of a private residence which remains occupied.  Mountains of black coal, deemed too low-grade to ship at the time still surround the town site.

eng2

The view over the mesa from this Engleville house, and out across the southeastern plains of Colorado is breathtaking and goes on for miles and miles

SoColo145

Another shot of the same house, surrounded by blooming cholla cactus and a random sunflower here and there. Engleville is a picturesque ghost town in the summer months.

 

Engleville is easy to reach in dry months with a passenger car, or an SUV in wet or snowy conditions by taking Engleville Road southeast out of Trinidad.

 

Check Out My Book- Order Here!

MyBook3

COMING SOON!!!

NoColoGHPcover

Day #17 features Mt. Dora, New Mexico

MtDora4

Mt. Dora is one of the many tiny ghost towns scattered across the eastern plains of New Mexico just a short distance from Oklahoma and  Texas.

MtDora1

MtDora2

Mtdora7

I can’t find much history on Mt. Dora other than it had a Post Office from 1908 to 2002, a general store. and is named for nearby Mt. Dora, a 5,710 foot prominence that stands out on the vast prairie of Union County- Another in a series of extinct volcanic cones in the area. There were ten or so buildings and a number of foundations scattered in the grass.

MtDora3

MtDora6

When I passed through Mt. Dora I didn’t see any human beings, but one or two houses looked like they were still occupied. There was a healthy population of all-black cats freely roaming around the fields, dirt streets, and abandoned buildings of Mt. Dora. It was clear that black cats called the shots here, and that they outnumbered people ten-to-one!

MtDora5

The Mayor of Mt. Dora, sitting in front of the general store, kept a close eye on me while I passed through town- Just one of a large herd of black cats that had free range across the community

Check Out My Book- Order Here!

MyBook

Day #16 features Goldfield, Colorado and the surrounding historic sites of Bull Hill, Independence, and the Vindicator Mine complex.

Goldfield4

Goldfield was part of the sprawling Cripple Creek Mining District which boomed in the 1890s, and has continued until this day. In 1900, at the peak of Goldfield’s boom, the town had a population of 3,500. Most of the residents worked at the Portland Mine. Goldfield was the thrid largest town in the district behind Cripple Creek and Victor- All three towns were situated around mountain which was a virtual “dome” of gold, having once been a gigantic volcanic bubble filled with the precious metal.

Goldfield1

Goldfield5

Goldfield6

Goldfield7

Goldfield8

Goldfield9

There were other satellite towns and camps in the immediate vicinity of Cripple Creek-Victor-Goldfield, and those nearest to Goldfield were the town of Independence (called Hull City originally) Bull Hill, and Hollywood. Ruins of all of these towns, camps, and settlements still abound today, and one can spend hours taking it all in through a series of interpretive trails in the area.  Among the most impressive relics in the district are the remains of the Vindicator Mining complex.

Goldfield2

Goldfield10

Poweder bunker at the Independence site, across the road from Goldfield near the Vindicator

Goldield9

Goldfield12

Goldfield13

The Vindicator Mill

vin1

Another part of the Vindicator complex

vind1

Vind2

Vind3

Vind6

Vind5

 

Goldfield14

Goldfield15

Goldfield16

Thanks for visiting!

Check Out My Book- Order Here!

MyBook

COMING SOON!

NoColoGHPcover

Day #15 features Bordenville, Colorado

bordenville4

Bordenville was founded in 1865 by Timothy and Olney Borden, brothers from New York. The brothers chose a wide pasture along Tarryall Creek seven miles southeast of present-day Jefferson, Colorado. Unlike most coming to Colorado Territory at that time who were in search of gold, the Borden brothers went into the lumber and supplies business.

BordenV10

 

BordV9

The main section of Bordenville today along Highway 77 in Park County, Colorado

Travelers heading for the gold camps of South Park to the west of Tarryall Creek could, rest, eat, and get supplies at the Borden brothers ranch. A few more settlers soon arrived and set up permanent quarters in and around the Bordern brothers operation, and the site became known as “Bordenville” and was important stop and staging area along the old Colorado City-to-Fairplay road.

bordenville2

BordV8

Ranches along Tarryall Creek radiated out from Bordenville in every direction. A school was built for the growing number of children. A blacksmith shop, general store, and stagecoach station rounded out the businesses at Bordenville in its peak years of the 1870s. A tiny cemetery was established on a knoll east of the settlement.

bordenville6

bordenville10

bordenville14

 

In 1895 three members of the school board were murdered in the school house by an overprotective father who erroneously thought the board had convened to discuss the behavior of his children. Realizing his error the man rode his horse 18 miles to Como and turned himself in. He was found guilty on three charges of murder, and was hung at the Colorado Territorial Prison in Canon City a short time later.

BordV5

Bordv2

 

Today Bordernville is just a small cluster of buidings along Highway 77 between Jefferson and Tarryall Reservoir. Numerous abandoned ranches and small cabins in the immediate vicinity make the trek to Bordenville worthwhile.

BordV7

One of the pictureque ranches between Jefferson and Bordenville

BordV6

BordV3

BordV4

BordV1

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Please give us a share on your social media pages!

Check Out My Book- Order Here!

MyBook

 

Day #14- Turret, Colorado

Turret was an “accidental” gold town that came to life in the 1880 in the sandy crags along the Arkansas River near Salida, Colorado. Originally Turret was a logging camp that went by the name “Camp Austin” which provided logs to charcoal kilns in nearby Nathrop. The charcoal was then sold to the various railroads operating in the Arkansas River Valley.

tur1

Some prospecting had been done in the 1870s around Camp Austin, and the railroad laid tracks to the neighboring iron mine at Hematite. A few small copper mines dotted the arid hills around the camp as well.  Around 1885 prospectors delved deeper into the rock nearby and discovered gold. The rush was on. By 1890 a tent city had sprang up and Camp Austin was renamed “Turret City” after Turret Mountain which overlooks the spot.

tur4

The Gold Bug and the Anaconda were the two biggest mines at Turret, and supported a population of around 100 miners and their families. A miniature one-room, log school house was built on a hillside, as well as a small hotel, and a Post Office. The school held classes until the early 1930s, and the Post Office struggled along until 1939 when it closed its doors.

tur3

The school house at Turret held classes until the 1930s

turretx6

Another view of the school

tur2

The hotel at Turret

tur7

tur10

 

Turret sat abandoned for many years until the site was rediscovered and a number of historic cabins were renovated and turned into summer getaways. In recent years developers have snatched up lots in and around Turret and newer homes have been constructed.  In 2014, one of a Turret’s few year-round residents, a 92-year-old man, was killed and his house leveled when a homemade bomb he was building detonated, the event put Turret back in the newspaper headlines for the first time since gold was discovered there.

tur9

The Post Office has preserved by locals, the office closed in 1939

turretx5

tur8

 

Today Turret is a mixture of old and new. Many abandoned cabins, as well as the school house, and Post Office can still be seen. All of the site is privately owned thse days and well posted, but when I have visited the locals are friendly and don’t mind visitors as long as you stay on the public road and off of their property.

turretx2

This small building houses the town well

 

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Please like us on Facebook and share on your social media pages!

 

Check Out My Book- Order Here!

MyBook

Colorado Ghost Town Guide- The Foothills Region

mybook2

Colorado Ghost Town Guide- The High Rockies

MyBook3