Posts Tagged ‘Baltimore’

Ever since I first began “ghost towning” around a decade ago, there has been a place that has captured my imagination, and stoked my frustration- Baltimore, Colorado- A ghost town just beyond my reach!

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Baltimore still appears on maps and in many Colorado ghost town guide books. It sits just a quarter-mile or so off of Tolland Road, in a quaint meadow surrounded by dense pine and aspen trees, in between Rollinsville and East Portal. You can zoom in on Baltimore using satellite images, and you can see a cluster of newer buildings.

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Satellite view of Baltimore today- Note only newer construction and one old relic survivor

That is as close as you will get though- The little road leading to Baltimore is chained off qnd posted “NO TRESPASSING”- Sometime, around 1990, maybe earlier, the town site was bought up by private interests, and public access to the spot ended. Today, all you will find is the chained off road, with Baltimore just out of eye’s reach.  I hopelessly drive by year after year, hoping to catch one of the property owners just so I can ask if I can take a quick peek, just to check Baltimore off my bucket list, but I have never been that lucky!

A few days ago, to my surprise, I received an e-mail from a follower of my Facebook page saying her family had a few photos taken in the 1950s during a visit to Baltimore, that they would like to share with me if I was interested. This offer brought a smile to my face, as very few images of Baltimore exist, and only a few written accounts can be found. Most of the photos accompanying this blog are thanks to that kind gesture from the Hawkins Family.

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Baltimore in 1957, photo courtesy of the Hawkins Family

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Baltimore Saloon and cabin 1957, photo courtesy of the Hawkins Family

Baltimore was one of Gilpin County’s gold camps. Very little is known about the town, but from what little does exist, it sounds like it was fine place- Baltimore came to life around 1880, had a newspaper for a short time, a saloon, school, church, and surprisingly, an elabirately decorated opera house!

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The collapsed Baltimore Opera House in 1957, photo courtesy of the Hawkins Family

Locals would pay opera singers from nearby Central City to come and perform in Baltimore. When famous artist and ghost town historian Muriel Sibell Wolle visited Baltimore in the 1930s, many decades after it had been largely abandoned, she noted the opera house still contained a piano and fine furnishings.

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Baltimore Opera House in the 1930s prior to collapsing, photo found on the internet

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Another view Baltimore in the 1930s or 1940s, all is gone now. Photo found on the internet.

Baltimore faded around 1900, and most of the town was abandoned. It appears that a few of the residential cabins were used as summertime resort up until the 1930s, and some were possibly still in use into the 1950s.

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Baltimore cabins in 1957, photo courtesy of the Hawkins Family 

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Detailed crop of the above photo, courtesy of the Hawkins Family

The once-fine opera house began to sag in the 1940s, and collapsed under its own weight in the 1950s. When developers bought the spot in later years, the tumbledown remnants of the residential cabins were demolished, or perhaps radically remodeled- Modern satellite images show what appears to be only newer construction homes at the site and only one remaining old structure- The remains of the saloon.  Some of the modern structures might hide remnants of old structures within their walls, but it is hard to say without having access to the site. In ghost town afficianado Kenneth Jessen’s books, he features an image of the sole survivor of Baltimore, taken in recent years,  before public access was blocked, but that is the only color photo I have ever found of the site.

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Baltimore Saloon 1957 (Hawkins Family photo)

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Baltimore Saloon today (Google Earth)

I would like to extend a huge THANK YOU to the Hawkins Family for sharing their photos of Baltimore, Colorado circa 1957!

 

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