Posts Tagged ‘Cameltown’

 

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I had heard rumors of a “lost” ghost town high in the Gunnison Country of Colorado a few times over the years. Being an avid “ghost towner” these rumors always piqued my interest. Nobody seemed to know much about this “lost” ghost town. There was even confusion over the name- “Cameltown” seemed to be the consensus on what this place was called, but why would a remote mining camp in the black timber of Colorado be named “Cameltown” Colorado is a long way from any camels, except for a few in the regional zoos, and I’d never heard of any camels being imported and used to haul supplies to the mines like they had been used elsewhere in the world.

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Hours of research, countless dead ends, and I finally found myself on the right path, and it was obvious once I saw it- I was looking for “Campbell Town” not “Cameltown.” Named for its founder Campbell Town was somewhere in Gunnison County, rumored to be known by only a handful of locals, and even among the locals it was somewhat of an enigma, only a few had seen the place themselves, but it did exist!

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So I began another earnest search for information, this time for “Campbell Town” and, like my previous search for “Cameltown” I was striking out. I couldn’t find any information, no matter where I looked. None of my ghost town guide books made any mention of it, I found one small blurb online mentioning it was near Ohio City and Pitkin, but it was hidden amongst the trees in a maddening maze of off-road trails. I poured over my topographic maps and marked potential or likely spots, I double-checked my paper maps against modern satellite images. Then, as I delved deeper into the internet, a scan of an old topographical map showed up listing a “Cameltown” a couple miles above Ohio City…So after all that I was back to looking for “Cameltown”!

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I had another look at the old topo map and found the spot on a satellite image, and when I zoomed in I could see a mine dump and what looked like a couple of structures. Close enough for me! I hopped in my Jeep and headed for “Cameltown.” A rocky, steep, and overgrown trail led me to a weathered and dilapidated wooden Forest Service sign that read “Campbell Town est. 1880 Population Max. 44” so we were back to “Campbell Town” again! I had a good laugh and decided that whatever the place was named, I had finally found it.

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At first sight, Campbell Town looks like a small meadow with only two tumbledown cabins, but then, buried in the trees on the side of a steep slope is another cabin, rather well preserved considering the remote location and severe winters, and then down a spur road from the main trail the ruins of several other cabins appear as well as three more relatively intact cabins. A large mine dump leads to the ruins of what was once a large mill. High on another hillside, hidden in the trees, is one more cabin, far removed from the others.

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Rusted cans and broken shards of porcelain litter the landscape. Here and there you’ll find the remnants of an old leather boot, or a well-worn rubber boot sole. What appeared at first to be a birdhouse hanging from a tree branch was, in fact, an old solvent can the branch had grown through long ago. Inside the best preserved cabin is a collection of artifacts found by others lucky enough to find Campbell Town- A boot, the iron head of a pickaxe, an old salt shaker, various cans, bottles, nails, etc. License plates dating back to 1933 have been nailed to the walls by visitors. Names of visitors and dates all the way back to the 1920s can be found scrawled on the walls of the cabin.

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Campbell Town instantly earned a spot in my “Top 10 Colorado Ghost Towns”- Not only did I enjoy the search for this little beauty, I loved what I found- A place largely intact and untouched, just like the rumors said it would be. I will share my photos of Campbell Town,  but I’ll keep the whereabouts to myself. Campbell Town needs to be “found” to be truly appreciated, and if you are lucky enough to find it, you are lucky enough!  Good Luck in your search, it is well-worth the effort!

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