Posts Tagged ‘Colorado Ghost Towns’

A few weeks ago I came across some photos on the web of one of the most picturesque two-story stone buildings in Colorado- The Glendale Stagecoach Station and Inn near Canon City.  I had never heard of this station, or the small community of Glendale which once stood near the station.  I had to go have a look at the building and snap some photos for myself, so away I went.

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The station/inn was built in the 1860s, some records say 1861, others say 1867. Either way it is one of the oldest permanent stone structures in Colorado. But is it really permanent?  Also known in the early days as the McClure House, Glendale Station served as a stop on the old Colorado City to Fairplay stagecoach road.

A flood rushed through the town of Glendale in the early-1900s and wiped out everything but the stone station, but it too was heavily damaged.  Silt deposited by the flood made the land unusable, so the town was never rebuilt and the station was abandoned. Since the flood, Glendale station has steadily deteriorated, and, unfortunately, as always, has been the victim of both arson and vandalism.

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Layers of graffiti cover the station today.

Today the imposing stone structure still hangs on, precariously it stands with no roof, no  inner support beams, and the walls are slowly beginning to separate. Even worse, the station is located on public lands in a relatively remote area which is an open invite to vandals who have taken a very heavy toll on the building in recent years. Layer upon layer of spray painted graffiti cake the lower level of the station, evidence inside shows what little wood remains from the second floor joists has been set on fire recently, and the walls show evidence of people intentionally trying to topple the building.

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A quick inspection around the perimeter of the station reveals the old stone well and cistern, now overgrown and easy to miss. Down the hill and tucked in the trees along the seasonally flowing creek bed you can find stone walls and foundations of other structures that once made up part of the town of Glendale. Broken bottles, rusted bits of metal, and the weathered shards of boards and fencing are strewn in a radius about the station.

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Remains of the cistern

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The well

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It seems that the Glendale Station is both cursed and blessed by its hard to access location- If it were closer to any town or major roads, it is likely that funds would be freed up to allow for preservation and an historical marker. But, if it were easier to access the vandalism is likely to be far worse than it already has been, and chances are the station would be long gone by now. It would be a shame to lose such a beautiful and historic place, but it seems there is very little that can be done to save it. So, we watch and wait.

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Made it out to Bonanza, Colorado and the surrounding area a few weeks ago for some ghost towning.  Here is a collection of photos I snapped.

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Just a few snapshots of the ghost buildings of New Raymer, Colorado, a small community a couple hours east of Denver and still home to many. The old service station is worth the trip alone!

 

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Just some snapshots I recently took of the old church at Antelope Springs, Colorado, and the ghost towns of Willard and Keota, Colorado. Fantastic ghost towns and abandoned buildings two hours from Denver, Colorado on the great high plains.

If you enjoyed these photos give us a like and a share with your friends!  More are on the way!

 

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Antelope Springs Church built in 1915, set on fire by arsonists in July 2019.

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Abandoned grain elevator at Willard

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Willard, Colorado

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Two shots of the Willard general store

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Main Street in Keota, Colorado

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Keota, Colorado

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Methodist Church and water tower, Keota, Colorado

 

With the holidays upon us I wanted to thank all of my followers again for your support and share links to all of my projects with you in case you are looking for some gift ideas.

I have written two Colorado ghost town guide books, loaded with color photos and GPS coordinates which are available by following the links below. Book one covers the “Gold Belt” region spanning the foothills of Boulder, Clear Creek, and Gilpin Counties just west of Denver. Book two covers the “High Rockies” and features sites in Summit and Lake Counties.

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Click Here- Colorado Ghost Towns Travels: The Gold Belt Guide Book $19.99 

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Click Here- Colorado Ghost Towns Travels: The High Rockies Guide Book $15.99

 

I have also written a book detailing the early Civil War era sociopolitical climate in Colorado Territory. This book is the first in a series of three that begins with the earliest pioneers of Colorado and their deep ties to the South. Future books in the series will cover in depth the forgotten story of the Colorado pioneers who served in the Confederate Army during the Civil War,  the final book of the series will detail the legend of “The Reynolds Gang” and the ongoing hunt for their buried treasure.

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Click Here- The Gray Ghosts of Colorado: Book I, The Copperheads $19.99

Finally I offer my yearly “Ghosts of Colorado” wall calendar, featuring 12 months of my ghost town photography.

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Click Here- 2019 Ghosts of Colorado Calendar $14.99

Thank You For Your Support!

I’m a “little guy” with no marketing budget, so sharing this on social media helps me out a lot!

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St. Elmo, Independence, Ashcroft, Nevadaville…the usual suspects come to mind when Colorado ghost towns are discussed, but how many of you have heard of or been to Manoa and Whitehorn? I know I had never heard of either just a year ago.

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Whitehorn

I found Whitehorn on an old map, then found a few mentions of the old mining camp online and in some old dusty books. Whitehorn, in its heyday around 1900, was a booming place, claiming ten developed blocks, numerous businesses, boardwalks along the streets, and a population of around one thousand. Whitehorn even had its own newspaper for 15 years! By 1912 Whitehorn was dead, the gold ore having played out and the people having moved on.

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The Whitehorn Post Office and General Store circa 1900

I had a look at a modern satellite image that showed a few structures and foundations were still there, so I headed out to see firsthand what Whitehorn was all about. When I reached the site, I found it just out of reach a couple hundred yards beyond a fence, on private ranch land. I zoomed in as far as I could with my camera from the county road, and snapped a few photos of what was left- A few log cabins, a large swaybacked building, an outhouse, not much to indicate that a town of one thousand residents ever existed at the spot.

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Whitehorn

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On the road into Whitehorn I had noticed an impressive and out-of-place two-story log home on a hillside a few miles away. There were no visible roads leading to this picturesque home, which appeared to have recently had a fresh coat of red paint and a new steel roof applied to it, other than that it looked to be abandoned. I assumed it must be an old ranch house, and snapped a photo of it from the road, not thinking much of it at the time. A few days later, after I returned home from my trip, while doing some reading on the history of Whitehorn, I found an old newspaper clipping about another town in the same area called “Manoa” a bit more sleuthing, and I learned that the stately two-story I had photographed on that side hill was actually the Hershberger home, the owner of the gold mine at Manoa, and that it was no ranch house at all, but the old Manoa townsite! Of course I had to check satellite images to see what I had missed in my initial visit, and from what I could see, there appeared to be at least one more structure adjacent to the red two-story. Well, I had to go back and have a better look.

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Manoa Newspaper Article

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Hershberger Home at Manoa

Very little information can be found regarding the history of Manoa. It had a short life, living and dying between 1902 and 1908. No record can be found of the population, and Manoa is only mentioned in a few old newspapers as a byline of articles pertaining to Whitehorn.

I returned to Manoa and took a short hike up the hill to the red house. A fence had been erected around the structure and signs indicating that it was private property belonging to the Lantz Ranch were clearly posted. Like its neighbor Whitehorn, Manoa was just beyond my reach, this time only feet way, not hundreds of yards like Whitehorn. Beyond the fence were a number of well-preserved cabins, their rusted tin roofs covered in thick green moss. Manoa was absolutely beautiful, situated among tall pines and willows. It was a perfect setting for a town, and the foliage just beginning to change with the coming of autumn made a perfect backdrop for my photos. Respecting the private property boundary, I was able to snap my photos from the fence line.

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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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