Posts Tagged ‘Colorado Ghost Towns’

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 # 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 #18- Granite, Colorado

granite4

Granite, Colorado is located at the confluence of Cache Creek and the Arkansas River in  a sandy, boulder filled, canyon.  Placer gold was discovered in 1860 at Cache Creek, and in 1861 in the sandbars of the Arkansas River.  A pair of camps named sprang up a short distance apart from each other- Georgia Bar (named after the Georgia-born prospectors who worked the claim) and Cache Creek camp. By 1862 over 3000 people lived in the camps and the numerous other craggy gulches that radiate in all directions from the spot. The scattered camps soon grew together, and the town of Granite was born.

granite5

granite3

gr8

In 1867 gold-bearing quartz was discovered, and placer mining gave way to hard rock mining and a number of shafts were dropped and mills were built at the site.  For a few years in the 1860s and 1870s Granite was the county seat. Violence was no stranger to Granite, as returning soldiers from the Civil War often mixed it up based on their wartime allegiances, then in 1875, a vigilante group shot probate Judge Elias Dyer in his own Courtroom. Judge Dyer was the son of the famous intinerant preacher Father John Dyer, a Colorado legend.

gr6_1

gr3

Today Granite is a quiet spot along the Arkansas River popular with fly fisherman. Many of the old log cabins and buildings are still used seasonally, and a few year-rounders are present. There are also a number of abandoned buildings, and mining remnants in all directions. A good 4×4 is required to explore the trails around Granite.

granite6

gr4

gr1a_1

 

Thanks For Visiting!

Colorado Ghost Town Guide- The Foothills Region

mybook2

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

Day # 13 features Russell, Colorado

Russell in Costilla County is one of three ghost towns in Colorado named after William G. Russell, the man considered by many to be the founding-father of the state- The other two towns bearing his name were Russellville in Douglas County, and Russell Gulch in Gilpin County. Russell’s gold discovery along Cherry Creek 30 miles southeast of Denver set off the stampede to the Rockies that became the Gold Rush of 1859.

WGRuss

William G. Russell

William G. Russell and his brothers Levi and Oliver were among the first to build permanent structures along the South Platte River at the spot where Denver stands today, and the names of the Russell brothers can be found on nearly every important historic document dating the 1859-1861 era in what would become Colorado (then known as “Jefferson Territory”.)

russ3

Adobe dwelling at Russell town site

In 1862, the Russell brothers, southern by birth, left Colorado Territory and headed home to their native Georgia. Along the way they were captured by suspicious Union troops and incarcerated for several months. Upon their release, the Russell’s continue their journey home to Georgia where they successfully used the money they earned in their Colorado gold mines to raise a Cavalry Company for the Confederate Army.  Captain Russell’s Georgia Cavalry Company spent the remainder of the Civil War patrolling the backwoods of Lumpkin and surrounding counties looking for deserters from the rebel army.

russ4

Russell town site

Following the Civil War, William Russell was once again bit by the gold bug, and following the Amnesty of 1868 which forgave all former confederate soldiers and restored their contitutional rights, Russell began planning his return to Colorado. This time Russell and his party ventured into the southern hills along the Huerfano River instead of returning to Russell Gulch in Gilpin County. At the western foot of La Veta Pass Russell and his party discovered an alluvial plain rich in gold, and registered their claims. A small town sprang up at the site, and was named Russell.

russ1

Russell town site

Russell worked the gravels, making a respectable profit, but nothing compared to his earlier fortunes amasssed in Gilpin County. Around 1875 the United States government passed a law declaring that all Native Americans must live on a reservation under penalty of imprisonment or death. William Russell was part-Cherokee, and his wife was full-blooded Cherokee. Russell once again left Colorado, choosing to abandon his claims in Costilla County, instead of allowing his wife to go to the reservation alone. Russell and his wife moved this time to Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma) where William Russell died in 1877.  The town site of Russell today is a small cluster of buildings alongside Highway 160 near a wide dirt turnout and Department of Transportation garage.

WGRussell

Thanks for visiting!

Check Out My Book! Order Here!

MyBook

Day #10 features Animas Forks, Colorado

Located at 11,200 feet elevation Animas Forks, Colorado once boasted the title for being the highest incorporated city in the United States, but since it is now abandoned that title belongs to Alma, Colorado at 10,578 feet.

af7

af18

Lonely Cabin High on the Hillside

af17

Old suspension bridge over the Las Animas River

Animas Forks was built around rich silver veins first discovered in 1873. The initial camp was built where a number of high mountain streams converged to create the Las Animas River, and the town was first called “Three Forks of the Animas” but was shortened to “Animas Forks” in 1875. In the summers of the 1880s the town had nearly 500 residents, many of whom would retreat to lower elevations in the winter months. However, a few did remain year-round at Animas Forks, and over 30 homes, a jail, several saloons, a newspaper office, drug store, general store, and Post Office were established permanently. One foul winter storm circled above Animas Forks for 23 days in 1884. When the squall finally let up, 25 feet had accumulated and tunnels had to be dug to connect the residents of the town! Animas Forks faded follwoing the silver crash of 1893, and today around a dozen buildings, numerous foundations, and mining debris remain at the site.

af1

 

af5

af4

af6

Cabin at Animas Forks

The highlight of Animas Forks is the often-photographed Duncan House (usually mislabled “The Walsh House”) woth its bay window that overlooks the mining operations and the valley below. In recent years the Forest Service has preserved the house by shoring up the foundation and structural beams, adding plexiglass windows to keep the rain and snow out, and applying a thick coat of Forest Service brown paint to the structure. Although it looked better in older photographs in its natural stay of decay, the Forest Service brown will protect the structure for future visitors to enjoy.

af16

The Duncan House

 

af14

af15

af13

af9

af10

Colorado Ghost Town Guide- The High Rockies

MyBook3

Colorado Ghost Town Guide- The Foothills Region

mybook2

 

Check Out My Book- Order Here!

MyBook

Day #9 features Badito, Colorado

Badito, Colorado, although it does not amount to much today, is a site deep in history. Situated at a low saddle among the steep and sandy banks of the Huerfano River the site had long been used by Native Americans as a crossing, and in 1709 a Spanish Expedition led by Juan de Ulibarri became the first Europeans to cross the Huerfano River at the spot. In 1779 Juan Bautista de Anza, the Governor of Nuevo Mexico, and his army spent a night at the crossing after they defeated Comanche Chief Cuerno Verde and his braves in a fierce battle nearby.  In 1806 famed explorer Zebulon Pike and his expedition redsted for a few days at the Huerfano crossing as they explored the region.

badito6

One of the crumbling adobes at Badito

By the time the Civil War erupted in 1861,  a small community had grown at the Huerfano crossing, an important stop on the Taos Trail, which included a trading post, saloon, school, blacksmith shop and a ranch. At that time the settlement was referred to as “Boyce’s” or “Boyce’s Ranch” in honor of Bo Boyce who operated the ranch. Bo Boyce was the Anglicization of the French surname name “Beaubois”, and Bo Boyce was descended from French trappers and traders who had long worked the creeks and hills around the Huerfano River. Bo Boyce also had a secret- He was a staunch secessionist, and a member of the Knights of the Golden Circle- The Confederate underground movement, and Boyce used his ranch on the Huerfano to harbor recruits for the Confederate Army as they secretly made their way out of the gold mines of Colorado to join the rebel armies in the southern states. Hundreds of rebel recruits funneled through Boyce’s in the early  days of the Civil War 1861-1863.

badito4

badito2

Following the Civil War Boyce’s was renamed “Little Orphan” for a short time, and had a Post Office under that name. In 1868, the settlement was again renamed “Badito” growing to a peak population of around 100. Until Colorado was granted statehood in 1876, Badito was the county seat of Huerfano County. When the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad decided to run its tracks north of Badito in 1874, and pass through Walsen’s (present-day Wlasenburg) instead, Badito began to fade. Today, only some dilapidated wooden barns, and the crumbling adobe walls of a couple structures remain at Badito, as well as an historical marker telling the history of the site.

badito1

Barn structures at Badito today

 

Check Out My Book- Order Here!

MyBook