Posts Tagged ‘Colorado history’

indy1

Independence, Colorado is a well-preserved ghost town dating to 1879, located just below timberline on the western slope of Independence Pass between Twin Lakes and Aspen on Highway 82.

ind1

ind11

Indpendence was named following the discovery of lode gold on July 4, 1879, it also went by the name Chipeta, in honor of Ute Chief Ouray’s wife, for a short time before the townsfolk settled on Independence.

ind3

ind

ind14

At the height of its boom Independence was home to around 1,500 people, home to 40 businesses, as well as three post offices.

indybook

indy14

indy2

Life in the town, located at 11,000 feet elevation, was difficult, and winters were extreme.  As the lode gold played out Independence’s population plummeted, by 1890 there were less than 100 residents.

indyx2

ind13

ind9

In 1899 snows were so heavy that the last 75 residents of the town were cutoff from the supply centers of Aspen and Twin Lakes, and were on the verge of starvation. The remnant population of Independence decided theoir only chance for survival was to flee towards Aspen. The snowed-in inhabitants stripped boards from the remaining structures in town and built skis and sleds out of them for their trek to Aspen,which all 75 residents successfully made.

ind7

ind4

Since 1899 only a few prospectors and hermits have called Independence home.Today, the town is totally abandoned, preserved as a historical park. Visitors can park in a small parking lot just below the summit of Independence Pass, and take a short hike down into the townsite. a Forest Service caretaker is sometimes present at the site.

ind6

ind8

 

Abanoned Western Colorado- Click Here to Order!

MyBook

 

Coming Soon- August 24, 2020- Abandoned Southern Colordo- Pre-Order Now!

NoColoGHPcover

Coming Soon- September 28, 2020- Abandoned Southern Colorado- Pre-Order Here!

slvCOVER

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

MyBook3

Colorado Ghost Town Guide Book- The Foothills Gold Belt Region- Order Here!

mybook2

Balfour is one of the least-known ghost towns in the state of Colorado, and for good reason- The town existed for only five short years between 1893 and 1898 before it was abandoned!

balfour1

Remains at Balfour today

balfour6

Dugout cabin at Balfour today

Prospectors had dug around sporadically in the area since the 1860s, but it was not until 1893 that gold deposits of profitable quatities were discovered. Balfour is located on the southeastern edge of South Park, roughly 25 miles from Fairplay, or seven or so miles from the tiny town of Hartsel off of Highway 9 as you travel towards Guffey.

Balfour

Balfour, at oinly ten days old in 1893!

balfour4

Balfour cabin today

When Balfour boomed in 1893,a town appeared literally overnight. Photos taken when Balfour was only ten days old already show frame buildings in equal or greater number than tents in the new gold camp.  Before Balfour faded, there were three hotels, a saloon, post office, chruches, school, general store, and around one thousand residents.

balfour2

Second shot of Balfour at ten days old in 1893

Balfour3

Balfour, 1893

Today scarcely a trace of Balfour remains, just a scattered handful of tumbledown cabins and barns. It is hard to imagine the site was once home to a thousand people, and had been billed as “the next Cripple Creek” when gold was discovered in 1893.

balfour3

Balfour cabin today

balfour2

Balfour

THANKS FOR VISITING! CHECK OUT MY OTHER PHOTO BLOGS!

Order My Book- Click Here!

MyBook

Coming Soon- August 25th Release- Pre-Order Here!

NoColoGHPcover

Coming September 28th!  Pre-Order Here!

slvCOVER

Colorado Ghost Town Guide Book- The Foothills Gold Belt Region

mybook2

Colorado Ghost Town Guide Book- The High Rockies

MyBook3

Day #29 feautures Boston, Colorado

bos19

Boston, at the head of Mayflower Gulch

Boston is an 1890s era mining camp situated at the head of Mayflower Gulch in Summit County.  There are around a half-dozen log cabins in varying states of decay, the sagging ruins of the boarding house, and rusted mining implements scattered around the site. Boston sits in a natural bowl, or ampitheater, and is surrounded by snow capped crags on three sides, making for some great photos. When I visited, there was a dense fog, and I was not able to capture the rocky spires that make a stunning backdrop to the camp.

bos17

bos16

bos10

boscabx6

A cabin along the trail to Boston

bos15

A combination hiking trail/seldom used 4×4 trail leads two miles into the site from a parking lot just off the side of Highway 91 that runs from Copper Mountain to Leadville. It is a popular hiking spot, and it is usually overrun with people on weekends. It is best to visit Boston early in the morning on weekdays to avoid crowds. Unfortunately, easy access also means Boston has suffered heavy vandalism and the trail in to the site is strewn with garbage from unscrupulous hikers who think it is the Forest Service’s job to clean up after them. Some “visitors” have even torn down log cabins at the site and burned the logs in bonfires.

bos5

 

bos6

bos21

boscabx4

bosw12

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Colorado Ghost Town Photo Book- Order Here!

MyBook

Day # 27 features Geneva City, Colorado

 

GC12

Geneva City is one of the most remote ghost towns in the Centennial State located at the headwaters of Geneva Creek in Clear Creek County and sitting in a bowl at timberline. Surrounded by snowcapped year-round, Geneva City can only be reached in the summer months, usually late-July through early-September, outisde of that the narrow, rugged 4×4 trail into the site is covered in snow.

GC24

GC20

GC15

Geneva City is an old-timer- Prospectors first set up camp here after the end of the Civil War in the mid-1860s. Sturdy log cabins were built at the very edge of the pine trees to shelter prospectors from the harsh elements and electrical storms that plague the basin where Geneva City is located.

GC5

 

GC14GC13

The mountains surrounding Geneva City are rich in iron deposits, and Geneva Creek itself features extremely rare natural iron fens- a geological occurence where iron rich mineral water springs bubble up from the ground and creates rusty colored natural terraces. The high iron content of the Geneva basin area makes metal detecting nearly impossible, and attracts fierce electrical storms.

GC7

GC8

GC11

GC9

 

Prospectors and miners have worked the rock in Geneva basin for over 100 years, finding small deposits of gold, and largeer depositis of silver, along with the plentiful iron. A smelter was built in the valley far below Geneva City in 1870, and the primitive rfining methods result in the slag from the old smelter still holding about a 10% silver content. The smelter has long since tumbled down, but crumbling red bricks and piles of black slag mark the spot. A sawmill was once operated nearby as well providing support beams and other wood products for the mines of Geneva City.

GC6

GC27

GC18

GC28

The Brittanic Mine was the last mine in operation at Geneva City, and small scale operations were still carried out there into the early-1960s. Geneva City is unique because it never had a year-round population in its entire 100-year history. The winters at the site were just too harsh, and the town too remote to warrant year-round settlement. A number of log cabins, a large saloon/mess hall, a boarding house, and at least one small home, built of milled lumber which still exists, albeit precariously today. Mining remnants can be found all around the Geneva City site, as well as the Brittanic Mine site.

GC26

GC29

GC25

GC22

 

Thanks For Visiting My Blog!

Please give us a “share” on your social media pages!

Be sure to check out my other ghost town photo blogs!

 

Colorado Ghost Town Guide- The Foothills Region- Order Here!

mybook2

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

MyBook3

Ghost Town Photo Book- Order Here!

MyBook

 

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 #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 #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