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Old 01-12-2013, 04:03 PM   #11
Beastly Adventurer
Joined: Nov 2009
Location: Denver
Oddometer: 1,545
Ghost Towns

In one of the previous posts I mentioned a few ghost towns, but wanted to go more into depth on several more of the ghost towns in the area....Some history of each town courtesy of the internet

Most of these are big bike friendly and can be tied into tons of great riding opportunities.

St. Elmo

"St. Elmo is a ghost town in Chaffee County, Colorado, United States. Founded in 1880, St. Elmo lies in the heart of the Sawatch Range, 20 miles southwest of Buena Vista. Nearly 2,000 people settled in this town when mining for gold and silver became evident. The mining industry started to decline in the early 1920s, and in 1922 the train discontinued service. The community is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as St. Elmo Historic District. It is one of Colorado's most preserved ghost towns"

Hancock and the Alpine Tunnel

"Hancock served the workers who built the famous Alpine Tunnel. Its main population peak was in the 1880's and 1890's while the tunnel was being built. Mining was secondary in Hancock. The tunnel was completed in 1881, but the train ran through Hancock carrying miners, passengers and supplies. It is said Mark Twain took the ride one time just for the experience. The tunnel ceased operation in 1910 and the last mine in Hancock closed in 1926 with the passing of the last passenger train. Today one can still make it to the Alpine Tunnel entrance in a 4WD"

"Alpine Tunnel is a 1,772 feet (540 m) narrow gauge railroad tunnel located east of Pitkin, Colorado on the former Denver, South Park and Pacific Railroad route from Denver to Gunnison. At an elevation of 11,523 feet (3,512 m), it was the first tunnel constructed through the Colorado Continental Divide, and according to the U.S. Forest Service "remains the highest railroad tunnel and the longest narrow gauge tunnel in North America." However, it did not last long in service. Construction began in January 1880 and was scheduled to last for six months but instead dragged on till July 1882, and the line was abandoned in 1910 due to minor damage in the tunnel. Now the tunnel is sealed shut and the remaining trackbed serves as a trail for hikers and off-road vehicles."


"Tincup, or Tin Cup, originally called Virginia City, is an unincorporated community in Gunnison County, Colorado, United States. The community was once a prominent mining town. Tincup is now a community of summer homes with a few year-round residents. Many historic buildings are still in use."

"In October 1859, prospector Jim Taylor panned some gold from Willow Creek, and carried it back to camp in a tin cup; he named the valley “Tin Cup Gulch.”. For years the area was the site of seasonal placer mining, but no year-round communities were established, partly because of the danger of Indian attack.
In 1878, lode deposits were discovered in the area, and the town of Virginia City was laid out in March 1879. By the 1880 census, the town had a population of 1,495. Virginia City was incorporated in August 1880, but confusion with Virginia City, Nevada, and Virginia City, Montana, caused the residents to change the name. The town was reincorporated in July 1882 as Tin Cup.

Early Tin Cup was a violent place. Town marshall Harry Rivers died in a gunfight in 1882, and marshall Andy Jameson was shot to death in 1883.
The town population declined when the mines were exhausted. The post office closed in 1918, and the last town election was held in 1918.
The Boothill Cemetery is located just south of the town."

Vicksburg & Winfield

"Vicksburg was founded after prospectors from Leadville camped out in Clear Creek Canyon and their burros wandered down to the creek. The next day the prospectors found their animals and also found good float in the creek. Many towns sprang up along the creek including Vicksburg which today has about 10 standing cabins along with a great museum that is open on the weekends."

"Winfield, initially called Florence and then Lucknow, was founded in 1881. Two prospectors looking for a shortcut to the Gunnison country camped one night at the confluence of the North and South Forks of Clear Creek. During the night their mules strayed from camp. The next morning the men found the mules beside the creek. They looked down and saw gold flecks in the stream bed. Winfield was founded at this spot. However, copper and silver, not gold, were the primary ores removed from the area. The last ore was hauled out by stage in 1918. In its heyday in 1890 the estimated population was 1500 people. The post office existed from 1881 to 1912. Today there are 10-12 private summer cabins. The old schoolhouse and Ball cabin are maintained as museums by the Clear Creek Canyon Historical Society. The old cemetery is located approx. 1/4 mile N. of the town. Twenty-six people are buried there. However, only the grave markers for the two Aude children remain. One of the children, Fred, was the first person buried in the cemetery on June 28, 1885."


"Independence is located just west of Independence Pass and the Continental Divide. The winters were long and brutal and when mining went "belly up," much of the town was deserted with many heading downhill to the town of Aspen. Today, one can walk around the remains of Independence as it is located adjacent to Highway 82 with a parking area."


The Town of Bonanza is a Statutory Town located in Saguache County, Colorado, United States. Formerly known as Bonanza City, Bonanza is a largely abandoned former silver mining town. Bonanza is a Spanish language word meaning a rich mineral deposit. The town population was 16 at the U.S. Census 2010, making Bonanza the second least populous incorporated town in the State of Colorado.[4] The Villa Grove Post Office (ZIP Code 81155) now serves Bonanza.


"By 1898 there was a demand for lots in the growing town. New homes were going up as quickly as the timber became available. Daily mail service became available in 1898 when a post office was opened in the town. The Hotel Gregory, said to have been a pretentious two-story building with a front balcony on the second floor, seemed to be a gathering place for newcomers seeking their fortune in the mining of gold, silver and jasper. Down the street from the hotel stood the town saloon. The town also boasted several stores, a couple of assay offices, a church and a few restaurants.There was a butcher shop that supplied the settlers with fresh meat and poultry. The Rocky Mountain News reported that in May of 1898 there were 300 people living in Turret. In the early years of the town, a stagecoach came up twice each week from Salida. Soon, during that same year, a daily run from Salida was established."

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