High Country Trails

High Country Ghost Towns

 

[GHOST TOWN HOME]   [DESERT GHOSTS]    [RAILROAD GHOSTS]

The arid deserts of the west aren't the only place to find ghost towns, the stampede to the timberline to wrest riches out of the earth fueled many westward migrations. Pike's Peak or Bust was a familiar cry of the gold seekers during the Colorado Gold Rush. Many of these boom towns are but memories today, still others have been reborn as ski resorts. I present a couple of my favorites to you. . .

Caribou, Colorado

Jim Butler's Cabin in 1969

Jim Butler's Cabin in 1969 was still standing after a hundred years, but by 1975 it was a pile of old lumber.

Caribou, Colorado in the Boom Days

Caribou Townsite 1975

Caribou townsite in 1975, compare this meadow with the 1869 picture above.

Sam Conger discovered silver in the high country above Boulder, Colorado in 1868. By 1869 Caribou was a full blown town, and by 1875 had a population of 5000. It had its own newspaper, marching band, and brewery. Potosi street, Caribou's main street, was lined with shops, one church and many saloons. The Sherman House, the three story building in the lower right corner of the above picture, was Caribou's best hotel. The silver crash of 1893 dealt a death blow to the town. And a fire in 1903 wiped Caribou off the map; little rebuilding was done and Caribou became a ghost.
Child's Grave Caribou Cemetery

Emma

beloved daughter

Died Aug 7, 1879

2 yrs 2 mos

Child's Grave Caribou Cemetery

Agnes Julia

Born Mar 5, 1882

Died Nov 3, 1882

Life in Caribou was harsh, especially for children as these graves illustrate. Between the years of 1878-1882 Caribou had two epidemics.

Sad to say sometime after 1969 these tombstones disappeared from the cemetery, is nothing sacred?

Tungsten Miner's Barracks 1975

A short tungsten boom from 1910-1919 still couldn't wake the town of Caribou. These stone miner's barracks are from that period.

 

Silver Plume, Colorado

Main Street Silver Plume 1999Owen Feenan discovered a rich load of silver in the Silver Plume area in 1868 but kept the discovery a secret. Then he became sick. On his deathbed he told some of his friends about the strike. Shortly after, Owen made a remarkable recovery and in 1871 returned to his rich siver strike in the mountains . To his surprise he found a large mine and camp called Silver Plume. His so called friends had cut Feenan out of the whole deal!

Silver Plume False Front Store 1969

Silver Plume False Front Store 1969

Silver Plume is not a complete ghost town but it is a shadow of its former self. Located off Interstate 70 below the Eisenhower Tunnel, Silver Plume is part of the Georgetown - Silver Plume Historic District. If you are traveling to or from Denver on I-70 this town is worth checking out. I was here the first time in 1969, then again in 1999 and the town hasn't changed much in that time as the two photos show taken of the same building, on the same spot, 30 years apart. Silver Plume False Front Store 1999

Same False Front Store Thirty Years Later in 1999

Silver Plume Jail

The old stone jail still stands on Silver Plume's original main street, but hasn't seen any action in many a year. There was a time when it was standing room only on Saturday night. The story is told of one particular miner who lived in Silver Plume at the turn of the century who couldn't handle his liquor and was considered a permanent resident here.

Silver Plume Jail 1999

 


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