Since becoming a state in 1876, Colorado has seen its fair share of towns come and go. Through the years, in fact, Colorado has housed more than 1,500 ghost towns, with 650 still vacant and barely standing. The remains of some of these towns are truly incredible, beautiful, or sometimes even grim, as told by these 13 stories:
Officially incorporated in 1875 (after years of negotiations with the native Ute Tribe who had rights to the land), Eureka was once a flourishing mining and railroad town that met its demise in the early 1940s when the Sunnyside Mill permanently closed. Today, the only remains of the town that can be found are the Mill's foundation (pictured) and old town jail.
Formerly known as both Castle Forks City and Chloride, Ashcroft was another prominent mining town that at one time boasted a population of over 2,000. The town met its decline in the mid-1880s when the once abundant silver deposits grew bare. While the town may not seem like much today, it is taken care of and maintained by the nearby Aspen Historical Society and even earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places.
Do you see this stunning stone structure? It is one of the last remains of the once booming silver-mining town of Caribou. Established in 1870, the town population spiked (to 3,000) in 1875, but four years later suffered a devastating fire, leaving behind not only burnt rubble, but a nearly deserted town.
Querida, which means "beloved" in Spanish, was established in order to serve the surrounding silver mines. Pictured are the remains of the once thriving Bassick silver mine.
Named for minister and prospector John Lewis "Father" Dyer, Dyersville began as nothing but a secluded cabin (pictured) and quickly grew as miners from the nearby Warrior's Mark mine caught wind of the peaceful area.
6. Capitol City
How did Capitol City come to get its name? Legend has it that town founders hoped it would become the capitol of Colorado, which unfortunately didn't pan out. At its peak, Capitol City was home to nearly 400 residents.
Home to the stunning Crystal Mill, the town was once also the home to a mine, two newspapers, hotels, a pool hall, and much more.
All is not lost for Tincup, which was incorporated in 1882 after the discovery of gold. In fact, several historic buildings in the unincorporated town are still in use today, including the pictured Tin Cup Store!
Originally founded in 1896 as Puma City, Tarryall was another mining town whose population quickly waned due to the lack of mineral deposits. (The now empty one-room schoolhouse, pictured, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.)
What was once an "Old Prairie Dog Express" stop along the Burlington & Missouri River Railroad now sits nearly vacant on the Pawnee National Grasslands. Today, all that remains to be seen are the foundations of homes, stores, and the pictured schoolhouse.
The first county seat of San Juan County was originally known as Bullion City (named for the Bullion City Company, who established the town) but was later renamed for local figure Lieutenant Howard.
The story of Gilman is one of tragedy; the once prominent mining town was essentially closed in 1984 by the Environmental Protection Agency due to contaminated groundwater, toxic pollutants, and nearly 8 million tons of mine waste. Since being evacuated, the town has remained off limits due to safety concerns.
The ghost town of Gothic is anything but ghostly... in fact, the town is thriving now more than ever thanks to the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, which was built over the abandoned mining town in the late 1920s.
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