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Old 04-11-2013, 11:23 PM
 
6 posts, read 7,185 times
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I'm a writer and I have lived in colorado all my life, but I'm a city girl. My knowledge of the of little mountain towns here extends to the tourist and casino areas that aren't that far of a drive. I want to place a small fictional town (population would hold 500-1000) somewhere in the mountains, near another real small (non ghost town) town. However, my town is essentially a ghost town that hasn't been populated since the end of the gold mine craze . It's the kind of town you only find if you make just the right kind of wrong turn. The real town needs to be in the mountains, as far away from the city as a person can get while still being in colorado. It can't be a straight shot down one road for several hours. I've been looking at the map of Colorado on google, but I'm terrible at reading maps.

Also, if someone could point me towards some good history books on colorado I would appreciate it. Please don't just tell me to research it, I'm not sure where to even begin. I'm asking for help so that I can start researching and building a believable Colorado mountain mining ghost town.
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Old 04-12-2013, 02:07 AM
 
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The San Juan Mountains sound like an ideal setting. Ghost towns abound in that region, and the handful of towns that do remain still appeal to outdoor enthusiasts, but the mountains themselves are so incredibly steep and rugged that only Telluride has made the transition to a ski resort. Don't let the proximity to Durango in Google Maps fool you; anywhere in the San Juans is well off the beaten path, and except for Telluride, no town in the area has a population that's greater than 1000.

Here are the Wikipedia links for all the major towns (yeah, there really are just five.) Maybe you'll find them useful in crafting your town:

Telluride, Colorado - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Creede, Colorado - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Lake City, Colorado - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Silverton, Colorado - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Ouray, Colorado - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ouray could be of particular note to you, because it's quite common for skiers on their way to Telluride to take the wrong turn at a certain intersection and wind up in Ouray. The Black Bear Road might be worth reading about as well:

Black Bear Road - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

(Definitely check out the "External Links" at the bottom of that page, particularly the first one.)
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Old 04-12-2013, 10:14 AM
 
Location: OH>IL>CO>CT
5,201 posts, read 8,338,065 times
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Try this list.

List of ghost towns in Colorado - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

St Elmo, Tincup, Caribou might be of particular interest
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Old 04-12-2013, 10:23 AM
 
20,852 posts, read 39,085,412 times
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Originally Posted by forgetfullove View Post
.... It's the kind of town you only find if you make just the right kind of wrong turn. ....
I remember such a story, on TV, 50+ years ago. One of the Twilight Zone shows, episodes 1 and 150. Especially episode 1, the series pilot.



The Twilight Zone (1959) - Where Is Everybody? (Full) - YouTube
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Old 04-12-2013, 12:35 PM
 
Location: Littleton, CO
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The town of Marble comes to mind. It is not a mining town, but a quarrying town. The ghost town of Crystal is nearby. The mill at Crystal is one of the more photographed places in the state. Crystal was a mining town at one time. It is reachable only by a 4WD road.

Here is a good resource for small towns/ghost towns.

Last edited by davidv; 04-12-2013 at 12:47 PM..
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Old 04-12-2013, 12:43 PM
 
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Wink When in the San Juan

Silverton as the small town (its current population is about 631). Animas Forks, some 12 miles distant, would be the ghost town.

They are, by the way, in the San Juan Mountains—way high up. Silverton resides at an elevation of 9,308 feet, Animas Forks higher. Both are former mining towns; Silverton now largely existing on tourism. As a ghost town, Animas Forks has a few old iconic wooden buildings remaining. Silverton is more well maintained, and remaining some beautiful old Victorian buildings of stone and brick, gingerbread of wood.

Silverton resides in the very center of the San Juan, remote and fairly inaccessible, but at least via pavement. No one is going to get there fast. I'm fairly sure there is no airport at Silverton or anywhere near it, due the steep, rugged mountain topography. Durango to the south, and Montrose to the north, are the two closest towns of any size. Ever so lovely Ouray is the closest settlement to Silverton, 23 miles distant over challenging Red Mountain Pass. It is only slightly larger than Silverton, with a population of about 1,000.

Both towns see a fair amount of tourism in summer. The ghost towns on their outskirts—there being more than might be surmised—far less. Some of the more inaccessible places, virtually nil.

Last edited by Idunn; 04-12-2013 at 12:57 PM..
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Old 04-12-2013, 01:16 PM
 
Location: Denver, CO
9,182 posts, read 5,462,776 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by forgetfullove View Post
Also, if someone could point me towards some good history books on colorado I would appreciate it. Please don't just tell me to research it, I'm not sure where to even begin. I'm asking for help so that I can start researching and building a believable Colorado mountain mining ghost town.
A little broader in scope than you asked for, but giving a nice historical background to the settling of Colorado, Utah, Nevada and California is Irving Stone's history entitled Men to Match My Mountains first published in 1956. It was the one book I read prior to our first move to Colorado in 1990. It gives a perspective on the interrelatedness of the mountainous regions of those states.

I like Creede for a book setting myself, although it is a bit far removed from populated areas. It has a population of about 500, enjoys a rich silver mining history, and was where the notorious Robert Ford, murderer of Jesse James was killled while working as a saloonkeeper some ten years after he assassinated Jesse.

Creede is located near the headwaters of of the Rio Grande River and has recently been the site of filming for the upcoming movie, Lone Ranger (2013) starring Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp.

Good luck researching.
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Old 04-12-2013, 03:42 PM
 
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Though it was published in 1949 and many of the ghost towns listed have either disappeared or turned into resorts since it was written, the definitive work on Colorado's mining ghost towns remains Muriel Wolle's Stampede to Timberline. Sadly, nearly all of ghost town remnants that you seek have disappeared in the last few decades. You're about 40 years too late. I remember some real gems that were still around back in the late 1960's and early 1970's and that hardly anyone knew about or visited, but they are all nearly obliterated now--either from the elements or by "new" recreational development. Of course, you can see the "cartoon" versions built to pander to the tourists, but I don't think that is what you're looking for.

Of existing inhabitied towns, Silverton is probably one of the most "original," with Creede a close second. Neither, however, is "pristine"--there are newer structures in both, with a goodly amount of "tourist trap" gobbledegook.
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Old 04-12-2013, 06:35 PM
 
6 posts, read 7,185 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike from back east View Post
I remember such a story, on TV, 50+ years ago. One of the Twilight Zone shows, episodes 1 and 150. Especially episode 1, the series pilot.



The Twilight Zone (1959) - Where Is Everybody? (Full) - YouTube
Thank you for that. I have never really watched any of the twilight zone, as a kid I wasn't patient enough to sit through black and white pictures. I have seen countless Outer Limits, some of which gave me nightmares. The Twilight zone was good though. Perhaps if its still on Netflix, I'll watch a few.
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Old 04-12-2013, 06:39 PM
 
6 posts, read 7,185 times
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Thank you for all the good suggestions! I have somewhere to start now.
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