SPOTLIGHT ON HISTORY

In honor of the 700th meeting … October 13, 2016
How It All Happened… The Rest of the Story
 
In early 1958, a group of “like-minded people” attended a lecture of the State Historical Society of Colorado at the First Baptist Church on East 14th Avenue and Grant Street in Denver.  Prior to the lecture, John Farr stood up and said he had an idea and that if anyone was interested in forming a ghost town club they should stay after the meeting.  Everyone stayed.  A few weeks later some 150 persons interested in ghost towns attended a meeting called by John Farr on March 3rd, 1958. A second meeting was scheduled for April 7th.  At that meeting officers were to be chosen and plans made for ghost town tours and other activities. 
 
From old notes in the Archives, John Farr acted as temporary chairman.  Jack Morison, was acting treasurer; Mrs. Ray (Connie) Hauser was acting secretary and Bob Brown and Gary Balliet were assistant organizers.  Those individuals along with Gerald Coon met at Dr. Coon’s house (see photo page 5) and selected the first slate of officers.  Dues were $1. As you can see by the photo, Gerry Coon had the newest Jeep, so it was decided he should be President.  It took three meetings to establish the name “Ghost Town of Colorado” as railroad enthusiasts thought “railroad” should be in the name; and a toll road enthusiast thought “toll road” should be in the name”.  A quote from the Archives says, “President Coon had a pretty bad time of it until we finally railroaded the name “Ghost Town Club of Colorado” through and got to other business”. 
 
The Articles of Incorporation for The Ghost Town Club of Colorado, Inc., a nonprofit corporation, were filed with the Colorado Secretary of State on October 17, 1963.  Dues were $2.
 
We still have two  members who were at that very first meeting in April, 1958.   Ron Ruhoff  was there.   Of course he joined as a teenager and had to wait a few years to hold office, but he did present programs, as he continues to do. Ken Barrow also joined in 1958, but his residence in Cheyenne keeps him from attending meetings.
Other long time members are:
Dick & Thielma Gamewell  joined in 1960.  Dick now lives in Dolores, Colorado and sometimes contributes articles for the Gazette.
Bob & Nadine Muth joined in 1961 and Nadine, who lives in Ohio, continues her membership  
Ed and Nancy Bathke joined in 1961, and Ed does the email blasts for the Club.  ”. 
Dick and Marian Ramsey brought their talents to the Club in 1966. Dick remains a strong member and recently said our $25 dues are the “best bargain in town”.
Bob Brown and Jack Morison were at that first meeting and were the stalwarts in getting the Club going, and both remained active in the Club until they passed away.  Bob gave programs until his eyesight no longer allowed him to do so and Jack even organized a field trip with Lee & Joanie to Texas after he and Erma retired down there.
 
By 1969, due to the limited seating in the meeting room at the time, membership was capped at 150 people, because that’s how many chairs the room and fire marshal would allow.  There was actually a six month waiting list to join. John Dillavou, Bob and Nancy Smith joined that year and were fortunate to wait only that long.  In the 80's and ‘90’s there was actually more than a two year waiting list.
 
The first field trip was on May 17, 1958, to Cripple Creek District and was led by Jack Morison.  Since that first one, there have been approximately 600 field trips, with a wide variety of places we’ve been and things we’ve done.  There have been half day treks nearby, walking tours, longer road trips by car caravan and several by motorcoach, scavenger hunts by car, and even a cruise to Alaska.  We’ve done trips in every month and every season of the year and in all kinds of weather.  Every single one has been great.  The best part of each field trip is the camaraderie  and friendships that develop.
 
In the October 2012 Gazette, then President Lee Dahl, wrote : “The Ghost Town Club of Colorado is a group of like-minded people who are interested in Colorado history and the preservation of that history. That statement may be true, but beyond that we are a group of individuals who all joined the club for our own reasons. Some people joined the club because they want to participate in the field trips. Others may enjoy the presentations at the monthly meetings. Many people appreciate the social time before and after the meetings. Whatever your reason for joining the club, partaking in those activities will help keep the club active and strong. “
 
Those words never rang truer.  It is the friendships, camaraderie and caring that has brought this amazing Club and group of like minded people to our 700th meeting.  Thanks to everyone who made the Ghost Town Club of Colorado, Inc., possible from early 1958 to today !! 
 
 
CONGRATULATIONS!