Upcoming Programs & Monthly Meetings
No in-Person Meetings Scheduled
(Typical) Monthly Meeting Schedule
We hold ten regular meetings per year on the 2nd Thursday of each month at 7:30p.m. We meet at the Grace United Methodist Church located at 4905 East Yale Avenue, Denver, Colorado (just west of I-25 and Yale). Additional parking is available in the church parking lot on the north side of the building.
Upcoming Field Trips
September 25th – Peru Creek and its Spanish flavored Ghosts: Chihuahua, Argentine, the Pennsylvania Mill, and that other good Saint, John.
February 26th – Tentatively Snowshoe trip to Boston
March 26th – Tentatively Snowshoe trip to Saints John – a Ghost Town Club tradition
BOREAS PASS AND ITS GHOSTS: BOREAS, FARNHAM, DYERSVILLE FIELD TRIP REPORT
On July 24th the Ghost Town Club enjoyed a trip led by Josh Robinson over Boreas Pass, with the destination and feature being the town site of Dyersville.
We started the day meeting on the primary street in Como. We began as usual with the morning report which included a share of information and photographs. Being that a majority of the travel to Dyersville was over the former rails, we were lucky to have the added expertise of our rail expert, Darrell Arndt. Darrell was kind enough to provide information about the importance of the road and lead us to several interesting stops along the route.
Our first stop was at the absolute ghost site of Hamilton, completely obliterated by later dredging operations. We were able to mark its exact location using period photography provided by Ed Bathke. From there, we traveled just around the bend to the site of Peabody’s and viewed the last remaining house there. We didn’t stay long, as the house was being used by a family enjoying a picnic in its front yard. Our group then began the climb up the shelf road and witnessed the spectacular overviews of South Park. Along the way we stopped at Windy Point/ Rocky Point and explored a very intact rail bed featuring a short section of restored track. Here Darrell led a talk about the rail line and we saw the blasting marks shown in the rock, witness to the construction practices used to build the incredible railroad.
Continuing our climb towards tree line, stopping at a very early camp situated just below the site of Boreas. Josh led a talk about the buildings, noting the extremely crude construction of all of them including 2 bunk houses, both roughly 60’ long and 12’ wide. Both buildings had root balls unsawn from their log corners. This stop was followed with a brief discussion at the summit and town site of Boreas, where we viewed the ruined engine house and its internal turntable. We lunched at the town site of Argentine, exploring the scattered ruins throughout the trees, enjoying good food and each other’s company.
After lunch we began our descent to our feature of the trip, Dyersville. The club has been no stranger to Dyersville in the past, visiting it for the first time in 1964, and again in 1981. For 2021 several of our folks decided to again 4×4 to the site, as was done on trips before, while others elected to hike. The drive/ walk down was a lot of fun and it was a fast trip into the town proper. Our welcome was facilitated by the Dyersville “Mystery Building”. We spent much time working on an explanation for its unusual construction, which still eluded us despite our best efforts. (Shannon since the trip has been working on a theory that I also agree could unlock this mystery.) After much deliberation on the building architecture, we decided to reconstruct a 1961 photograph of it for our group picture included in this report. We then set out to visit the other buildings at the site, which necessitated a fording of the stream through town (Darrell christened his new jeep). Upon crossing the stream Josh led a talk featuring the beautiful two-family building standing on the other side.
After time exploring, we loaded up and headed up the hill to the Warriors Mark mine, which was discovered by our hero of the day, Father Dyer. The group on foot then explored the ruined mill site below the mine, while the portion of the group on 4×4 went back down to the town site. From there the two parties connected, but not before the folks on foot met a moose. (See Gary Wallden’s photo Page 11.) Paula Martinez stepped in and spooked the moose off with a series of noises and other words related to a moose dialect, unknown to myself and others.
The regrouped party traveled next to the site of the town saloon, Angels Rest. We imagined what it must have been like to grab a drink here and explored the dump next to it, guessing about the identity of the foods that might once have been in the rusted cans we found. From this point we followed up on a lead that Josh had been given on the exact site of Father Dyer’s house. This was extremely exciting as we followed the treasure map. We covered the entire area on foot and from the sky (Jason Messing flew over the site via drone). Even with all of us looking, the cabin location remained hidden from our search. Either the lead was bogus or somehow, we missed it. We had covered Dyersville well, so it was time to begin our travel up the hill and start our journey back into the 21st century. We said goodbye to Dyersville for the day and hope we will return in less time than the intervening 40 years since our last visit.
BUCKSKIN JOE FIELD TRIP REPORT
By Roger Callender and Josh Robinson
June 26th, 2021, was a red letter day as it was the first official Ghost Town Club field trip of the year. The destination was Buckskin Joe just west of Alma, Colorado. It was expertly planned and led by Josh Robinson, with additional expertise provided by Ed Bathke, our traveling librarian.
Our group of seven met at the town hall in Alma where Josh gave the “Morning Report’ and prepped us for the day’s activities. We drove a short distance, parked the vehicles at the townsite where Josh gave us a history of Buckskin Joe which was alleged to have had a population of 5,000 for a very few years (1860-1866). Buckskin Joe was one of the earlier mining towns, part of the Pikes Peak Gold Rush. Josh focused on the architecture and archaeology found on the site and pointed out the faint traces of buildings along the main street, with comparison of 19th century photographs. In addition, Ed had brought along a photograph album of pictures taken in 1948 which gave a good glimpse of what the town looked like.
The group then continued up a hill to the site of the dance hall. Why the dance hall was so far from the town is somewhat of a mystery. Perhaps the location was based on the premise of what happens in the dance hall stays in the dance hall (and away from the wives and children). There were enough remains of the dance hall that we could get an idea of its size. Josh once again explained the architecture based on remains of the foundation logs.
Of course, every Ghost Town Club includes food so we settled in near the dance hall and had lunch and good conversations. Afterwards pictures were taken of the group with the dance hall in the background and matched with an imposing rock seen in earlier pictures.
The rest of the afternoon was somewhat serendipitous with the exciting discovery of the remains of several buildings scattered in the trees, apparently all part of large mining operations. There was enough left of a large water driven mill to speculate that it was an operation with up to fifteen stamps. A good amount of time was spent exploring and speculating about these sites. Afterwards we climbed up the hill further and explored the well-preserved surface buildings of what we believed to be the Phillip’s Load, which included a very well preserved 19th century box car.
Every ghost town has a legend connected with it. In this case it is Silverheels. I’m sure all of you know the legend. We had hoped that she might join us during our lunch near the saloon, where she performed as a dance hall girl, but she didn’t. And we were unable to find her in the cemetery which some of us visited at the end of the trip. Just as well. I guess that some legends are meant to remain a mystery.
FIELD TRIP to SOUTHERN NEW MEXICO: From Ancient Indian Cultures To Space Exploration
POSTPONED – MORE DETAILS COMING LATER
Today we will make our way to Santa Fe, stopping in Trinidad for lunch enroute. We will be staying in Santa Fe. (Lunch included).
After breakfast we will depart for Capitan where we will enjoy a delightful lunch at Che Palle. We will visit Fort Stanton which was established to protect settlements along the Rio Bonito during the Apache Wars. Kit Carson, John “Black Jack” Pershing, Billy the Kid, and Buffalo Soldiers of the 9th Cavalry all lived here. From there we are off to Lincoln where the walk down Main Street is a step back into the Wild West. Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett left their marks; Indians, Mexican American settlers, gunfighters and corrupt politicians made themselves known. The violent Lincoln County War erupted here and this is the town that made Billy the Kid a legend. We will then travel to Ruidoso NM where we will spend the night. (Breakfast and lunch included).
Today is a day of contrasts – from ancient petroglyphs to space history. We’ll start off at Three Rivers Petroglyphs. It is believed the petroglyphs are the work of the Jornada Mogollon people between 1000 and 1400 AD. Over 21,000 petroglyph sites have been documented, but we won’t have to read them all. After a scenic drive from Three Rivers to Alamogordo, we will visit the New Mexico Museum of Space History where we will take a trip into the origins of our nation’s space exploration program through many fascinating artifacts and displays from the beginning of the space race to landing on the moon. Then we will check into our hotel in Alamogordo. (Breakfast and lunch included).
Another day of contrasts! First of all we will explore the eerily beautiful White Sands National Monument with its rare white gypsum sand dunes. From there we’ll go to Las Cruces where we will learn about the farm and ranch history of New Mexico at the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Museum. The guided tour will take us through all aspects and the importance of farming and ranching in New Mexico. After lunch is a special visit to the Zuhl Museum located on the New Mexico State University campus. The Museum is part gallery and part museum with beautiful specimens of petrified wood, fossils and minerals. Our hotel for tonight is in Las Cruces. (Breakfast and lunch included, and light dinner at the Kick Back Snacks and Beverages at the hotel.)
Our first stop we will be the amazing Luna Mimbres Museum in Deming. The Museum is in an old brick Armory building and contains just about any artifact from the Mimbres Valley that you can imagine. It is operated by Historical Society volunteers who are very proud of the collection. The Museum is known for its incredible Mimbres pottery collection. This afternoon we visit the ghost town of Shakespeare! For many years Ghost Town Club Preservation Funds have been awarded to Shakespeare. Designated as a National Historic Site, Shakespeare is one of the “West’s Most Authentic Ghost Towns”. The town was started in 1870 with a silver strike and managed to hang on through the 1930’s. Shakespeare has been owned by the Hill family since 1935 and they have tried to preserve the old buildings and history without commercializing it. A local guide will enlighten us with the history of the town and the Hill family. We’ll spend the night in Lordsburg. (Breakfast and lunch included).
Ever heard of the famous Hatch chilis? Today we’ll visit the quaint little town of Hatch and learn about and perhaps even taste some of the famous chilis. Then we’ll visit the Village of Hatch Museum, which is ALL about the people of Hatch. We’ll be enlightened with a talk by the Museum Curator. Then, we are off to Albuquerque where we will spend the night. The hotel is a short walk to Old Town Albuquerque if you want to venture there for dinner. (Breakfast and lunch included).
After breakfast, we will depart for Santa Fe. There you will have time to visit The Plaza to shop and have lunch on your own. We will then travel to Taos where we will have a guided tour of the picturesque Taos Pueblo. Oral history indicates many of the buildings were constructed between 1000 and 1450 AD. Approximately 150 people still live in Taos Pueblo. The Taos Pueblos are considered to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in the United States. Tonight we will stay in Taos, NM. (Breakfast included).
All too soon it’s time to head north stopping at Fort Garland Museum in the San Luis Valley. We will have a guided tour of this well-preserved fort that operated from 1858-1883. Colorado Historical Society has done an amazing job of preserving this Fort and its history. We’ll enjoy a picnic lunch on the grounds before reboarding the bus and departing for Denver. (Breakfast and lunch included).
Price includes deluxe motorcoach transportation, hotel accommodations for seven nights, baggage handling, entrance fees to all attractions, local interpreters and guides and meals as indicated. Does not include items of a personal nature, meals not listed, alcoholic beverages or medical/cancellation travel protection plan.
Cost for double occupancy is $1,595 per person. Single occupancy is $2,095. Email us for more information or a reservation form.
Do you enjoy our field trips? Have you ever thought about leading one?
It’s easy! Find a friend, team up, and plan a trip for the club. Field trips can be for a few hours, a morning or afternoon, a full day, a weekend, or a week long excursion.
Want more information? Check out our printed guide on planning field trips for a step-by-step how to guide. Remember it’s always easier and more fun to work together. Some of our greatest field trips were been led by people who had never planned a trip before. Let’s go exploring together!