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The Ghost Town Club of Colorado is an active and energetic group of people with diverse backgrounds who share an interest in the history of the west, especially Colorado. 

The club enjoys visiting historic sites and is committed to the preservation of these sites for future generations.

The club holds monthly meetings with programs on historical subjects. In addition, the club conducts field trips to sites throughout Colorado, and occasionally beyond to locales in the western United States and Canada.

Historic preservation is a focus of our work and preservation work is done in conjunction with field trips. Also once a year the club distributes its preservation funds to nonprofit historical sites in need of financial help.

Exploration, enjoyment and preservation of historical sites.

About GTC

The Ghost Town Club of Colorado was founded in 1958 by two Denver teachers, Jack Morison and Bob Brown. Together with several other people who shared an interest in Colorado history and historic preservation, they created a group focused specifically on ghost towns – their history and preservation.

What do we do?

Ghost Town Club of Colorado (GTC) holds monthly meetings featuring guest speakers on a variety of topics related to western history, ghost towns, Colorado history and relevant historic subjects. Past presentation topics include: the adventure, danger and romance of Colorado’s railroads, Denver’s great mansions and the people who inhabited them, and the unusual opportunities and challenges of living in a fire observation tower. There is something for everyone in this group of enthusiastic lovers of Colorado history!

Members also plan, organize, and lead many field trips to ghost towns and/or historic sites. These include day-trips to local sites such as old Fort Lupton to learn about and observe reconstruction of the fort, as well as to the ghost town of Dearfield to explore a hundred-year-old African American agricultural community on the arid high plains. Our excursions may include leisure driving, four-wheel driving, and/or hiking to our destinations.

Our field trips also include weekend excursions such as a motorcoach tour to Nebraska and the Lincoln County Historical Museum depicting a WWII canteen serving more than six million soldiers traveling by train through North Platte.

We also organize longer tours traveling to several states and parts of Canada, visiting significant historical sites and monuments, national parks, and local historians along the way.

And lets not forget about historic preservation. The club collects money throughout the year in a preservation fund to distribute at the end of the year to nonprofit historic sites in need of finacial support. Also, we will often help by doing actual preservation work with hands-on labor.

Who are we?

We are a diverse and active group of people with a shared sense of and reverence for history. We honor the significant contributions of many people through our strong desire to study, learn from, and preserve ghost towns and the memory of the people who built and lived in them. Perhaps most importantly, we are a group of friendly people who enjoy getting out, socializing, learning, and having a lot of fun.

How do we operate?

We are a volunteer-run organization. Our board of directors consists of six members who are elected to two-year terms. The president and other officers are elected for a yearly term. Subcommittees plan and execute special projects such as the yearly banquet, preservation fund awards, volunteer coordination, or outreach activities, to name a few.

Snapshot of GTC History

During the first three meetings of the Club back in 1958 when organizers were trying to decide on a name for the club, one lone stranger kept insisting that “toll roads” be added to the name. Finally Ghost Town Club of Colorado was “railroaded” through. In December 1963, the Club was legally incorporated with the Secretary of State.

First dues for the Club were $1 a year. In 1979, dues were $5 a year. Slowly postage, printing, insurance and rent have caused minimal increases. It’s been many a year since we had to raise the dues, and as Dick Ramsey says, “It’s still the best bargain in town.”

From Colorado Public Radio, Colorado Matters by Shanna Lewis with CPR’s Ryan Warner

October 31, 2018 – There Are 700 Ghost Towns In Colorado, And Ron Ruhoff Has Visited Many Of Them

Listen now

Letter from the GTC President – February/March 2019



Share your unique western railroad story, preferably one that is linked to a ghost town, and email it to me no later than March 15. The best among the submissions will appear in the May Gazette AND the writer will receive a prize.

THE RULES – Your story: 1) must be unique; 2) must involve a western railroad (e.g., PATH and New Jersey Transit commuter trains don’t count); 3) should have an historical aspect; 4) will receive bonus points if it involves a ghost town; and 5) must be submitted no later than March 15.

If a railroad non-fanatic has to explain the reasons behind a railroad story in this May’s Gazette, then whoever is asking has to surrender his or her railroad fan club card.

Letter from the GTC President – The Promise, January 2019

There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
The earth, and every common sight,
To me did seem
Appareled in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.
It is not now as it hath been of yore;—
Turn wheresoe’er I may,
By night or day.
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.
~ William Wordsworth
from “Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood

Traditionally, the beginning of the year offers a kind of fresh start. We make our resolutions; and if we are in earnest, we keep them. We may even decide to live each day by holding dear the advice and implicit warning of “carpe diem.” Far too quickly however, ever-present mundanity lulls us back into thinking all will remain just as it is. We put things off, secure in a belief we know to be false: that we have been promised tomorrow, next week, next month, next year or longer. There will always be more time; perhaps when we are less busy, we can begin to “dance as if no one is watching.”

In contemplative moments however, we understand that we were never promised anything more than a lifetime–whether it lasts a few short years or more than a century. Youth recedes ever further into memory; and, new sights “appareled in celestial light” ever more rarely capture our restless gaze. Regrettably there is only so much space in Neverland; and Peter is not in the habit of entertaining those who have decided to grow up.

The other side of that coin however is that we have seen and experienced wondrous things. As we begin the New Year and move toward our 61st Anniversary this March, I ask you to join me in making these resolutions:

1) LABEL your photos, slides, postcards, and other ghost town memorabilia. No one but you knows the where, who, what, why, and when behind them.
2) WRITE instructions for their disposition or distribution, and file those instructions with your important papers. If you do not believe any of your family members will want certain things, please consider donating appropriate items to the GTC for the archives and/or preservation fundraising. Don’t let your lifetime collection of books, memorabilia, and Kodak moments end up in the trash or the Goodwill pile.
3) SHARE at least ONE of those unique ghost town memories with us. Write it or record it on your phone or computer; send me the digital file; and, I will transcribe it as time permits. Should you decide to send a voice recording, understand that I will never have enough time to transcribe a half-hour ramble.
4) RESOLVE to keep the above three resolutions, and hold them in earnest.

~ Ethan Knightchilde, January 2019

Join us!

We invite you to attend a monthly meeting to learn more about us. Our membership dues are $25 per year. Join GTC today! Costs for field trips vary based on distance and length.

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Programs & Monthly Meetings

April 3, 2019 at 7p.m. Ghost Towns of the American West – Multimedia Lecture at Historic Colorado Chautauqua

Ethan Knightchilde will present Ghost Towns of the American West at the Chautauqua Community House on Wednesday, April 3, at 7 PM. Advance purchase of tickets is strongly recommended. The venue’s capacity is 125, but 72 seats were already sold as of February 27. Ticket prices are $12, or $9 for concert members.

Visit for more information or to purchase tickets.

April 13, 2019 from 12:30-4:00p.m. ANNUAL BANQUET

The Annual Banquet will be held at Maggiano’s Little Italy Restaurant, 7401 South Clinton Street, Englewood, Colorado from 12:30 to 4:00 p.m. There will be a cash bar open at 12:30, with the meal to follow at 1:00. The meal will be served family style at each table. It will include: 2 appetizers, 1 salad, 3 entrees (1 vegetarian pasta, 1 fish dish and 1 beef dish) and 2 desserts.

We are privileged to have as guest speaker the distinguished ERNEST HOUSE, JR. Mr. House served for more than a decade as liaison between American Indians and the State of Colorado as the Executive Director of the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs. His great grandfather was the last hereditary chief of the Weeminuche Utes. He speaks for all 48 tribes of American Indians who have cultural affinity to the land of present-day Colorado. Thanks to John and Connie Martinez, for securing Mr. House as our guest speaker. The cost is $40 per person. Email us to obtain a banquet reservation form.

May 9, 2019 at 7:30p.m.

Lee Whitely will present a great program titled, “Entering Colorado.”

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

From Ancient Indian Cultures to Space Exploration: A Trip to Southern New Mexico – May 8 – 15, 2019

Please join us for a unique and fascinating eight day Motor Coach Trip of Southern New Mexico. We will visit museums, historical sites, and ghost towns spanning the times of the Mimbres and Mogollon Indian Cultures, to Billy the Kid, to the story of reaching Outer Space. The trip will include visiting museums, forts, petroglyph sites and the culture of Southern New Mexico. We will top it off with a visit to National Historic Sites & Parks and the history of Space Exploration.

Places we will explore are: Fort Stanton, Capitan, Lincoln, Ruidoso, Three Rivers Petroglyphs, New Mexico Museum of Space History, Alamogordo, White Sands National Monument, Zuhl Museum and New Mexico Farm and Ranch Museum in Las Cruces, Fort Selden, GHOST TOWN OF SHAKESPEARE, Luna Mimbres Museum in Deming, Village of Hatch Museum, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Taos Pueblo and More.

Price includes deluxe motorcoach transportation, upscale hotel accommodations for seven nights, baggage handling, entrance fees to all attractions, local interpreters and guides, breakfast daily, six lunches and two KickBack suppers. The cost is $1,495 per person for double occupancy and $1,995 for single occupancy.

Flyers and reservation forms can be obtained by  emailing us or calling us at 303.659.4858.

Western Slope Field Trip: Grand Junction, Then And Now – Sept. 30 – Oct. 3, 2019 (optional hike on Oct. 4th)

  • Potluck dinner – Berries and model trains: HO scale indoors and 2,100 feet large scale outdoors.
  • Tour of Orchard Mesa Irrigation District pump and power houses led by head of OMID. See early 20th century irrigation equipment and learn about the history of turning the Grand Valley into a farming area.
  • Visit an alpaca farm and see how the fleece is made into yarn and apparel
  • Cross Orchards Museum: Visit restored Uintah Railroad rolling stock, ancient farm equipment, guided tour of living history museum; learn of future plans for the museum.
  • Museum of the West” After hours tour by Curator and Director who will explain the complex investigation of Alferd Packer including his pistol and other items found near Lake City
  • Real ghost town – Raber Cow Camp and Cabins. Tour Grand Mesa and visit the only remaining cow camp and cabins; lunch at Alexander Lake Lodge
  • Quick stop at Red Mountain Ranch for apples and other seasonal delights.
  • Pioneer Town in Cedaredge consisting of 23 buildings that were brought from their original locations
  • Fort Uncompahgre on the Gunnison River and the Old Spanish Trail. This was Anton Rubidoux’ fur trading post from 1820’s to 1844. Re-enactors will give tour. Dutch oven meatloaf dinner.
  • OPTIONAL HIKE on last day. 7 mile round trip hike in Dominguez Canyon to see Indian Rock Art. Route is along the original Rio Grande Narrow Gauge and Gunnison River.
  • Eagle Rock Shelter – Oldest ghost town in Colorado.Watch for further details.

For additional details about any of the field trips listed please email us or call us at 303.659.4858.

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!