About GTC

Letter from The President

July 2020

Greetings Ghost Towners,

Contrary to what our administration is telling us, the COVID virus is not simply disappearing.  States that have opened too early and have not practiced social distancing are seeing alarming rates of infection and rising deaths.  Colorado rates flattened because of adherence to the stay-at-home and safer-at-home guidelines mandated by the Governor.  Most people I have seen are complying.

I have been requested to return to the Lab one day a week where I used to work .  Temperatures are taken at the door, masks are required  throughout the building, gloves, gowns and goggles are worn and changed often between procedures, as well as frequent handwashing. Lunch time is staggered so people can distance in the breakroom. The lab is conducting three kinds of COVID tests in three different departments.  Microbiology is testing symptomatic patients with an FDA approved test resulting in high rates of positive cases. Molecular is testing patients for pre-op surgeries, also with an FDA approved test and finding very few positives, which is good.  Another department is testing for antibodies to the virus to chart immunity, but this procedure has not been approved by the FDA yet.  All this testing has only been on-line within the last six weeks because of shortage of reagents, failed controls and the time it takes to develop and validate testing protocols.

I hope we can safely have the picnic in August but everyone will have to wear masks, bring their own chairs and stay 6 feet apart.  Rather than sharing massive quantities of food, everyone must bring their own plates, utensils, picnic lunch and beverages.  As far as the banquet in September, that has been postponed also.  The Banquet will be at Magianno’s on April 17, 2021.  Luckily, I just received a 2021 calendar from one of my favorite charities, and the banquet will be my first entry!

Going forward, perhaps we could look into having ZOOM meetings.  I have participated in several ZOOM meetings for other social groups, although I know nothing about how to set it up.  The host conducting the meeting sends out links on email and people sign on at the designated time.  The host is in control and gives instructions on how everyone can log on and participate.  I am appealing to our technically savvy members to contact the vice presidents to see if this could be a possible alternative.

In the meantime, it has been a real pleasure reading the stories you all have been posting in the Gazette.  Thank you for sharing these interesting experiences and family histories.  And kudos to Joanie for the great job producing and editing the Gazette.  Keep those stories coming.  Stay safe until we can all meet again.

~ Shirley Miller, President

Coming Attractions (or “How I Spent My Shelter-In-Place Vacation”)

By Ethan Knightchilde

Earlier this year we started packing and getting ready to sell our house. It was on the market for about a week when the COVID hit the fan.

Since then, I’ve occupied part of my time with a couple of projects for future GTC meetings. The work at times has felt like a herculean task, considering the screen real estate of a 15” laptop and that most of my resources—books, printed files on western history and ghost towns, computers, large screen monitors, etc.—remain in a tightly-packed storage unit. However, I’m pleased to say that work has been progressing on a two-part program about the greatest Old West historic district that never was. It is tentatively called “Lost Cities of the West: The Rise and Fall of Bodie and Aurora.” And yes, you read correctly—it will be presented in two parts.

Bodie, California, and Aurora, Nevada, are two of my favorite ghost towns and huddle toward each other on their respective sides of the state line. Their histories are colorful and very much intertwined. Rather than just give an overview of the buildings that remain or repeat unfounded folklore about 10,000 residents or the Bad Man from Bodie, the presentation will provide some hints on what it was like to live in those towns during their heydays as well as through their declines, and illustrate the fates that befell them using historical and contemporary photographs.

The second project would return us to some of the more interactive programs from the club’s early years. It’s called “Boom Town Bingo”—and yes, it is exactly what it sounds like.

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


What do we do?

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.

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.”

Join us!

We invite you to attend a monthly meeting to learn more about us. Our membership dues are $30 per year. Join GTC today! Costs for field trips vary based on distance and length.