Letter from The President
Greetings Ghost Towners:
The last two years have been challenging, to say the least, for our Ghost Town Club. Despite all the COVID restrictions and members we have lost, the Club has survived thanks to the determination, ingenuity and flexibility of so many dedicated individuals. I continue to be amazed and truly grateful for all the many volunteers that have contributed their unique skills and talents so that we could continue to have our meetings via Zoom, and then later combining in-person meetings with Zoom presentations to accommodate members unable to attend.
Special kudos to the trip leaders who devised ways to have amazing field trips to many new places using Google mapping techniques and drones to locate long lost ghost towns. The November meeting showcased these wonderful trips with Josh Robinson presenting “What We Done In ’21” slide show. We have been truly blessed to have such enthusiastic and adventurous members.
In September we were finally able to have our Annual Banquet at Maggiano’s Little Italy, after a year and a half delay. We enjoyed excellent food, fellowship and fun old Western movies for entertainment. I know it was very trying for the Banquet Committee to have to plan over and over again after cancelled reservations because of COVID. Thank you all for your perseverance. It was a great time!
In August, 2021 Coffey’s hosted the Annual Picnic at their beautiful home in Lyons, CO. It was our first in-person meeting since March, 2020. It was so good to see friends again, share delicious food and stories. Thank you Nell and Gary for hosting this special event that we always look forward to every year.
I have to hand it to the program presenters for 2021. It took great creativity to produce interesting and informative programs and present them on the Zoom “shared screen” format. I certainly appreciate the technical skills involved in making this happen, as I have no clue of how to do it. A special thanks to Ethan for his skills. Besides the interesting programs, many members demonstrated their writing and story-telling skills by sending articles to publish in the Gazette. Thank you for sharing your experiences and kudos to Joanie for the great job of doing her magic on compiling the Gazette every month. And we have to commend our web masters for creating more visibility and access to the GTC by postings on the internet.
We have been blessed to have so many members who made donations to the Preservation Fund and all those who volunteered to serve in official positions going forward into 2022. There was no begging or arm twisting, just genuine desire and teamwork for a united cause. Because of all your efforts the Ghost Town Club will survive.
~ Shirley Miller, President
From Colorado Public Radio, Colorado Matters by Shanna Lewis with CPR’s Ryan Warner
October 2018 – There Are 700 Ghost Towns In Colorado, And Ron Ruhoff Has Visited Many Of Them
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.”