News & Stories


March 2023

Ghost Towners,

The winter is moving right along, and I’m glad it seems we are out of that arctic freeze of last month … seems like it’s time to get up in the hills and explore some ghost towns!

I know several trips are in the works, and they all look fantastic including: the Argo and the Stanley Mill trip, the upcoming Snowshoe trip to the Mystery Site at the Mountain Pride, the rescheduled trip to Aroya and Boyero … and many more. I can see we are already off to a banner year for our 65th anniversary!

On the topic of 65 years, and also in the works is the planning of our upcoming Annual Banquet. It’s a special one, and in celebration of our 65th year in existence. The event will be held at the Old Spaghetti Factory’s new location in Westminster and the program will be given (posthumously) by none other than Mrs. Muriel Sibell Wolle.

A Little background on how our program came to be: Wolle, as most of you know began combing the hills, documenting our Colorado Ghost Towns in the early 1930’s when many of our ghost towns were abandoned only a few decades. Her sketches and recording images, along with her many books over the years have led to not only to a record of what was there, but lead many of us to becoming interested in the subject matter.

I think of her as the mother of Ghost Towning as a hobby.

It was because of this expertise and influence, that in 1969 the Ghost Town Club asked Mrs. Wolle to give the Banquet program for that year. The show was called The Elusive Ghost Town. Ron Ruhoff made a reel-to-reel tape of it.

Fast forward to 2022. I knew that Mrs. Wolle’s archives at DPL featured many, if not most of her black and white slides. Over the last year in spare time, I listened to the tape while combing her archive to find the accompanying slides she must have shown. I found nearly the entire program was there and we just needed to match the visual to her audio.

So, after 54 years Mrs. Wolle’s program is again nearly complete and ready to inspire us Ghost Towners like she did in 1969. I think her giving our program again at our 65th Anniversary banquet is appropriate … and very exciting!!

Myself along with the rest of our Banquet committee can’t wait to enjoy it along with the rest of the celebration planned … I know its going to be a BLAST!

Anyways, see you at the meeting, sign up for the Banquet, go on the next trip, and above all else remember to spread the word about GTC!

~ Josh Robinson, 2023 President


October 27, 2022

Just outside of Central City is the Central City Cemetery where hundreds of gold miners, cowboys and their families are laid to rest.

Fox 31’s Dan Daru reports:


April 4, 2022

Several members of the Ghost Town Club of Colorado were recently interviewed by journalist Rylee Dunn of the Colorado Community Media Group, in association with the Arvada Press.  Her informative story can be found here:

The Forgotten History of Colorado’s Ghost Towns

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

Listen now

John Quincy Adams Rollins

The Ghost Town Club of Colorado once received an inquiry asking if anyone could provide information on John Quincy Adams Rollins. The inquiring person turned out to be a distant relative and came across a reference to Colorado. GTC member, Ed Bathke was not only familiar with J.Q.A. Rollins, but able to provide lots of information and even copied a six page article and sent it to the inquirer.

151st Anniversary of the Completion of the Transcontinental Railroad

In May of 2019 we were celebrating the 150th anniversary of joining of the rails of the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific Railroads with the laying of the Golden Spike at Promontory Point, Utah. In honor of that occasion, please enjoy the following “Railroad Story”.

I was enjoying a tour through Nevada with a group of other tour operators on what they call a FAM Tour. That is an inexpensive tour that states or towns give us so we will become familiar with whatever their location has to offer for tour groups, hoping we will book a tour group there and return.

We had a great time exploring some of the interesting things to see and do in Nevada and eventually we arrived in Ely, the county seat for White Pine County.

One of the activities we participated in was to fill lunch bags for elementary school students who otherwise would not have food to eat over the weekend because the school lunch program is not available on weekends. Teachers were noticing that some students would come to school on Monday morning and have no energy and could not concentrate on school subjects until after lunch. They finally realized the children needed nourishment.

Who knew that some children would go all weekend and not have enough food? Some were from a one parent family who would work on weekends or parents that were so poor they couldn’t afford food. It was a disparaging thought.

The next day however things were much more up-beat and fun. I got to do something most people only dream about as children. I got to “Be the Engineer” on the Nevada Northern Railway. It was the opportunity to be at the throttle and operate a REAL RAILROAD LOCOMOTIVE. Not just a diesel locomotive but a STEAM LOCOMOTIVE too. Oh my God! It is probably the most fun you can have with your pants on…And maybe even with your pants off!

This is not something that you can just wake up and think you want to do. You do need to meet certain requirements like be over 21 years old and have a driver’s license. You also have to be able to climb in and out of the cab and, the hard part, read and understand the safety manual and pass a written exam.

Having passed all of the requirements (it’s not as hard as you might think), I was ready for this great adventure. The diesel locomotive was first. That was a good thing because it is much less complicated than the steam locomotive.

We had a training session inside the cab of the locomotive to learn all of the controls, switches, bells and whistles before we even left the railyard. On the way out to the main line I got to watch as the “real” engineer took the locomotive out of the yard and through several switches before getting on to the main line.

Then the real fun began. It was my turn at the throttle. I sat down in the Engineer Seat and the real engineer went over all of the controls once again to make sure I understood what I needed to do.

How exciting! My turn had finally come! Even with all of the training and explanations of the controls, I was still nervous. And the thoughts went through my head, “What do I do first”. “I hope I do this right”. “If I screw up will he kick me out of the locomotive”?

Well, after a rather jerky start, things started to smooth out and soon I felt like I was Casey Jones at the throttle! TOOT TOOT!!!!

Just when you think you know it all and you are invincible, something will knock you down and put you back in your place. It was time to get in the cab of the Steam Locomotive!

What in the heck are all of those valves and gauges? I have no idea what they do or what they mean? Even after an extensive explanation, I still had no idea. The Engineer said not to worry. He would take care of all of those. I didn’t even have to worry about shoveling coal. He had a guy to do that. So again I sat down in the Engineer Seat and panic struck again, and once again. after a jerky start, things started to smooth out. This time though, I had no thoughts of feeling like Casey Jones. I still don’t know what most of those valves and gauges are. But I do know that the experience is something I will never forget.

And, the most fun of the whole experience is blowing the whistle and making traffic stop when you go through a railroad crossing. What a feeling of POWER!

~ Lee “Casey Jones” Dahl

Why did that bottle turn purple?

(First published in the Ghost Town Club Gazette in September, 1963)

Jerry Coon (GTC’s first President) and I were camped at Monument Valley in Arizona this spring and had gotten up before sunrise to try for a neat picture of the Mitten Buttes and rising sun. Another man and his wife had the same idea, so we struck up a conversation near our readied tripods. They had just hiked the Grand Canyon a few days earlier, as did we. His name was Dr. John Sheldon, a scientist with the Corning Glass Works of New York. He explained that he was doing research on making an optical glass that automatically turns dark when exposed to sunlight in order to design eyeglasses that would also serve as sunglasses as needed. Today we know this as “photo-grey”, “transition”, etc.

I asked him if he could explain why old bottles, which Ghost Town Club people loved to collect, turned purple. “Of Course,” he said, “It’s called solarization. Back in the 1800’s, glass makers came on a popular formula of manganese and iron additives to make a sparkly clear glass. Manganese dioxide, or pyrolucite, has a faint purple color and was added to glass to offset the yellow-greenish cast of the iron compounds. Little did they know, until time passed by, that the ultra-violet rays from the sun would solarize the glass due to electron transfer in the manganese and iron, which have multiple valences. The energy of the absorbed radiation removes an ion from the divalent manganese which is then trapped by a ferric ion. The reaction is written:
Mn(2) + Fe(3) +hv=Mn(3) +Fe(2) and the glass turns purple.”

Dr. Sheldon mailed me this information after he returned to New York. In the 20th century glass makers learned new formulas to make clear glass that would not solarize. Bottles and other glass items that turned purple led to a grand collector sport and included all kinds of historic bottle searching to look for in old town dumps, under outhouses, etc. around ghost towns. Most of us have been familiar with photo-grey glasses for a long time, but back in 1963, it was still a new idea in the laboratory.

~ Ron Ruhoff, 2017 Vice President


Exploration, enjoyment, and preservation of historic sites

Ron Morse 74 - High Res

Header Image Credit (Caribou): GTC member Megan Falzon