Preservation

One of the drawbacks to ghost-towning is the sad fact that due to weather, vandalism and general decay, ghost towns throughout the West are slowly disappearing. In the 1960’s and 1970’s the U.S. Forest Service tore down, or burned many historic structures under the guise of returning the land to its wilderness state. In addition, in recent years more people are moving into even the most remote corners of the high country, and building homes or “fixing up” structures in abandoned towns.

As early as 1971, the Ghost Town Club of Colorado began formulating ideas for preserving our vanishing cultural resource. In July of that year, a preservation seminar was held and then a workshop in March, 1974. In 1975 club member John Dillavou became our first Preservation Chair. A Preservation Fund was started in the late 1970’s and a monthly book drawing was established as a fund raiser. In 1982 the first of several auctions was held to benefit Preservation. Each year contributions are made from the Fund to various non-profit organizations, usually for specific projects such as stabilization of historic structures, painting or roofing.

In August 1983 the Club began its own grass-roots preservation effort with the first of many workdays at historic sites throughout Colorado. Our first project, in conjunction with the Aspen Historical Society, was the restoration of a cabin at Independence for the use of a “ghost” or summer caretaker. The historic log cabin was shored up and a new roof and floor were installed by Club volunteers. By the end of the day, the “ghost” could be found resting inside his new digs after a hard day of watching the rest of us work!

The following October, a group of volunteers got an “up close and personal” look at Black Hawk’s famed Lace House while painting its ornate gingerbread exterior. In August of 1987, Club members spent a three day weekend putting a new roof on the Duncan House at Animas Forks (see image above). The next year, on a Labor Day weekend field trip to Marble, the Club took a day off from sightseeing to paint the old schoolhouse, now a museum, as well as clear the brush and debris from the site of the Marble finishing plant. In May 1990, we gathered at the Moore House in Central City, a former brothel, to scrape off layers of wallpaper inside, paint portions of the exterior and plant flowers.

The Club’s most ambitious effort so far has been the restoration of the firehouse at Eureka, northeast of Silverton. Volunteers spent a full week in the area in 1993 and again in 1995, putting on a new roof and replacing the siding which had been removed years before by vandals. In 1997, a group assembled at the Denver Public Schools Outdoor Education Center near Jamestown to work on the assay office at one of the historic mines on the property.

~ Rich Dais, 1998 Archivist & Historian


PRESERVATION FUND

The Ghost Town Club of Colorado is dedicated to the preservation and maintenance of ghost towns, mining camps and historic sites. To accomplish this goal, the club created a Preservation Fund to help support numerous preservation projects. Because we are a 501(c)(7) non-profit organization, we are able to earmark 100% of all donations directly to qualified projects protected by a non-profit preservation society.

The Ghost Town Club of Colorado also contributes to the preservation of historical sites by direct involvement in work days. All members who are interested in working on preservation projects have the opportunity to have a “hands on” experience by volunteering their time and labor to help preserve historic sites.

If you’re interested in making a donation to the Ghost Town Club of Colorado Preservation Fund, please email us.


PRESERVATION FUND DONATIONS

2021

The Ghost Town Club of Colorado was honored to donate to:

HistoriCorps – Workforce for Saving Places
HistoriCorps fosters a preservation ethic by engaging volunteers of all skill levels with a hands-on experience in preserving historic structures. Volunteers work with HistoriCorps field staff to learn preservation skills and put those skills to work saving historic places that have fallen into disrepair. HistoriCorps works to ensure America’s cultural and historical resources exist for generations to come.

Photo Credit: HistoriCorps

World Wonder View Tower | Genoa, Colorado
The Tower requires structural repairs, and new exterior paint.

Photo Credit: GTC member Jason Messing
From Left: Ed Bathke, Jason Messing, Ron Ruhoff, Josh Robinson
Photo credit: GTC member Josh Robinson

The Trust for Land Restoration
Continued effort by TLR to stabilize the Idarado Mine Houses located along Hwy 550 near Ouray, Colorado. Plans call for stabilization of the building foundations, rebuilding a collapsed roof, removing asbestos floor tiles, repairing dilapidated roofing and siding, and repainting over lead paint.

Photo Credit: GTC member Jason Messing

2020

The Ghost Town Club of Colorado was honored to donate to:

Fort Uncompahgre on the Old Spanish Trail Interpretive Center, Delta, Colorado. They have many goals including connecting the Old Spanish Trail to the River Trail, native seed plots, Ute Council Tree and Wiki-up site.

Cross Orchards Historic Site, Grand Junction, Colorado. Many current projects include replacing deteriorated wooden walkways, work on the historic barn and other immediate needs.

Friends of New Raymer, Inc. Goal is to restore the Star Filling station known locally as Texaco/Center Street, to allow a glimpse into the settler’s lives.

Temple Aaron, Trinidad, Colorado. This is the oldest synagogue in Colorado. The project requires funds to repair the roof, and add heating.

Rio Blanco Historical Society, Meeker, Colorado. Continued maintenance and preservation of the Milk Creek Battle Site (aka Meeker Massacre Site)

2019

The Ghost Town Club of Colorado was honored to donate to:

The Trust for Land Restoration.  TLR is a non-profit made up of a team of dedicated professionals from environmental consulting, law, conservation, business, government relations, and public policy, who have chosen to give back by donating time and talent to help the communities TLR serves. This is especially important because so many of the communities TLR works with are small, Western Slope towns with limited financial resources.

Update on Project Progress: TLR reported to GTC that they have brokered a deal in which Newmont Corporation has donated the four remaining houses located at the Idarado overlook on US 550 between Ouray and Silverton. The houses were originally built in Eureka (northeast of Silverton) before 1920. After Eureka was abandoned, ten of the houses were hauled in 1948, one at a time over unpaved Red Mountain Pass and placed on the hillside overlooking the Idarado operation. When the Idarado shut down in 1978, the ten houses were abandoned and today only four remain. TLR plans to stabilize, restore, preserve and protect the houses to be a focus of historic interest and a major part of the Million Dollar Highway/San Juan Scenic Byway for generations to come.

Many Ghost Towners remember meeting, and working with Bev Rich from Silverton and the San Juan Historical Society Bev serves as Secretary of TLR and has been instrumental in the incredible work of TLR. Many of their projects are very familiar to Ghost Towners, such as Ironton, the Garard property, the Yankee Girl, the Mountaintop Mine in Governor Basin, Guston Depot, Corkscrew Turntable and many other sites in San Juan, Ouray and San Miguel Counties.

The TLR website provides very interesting information on the projects they are working on. Check out www.restorationtrust.org


2018

Cokedale Mining Museum
Colorado Model Railroad Museum
Historic Elitch Theater
Historic Northrup Theater
Rimrocker Historical Society
Rocky Mountain Land Library
Roxborough Area Historical Society
Saguache County Museum

2017

Golden Landmark Association
Hugo UP Roundhouse
Rimrocker Historical Society
Rocky Mountain Land Library

2016

Cherry Creek Valley Historical Society
Indian Park Schol House Association
Rimrocker Historical Society
Rocky Mountain Land Library

2015

Marble Historical Society
Rimrocker Historical Society
Virginia Dale Stage Station

2014

Park County Historic Preservation
Rimrocker Historical Society
Rocky Mountain Land Library

2011

Carousel of Happiness, Inc.
Colorado Preservation, Inc.
Denver Public Schools; Balarat
Historic Elitch Gardens Theater Foundation
Sedalia Historic Museum and Gardens
Victor Improvement Association

2002

Denver Astronomical Society
Nederland Historical Society
Nevadaville Masonic Temple Assocation
Shakespeare Ghost Town, Inc.
San Juan County Historical Society
South Platte Valley Historical Society
Temple Israel Foundation

2001

Amache Preservation Society
First Congregational Church of Silverton
Historic Boulder, Inc.
Summit Historical Society

2000

Adams County Historical Society
Amache Preservation Society
San Juan County Historical Society
Shakespeare Ghost Town, Inc.

1999

Amache Preservation Society
McGraw Ranch
Niwot Cemetery Association
San Juan Historical Society

1998

Colorado Preservation, Inc.
Friends of Riverside Cemetery
Friends of Roxborough State Park
Friends of the Ute Museum
Humphrey Memorial Park and Museum
San Juan County Historical Society
Town of Fraser Walk Through History

1997

Clear Creek Canyon Historical Society
Gunnison Forest Service
Rocky Mountain Railroad Historical Fdn.
San Juan County Historical Society

1996

Creede Historical Society
Denver Public Schools; Balarat
Historic Georgetown

1995

City of Greeley Museums
Historic Jay Em, WY
South Platte Valley Historical Society
Summit Historical Society

1994

Friends of the Plains Conservation Center
Garnet Preservation Association
Gunnison Forest Service
Gunnison Historical Society
Friends of Historic Ft. Logan
Sargents Historical Society
South Platte Valley Historical Society
Summit Historical Society

1993

Creede Historical Society
Historic Georgetown
Historic Georgetown
Grand County Historical Association
Marble Historical Society
Pioneer Historical Society of Bent County
San Juan County Historical Society
San Juan County Historical Society
St Elmo Historic Society
USFS Arapaho & Roosevelt NF

1992

Cokedale Historical Society
Marble Historical Society
San Juan County Historical Society

1991

Pioneer Historical Society of Bent County
Friends of Roxborough State Park
Marble Historical Society
Rollins Pass Restoration Association
USFS South Park Ranger District

1990

Central City Opera House
Friends of Custer Museum
Friends of Roxborough State Park
Grand County Historical Association
Pioneer Historical Society of Bent County
Yankee Fork Dredge, ID

1989

Goldfield, CO
Holy Cross Road Restoration

1988

Shakespeare Ghost Town, Inc.

1987

Kit Carson County Carousel Association
Marble Historical Society
San Juan County Historical Society

1986

Garnet Preservation Association
Goldfield, CO
Gunnison Historical Society
Marble Historical Society

1985

Goldfield, CO
Gunnison Historical Society
Ouray County Historical Society
Rollins Pass Restoration Association

1984

Aspen Historical Society
Briggsdale Museum
Central City Opera House
Grand County Historical Association
Gunnison Historical Society
Old Mill Museum, NM
Ouray County Historical Society
Shakespeare, NM

1983

Marble Historical Society
San Juan County Historical Society

1982

Aspen Historical Society
Goldfield, CO
Grand County Museum
Historic Paramount Foundation, Inc
San Juan County Historical Society

1981

Aspen Historical Society
Rimrocker Historical Society

1979

Marble Historical Society

1978

Goldfield, CO
Gunnison Historical Society
Historic Denver
Nevadaville


HELP US ADVOCATE FOR PRESERVATION!

Passionate about Preservation? Join GTC today! and help us support historic projects! Questions, or comments on how you can get involved? Please contact us for more information!