Colorado’s Best Ghost Towns

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Colorado’s Best Ghost Towns
Series Title:
Colorado’s Best Ghost Towns
Leavitt, Craig
Place of Publication:
Denver, CO
Center for Colorado and the West
Publication Date:

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Auraria Library
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Auraria Library
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Colorados Best Ghost Towns | Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library[12/8/2015 11:14:16 AM] Home Colorados Best Ghost TownsColorados Best Ghost TownsSubmitted by nwharton on 12-6-2011 09:38 AMAuthor: Kenneth Jessen Publishing: Loveland, CO: J.V. Publications, 2011. viii + 136 pages. Color photographs, maps, index, bibliography. 8" x 10". $19.95 paperback. Reviewer: Craig Leavitt Kenneth Jessens Colorados Best Ghost Towns documents dozens of the states most picturesque, accessible, and historically interesting abandoned communities in a glossy and attractive book with an abundance of color photos. Jessen used a rating system to narrow down the 1,600 ghost towns he has surveyed across the state to a more manageable 105. The criteria for Jessens ratings included the degree to which a town is truly abandoned, its accessibility to visitors, its aesthetic qualities, its setting, and the amount of verifiable history attached to it. Each entry gives the geographic coordinates and elevation of the ghost town, a brief narrative describing the origin and demise of the town, and any special instructions for visiting it. Jessens book looks at several sites of particular significance. His photographs of the dilapidated business district of Ludlow, site of the notorious 1914 massacre of striking coal miners and their families, belie the horrific violence that occurred there. The Grenada Relocation Center, better known as Amache, was the location of a detention center for Japanese Americans during World War II. Jessen writes that the barren, treeless land in southeast Colorado was in stark contrast to the lush coastal areas of California, home of most evacuees(116). The crumbling remains of Dearfield, east of Greeley, are testament to a failed early twentieth-century experiment by a group of African American farmers to achieve self-sufficiency; an extended drought during the 1930s combined with the Great Depression put an end to the dreams of these families(127). Jessens book shines through its spectacular photographs of decaying structures, and the anecdotes that accompany them, which are by turns poignant and amusing. In 1896, the lessee of the Mackey Mine near Apex in Gilpin County was swindled by a partner and left without sufficient operating capital to work the mine. In frustration and disgust, he placed all his remaining dynamite in the mine, lit the fuse and went home. But when the miner returned the next day, Jessen writes, the explosion had uncovered what he had been seeking all along . rich gold ore(9). The Wild Irishman silver mine in Summit County was worked by a former New York City policeman named Michael Dulhaney in the late 1870s. Jessen repeats the unlikely legend that Dulhaney, who worked his claim wearing his old policemans hat, was so excited when he finally hit pay-dirt that his hollering for joy caused a flash flood in St. John Creek, which wiped out three other mining camps!(41). Colorados Best Ghost Towns is not Jessens first book on the subject. The Loveland-based historian has twenty books to his name, including Ghost Towns, Colorado Style a three-volume set covering abandoned mountain communities, as well as Ghost Towns, Eastern Colorado focused on the plains. While these EXPLORE BY MEDIABook Reviews Photographs Video Biographies New Publications Resource Guides County Newspaper HistoriesEXPLORE BY TOPICLand & Natural Resources Government & Law Agriculture Mining Commerce & Industry Transportation People & Places Communication Healthcare & Medicine Education & Libraries Cultural Communities Recreation & Entertainment Tourism ReligionEXPLORE BY CULTUREHispanic Native AmericanThe Ute people have lived in Colorado longer than anyone else.


Colorados Best Ghost Towns | Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library[12/8/2015 11:14:16 AM] Auraria Library 303-556-4587 1100 Lawrence Street Denver, Colorado 80204 In the News Partners & Donations About Us Contact Us earlier volumes were heavy on historical detail, Colorados Best Ghost Towns is aimed at a more casual audience of tourists and armchair historians. It will appeal to anyone who is fascinated by Colorados frontier era, as well as those looking for a picturesque destination for a weekend excursion. Reviewer Info: Craig Leavitt is a graduate student in public history at the University of Colorado Denver, and is a 2011 2012 Koch fellow at History Colorado. His current projects include researching the history of Winks Lodge, a mountain resort built by and for African Americans in Pinecliffe, Colorado, during the early twentiethcentury segregation era, and a book chronicling the history of the Hilltop Heritage Association, a Denver group that fought to prevent the destruction of their neighborhoods character by rampant real estate speculation and development. His publications include an essay on Denver native Neal Cassady, included in the Routledge Press anthology Across the Great Divide: Cultures of Manhood in the American West and an analysis of folk singer Woody Guthries place in western U.S. history, published in the University of Colorado Denvers Historical Studies Journal Add new comment