Colorado History Buffs -

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post #1 of 26 Old 10-19-2012, 09:10 AM Thread Starter
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Colorado History Buffs

Any of you guys Colorado history buffs?

One reason I got into 4-wheeling was to get to remote townsites and explore them. I loved the old mining history, explorers, road builders, etc... The challenges they went through seems appealing to me.

I typically end up buying books for various areas I explore and read up on them before/after the trips.

History facts:
1) The town of Tincup (in Taylor Park, at the base/west side of Tincup Pass) has 5 cemeteries. One for each religion of the area at the time and then a "miscelanious" cemetery for everyone else.

2) The town of Caribou (outside of Nederland at the top of Eldorado Trail/Caribou trail's) was thriving up until moose rubbed their antlers on the logs holding up the wall to the school house which knocked them down. A short time later before they repaired it, wind (which is bad in that open meadow) came through and blew down the school. The moms/kids moved out as a result to keep their kids in school and the dads/miners followed. The mine (Caribou Silver Mine) is still running today though.

3) Eldorado trail is named after the town at the base of it - Eldora, CO. Eldora used to be named Eldorado, but they kept getting their mail mixed up between Eldorado, CA, and Eldorado, CO. So Eldorado dropped off the two letters and became Eldora, CO.

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post #2 of 26 Old 10-19-2012, 08:48 PM
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Yea man, good stuff. Here's a great resource:

In particular, I was just through Argentine Pass ~ Waldorf and Santiago Mines:

Wish I had more time to do that kind of research. Hard and admirable times back then.

If you don't have time to do it right, how will you ever find time to do it again?
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post #3 of 26 Old 10-19-2012, 09:33 PM
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I'm really into the mining aspect ie gold,towns,gold panning,metal detection.
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post #4 of 26 Old 10-20-2012, 08:17 AM
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I agree! One of the reasons I love Jeeping so much is because of how up close and personal you can get to our past by getting off road and exploring.
For example, last weekend I really wanted to go check out the Moffat Tunnel over in Gilpin County but nobody wanted to go that far...boooooo. The historical significance of the tunnel is fascinating. This was a $23 million(with interest) project that was finally finished in 1928. 19 people died during construction but that was considered a necessary sacrifice in order to open up freight movement to the other side of the divide in an affordable way. Before the tunnel, freight had to be moved over Rollins Pass and through Needle Eye Tunnel which was just not profitable, just took too long and cost to much $$. Today the tunnel is still used including the adjacent Moffat Pipeline which transports a portion of Denver's water.
Cant wait to go check it out and learn more about this very important piece of Colorado history. From what I understand, you can pick up literature on it at almost any local business.
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post #5 of 26 Old 10-20-2012, 10:06 AM
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I love the ghost towns, old mines, and abandoned railroads in Colorado.
Check out the St.Elmo/Alpine tunnel area, lots of neat stuff!

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post #6 of 26 Old 10-20-2012, 10:38 AM
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I have been through the Russell Gulch cemetery (Southwest of Central City) and was surprised at the young ages of the kids. I wonder if some issue spread through the area to end their lives or if it was just the way things were. If you hit the Google map and Satellite view it - the cemetery is in the trees south/southeast of the parking area.

I may have posted it before, but the thread reminds me of it. If you havn't see'm, you may well like'm...
Then and Now Images (from a Colorado rider) from
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post #7 of 26 Old 10-20-2012, 10:49 AM
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Love the history of CO. One of the few places left anywhere in America where you can go to one ghost town, mine, or historic area and see how it evolved into what it is today or go out on a trail to see what it looked like then.

Areas I really like the history of include the area around Silverton and Telluride. The mines that ran around Red Mountain for example that were used to move an astronomical amount of precious metals for a little over 100 years if my memory serves me correct. And I especially love the San Jauns, there are a lot of mines and towns tucked up around Cinnamon Pass that are still "undisturbed." The build up and tear down of mining and the silver boom/panic of 1893 killed most of them. Just absolutely fascinating and astounding how much humans would put up with just to start a new life or try to make a fortune.

On another note, towns such as Crested Butte seem to try and forget their history (coal mining which died out, and eventually saved by the ski resort in Mt. Crested Butte) and that to me is a shame. Mining built so much in these remote areas, why forget it?

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post #8 of 26 Old 10-20-2012, 11:36 AM
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A bit of not to old history.

Back in the 1960's(1967,69) the US government with energy companies, set off 4 nuclear bombs underground here in Colorado. In an effort to extract natural gas . The ultimate FRACKING.
Well, it worked, sort of. It DID produce commercial quantities of gas. But...It was radioactive(can we say DUH).
These nukes... 1 was exploded just outside Parachute, 3 were exploded just north of Rifle.
The well heads were sealed and wasn't tried again.

Fast forward to now...

An oil company just petitioned the county to drill an exploratory well to see how radioactive the gas is today. The oil company was refused. For now...
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post #9 of 26 Old 10-23-2012, 07:43 AM Thread Starter
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If anyone else has stories/history of areas please post them up - I would find them interesting to read about.

At the end of MSV (Middle St. Vrain) is Indian Peak Wilderness. Head West on foot/horse for a short bit and then South (which now heads up some switch backs) and you hit Red Dear Lake. Pretty and peaceful lake. Head South a bit more and you're now directly West of the end of Coney Flats. When I hike in the area I park here frequently and sometimes leave my Jeep overnight for multiple nights. Makes me nervous but it has never been a problem yet. Now look West and that is Buchanan Pass. I was told it is the lowest pass within 100 miles of I-70. Back in the day it was considered as the pass to take I-70 over. Imagine how different Winter Park would be (booming) and the I-70 corridor ski resorts would be (much smaller).

Take it over, and you drop into a valley that heads West/Northwest. It'll put you out at Grand Lake, just North of Lake Granby.

Leaving Red Deer Lake after arriving around 10pm the previous night.

Looking ahead at Buchanan Pass:

Waterfall on the East side:

Looking back at where we came from:

Made camp just South of the lake. On the other side of the bushes in the background of this photo we heard moose tromping around all night. Made for a very unrestful night.

'04 WJ, 6" Clayton LA's, 242 SYE, 35" BFG MT KM2's, 4.56 gears, & D44a locked
'14 WK2 Limited w/5.7L, ORAI, & Tow Package
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post #10 of 26 Old 11-02-2012, 12:30 PM
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post #11 of 26 Old 11-11-2012, 10:59 AM
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My wife just bought me a surprise. I was a road trip east for family issues and when I got back she had a 2008 Wrangler sitting in the driveway for me... I love Colorado mining history and the fur trade era history of this great state. New to forum...
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post #12 of 26 Old 11-11-2012, 06:58 PM
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Welcome to the forum. Don't forget to check out also. It tends to be more populated.
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post #13 of 26 Old 01-10-2013, 05:58 PM
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I'm a huge Colorado history buff as well being born and raised in Estes Park. I have been enjoying this thread so far.
I've been reading up on some of the trails on traildamage trying to figure out some good trails for summer.
What's the favorite trails for sights and scenery?

Edit- A article I found awhile ago and found it pretty interesting-
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post #14 of 26 Old 01-11-2013, 08:25 AM Thread Starter
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Not much beats the San Juans for scenery IMHO.

This page has lots of info on Rollins Pass & the railroad that used to go over:
This page has various articles on cities around Colorado:

Both are interesting reads.

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'14 WK2 Limited w/5.7L, ORAI, & Tow Package
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post #15 of 26 Old 02-02-2013, 06:38 AM
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Rollins pass area is awesome. there is some fun wheeling on jenny creek trail, and going up to the tunnel is pretty cool. the day we went there was still alot of snow up there.

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