Since the second quarter of the nineteenth century, changing conditions have built and emptied small and large towns across the Colorado plain. At the time when Denver was little more than an overpopulated campsite along Cherry Creek there were numerous other settlements to the east and south, each with its own dreams of growth, gold or silver strikes, railroad connections, and rising influence over the surrounding territory. In Ghosts of the Colorado Plains, Eberhart traces some 150 of these ill-fated settlements, providing accounts of their birth, peak activity, and ultimate demise.
As early trapping, mining, cattle, farming, and transportation industries brought successive waves of “easterners” into the territory, they created some of the most colorful communities of their time. The trail towns Boston and Trail City were reputed to be two of the roughest towns in the entire west. Real estate schemers and promoters offered dreams of civilization and respectability in the “cow towns.” Elsewhere, the stage stations, side of the road settlements, and farm centers arose out of the basic necessities of commerce and from a simple desire of far-flung settlers, trappers, and others for a place to congregate, celebrate, trade, brawl, and receive news from the east. Though the personalities and events which animated these communities are all but forgotten, the towns themselves are the legacy of the competing forces that opened and developed the Colorado territory.
Readers of Guide to Colorado Ghost Towns and Mining Camps will welcome Ghosts of the Colorado Plains as an extension of Eberhart’s colorful blend of history and on-site information to a larger and much neglected area of the state. Through historical records, vignettes of personalities, and over 250 photos and 80 maps, Eberhart provides ready access to the towns and settlment sites of eastern Colorado’s past. For travelers, Ghosts of the Colorado Plains offers numerous pleasant excursions and investigations; for those less inclined to take to the field in search of artifacts and sites, the book offers fascinating glimpses of Colorado’s disappearing past.