Saturday, October 31, 2015

Hauntings in Central City, Colorado

        If you take Eureka Street west out of Central City,
in about a mile, you will come to at least four cemeteries--the Central City Cemetery, the Knights of Pythias, the Masonic, and the Catholic Cemeteries. 
Image result for photos fall leavesThe sun is shining, and the trees are bursting with fall colors, all seems right with the world. Until you get there...

     Clouds roll in. 

                                          The sky grows dim, and the breeze grows cold. 
There are hundreds of ornate stone markers and intricate grill work, doting the landscape, with headstones dating back to the 1860s.
         Some  plots still seem well tended, others seem forlorn.  

Sadly many are children's graves, and the inscriptions don't always list birth date, but record date of death and the number of years, months and days they lived. 

Passing through the 
gates of the Knights of Pythias was like walking into a different realm. The terrain is wild and uneven, branches not caring that they block your path. Brambles and vines reaching for your ankles as you make your way along.

A little farther away is the Masonic Cemetery and the grave of John Cameron who died in 1887 at the age of 21. Information on who John was is rather vague. It is known that he was a local miner. 

  As the story goes, twice a year, a lady dressed in black Victorian regalia appears bringing flowers to the grave site. The date of her visits seems to vary, some say it is on April 15 and Halloween, other April 5th and November 1st. November 1st makes sense as this is the day John died. Several sightings have been reported, but when approached, the Lady In Black quickly disappears into the woods. 

 Supposedly, another of these old cemeteries holds the remains of a woman who was determined by her peers to be a witch. If you can find the grave, it is said when you stand a few yards away and watch, a green mist will surround the area. Further witnesses purport that if the lighting is right, hundreds of maggots can be seen covering the ground. 

Several of the played out mines inspire tales of hauntings as well. Although the actual mine was closed over 85 years ago, rumor has it the Pozo shaft still remains home to a few ghostly miners.

Many a night-time skeptic has become a believer when they see faint yellow lights coming from the old mine and hear the sounds of men working deep down in the abandoned shaft. (photo is not the Pozo shaft)

  I didn't see any ghosts, but there was definitely an eerie aura about the area, and that was in the light of day! 

             Wherever you are on October 31st, wishing you a
                   HAPPY HAUNTED HALLOWEEN.  

photo's by Steve Brown and Gini.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Central City, Colorado: the "Richest Square Mile on Earth"

Central City is located in the rough and rugged Rocky Mountains, 35 miles west of Denver. At an elevation of 8,496 feet, it stands ready to face the elements..
How did it all start? 
On May 6th, 1859, John H. Gregory found a gold-bearing vein in Gregory Gulch. By 1860, as many as 10,000 prospectors had flocked to the town, then known as Mountain City. This great influx of people was due the Pike's Peak Gold Rush, named for the not too distant mountain. 

The Gregory Lode was located between Black Hawk and Central City. Within two months, many other veins were discovered, including the Bates, Gunnell, Kansas, and Burroughs.


During the early days, many Chinese lived in Central City, working the placer deposits of Gregory Gulch. They were forbidden work in the underground mines. Most of them are believed to have returned to China after making their stake.

The year 1863 brought the first attempt by hard rock miners to form a hard rock miners' union. 

Of  the 125 miners signing a union resolution in Central City, fifty or so workers got out of hand breaking windows and doors at the Bob Tail mine. After a night of shooting and fighting, the union effort among Central City miners failed.

                                                     Not everyone in Colorado struck it rich, but those who settled in Central City were never hard up for wild times. In 1861 alone Central City recorded 217 fist fights, 97 revolver fights, 11 Bowie knife fights and one dog fight. Amazingly, no one was killed. 

   In 1871 the Republican Convention was held in Central City. And even that turned rowdy when the second floor of Washington Hall collapsed and deposited 200 (uninjured) men into the Recorder's office on the first floor.
   Central City had its share of fame. In 1872 the Teller House Hotel was built, and was said to be the finest hotel west of the Mississippi River. In 1873 President Ulysses S. Grant came to see his friend Henry Teller and his new hotel. 

Unfortunately, in 1874 most of the buildings in Central City were destroyed by fire. The town was rebuilt, this time of brick and stone; most of these stand today.

The grand opening of the Opera House in 1878 began a tradition of entertainment ranging from opera to vaudeville. Buffalo Bill performed there as well at P. T. Barnum's circus. 

Over the years many movies have been filmed here; several by Cowboy Tom Mix as well as "The Duchess and the Dirtwater Fox", portions of the TV mini-series "Centennial" and "Dream West", and several Perry Mason episodes.

    Marie Curie used to mine in an area south of the Glory Hole mine for her radium studies in Paris. Public health practitioner Dr. Florence Sabin lived in the mining camp and was the first female physician to graduate from John Hopkins University. Baby Doe Tabor, wife of the silver magnate Horace Tabor, was another resident of Central City and Black Hawk.

 Around the card table, frontier gambler Poker Alice, a player and a dealer, could be found. 


   Gold mining in the Central City district decreased rapidly between 1900 to 1920, as the veins were exhausted, and then virtually shut down during World War II when gold mining was declared nonessential to the war effort. The district was enlivened in the 1950's by efforts to locate uranium deposits, but these proved unsuccessful.

   The 1900 census dwindled to 3,114 people, and in the last U.S. Census of 2010 the city population was only 663.                                                                           
But while the gold in them there hills may have disappeared, the hope of gold on them there tables is still a draw at the casinos. 

                      Cody James, and Marshal Virgil Kincaid, 
                        enjoy a bit of poker and chance. 
                                     Check them out in 

Monday, October 19, 2015


    Being an author of historical romance it was with great joy that on a recent jaunt up to Central City, Colorado, my sister and I discovered a wonderful shop taking old time photos. 

  It's called Reliving the Past, and is run by the lovely and talented Milda. 303-582-3881                                                 

   You can chose from several settings including Western, Steampunk, and straight Victorian settings. And she also has a line of beautiful clothing for sale. Miraculously, I managed to curb my addiction for costumes and headgear (at least that day).

                   My dress and hat were amazing, and I felt like 
              I just stepped out of the pages of "Gone With the Wind".

                           And thanks to Milda's expertise, 
          and a little photo-shopping, we both looked totally terrific. 

Follow my characters on their many adventures in this fabulous era.                     Available in e-book or paperback
      at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and The Wild Rose Press. 

                                                                   Amazon link
                                           The Wild Rose Press 

                                           Amazon link
                                     Barnes # Noble
                                         The Wild Rose Press

                                            Barnes & Noble
                                      The Wild Rose Press 

                              Barnes & Noble
                                The Wild Rose Press

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

READCON 2015 Greeley/Firestone


 This year I was privileged to be part of two Colorado ReadCon Books & Brews events. One in Greeley, and one in Firestone.

Zoe's Cafe was our host in
Greeley. The town, once known as the Union Colony, was founded in 1869. An experimental Utopian community, the land was purchased by Nathan C. Meeker, a newspaper reporter from New York City. 
   Greeley is a beautiful site at the confluence of the Cache la Poudre and South Platte Rivers (including the area of Latham, an Overland Trail station).

  The name Union Colony was later changed to Greeley in honor of Horace Greeley, who was Meeker's editor at the New York Tribune, and who popularized the phrase "Go West, young man". 

                         At Zoe's Cafe...
                                                    we had a HUGE turnout. 


     And a costume contest. 
with music by Banjo Andy                                      
                                  A most enjoyable evening all around. 

                              The Firestone Books and Brews 
                                  was held at the impressive 
                              Carbon Valley Regional library. 

Wish I could wander around in here for the entire weekend, exploring and finding new books.  

    Before Firestone became a city, the surrounding area drew settlers around Fort Junction, a sod fortress built between 1863 and 1865. Fort Junction was manned by St. Vrain Valley Home Guard – a volunteer militia used during the Colorado Wars to keep pioneers safe from Indian attacks. 

The  McKissick 
brothers John, William, and Thomas were Home Guard volunteers. John and Thomas became County Sheriffs and William discovered coal in southwestern Weld County. 

Calling the coal town Firestone was influenced by the fact that Jacob Firestone, of Ohio, was a large investor in the mine. 

     Okay, Back to ReadCon. There's so much history all around out here it's hard not to get sidetracked.

       Firestone = Fun, Food, and Frivolity   
       With music by The Prairie Scholars.
              Andy and Jessica Eppler   
                                      Had a wonderful table,
                    my sister always finds the best spots to set up! 

There were several really cool dioramas around the library... 


                            My favorite, featuring DRAGONS. 


                        Again, we had a wonderful evening. 
   Much thanks to Peter Derk and all the gracious employees and volunteers in the Farr Regional Library, the Carbon Valley Regional Library, and the High Plains Library District. 

     With special thanks to Kathy Brown for sharing the adventure, and taking great photos.