Famous Ghost Towns America, I love ghost towns. They are amongst my favorite places to stop off on any trip. Full of history and stories, both told, untold and muffled. Or imagined, however you chose to look at it. I can remember one summer, when we stopped at the ghost town of Independence. Once the highest town in America. Independence, sitting atop the continental divide in Colorado. Or should I say slumping, as it was gradually sliding down the steep mountainside and likely had been since its inception.
Human beings aren’t meant to live at such elevations and the town was only there due to Silver. Once the silver mine there played out, it disappeared leaving only foundations and a few shacks.
I sat there that summer in the chilly sun, while my small ones scrambled in and out of the doorways pretending they were pioneer children. I sat in the grass that never grew tall smelling wildflowers huddled close to the ground that smelled sweet but could not last and dreamed stories of women beleaguered by chores at such an elevation. Women who in my mind begged their husbands to move to the lower elevations where life would be easier if only because it were easier to breathe. Women who dreamed of going to Denver where perhaps they could wash their laundry at a mile high and hang it without losing their breath rather than take half a day with it as it surely did at five miles high.
It was an impossible town and so lasted only a scant amount of years. It had likely few stories.
There are other towns with more stories. Like the gold rush town I lived in when I was little; Columbia, California, which is still there as a working and living town. Gold is still in those hills but it’s also a tourist town. When I was little we received free rent for our cabin if we dressed up during the day in period dress and my mum hung her laundry out front for the tourist to look at. They watched us and pointed from the stage coach during the day. The same coach we caught rides on in the evening as it went through the back of the town to the barn. We stared at them too, the visitors. I was only four but it seemed strange to me that they would pay money to have their picture taken on the back of my mule Mariah in town, which is how my family made money for the year we were there.