Friday, October 2, 2015

Laws of Control


For whatever reason, lawmakers feel they can control people with laws.  Look at all of the laws they have passed to regulate the behavior of what is referred to as sin.  These are the alcohol and tobacco taxes and regulations.  Included in that is firearms.  There is a federal agency specifically to oversee alcohol, tobacco and firearms, ATF.   This agency has been around for more then a few decades.  What problems have they solved?

This type of government laws flow from people that have serious psychological disorders of “Power and Control.”  These people tend to want to be in positions of authority and when one looks at the members of congress, lots of psychological unstable can be seen.

With all of the laws and taxes that have been passed to stop a certain behavior, people still drink alcohol, use tobacco and shoot guns. 

Bootleggers have made a nice living off of these inane laws of the federal government.  Even when they are caught and punished the bootlegging goes on. 

Sometimes, I think the government lawmakers take stupid pills every morning and then have a contest to see who can think up the stupid law of the day.

The scary part of all of these laws, is how freedom is eroded.  Every law that is passed, restricts someone's freedom in some manner.

Now look at the constitution and see what gives the right to lawmakers to restrict your freedom……….. to find the answer….. go look in the mirror. 

Friday, September 18, 2015

Glenn, Colorado

This little farming community is along the county lines of Lincoln and Washington Counties.  There is not much left of it today.  There are a few vacant homesteads in the area and short distance away is the church and cemetery.  The barn that had housed the store and Post Office is an empty lot. 

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It is mostly farm country mixed with some ranching.  It is pretty empty country.  The homes are some distance apart and very few of the old homesteads remain.  If it was nice flat farm land, the buildings became a liability and down they came.  Where there had been homes on most road corners are now occupied by road markers.  Long gone are the days of community socials, card parties, quilting bees and the weekend dance. 

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There are occasional reminders of what used to be.

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In silent testimony a few buildings stand, harking back to other times on the prairie.  Today, many of the country folks are like the city folks, in a hurry to go someplace.  The dust whirlwind marks where the pick up is rushing across the land going somewhere.  Otherwise is is silence, occasionally the wind whispers and the grasses wave at the stroke of the breezes. 

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The church sits a distance away.  Here the early settlers met and gave thanks for being on their land.  Once a year, services are still held here.  A pastor from a nearby town journeys out into the country to help many remember their roots and their families that are in the cemetery.  It is not left to neglect, somebody gives it some good TLC at times. 

Here one can visit with the people that traveled miles across the wilderness to their own little corner of heaven  Many had gotten off the boat and made the trip cross country seeking out a new life.  So many did not make it through the dirty 30’s and walked away from their dream.  A few lasted and kept their land.  Their children went to the big city and no one to take over the operation and more farms were consolidated into one farm.  The population continues to decline today. 

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The building is nicely maintained, the pews await the next meeting.  Into the future in silence goes the little community now with more ghosts then critters. 

Here one can walk and listen to the voices of the past.  Look out over the land that held so many hope.  Look at a dream that was shattered by nature. 

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Big Bend, CO

Big Bend is one of those places that sits over there, way off the highway but the railroad went there in the early 1900’s.  It was at the end of a stub branch, no through trains, a dead end.  To lay tracks like that, Big Bend must have been a very prosperous village at one time.  Today it is a spot on a country road marked by not much of anything. 

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There is an abandoned store and garage that rest next to the road, nearby are some other empty structures and the forsaken grain elevator. 

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I found a local history book and it talks about the railroad that the farmers were building.  Sugar beets was a big business back then and small processing plants were popping up along these little towns and the railroad was a good way to serve the sugar plants.  The Ark Valley RR was formed to serve these villages. It stretched from the Kansas border to Rocky Ford on the north side of the Arkansas Valley in southern Colorado.  Along this right of way were bunches of little stops, some became towns, most were industrial sidings for the train operations. 

The valley was fertile and all types of crops could be grown.  Various canning plants opened to process vegetables, a pickle factory and other truck crops.

The little railroad thrived on the ag business of the valley.  Eventually the AT&SF Railway acquired the rail line.  It had been an original investor and soon owner of the whistle stop rail line.

When the sugar beet market failed, it marked the beginning of the end for many of these small towns.  Then farming changed and the little growers were leaving, again another changed in the valley.  In the mid 1960’s the railroad abandoned the line and soon the rails were pulled up.  Left behind were these little stops, most now dwindled down to ghost town status.   As farming continues to consolidate many more of these little bugs shrink into the land. 


after looking at a railroad time table I have a bunch of little ghosts to go looking for.  A few I have posted on before, such as Hasty Colorado, Lubbers, McClave but there a few dozen more to go looking for. It will be a kick for there are none of the old roads any more and lots of the ROW has been plowed over.  It will be to that corner, down the road a piece, curve over there and a left turn to the buildings over there…. maybe. 

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There will be lots of neat old buildings to see, ruts to dodge or bounce over but always something new around the bend.

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Abandoned chicken farm……. no…. not the chicken ranch. 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

World Basketball Champions


A story that grew into a legend of mythical proportions.  The little town on the prairie beat  the big city boys.  In 1929 the little town of Joes was the Colorado state basketball champions and went to the national championship tourney.  They progressed though the tourney but not to the finals.  Because they had beat at team that had beat a team that had beat the national champions, Joes was declared the national champions. 

Here was a little school of less then 40 students in all of 4 grades in High school.  There were 20 boys and 10 made the team.  The tiny school was the goliath slayer of the 1920’s. 

Today about all that is left of Joes is the story, now in epic proportions.  Population is less then 100 souls and the streets get rolled up at night and the wide spot on Hwy 36 is host to an occasional truck passing through in the night. 

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Sore fronts, businesses sit silent along the highway, the liquor store shows some sign of life.  Peeling paint, boarded windows, tattered shutters on long neglected shops.  The school has long closed and consolidated with neighboring schools.  The roar of the crowds are silent.  Whispering winds of the past echo over the rooftops of yesterday. 

How does the little burg cling to life.  Back a ways off the highway sits a nice well kept modern office building.  The telephone company  maintains an office building in the little village, giving it life support.

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Here are a few jobs to keep things going.  The nearest shops are not near.  A town of any size is an hours drive or better.  Here the few dwellers learn to live without lots of amenities. 

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Then there is the guy that retired and moved to Joes.  He bought an old gas station and made it into hos shop.  Here he works on his dragsters and street rods.  There is a nice house next door and is well cared for.  Time marches on while he and a couple of friends tinker in the old gas station.  More hot air is generated along with some dregs of coffee.   In the wide spot on the empty highway life motors along. 

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On the east side of town is a Memorial roadside park, picnic shelters, horseshoe pits and well manicured pasture grass. 

Hwy 36 across the eastern prairie probably has one of the best collection of little towns and old empty buildings.  It is a road of past times, passing many a ghost of other years.  From Strasburg east it is almost all ghost towns and dozens more on the country roads. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Fort Cedar Point

Fort Cedar Point, sits just off of I-70 about 80 miles east of Denver.  Nothing there to mark the site where the Colorado Militia had a fort there to protect early day travelers on the Smoky Hill trail and Benkeleman Cutoff.  For about 5 years Company F was garrisoned at the little prairie fort. 

At the crest of the hill is an exit off the Interstate for Cedar Point.  It is not close to the military post.  To the south down the exit road is where the railroad established the depot of Cedar Pint.  Here there were some houses built along with a RR depot.  The railroad had put in a turning wye for the steam engines that helped pushed the trains up the hill.  Elevation of Cedar Point is just over 6000 feet and is a pretty good climb for the trains.  Even with the high power of toady it is still an obstacle to deal with. 

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Today the railroad uses the siding at Cedar Point for a storage lot of surplus rolling stock.  Looking up from below it does not look like much of a climb.  The distance to the rails  is about 7 miles and an elevation gain of about 500 feet, a steep climb for trains. 

Devoid of trees, the land looks pretty empty.  Yet here the Indians roamed, hunting their buffalo and other game.  The hill is loaded with springs and there are pools of water in the area and small streams.  The Pikes Peak or Bust gold seekers traveled across this empty land on their way to the gold fields.  Here a trail from the north joined central plains trail. 

Cedar Point is the spine of the Palmer Divide, where the divide forks off to the Republican River Basin, separating from the Arkansas and Platte rivers.  The Arickaree River has its beginnings on the east face of Cedar Point from a series of springs.  It was this ribbon of water that early traveler followed as the Indians had been for years. 

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Along the banks of a small creek that tumbles down the hill is where Fort Cedar Point was located.  Here is where the Benkleman trail junctioned with the Smoky Hill Road.  Traffic on the Interstate whizz past the trees that are in the vicinity where the fort was.  Some old concrete footers have been found in the area, along with old military metal buttons and spent shell casings.  Nearby were a couple of state stops, One at Resolis and the other at River Bend, the old stop. 

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Nature has reclaimed most of these forgotten places, all within about 15 mile radius.  Old River Bend sits on the bend of the Big Sandy creek.  The railroad tracks curl around the hill and the old highway notch can be seen above the RR grade.  Here was  rough and tumble little town that did not survive.  Saloons, brothels and other establishments were a part of this little hell raining town.  Their boot hill cemetery is north of the River Bend exit.  There they were buried with boots on.  The old town is off the Kiowa exit and when crossing the tracks one can see the bend in the rails and where the town had been, now on private property. 

It is an area rich in old west lore, gunfights, Indian conflict and dreams lived out and lost.  Here were the buffalo hunters, going up into the hills camping on the Arickaree River.  Selling buffalo meat to the railroad, shipping the hides to the east.  Sheep roamed the hillsides, cattlemen wanted the grass land free of sheep.  The Indians lived in the woods of the Cedar Breaks, hiding from the reservation life. 

Today, trains still click on the iron rails and the cars fly by on the Interstate.  The high elevation creates nasty storms in the winter and spring.  Snow drifts of the land, burying the concrete slab in glazed white, closing the high speed roadway.  Baseball hail pummels the land in the spring and the uplift of the hills generates violence in the clouds, blasting the wind turbines with lightening.  It is a harsh land and for that reason few people live on it. 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Peoria, Colo


Much like a cat, Peoria, has had more then one life.  Today it is an exit on I-70 and a few empty building and some rubble piles mark the spot. 

Peoria had its beginnings on the smoky Hill trail during the 1860’s n 70’s.  The summer of 1870 the railroad passed through the site and they put in a depot and some section houses for a maintenance  crew.  It sits on a ridge overlooking the East Bijou Creek where there are springs and water. 

A store was built for the local settlers and later when the highway pushed through a gas station.  Peoria never became much of a town, mostly a stop on the railroad and a wide spot on the highway.  The railroad closed their facilities and the rest followed suit and soon it was an empty wide spot.

Then the Interstate was built.  Rather then isolating the area, it brought life.  Some dog people bought some land by the exit and soon the Byers race track was built.  Busloads of people traveled out the Byers racetrack at Peoria. 


The greyhounds brought the little junction back to life, well kind of.  There were a few homes built for the caretakers.  Nothing else but the race facilities.  The the racing dogs hit as pot hole and greyhound racing went into the history books.  For years the p;lace sat empty, collecting dust and tumbleweeds. 

For years it was an empty land mark next to the Interstate. 

Few years ago it was given a new life transfusion.  It was purchased and things were cleaned up, painted and new life as a race track of another type was on the horizon.

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The collector of tumbleweeds and dust was looking new and shinny.  Time rolled on and nothing more was happening.  Activity around it was gone.  The ghosts of greyhounds were free to roam again. 

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Today, machinery site quietly, fences are up and gates secured.  The prairie land mark sits in slow repose of nothing. 

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Even the house looks forlorn as waits for something.

The wide spot of Peoria is once again an empty wide spot.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Old Saw Mills at Thresher’s Day

After the Harvest, lots of communities will have their heritage festival of some type.  These run through October in some parts of the country.  Here one can see many of the old machines that were used during the 1800’s in to the early 1900’s.  Lots of this could be found in the mining camps as well as the prairie land. 

The pictures are from scanned slides I took a number of years ago, well decades ago.  Since then things have changed some yet here is a glimpse into another era that is slipping into fading memory banks. 

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The steam engine was developed during the early 1800’s and one of the reasons for the Industrial revolution.  The vertical steam donkey supplied power to factories and was put on the wheels to operate early trains.  Here the steam engine is a tractor that is being used to operate a saw mill. 

Lumber was critical to any early pioneer endeavor.  Building houses, shops, sheds, buildings… etc. 

The mill could be set up in the woods, town, camp or wherever a supply of wood could be found.  Down into the mine shafts the timbers went for bracing.  Out on the land there was a home raising and on the corner was a half frame for a saloon tent. 

It was fascinating to watch the old timers operate these old pieces of machinery that their parents or grandparents had used to help build their home. 

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The lumber would take shape and one could feel the anticipation of new structures being built,a dream coming to life.  It was a shared experience, neighbor helping neighbor.  Working together to accomplish their dream. 

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The crowd was just as enjoyable as was watching the different machines operate. 

because of the plethora of government regulations many of these old machines now sit back in the corner of the barn collecting dust.