Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Kutch… A place where the ghosts live

 

On the high plains of eastern Colorado is a variety of small ghost towns.  Most have disappeared back to nature.  A few have a building or two, maybe foundations otherwise a vacant spot.  Yet these places at one time were vibrant little communities.  There were schools, stores, shops, churches and homes.

With the changes in transportation, many of these places became a second thought.  Instead of a days trip to the big towns, it took and hour or so by pick up. 

Kutch was one of those places.  It had its beginnings as a post office on a sheep ranch to the south.  Late 1800’s a gentleman by the name of Ira Kutch got the mail contract.  the last name is pronounced cootch, like a pigeon coo not like a clutch.   It gets mispronounced so often.   Mr. Kutch built a dug out in the banks of Horse Creek for his Post Office.  It was along the Goodnight cattle trail heading to Denver. 

A few years later the Post Office was moved a few miles north into a small building.  This was the beginning of small town that almost made it. 

Next to the post office another building was attached for a general store.  Soon there was a gas station, repair shop and a blacksmith shop.  On the other end, living quarters were added.

Here was an early day pioneer convenience store.  One stop shopping.  Pick up some beer on Friday night, go down the road a piece for the dance at the barn.  Across the road was the baseball field. Here at the junction of country roads was a burgeoning country community.  After the dust bowl of the dirty thirties, many farmers left the land and headed to the city looking for work.  The drought returned in the 50’s, forcing more people off the land.  Yet Kutch did not die.  The Post Office and store lasted until 1971.  It was closed and shuttered for a number of years. 

It was purchased by a young woman who grew up in the area.  Here she made her home and cleaned up the old Kutch store and Post Office.  Lots of things were still on the shelves as when it was closed.  The dirt and dust was removed and things were left as they were.  Oh a few old things have been placed in the store, otherwise it is the same as it was 50 years ago or earlier.

kutch store (1024x768)

On the shelves were canned goods, can of spinach, 17cents…. etc.  The old hand crank phone had the local phone numbers written on wall next to the names of the locals.  The post still had the sorting table and mail hutches, the original safe was still there. 

Stories of yesteryear resound off the walls.  One can hear the wedding bells ring as the people celebrate.  The cheers from across the road at the ball park.  The rowdy drunks at the barn dance down the road.  The somber funeral when one of the neighbors passes on.  The sputter of the horseless carriage pulling up for gas at the station.  Hop in the sore for a couple of quick items.  Bring a harness in to be repaired,  Now occupied by a shell reloading machine. 

Life grew up at this now empty intersection.  The little roadside building still stands, housing the memories from generations gone by.  Donna is so happy to share her life growing up here and the stories she heard from her parents.  The store and Post Office her pride and joy.  A window into the past that has been preserved, not recreated.

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