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.