Down there, Down where the backstop ends, is the remains of the village of Toonerville. Most of the buildings are now rubble piles, the church at the north end still stands, abandoned and neglected. It does not fit the typical stereotype of Colorado’s eastern flatlands. Here it is mesas, canyons and scrub forest. With the rocky cliffs, many of the building used the native hewn stone for their structures.
Toonerville, began life as Red Rock but changed the town’s name after a cartoon of the 30’s, an animated streetcar named Toonerville. They had a mock government that made non decisions of cartoon proportions. It was a little village that survived on ranching and the nearby railroad.
As railroad operations changed and the land dried out, many of the area jobs were lost and the people had to move on to find work in other places. Down the road that goes through Toonerville, there is still a ranch house in operations at the end of the road. Otherwise the area is pretty empty, one can drive for miles and maybe see on vehicle and possibly a ranch house.
The land is not suitable for farming and it takes lots of land to graze a cow on. Yet in the early 1899’s, Texas ranchers would drive their herds north into this area for summer pasture. The cattle roamed the land on free range and when the Fall round up came, many of the bovines were missed and spent the winters in a few sheltered canyons.
When one pauses in the area, there are the few cattle roaming across the dry land searching for the sparse vegetation to munch on. Rocky cliffs rise up on the horizon, boulder strewn bases, dotted with scrub juniper and occasional pinon. Tree groves mark where the springs are or where the small creek flows. It is a varied land of dry dusty twisters, marked with lush streams crossing the bottoms.
Back in the trees is the little village.