Monday, August 19, 2013
Well, I just couldn't be in the old west and not go visit a ghost town. Actually there were 2 on my trip today. Cuchillo has a church, a small café/store (and the only place in town with a public restroom but you must buy something first), a couple of farms, and a population of about 12. It was once a stage stop on the way to the silver mining towns of Chloride and Winston. And yes, the old saloon has been verified as haunted by Ghost Hunters. I stopped to take a picture of the old church which is still being used but by whom?
After leaving Cuchillo I followed old highway 52 another 22 miles. 52 is a very curvy 2 lane road that climbs up and around the mountains and provides some spectacular views and fortunately has some pull offs for tourists so we don't run off the side of the mountain. During the monsoon season (that's now) the rains mean watch the low places in the road for water (I ran through 3) and rock/mud slides. In fact, just before I entered Chloride (which is where the road dead ends) the county had some heavy equipment out clearing a big mudslide. I didn't mind waiting my turn to go down the cleared lane. Serious mud slide there!
Chloride was founded just after the Civil War when a man named Pye staked a mining claim and started pulling out silver. Lots of silver. Soon the town was booming with others ready to cash in. Churches, saloons, mercantile, and homes were built up quickly, but when the silver played out the town went bust. And Pye, well, had a run-in with some Apaches and lost. For a long time the town was indeed a ghost town.
Today there are 13 hardy residents of Chloride. One of the residents who is involved in restoring the old buildings gave us a tour of the museum housed in the old general store.
When they bought the property in the late 70s it was inhabited only by bats and rats, but all the old merchandise was till on the shelves. Slowly they have worked to restore this building as well as the saloon next door. In each case they have saved as much of the contents as possible. Anyone interested in a heart of pine child's casket from 1903?
The old bank is now a café and the owners bake all their bread and desserts from scratch. So yummy. And while the place seems like the right kind of spot for ghosts, there are no official reports or sightings. After lunch at the bank café and a little shopping at the artists' coop housed in the old saloon it was time to start crossing water and mudslides and find my way back home.