Abandoned Ghost Town – Silver Plume Colorado

Updated : Oct 19, 2019 in Articles

Abandoned Ghost Town – Silver Plume Colorado


Welcome to Silver Plume This little town is tucked away in a narrow canyon At a little over 9,000 feet in Altitude It’s just a few miles away from its well-preserved neighbor, Georgetown Colorado in-fact both towns are part of what’s called the Georgetown-Silver Plume National historic district. What we’re looking at here is the remnants of what was once a much more significant main street. A lot of the buildings are gone due to fire or collapse over the years But, at one point in time this city looked a lot like Georgetown, that you saw in my previous video. These two cities came up at about the same time But, the initial development of Silver Plume was a little bit slow It was composed of just a few buildings at first. Until the pelican mine came in In 1869. This was a large mine It was actually situated near a smaller and competitive mina called, the dive It was so close that the owners were seen fighting for encroaching on each others vein of gold. The competitive spirit and rivalry of this town continues to this day And it’s an interesting story that I’ll get to in a minute And yes this is considered a town. Although it once housed thousands of people Well under 100. At best guess, I’d say we have 30-40 fulltime residence here that being said the folks I talked to here were great! Some really great folks do live here. Actually once offered for me to buy their house Unfortunately, I am not in the market. But, I am not lying, I was tempted If you happen to find yourself in the area I highly recommend you stop by Silver Plume While it doesn’t have. It has so much to marvel at. And this 1800’s town is amazing In-fact here In this photo in 1872 the town had blossomed to about 500 residence It was boasting a thriving commercial district and many modern amenities; such as electricity But disaster struck this town in 1884 When a fire destroyed most of the business district. The damage at the time totaled up to about $100,000, but in today’s currency, that would be about 2.8 million dollars Many lives were lost and parts of the main street never fully recovered but fortunately, the town did continue to grow. and by 1893 it has a little over 2,000 residence. At that time they had a playhouse, a post office, and a brand new church. and the even coin their first newspaper “the coloradian”. On a quick side note; I found this fascinating. There is this large book here with what looks like book titles on it and in this building, there was some paper mache on the walls and some interesting numbers on the floor Unfortunately, I had already talked to everyone I planned to talk to that day and really didn’t get a chance to ask anything about what this building is or was If you know anything about what this building is currently used for I’d love to know in the comments section below. Now with that aside Back to its story. Tragedy returned to the town in 1899 in the form of a giant avalanche the newspaper report that on February 12th That two mighty avalanched combined into one. And swept down the Cherokee gulch carrying away with it about a dozen mine buildings, cabins, and machinery. Needless to say, this was a great loss in life the newspaper went on to say that they were able to recover 8 bodies However, the rest would have to remain until the snow thawed in springs As the town grew into a small city in began to notice it neighbor, Georgetown, was growing faster and retaining more wealth This was a sobering and bitter fact for the townsfolk because All of the local mines were located in silver plume, not Georgetown. Much later, a study a study by the national park service revealed the tangled relationships that these two communities share What we’re looking at here is what was one of the last remaining businesses here in Silver Plume My wife and I stumbled upon this when we were still engaged. God, over a decade ago It was snowing at the time and we were new to the area and it was the only thing open We had something they called a “naughty bar” and it was everything they described. I mean anything sweet and it was in this bar Anyway, we were a little shocked to see they weren’t open during what was their posted hours Looks pretty buttoned up here. Maybe they’ve turned in to a seasonal business. But, I hope this is still going and really wish the best to the owners. On the optimistic side this does look well preserved. Like they’ll be back soon and open for business Maybe we just caught them on an off day. If you do happen to find yourself in Silver Plume please let us know if you find it open and do stop in it’s amazing. As I understood it on my last visit, this was the oldest continually operating business here in Silver Plume and the building has been here for generations. And has been all kind of different stores. And you know, I am not here to beat up on Silver Plume or over endorse Georgetown. But, I do want to finish covering the point I mentioned earlier on that national park service study Because it is a controversial study in this area and most of the people here have read it It came out some time ago but went on to say the concentration wealth was Georgetown and the concentration of work or the “work center” was Silver Plume So, it caused this divide between the two communities Where one was less permanent Quite literally it says in the report, “less impressive”. which was Silver Plume and the other was much more impressive & retaining its wealth as the report concluded “When the ore left Silver Plume, so did its wealth”. This is a fact that does not escape the community to this day. The working relationship between these two towns has been a source of much resentment. However, really one town wouldn’t have existed without the other. They needed each other. It’s what they call a “symbiosis”. A lot of people speculate that, Louis Dupuy who I talk about on my vLog a little bit and in my previous video, really had a big hand in keeping Silver Plume down and keeping the wealth in Georgetown, his hometown. Part of that is due to the fact that he owned the Coloradian. The local newspaper and he was able to shape perception and opinion through that paper. I really feel this town is a true gem and has a lot to offer in terms of history. When you compare old photos to today. Not much has changed it is relatively well preserved. This house is particularly interesting. It looks like somebody tried to pick it up and move it. At some point. On a flatbed trailer. Which isn’t uncommon. To take one of these houses and move it to a museum or an urban center for Preservation. As you’ll see here in an old photo Here’s the outhouse with no house next to it and so, the assumption is this looks like a failed attempt to move a home. Today there isn’t a lot of commerce in Silver Plume. But there is still a whole lot to see and experience only a few businesses exist. Including a Cafe a boarding house and a recreational marijuana clearance center Well The boarding house has been converted into a hotel of sorts or a “Bed and Breakfast” The building is originally from 1884. It used to be called the New Windsor Hotel Now it’s just called the Windsor Hotel Not going to lie thought. A lot of people refer to it as “the creepy hotel” or “the haunted inn”, but honestly it’s really nice inside. I suggest you take a look at their website and see what they have to offer I’ve actually put a link to it in the description The hotel sits in a section of town that is very well preserved and mostly occupied. It’s gorgeous. Frankly 10 years ago this area didn’t look this good it’s great to see that’s it’s coming back were beginning to see people come in and take photos again and take some interest in this town. It does look like they are currently painting it purple But it has been white for most of its history as we see here on the New Windsor Hotel However; today most people really don’t visit here to stay or for the attractions. It’s just to marvel at the relics and take in the atmosphere I strongly recommend you visit Silver Plume, but support any of the institutions that you can. A lot of the people here are the same people who are putting the effort in to keeping the town looking great. While about half the town sits in ruin a good portion of it is well preserved and for the most part, occupied This is the real treat of the town. It’s what you are going to see when you first come into town. And I suggest you do go a little deeper though. Look at what it has to offer, hike around the area, and see everything there is to see. When I first visited Silver Plume, it did not look like this Most of the windows were boarded up the paint was chipping, and bricks were crumbling It was in bad shape But I am seeing so many signs of renovation. And even if you visit and don’t find a single store open it’s worth it, just to support the town and take in the wonders So if you find yourself heading west, on I-70 in Colorado, pay a visit to this town and as always, THANKS FOR WATCHING and please do like, comment, and subscribe. [MUSIC] [DISTANT VOICES]

25 Comments

  • Good video, will put it on my FB page Colorado Mining Towns and Ruins, a little dissappointed you did'nt mention the fantastic Rowe museum and old school that is still in great shape and that we did a ghost hunt at, got lots of activity! Incidentally all the times that I have been there the Bread store has been open and active so not too worried about that!

  • Love how you always show a bit of the road trip from the car at the start!! Always well put together! I can always learn so much from your videos from editing techniques to pure history of colorado! Very well spoken and informative! Love the old "the word" building/house! So its pretty much a bed and breakfast now? A recreational weed clearance centre? Im dumb but what does that mean!! All in all an amazing video once again!

  • This place stole my heart back in the early 90's. By chance I arrived when there was a bit of a festival happening and everyone was so warm and friendly. I have original art purchased inside the old church (was a gallery, now private home). I've explored up the mountains and down the paths. Many loaves of BREAD. The KP was a great place to grab a bite. Is it still there? I've left instructions to have my ashes sprinkled there (sorry so gloomy). Funny thing is, I don't wear silver..my coloring favors gold better. Still love that town and always will.

  • Your video brings back a lot of memories as I visited Silver Plume and Georgetown in the early 1960s with my parents and aunt and uncle, both long time Englewood residents. There were quite a few people still living in Silver Plume at that time with quite a few businesses still operating. I returned many times over the years and I regret never having walked up to any of the mines though I explored many others that supported what became ghost towns in Colorado.

    There has always been debate over the origination of the town's name. Some say a miner named Charlie Plume discovered silver there while another claim is that a sizeable chunk of silver ore in the shape of a plume takes credit while another claim is that the tailings, actually waste rock, of the mines spreading down the mountains has the appearance of plumes. I'd have to say that the mine dumps wouldn't have been that large before the town was named so it's probably one of the other options. At any rate the name was officially bestowed September 15, 1870 by Stephen Decatur (Not the Decatur of naval hero fame. He died of wounds inflicted in a duel in 1820).

    It was assumed that part of the reason for the feud between Georgetown and Silver Plume was attributed to the fact that Georgetown had the labor force while Silver Plume had all the mines and the wealth wasn't being equitably shared. It's true that Silver Plume had all the wealth. In the mid 1880s the mines in the district produced over $60 million in revenue. The highest producing mine was the Stevens Mine discovered by Frank Dibber in 1866 which employed 250 men who worked on a total of 12 levels at an altitude of 13,000 feet on Grays Peak. Grays was so steep that ore was sewn into leather bags and rolled down the mountain in the general direction of the mill, not a very reliable way to transport ore as the bags would occasionally break open on their way down spilling ore across the moutain face.

    There was what could be called a suburb of Silver Plume, Brownsville, existing on the west end of town and though the precise date hasn't been saved in the mid 1880s a torrential rain loosened the waste rock piles of the Seven Thirty, Brown, and a few other mines causing them to slide down the mountain and obliterate Brownsville with a tragic lose of life. Brownsville was never rebuilt. Most visitors to Silver Plume don't venture to the far west of town to see the granite quarry that existed there that provided stone for the state capital in Denver.

    In your video I saw the building with the 'Antiques' sign in front that is quite possibly the original funeral parlor. The school had been in the process of gathering the historic items to display when I was there the first time and was open on my subsequent trips as was the Georgetown Loop. The Loop could never be counted on to be running to provide the hair raising ride from Silver Plume to Georgetown as it seemed financing for upkeep was kind of hit and miss. It was a cool trip when it was open climbing, or dropping, over 1000 feet in just a mile by incredible 18 degree turns!

    Not all of what I posted is from memory. I tend to collect everything I could that contained history on Colorado ghost and almost ghost towns. I have a booklet on Silver Plume authored by M. Hazel Howe that contains a great deal of information. I paid $1.00 in 1975 but there are used copies on Ebay for $27.00. Inflation, what can you do?

    When I was exploring Colorado in the mid 1960s and 1970s many mines were still producing with miners inhabiting houses built in the late 1800s. Every so often we would come across a mill that was still in operation allowing us to hear the pounding of stamps and the rattle of ball mills mixed with the other unique sounds produced as ore was reduced to powder to either be fired in an oven or loaded on trucks or rail cars for final processing. These sounds echoed through the mountains like man-made never-ending thunder storms. I really, really, miss that. Thanks for your video. (Edited for spelling. Better late than never)

  • Interesting videos and worth watching but the geospatial/demographic terminology used by ghosttowners to describe these ghost town's current status are inaccurate in your videos. "Abandoned" is WAY off by ghost town definitions and standards. Silver Plume is currently a "human settlement", one step more populated than a 'living" ghost town. An "abandoned" ghost town means just that, no residence at all.

  • Wonderful video and narrative of Silver Plume. I also made a video of Silver Plume on my channel.

    Many years ago I befriended Sara and Wilson, who own the antique shop across from the Bakery. And, after all of these years, they still own. Also, for many years the Bakery would keep an, "honest," box filled with bread outside on their front stair. The owners (whom I befriended as well) during that time (2000's) moved to Arizona.

  • Cool video man I've been there before it's been a long time George town is a cool town so is silver plume that whole area of colorado is pretty Silverton Leadville Idaho springs funny story about colorado if you didn't know this but colorado was going to be Idaho instead of Idaho. I know that sounded like it didn't make sense but the story of colorado being called Idaho was because of Idaho springs Colorado 2 men Indian chiefs if I remember correctly use to travel from somewhere in idaho the Boise or coeurd'alene area I'm not sure what area of Idaho exactly but they traveled to Idaho springs to bathe in the hot springs and healing waters that's pretty much how Idaho springs got it's name and that's why colorado was going to be named Idaho instead of colorado.

  • Isnโ€™t this where the unsolved mysteries episode took place that featured Tom young and Keith Reinhardt? Sad to see this place has gone down like this

  • This is the town that I would like to visit so if I ever get to Colorado I will definitely make a trip to this town. Thank you for sharing this very interesting video . ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ’•

  • Thank you for your videos. I hope to buy a home near Guffey, Colorado and if lucky enough to see that through I hope also then to personally visit some of these wonderful old places of American history…

  • Would be a cool town to check out but like Georgetown, it looks like it's right on freeway i 70. I prefer small mountain towns that are more secluded.

  • I'd love to visit ghost towns. Just thinking what used to be and who lived there would really spark my curiosity. Thanks for posting this video.

  • I know where Iโ€™m going for my next strip itโ€™s an 1hr away from where I live Iโ€™m a new subscriber

  • Those were silver mines not gold, bread store usually open in the summer. The play house once was a fire station the hotel was a hotel an the boarding house was my uncles house up on the hill now a private residence.

  • Great video!! I lived Dillon/Keystone area, which is west of Silver Plume, maybe 40mi. I love the area, there is so history in those mining areas.

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