Sometimes it is hard to understand old forgotten towns. Especially since we don’t always know where they are located in relationship to present day landmarks and towns. The map in this post contains the towns which popped up in the area as well as towns that were connected. For example, many settlers rode the train to Granada or Lamar and then rode the stage south to get to the communities in what would soon be Baca County. I believe every single community on the map below is mentioned at least once by Sam Konkel.
Kansas towns of Hugo (now Hugoton) and Woodsdale greatly influenced the early development of Southeast Colorado as the infamous County Seat wars of Kansas, specifically the “Haystack Massacre” was a symbol of the bloodshed in Kansas. Those moving into southeast Colorado wanted to avoid much of what occured in Kansas.
In 1887 Sam Konkel wrote,
It is a cold day when some new town doesn’t start up in south-eastern Colorado. In the short space of four months, there have been seventeen towns laid out south of the railroad and east of Trinidad. They are in the order of their ages —
Boston, Albany, Vilas, Carrizo, Springfield, Minneapolis, Humbar, York, Farmington, Wilde, Holmes, Indianapolis, Athens, Bloomington, Brookfield, Plymouth, and Randal — Western World, April 21, 1887.
Note: You won’t see Athens or Randal on the map. I may change the map when/and if I get confirmation of their locations.
For those who don’t know the location of a particular place it should be useful when I find and post clippings such as the following from the Xenia Daily (Xenia OH), Gazette September 3, 1887 which tell about a former resident settling on the banks of the “Butte River”. Yes, if you are from Baca County you will understand why this is in quotes.
In 1936, J.R. Austin wrote,
“Had the old towns of 1887 continued to exist, the interest in them would not be as great as it is today. There’s something about a lost chapter in the natural procession of events that tradition loving Americans like to preserve as a treasure. The element of mystery makes it attractive. Early events in Springfield and Vilas do not excite the popular imagination; the towns that are here today, many of the old landmarks are still extent, the past has gradually merged into the present, and tradition has become a thing of common knowledge.
But with an old, forgotten town it is different. How entrancing it is to stand amid the ancient stone ruins and lose oneself in reverie to picture in the imagination the scenes that belong to long ago. Tran-scribed there on the lonely plains are the symbols of its past. The long spacious Main Street is still in evidence, the lone cross street begins boldly in the center of the town only to melt away into the plains as the ruins of the buildings no longer confined it to its course. Here the people rode into town, walked across the street greeted their neighbors and friends, they commented on the current topics of Interest. The long rows of stones on the corner may have been the proudest store in town. Another less imposing, may well have been the place where the transient patron sat for meals and dreamed of the places far away. There, goods were sold and precious money taken by the hard fisted proprietor in exchange. Still another place may have been a saloon where the stern faced bartender disposed of his wares and kept a steely eye on the more suspicious looking characters who frequented the place. How many quarrels may have started and ended here. Lastly, and most important of all, are the little dugouts partly filled with stones where there once were homes.”
I hope this map is useful.