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Animas Forks Ghost Town

Animas Forks




Location: 12 miles (19 km) Northeast of Silverton, San Juan County, CO  Map

Found: 1873




Description of Animas Forks Ghost Town

Animas Forks Ghost Town is situated 12 miles (19 km) Northeast of Silverton, San Juan County, Colorado in United States. Animas Forks Ghost Town was found in 1873. The Gold Prince Mill that offered jobs to the local population was closed in 1910 and its major parts removed. By the early 1920s' Animas Forks became an abandoned Ghost Town.




The first log house was built by Animas Forks in 1873. Just three years later there were 30 houses, a hotel, a shop, a tavern and a post office. In the year 1883, 450 people lived in the settlement and in 1882 the newspaper Animas Forks Pioneer began to appear, which ended in October 1886. Every autumn, people travel massively to the warmer town of Silverton. In 1884, Animas Forks had a 23-day snowfall, the thickness of the snow fallen reached about 7.6 meters, residents had to dig tunnels to get from the house to the house. Animas Forks's economy was based on mining and ore processing and trade.


Animas Forks is located on the Alpine Loop National Back Country Byway Road Network. This network has 105 km of unpaved roads connecting the mountain villages of Lake City, Ourayd and Silverton. Most of the area is managed by the US Forest Service or the Land Management Office. More than 100 thousand people visit Animas Forks every year. Animas Forks is located at 3400 m above sea level. The road from Silverton Animas Forks is traversed by two-wheel drive vehicles in the summer, but then goes over to Engineer, where four-wheel drive is required to drive to Lake City.


Animas Forks continues as a tourist attraction. A Colorado State Historical Fund grant to San Juan County, in cooperation with the Bureau of Land Management, provided for stabilization of the remaining structures in 1997 and 1998. In 2011 Animas Forks was listed on the National Register of Historic Places which opened up opportunities for additional funding. The initial stabilization effort of the late 1990s was followed up with a comprehensive restoration of the buildings in 2013-2014. Work identified in the 2009 Historic Structures Assessment was completed under two subsequent grants from the State Historical Fund, beginning in 2013. Work was completed in 2014, just in time for the recognition of the 25th Anniversary of the establishment of the Alpine Loop Scenic Byway.

Animas Forks was managed collaboratively by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and San Juan County until a long awaited land swap was recently completed in 2009. The BLM is now the sole owner of the Townsite, and provides interpretive brochures and maps at an adjacent parking area. Entry into the buildings is unrestricted. The nine standing buildings within Animas Forks have been stabilized and restored, repairing floors, walls, windows, and doors, to secure the envelope of each building. Cedar shingle roof sheathing has been restored on several of the buildings along with structural repairs and improvements to the drainage around the structures and across the site. The jail structure, the oldest building on the site, has had it gable roof reconstructed as part of the second phase of the project along with new interpretive signage installed in 2014.




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