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Saint Elmo Ghost Town located in Colorado is one of the best
preserved ghost town in United States. It was originally found by
gold prospectors in 1880. Initially called Forrest City due to heavy
forested area this city changed its name due to objections at the
post office. California already had a city by this name, thus a
under a new name it was incorporated as a Saint Elmo after a popular
novel of the time. At its peak Saint Elmo had population of 2000.
Saloons, dance hall, bawdy houses along with church and school was
build. Today only 24 of the original buildings stand including
mercantile, saloon, county courthouse/ jail and many private homes.
Unfortunately they all private and closed, but you can get the sense
of the life at the time by picking through the windows.
narrow road will lead to the town of Saint Elmo. It is not very wide
so use caution and look out for incoming traffic. At the entrance of
the city there is a general store open in one of the original
buildings. It operates between May through October. Objects from
homes and items found in archeological digs in the city and its
surroundings are gathered here. Hundreds of artifacts include cowboy
spurs from the late nineteenth century, utensils of early twentieth
century, magazines from the 50’s and many others.
No far from
the general store there is an area called Chipmunk Crossing. Guests
feed incredibly friendly chipmunks that are not really afraid of
humans. A bag for 50 cent is sold at the store.
As a real ghost town Saint Elmo certainly has its own ghosts. The
most famous of them is Annabelle Stark. According to witness
testimonies who knew the Stark family, Annabelle was send to work in
a Salida (20 miles from St. Elmo) in 1922. Beautiful and lonely girl
fell in love with a man named Ward. They got engaged, but for some
reason Annabelle came back to Saint Elmo without explanation and a
wedding ring. She spent the rest of her life in the city working in
parents hotel and convenient store. However the coal mine boom
ceased and citizens started leaving the city. Only Annabelle with
her brother Tony stayed behind. The city officially “died” in 1952
with post office closing for good. They lived in a former hotel that
belonged to their parents without electricity or running water.
Eventually she got a nickname of “Dirty Anne” for obvious reasons.
Witnesses say she walked around in dirty clothes and messy hair with
a shotgun in her hands watching over the empty town. The city was
falling apart and both Tony and Annabelle showed signs of mental
problems. In fact for a short period they were confined in a mental
institution. Eventually they were allowed to come back home to Saint
Elmo. Tony died somewhere in the 50s and Annabelle finally died in
Several reports of the ghostly activities in Saint
Elmo have been reported associated with “Dirty Anne”. Ghost seems to
play tricks on people smashing doors, relocating objects around the
house and others creepy acts. Besides drop of temperature, strange
signs and apparition in the windows of the hotel were seen by many