Kiowa County Ghost Towns
Some 60 small towns existed in
early Kiowa County mostly between 1900 and 1918. They were scattered all over
the county and a lot of residents still live near them. If you happen to count
the Mexican or Indian villages, they would date back to the early 1600's before
the Spanish Catholic Missions were established. It has long been speculated that
Coronado's expedition in 1541 may have passed near or through Devil's Canyon. If
so, perhaps the Mexican or Indian villages there could be the oldest Ghost Towns
Some are the plowed fields of present farms and ranches.
Some were started, then abandoned for various reasons. Some were victims of time
and progress, such as cars, which could carry the farmers farther and quicker
than horse and buggy. A town that has lost 80% of it's residents is considered a
Many of the small towns were a country store and post
office, mostly in the same building, with the store-owner/postmaster's living
quarters either behind the store or upstairs. If there was enough business, then
a blacksmith shop, barbershop, wagon yards and lumberyards would join the store.
They became meeting places for the locals, with a pot belly stove for warmth,
and checkers or dominos in the winter, and front porches in the summer, with
horseshoes and washers. A pot of coffee was always kept on the stove, and when
sodas became available, they were there for a price. And of course, the story
tellers in any season. I guess this would be the early "coffee shops" as they
are still around, with people setting, talking and telling stories.
country stores, forerunners of our 7-11 or Shop and Go convience stores,
supplied the basic needs of most people, from coal oil to calico to home
remedies, such as paragoric, epsom salts, and camphor. Mail was brought from
larger towns and delivered to the post office two or three times a week. The
store owners were family councelors, bankers and civic leaders.
these small towns are dead or dying, some, only old foundations mark their
existence, many have been moved or destroyed, some are under water. Some refuse
to die and remain to haunt the generations, Some have left behind a small
cemetery, mostly unkempt and forgotten. All that remains of the old mining camps
is rock rubbish and old foundation of the Gold Bell Cyanide Mill........but,
that's another story.
Take a look at some of the Ghost Towns that
are a part of Kiowa County's history.
Return To Main
Web Page March 23, 1999
Background Courtesy Pat Calton
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