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Thread: Coming Soon: Cerro Gordo Ghost Town Caught Between Centuries

  1. #21
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    147

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    Last time up there for me was the Ghosttowns.com trip ten years ago, in May or June of 2002 (?) There was still some snow present and it was a harrowing ride up the mountain. At the time an enterprising type and his wife were operating the hotel / restaurant, and they were giving mill tours. Ghosttowns.com arranged a lunch and a talk given by Stan Paher.... again, that was ten years ago. The outing was well attended, and the people were great and it was a great place to see. I especially enjoy seeing the wire rope tramways which carried the ore up and down the mountain - it must have really been something to see in its day.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    part time Cerro Gordo resident
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    208

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    Mike Patterson and Jody Stewart owned Cerro Gordo. She passed away in 2001, and he took over. He had caretakers John and Roxie Bowden watching over things for him when he couldn't be up there. The hotel has never been open to overnight visitors in modern history, nor has it had an operating restaurant. The bunk house and the Belshaw House were available for overnight stays in 2002, but it was bring your own food unless you arranged in advance to have a group of volunteers come up and cook for your group. You probably had a tour of the hoist house above the town, there is no mill in Cerro Gordo to tour up there, and the mines are off limits. Mike Patterson passed away in 2009, and Mike's family owns the town. A small group of volunteers, myself included, help caretake the town when Robert Desmaris, the permanent caretaker needs time off the mountain. We no longer have running water, or propane up there, so only day visits are allowed. The hoist house is off limits to the general public now, due to safety reasons.

    My book explains the past and current history of Cerro Gordo, talks about it's key characters throughout the different eras, has rare pictures and stories from the early 1900's when mining boomed again with the discovery of the importance of zinc that had previously been tossed aside, and stories of that tramway you are talking about. I touch on not only the true histories, but the legends and lore that have been handed down, and my own personal experiences up there.

    Also, in the middle of August, I will have another book out, a pictorial history of Cerro Gordo published by Arcadia Publishing as a part of their Images of America series. I will keep everyone posted on that one as the time gets closer. Images of America: Cerro Gordo will include a good portion of pictures from a rare collection owned by the family of Louis D. Gordon who was responsible for Cerro Gordo's zinc era, and he was responsible for the Leschen tramway that replaced the older Montgomery tram. One whole chapter of this book includes pictures of this tram during it's construction and during operation. These pictures were never seen even by owner Mike Patterson, until I brought them up to him and showed him...and are quite amazing! I also was given transcripts of Louis D. Gordon's wife's diary, and amongst the things she talks about which you will read about in both of my books, is using the tram to put her grocery list on and have things sent from Keeler to Cerro Gordo via that tram.
    Last edited by Cecile; 04-23-2012 at 10:48 PM.
    Cecile
    ------------------------
    Well behaved women
    rarely make history -
    Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
    www.explorehistoricalif.com
    www.cerrogordo.us

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    147

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    Sorry dude, I just meant the day we were up there. After ten years my memory is for sure lacking and yeah it was a hoist house. I do remember the drive up there though... I don't think anyone can dispute that! It seemed like GT.com had a good idea with that trip but recall one of them saying they just about broke even on it.

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    part time Cerro Gordo resident
    Posts
    208

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    No problem. I remember the trip, although I wasn't up there at the time, friends of mine were. It looked like a great time. I only wanted to clarify a few things so people didn't go up there looking for food, overnight stays, or mill tours....things that just don't exist up there. I run the Cerro Gordo website and it's amazing the requests we get and the things people have heard over the internet that they think they can do up there. It's always sad when someone wanders up there without calling first for information, and are expecting to find a restaurant.
    Cecile
    ------------------------
    Well behaved women
    rarely make history -
    Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
    www.explorehistoricalif.com
    www.cerrogordo.us

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