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Animas Forks Colorado - Ghost town

Photos taken Summer 2002 By Joan Sinnwell and Wyatt Hajda - Additional photos by Joan and Mike Sinnwell September 2007

Well worth the easy drive from Silverton. Animas Forks, named for the three forks of the Animas River, which flows through the town site. Animas Forks is tucked away twelve miles northeast of Silverton, Colorado, at 11,200 feet — more than two miles — above sea level The town's first log cabin was built in 1873; by 1876, this bustling mining community boasted 30 cabins, a hotel, a general store, a saloon, and a post office.

The population of Animas Forks grew to about 450 people by 1883. The town also had a newspaper, The Animas Forks Pioneer, published from June 1882 through October 1886 at the highest newspaper printing plant in the history of the United States. Every fall, most residents left in a mass exodus to "warmer" Silverton. In 1884, Animas Forks suffered a blizzard that lasted 23 days and dumped 25 feet of snow on the town. Residents dug tunnels to get from building to building.

Before Silverton became an incorporated town, Animas Forks was the San Juan County seat, where court cases were heard. One man who was fined $10 and court costs didn't like the outcome of his trial. During the trial he  promised the judge, "I'll take this to a higher court!" Responded the wry judge Dyer, "There is no such thing. This is the highest court in the United States."

A viewer writes. Friday, July 15, 2011 -- Animas Forks Colorado is our family favorite. Many Labor Day weekends were spent there. The magic of the townsite is unmatched. We used to "go to town" with a lantern and boombox and dance in the bay window house [called the Walsh house]. What splendid memories! This was back in the late 70's into the 90's. Our kids and grandkids are actually going up there this weekend. I wish I were going along. JuneCal Albuquerque, NM