Fulford Colorado Townsite - Ghost town
Photos courtesy of Mike Sinnwell July 2007
Short drive off I-70 to this isolated Ghost Town. Several things to see in the area, upper and lower Fulford and the Fulford caves. This town was originally known as Nolan's camp. Apparently there are several stories of lost treasure in the area. Some miners found gold, mined it until their provisions gave out and then headed for supplies. They stored their gold in the mine only to discover upon returning that a slide had covered the mine. Another lost mine in Colorado filled with riches. Today the town is occupied and many of the original buildings have been "restored". I use that term loosely as they really have been converted to summer homes. If you go, don't forget to hike up to the cave. We all need a little exercise. Apparently it is one of the largest caves in Colorado. People were taking the ladders down and exploring. I was alone and did not have lights or ropes so I stayed on the surface. Scroll down to see some photos from the 1960s and 70s.
A viewer writes - My name is Bob, I have enjoyed hunting in the Fulford area for the last ten years or so. Every once in a while I hear an old story about the old town when I am there. I just returned last week, and upon leaving I looked at the Sylvan Visitor Center and "The Everything" store in Eagle, for a book on the town and the old days. I found nothing. Is there any books of the history of the town? I would be curious to know if the stories that I have heard are stories, or true, or a little of both! Thanks for any info. Bob Thompson-WI.
Rocky Responds - THANKS for visiting my site. I appreciate it.
I am not aware of any books written specifically about Fulford. I did a quick search with the Denver Public Library and the Historical Society in case they might have one. I did not find any. The CHS does however have a manuscript and some newspapers from the late 1890’s to early 1900’s. Several books mention Fulford as a Ghost Town and they have their stories. The most predominate ones are the prospector named Nolan that shot his tongue off and bleeds to death. Fulford was originally named Nolan’s Camp. There are several stories about a gold mine lost in a snow slide and the prospector, Buck Rodgers, who was sent for supplies and drank the supply money. Various other stories about the location of the mine, A Dr was told the location, A bartender was given the location and a prospector actually claimed to have found it and then was killed in a barroom brawl. In any case no one has ever found the “lost” gold mine with its riches estimated in the 1890s as $60K to $100K. Maybe I should go back up there with my metal detector???? So what you heard was probably a little of both like you stated in your note.
A viewer writes - Wednesday, August 15, 2007 -- Hi, In 1973, I was one of the purchaser's of the Lower Fulford townsite and Big Bonanza Placer. We had the townsite and placer surveyed at that time and all townsite lots were subsequently platted. Because of the beauty of the area, it's remote location and the uniqueness of being surrounded by national forest land, we made a decision to sell ONLY to Eagle County residents who loved the area as much as we did. I took my first trip, in 35 years, to go back to Fulford yesterday and take a look at how the town and placer have evolved in that time period. Actually I almost cried. Lower Fulford, now designated as "Fulford Subdivision" by the Eagle County Assessor, has undergone some pretty dramatic transformations. Mixed in with many of the old mining shacks that were originally on the property (but newly tarpapered) are now some $250,000 "log" cabins, A-frames, someone's idea of a false front complete with stained glass inlay and junk. The old boarding house/post office (which still had the mail cubicle's and a stuffed eagle sitting on top when I first saw it) has had its false front removed and looked as though its being renovated or something. I know, I know it's almost a foregone fact that few things in our state remain pristine, but I felt heartsick about this.
When I first visited Fulford (both Upper and Lower) back in the 1960's, the old boarding house, although in a state of decay, was still partially standing. The post office had been rifled and floor boards pulled up, but the structure was still there and all the walls were papered with newspaper's from the time. Envelopes and other items were scattered about and we left everything as we had found it. The wonderful assay house, with its gigantic ridgepole, was intact and even though scavengers had pulled up the floor to look for lost gold that might have slipped through the cracks, the assay house was in pretty good condition.
I noted that you are constructing a Fulford site on your webpage and I would like to volunteer that I have pictures that we took back in the 60's, 70's and 80's of Fulford as it was when we were invited to come and stay in one of the few cabins that had been built on the land. My memories of Fulford are all good. I am sorry that Eagle County did not impose some restrictions on how the land would be used in the future and very sorry that the character of Fulford is now long gone.
It was so odd when I was up there that even though I told a couple of people that I was an old Fulfordite that I was met with the kind of hostility that I thought was reserved for g-men looking for the still. They're a pretty guarded bunch.
Thanks for your interesting website. I am a Colorado ghost town buff and love seeing our history.
A viewer writes - Tuesday, October 23, 2007 -- Thanks for the great views, particularly of the original General Store and Post Office, Fulford. This building has been in ruin now for many years and very little remains recognizable. One of your viewers wrote having been part of the investors whom purchased, plotted and sold property and of seeing the false front newer building on Main Street. It was interesting to note they questioned whom would build such a place. Well the property is owned by one of the group whom were the original purchasers! I am not sure who wrote your comment, it makes no difference. There has been much change in the back country environment, in every part of our world. There are people living in the area year round. It is very challenging to live in the area year round. Yes, there are some rather 'nice cabins' in the area now; but also some of the heartiest, hardworking, and sincerely environmentally conscience people anywhere. They may have changed the area, but they are in many ways preserving a way of life, in a newer style. Ed, Benton, Arkansas/Fulford, Colorado
A viewer writes - Friday, December 28, 2007 - We used to visit Harvey Ickes in the late seventies early eighties, we always enjoyed his company. We lived in Glenwood Springs Colo. and visited him in the home he was in in Glenwood just before he passed away, can anyone let me know what happened to his place in Fulford? email@example.com
A viewer responds December 29th 2007 - Harvey Ickes was the self-proclaimed "Mayor of Fulford". He was the only year round resident and was quite a self-sufficient homebrewer who enjoyed the end product. Nice guy, always friendly and welcoming to anyone who came to Fulford. On my recent trip to Fulford I did note that Harvey's house was occupied by a pretty unfriendly guy who said that he is now the only full-time resident of Fulford. Harvey's old house seems to be part of some sort of compound and there are 2-3 houses kind of clumped together at that end of town. That's really about all I know.
A viewer writes July 2008 - My husband and I used to visit Fulford in the middle 1970's when we were first married. We loved exploring the cave. It's quite a hike to get there but well worth it. You need ropes to climb in and out and it helps a lot to have helmets with lights on them. We used helmets from Army surplus and rigged head lamps on them. You should take a couple flashlights with extra batteries. It's very dark, you don't want to be without light. We took nothing but photos and left nothing but footprints . . . well, except for my husband's bright red water bottle that fell down a l-o-n-g crevice in the cave. It brought back a lot of great memories when I came across your website of Fulford. Thanks for taking the time to record the history and post the photos.
Hi, Mike - I don't mind if you post my comments. In the mid 1970's the first part of the cave had a lot of mud and not much else, but parts of it were amazing with the stalactites and stalagmites. There was a stream running through it with the BEST water! And if you ventured far enough and crawled through a tunnel, in some places on your stomach, for what seemed like forever, you came to a perfectly round room. The tunnel dropped off at the top of the room and it was about 25 feet to the floor with straight sides. The room was dry. We didn't venture into the room because it looked like it would be a bear to get out of. We weren't prepared to be stuck in there until someone came to rescue us if we couldn't get out! That room I think was quite a way back into the mountain. It was a little creepy to think of being stuck in there. My husband gets claustrophobic and he still wanted to visit the cave over and over again. It's the ultimate get-away-from-it-all experience! Thanks again for your website. - Laura
A viewer writes - Wednesday, September 28, 2011 -- Hi, My name is Wade, and I grew in Eagle Colorado in the 1970's, the closest town to Fulford. When we were teenagers we did a lot of hiking in the New York range with my father, and often did some prospecting while we were out. We researched "The Lost Buck Rogers Mine" which was also written up as the story "Snowslide on Slate Mountain." After several years of searching and researching, we ended up finding and following the original map and directions to the mine portal (entrance) we found a lot of evidence of their camp and mine. We found all of the map clues, and even found some of their old metal and tools. There were square nails and rotting timbers, and a cabin foundation. It appeared they moved the cabin to the portal when the weather got severe and the snow piled up. It is located above timberline and it still snows or rains almost daily in that spooky valley between the peaks. We found the location... but it is so covered with boulders it would take teams of men and heavy equipment to re-open the entrance... And since you have to descend on a rope to get into the valley in the first place, it would be almost impossible to uncover. But I still remember the excitement of finding the last remaining clue from the map, still in tact. It's a true story. It's a grave-site up there now, and we meet there on occasion, my brother and I. So spooky and chilly...yet so beautiful... It remains one of my most favorite places on the earth. And I've seen a lot of them.
A viewer writes - Friday, August 17, 2012 -- My Aunt owned a cabin in Fulford. Our families spent a lot of summers up there hiking and fishing and goofing off. Awesome place to visit.
A viewer writes - Wednesday, August 14, 2013 - My name is Matthew Fulford. for many years I've often wondered about the Fulfords past Oklahoma. I had lived in Silverton Colorado for 5 years. I then moved to the Montrose area. I've known about Fulford Colo for about 20 yrs. I just never made it there. I started viewing this web page tonight and found it quite interesting. I've been a prospector for the better part of 25 years and did most of my prospecting around Silverton. Due to medical reasons found out 6 years ago I've had to move to Mohave Valley Arizona. It's not pretty. I do plan on Going back to Montrose as of 2014 and to heck with Drs. orders. I still have a daughter there and will base myself out of there. My plans are to look for a gold seam around Silverton. It's called the Baker Brothers seam. I had looked for it before but now after careful research I've narrowed it down to about a half mile radius. During the summer I also plan on visiting Fulford Colorado for a week or so. I've always said I would before I die and I will. Not that I plan on doing so soon. I look forward to it. If anyone will give me an Idea as to when is the best time to go that would be appreciated. I can be found on facebook under Matt Fulford or emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope to hear from you soon. M.L. Fulford
Rocky says - got the books, doing my research will meet you next year to find the seam.