Ironton Colorado Townsite - Ghost town
Photos courtesy of Joan and Mike Sinnwell September 2007
Copper Glen became known as Ironton because of the low grade iron found and the rust color of the area. One of the unique features of the area was the turntable that was built to support the trains going to and from the mines. They even covered the turntable with a sloped roof to allow the snow to slide off for year round operations. If the switch and turntable was left without a cover, It would be buried in snow most of the year and slowed down the schedule while digging it out. A covered turntable solved this. The turntable was at the end of a switchback. It allowed the engine to be turned to keep the engine facing forward so they didn't need to backup for most of the route.
Ironton suffered the same fate as many other Colorado mining towns when the silver market crashed. In the 1960's the last remaining resident of Ironton, the mayor, Milton Larson passed away and the town officially became a ghost town. If you go, spend some time and wander thru the trees. The town was spread out and when looking you will be surprised what can be found.
I enjoyed visiting this site. One of those places that is easy to get to and plenty to see. Especially if you start walking around in the trees. Several people were here when I arrived. They hurriedly snapped photos, hopped back in their cars and took off for the next stop. This same routine occurred several times while I spent perhaps 2 hours investigating the site. I would have spent more if I was not on the tail end of a long trip and headed home. I bet I saw 5 times what the tourists saw.
A viewer writes - On your photo page of Ironton, Colorado (great pics, BTW), do you know which one if any was the home of Milton Larson, the last resident? I saw him on a rebroadcast of "I've Got A Secret" last night. His secret was that he was the only citizen on Ironton, Colorado. :) Thanks! --Audra Ross in PA
A viewer writes - I thought you might like to see this video ( This is the "I've got a secret video"): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lbzl39E2Ar8 Take care, I thought you might also like this photo of Milton that I took from the video. It clearly displays his charm. Nick M.
Rocky commented - Great video, I enjoyed it. I had read about Milton but had never seen a photo. To see him in person (on the TV show) was refreshing. He and his brother were the last residents of Ironton. They worked two mines nearby to stay alive. Enough to pay the few bills and buy food. When his brother died, Milton stayed on and lived out his life there. Which house is Milton's is another question. I would have to research it based on land ownership and then it would be a shot in the dark as people moved out and when they did, if they left a better house than the one you had, you just moved. No one was around to object. The black and white photos are at least 60 years old. Lots of changes to the landscape since then. A tree can grow quite a bit in 60 years.
A viewer writes - I was checking out the neat photos on your website about Ironton Colorado and I was wondering about something. Which house belonged to Milton Larson? I was watching a rare episode of "I've Got A Secret" the other night and he was on there. This is how I first became aware of the town's existence. I got curious so I did a Google search and found your website. In the "I've Got A Secret" episode, it showed a black & white photo of Larson's house but it's hard to tell from the modern photos on your website which house was his. Please reply back when you get the chance. Thanks:)
Sorry to let you know but Milton's house was down the road and across the highway from where I took my photos. Next time I am back in that area I will see if I can find the remains of his mine and house.
October 2008 - A viewer contributes. Mike- I recently visited the Silverton area and took a lot of ghost town pictures. I regret that I did not have more time to spend in Ironton. I am enclosing a couple of pictures for you to post if you would like. One picture is of the famous Yankee girl mine above Ironton and the other is of the Larson brothers mine. This area is extremely beautiful in the fall when the leaves are changing... Randy Hulse
A viewer writes April 25th 2010--- My family and I visited Colorado and accidentally met E.O. Milton Larson one month before he was on the I've got a secret program. We spent the day at his home with him and I have a picture of him with our two sons with his house in the background. He took our son's to his mine and helped them pick some Galena ore from the walls. We have an original copy of the newspaper from Ouray with the news about his upcoming visit to the Gary Moore, I've got a secret show. It was the most memorable day of our entire vacation trip. His stories were the best history lesson we ever had.
A viewer writes - Wednesday, August 25, 2010 - I am interested in info on Milt Larson - he was a cousin of my grandmother. I know his father was Charles Larson, but I do not know his mothers name. He passed away about 1965. I would also like to know which house was his, if anyone has any pictures. Thanks, Debbie from North Port, FL. email@example.com
A viewer writes - Friday February 25th 2011. -- I live in Ouray and have made friends with an 83 year old man who knew Milton and his brother. He told me Milton and his brother lived on the east side of 550. The house on the highway a guy named Baker lived there and when he moved out Milton moved in to it. He said "any time you visited Milt and his brother you had to have a bowl of soup with them." Milton and his brother worked in their mines up to the time they died and only mined what they needed to buy supplies to live on.
Next time I get back up to Ironton I will try to get pictures of what is left of their houses. I enjoyed the clip of him and my friend said "yes Milt was a character".
A viewer writes - Friday March 4th 2011 -- I have an old family bible in which I found a few items. I was looking at them today and see a letter from the town clerk dated 04/06/89 declaring Jno Gardner as mayor of Ironton. My family had lived in Cripple Creek during the mining days. My great grandmother and her daughter came to Reno, Nevada and that is where my mother and I were born. My grandmother was born in 1891. I am just seeing if there are any archive I could get access to to find information about this mayor. I wonder if his name is Jon? Not Jno. Why is this in our family bible? T he family names would be Ellithorpe and Fulwider who would have been in that area in those early days. We have pictures and data about them, but would love to add more to our records. I see some things in the archive of manuscripts at the U of Colorado at Boulder that might be interesting reading. I plan to contact them to see how to see them. Thank you for any assistance you may be able to give. Carol Freedman
Rocky says - I would start my research with the Colorado Historical Society and the Denver Public library Western History Department.
Some photos from Peter Silseth (Corkscrew, turntable, pipeline, Ironton)