Oak Creek Colorado Townsite - Ghost town
Photos courtesy of Mike Sinnwell June 2009
Before all the residents of Oak Creek start to write to me and say "Oak Creek" is NOT a ghost town I would have to refer them to my definition of a Colorado Ghost Town. Boom and bust, significant to the growth of the state. Heck I even stopped to talk to several of the residents. Even the guy with 3 collector Volvos with instruction from his wife that he must sell one of them. Hard choice as all were nice. (two 544 B16's and one P1800) I got his number if your interested.
Oak Creek was a coal mining town. The town once proclaimed "Coal cream of Northwestern Colorado". It was founded in 1908 and from 1910 to 1940 Oak Creek produced significant amounts of coal to feed the hungry Railroads. When the railroads switched to diesel after the 40's the town struggled.
Today we talk about "push one for English or push two for Spanish" the town claims that by 1918 more than two dozen languages were spoken in Oak Creek. Miners came to Oak Creeks "cream" from around the world. Like many of the other coal mining towns Oak creek was not without its labor disputes. Even the National Guard was called into town in 1913.
Oak Creek has a Labor Day celebration dating back to 1915. Maybe you should take a trip there this fall and see the crowning of the Coal Queen.
A viewer writes - Wednesday, February 02, 2011 --- I own the small stone cabin in the pictures of Oak Creek. For the record we bought the property when it had been abandoned for more than four years. A more recent visit to the town would reveal no trash can on the roof, a new roof, and fire place as well as a more manicured lawn. Oak Creek is the best town I have ever been involved with! With the "old school" miners and ranchers giving the town it's flavor and the new younger generation moving in to restore it's beautiful old homes and landscapes, anyone should be impressed with a drive through our neighborhood. If you do come to town, don't forget to stop at Chelsea's Chinese restaurant; recently written up in the Denver Post for it's top notch Chinese food!
A viewer writes - Friday, July 22, 2011 - Greetings to all my friends who may still be in Oak Creek, and to those "ghosts" that have moved to parts unknown!!! I lived in Oak Creek from about 1970 to '74. I mined coal at Gordon Steele's mine the Apex. We worked in a 52 inch vein about a mile in. Ruby's Cafe was the main eatery at the time. Owned by the Cady's who lived at the top of the hill. I bought their old 1939 Chevy from Mr. Cady for $75 bucks unseen! The ad was in Ruby's window. Within an hour the transaction was made and the doors of the old shed near their house was opened. There, under 1/2" of dust was a beautiful old Chev. I got in, let it roll out, popped the clutch and it started right off!! After touring the town to show it off I drove it to Denver that night and back the next day!! The Chev was purchased from the Hagman's Garage and Dealership down on Main st. You still have a pic of the bldg. at the N.W. end of town the big white bldg. with the two large picture windows. As I recall, the Hagman Chevy Dealership was the only place to by a Chevy between Denver and Salt Lake for years. When I first moved to Routt County, it was to cut the ski runs for the now defunct Stagecoach Ski Area. The numb nuts who had this great idea suddenly realized that there was no elevation to the hills to speak of. It wasn't until after I was gone that the land was bought and made into the lake it is now. Regretably flooding a nice little valley just East of Phippsburg. A fond memory of P-burg was when the two ladies who worked at the Phippsburg Cafe (part of the railroad owned Hotel) would set homemade pies on the window sill to cool. On some mornings to could smell the delicious aroma from the Yampa Cabins all the way to the Oak Creek High school!!! wow! I have run on long enough. I will close by saying good bye to all my friends who live with me in my memories: Clay and Jane, Gordon and his brother, the Cady's, the Hagmans, Lonzo and his Mom, Jerry Dubin ( who painted the cherries on the youth center, snicker ), Laura at the Inn, Pat and Hubby Kamakaris (?), Dave White at the Circle R, Charlie and Sylvia, Bruce Campbell (yes that Bruce Campbell), and all my bud's at the bar..on both sides of the street. Kris Kaub
A viewer writes - Friday 7/19/2013 - I was born and raised in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. My uncle lived in Oak Creek and Yampa. He also ran the VFW on the main street of Oak Creek for many years. My cousin still lives in Oak Creek. So, we spent a lot of time in both places. I haven't been back for years because Steamboat changed so much that it makes me ill. What is it they say, "You can never go home again?" That's so true in my case. I loved living there when there were not many people, maybe 600 to 1200 at the time in 1966. The snow I can live without though. I enjoyed Oak Creek and Steamboat too. My sister was born in Oak Creek. When my mother started labor, the only doctor in town was drunk so my ncle delivered her. My mother, along with her brothers and sisters were also born near Steamboat. I still have family in all three towns. It's wonderful to see some of the photos online. Thank You for your efforts. Cristine Buntin
A viewer writes - Sunday, August 17, 2014 -- Rocky, Mike's pictures of Oak Creek were nice I went to school there in 58 and 59 and we had quite a time. One of his pictures was of the house my parents owned at one time. Keep up the good work. Thanks Chuck Cloud
A viewer writes - Thursday, September 25, 2014 --- Hi everyone who knows Oak Creek, CO! After my dad died in Denver, my mom Phyllis Herness moved here with me in 1973-ish? It is a beautiful town with beautiful people - then and now I am sure! G-searched "Facebook Oak Creek, Co". The Colorado Bar and Grill pops up.
How about we make a Facebook site - page - group?!? Then conveniently we can post & comment on all the collected info. Thanks! Juli Brown ;)
P.S. For a short time I babysat Max and Blue for Karen Holt - right across the street from a wonderful young woman named Jane. Sadly I learned while G-searching, a "Find a Grave" Google listing verified that our dear friend Lee O'Neal passed away. Remember her beloved german sheperd dog? RIP
So sorry! Just posted Karen Holt as Blue's & Max's mom's name. It is Halterman - right? Karen - right? Oh, and what happened to Cargo? Many Thanks! Juli ;)
A viewer writes - On Jan 31, 2019, 10:16 PM Tom & Jean wrote - I am the 2nd son of Elmer and Emma Anderson. Grew up in 3 story apartment building on Moffat street. Attended Oak Creek (Union) Schools, graduated in 1953. Two brothers; Elmer Jr. born 1934, and Roy born 1937. All Oak Creek Grads. Dad was a coal miner in most of the local mines, finished as oiler on the Monigan drag line in the open pit mine. I recognize most of the scenes in the pictures. Don't know why the school, Stetson Merc., and Anderson apartments (among others) are missing. The ranch house of Louis Rossi is my uncle.
I now live in Tucumcari, NM. Door is open to friends. Tom