Winfield Colorado Ghost Town
Photos Mike Sinnwell 2003 and 2005
Apparently silver mining is what started the small town of Winfield. Although it never had a post office until 1881 it did have numerous other names like Lucknow and Florence. Lacking a post office they established three saloons, three stores, two hotels, a boarding house, (for those of you that don't know that is today's version of a bed and breakfast) church and a school. The school house is still standing today.
I liked this ghost town simply because of the beautiful setting.
A viewer writes - August 2007 -- My great-grandfather and grandfather were silver prospectors in Winfield. They had a mine called the Meta which gave them and ten children income for years. My father is buried in the cemetery there. Myself, my daughters, my grandsons and granddaughters have all knelt and drank from the two streams that meet there. (North and south forks) That means that 6 generations have drank from that stream. I hope to have my great-grandchildren there in the next few years. My Aunt stays in her cabin much of the time there every summer. (Cabin is the first one on the left of the second row from the top and is called "Seldon Inn) There was a family reunion there last week with around 70 people in the camp across the river.
By the way...the cabin that is the first one from the left in the second row from the top was built by my great-grandfather and his son. (my grandfather) They were silver prospectors. The cabin actually had a room attached to the end facing the road which I and a cousin were told to tear down by and uncle who owned it at the time. My cousin and I used to go there for two weeks at a time when we were 13-15 years old and spend the time just walking, talking, target shooting and fishing. Our parents took us up there with cans of beans, cereal, some bread, and powdered milk. When they came to get us we still had some left over because all we ate was trout caught fresh. From the stream to the pan in less than 5-10 minutes. We never tired of the trout from the streams. (Brook, Rainbow and German Browns) If parents left their children like that today they would be jailed. We loved it and it was so instrumental in bringing about my love of this earth. Too bad all children can not experienc e it today. There was a gentleman a half a mile down the road who had a ham radio in case we had trouble. We ofen were there for days with no one coming around. The area very close to the cabin had large beaver ponds. My cousin caught a 27" rainbow at the bridge. See ya... :-)
A reader sent me this article June 2017
Winfield By David Dolton
Copied verbatim from page 21 of PORTAL INTO THE PAST by Jim and Louise Rowe. [Clear Creek Canyon Historical Society of Chaffee County, Inc., PO Box 704, Buena Vista, CO 81221]
At the junction of the North and South Forks of Clear Creek, Winfield started off with some confusion as shown in this article from the Chaffee County Times, August 12, 1881: “Lucknow is the name given to the old town of Florence. Winfield is the name of the post office, so that it is a much named town. The town site, comprising 120 acres, was taken up by P.H. Symons, G.L. Brown, J.S. Sharpe, Dr. J.J. Smith, L.W. Clark and Thomas Leasure. It is laid off into lots 50x100 which are free to all desiring to build. No soulless corporation about that.”
A cabin was built at Winfield as early as 1861 and some prospecting was done in the area in 1867 but Winfield reached its heyday in 1890 with an estimated population of fifteen hundred. At its prime, Winfield included three saloons, three stores, a post office, two hotels, a boarding house, mill, smelter, concentrator, church and a school which is now a museum containing school furnishings and displays.
This museum is restored and operated by the Clear Creek Canyon Historical Society of Chaffee County. The Ball cabin across the street from the school house is also a museum of the mining era. The silver market crash in 1893 halted the mining activity in Clear Creek Canyon. There was a resumption in the early 1900’s with the last ore hauled out of the canyon by two‐horse stage in 1918.
Like many early mining camps, Winfield had its accounts of violence. One quarter mile above Winfield to the north is the cemetery. Twenty‐six people are buried there, victims of fires, snow slides, shooting, mining accidents, disease and one man stoned to death by Indians he had cheated. Only two graves now have markers. These two are of the Aude children, one of them, Frederick Carl Aude Jr. Was the first person buried in the new cemetery, June 28, 1885. Other children are buried there including the Payne child who was killed in a snow slide.