This exploration wasn’t as far from town as I had expected. Your exploration will tie together New Orleans, the Pikes Peak cog train and potatoes, all in horse country. What? Say that again? It is an odd mix, but it will make sense soon!
When we think of ghost towns, our minds automatically head to the mountains. The remains of this ghost town are just to the east of Black Forest. It’s probably not fair to call it a ghost town because the farms and newer homes in the area are all occupied, of course, but I like to see the old town underneath the modern, and the remnants can still be found if you know where to look.
Only a quick 13 miles from the intersection of Woodmen Road and Academy Blvd is the cemetery of Eastonville, Colorado and not far beyond that is the town itself. There is not much left, but it is a nice country drive to see some artifacts of our area’s past. Eastonville billed themselves as “The Potato Capital of the World” and hosted a large annual potato festival, but it is now pretty much horse country and open land.
The Eastonville Cemetery is the most prominent remnant of the city.
Driving Directions: Starting from either Platte Avenue or Woodman Road, drive east to the town of Falcon. This is about a 15 minute drive. Turn left (north) on Meridian Road. This cemetery is on the northeast corner of the Meridian Road and Latigo Blvd intersection. It was a surprise to find such a nice cemetery underneath the Black Forest trees. You are allowed to park outside the gate and explore the old names and dates by way of a small gate to the left of the arched driveway entrance. Continue east (right) on Latigo Blvd. Some of this will be on dirt road that is well cared for by the county. On your left you will pass the large Latigo Trails Equestrian Center and the remnants of a very old wooden roadway bridge near the road. Turn left on Eastonville Road and then right on Sweet Road. (Sweet Road will be easy to miss) to get to . . .
The Town of Eastonville: Going east on Sweet Road a short distance and you will spot the remnants of the once thriving community. A piece of a stone building protrudes though a pasture on your left. An abandoned weathered cabin on your right.
The Denver and New Orleans Railroad rail bed can be seen on either side of the road just before the old cabin. Yes, I said New Orleans. The goal was to link our area to the gulf coast by way of Dallas, Texas in the 1880’s. They never came close. It was later named the Denver, Texas & Gulf Railroad in a desperate reorganization but that didn’t help them get any closer. (See the footnote below about a spur of this line running through Colorado Springs.)
Pikes Peak Cog Train Passenger Car: This exploration just keeps getting more odd, doesn’t it? What’s that in the middle of the pasture on the right? Yes, that is an old passenger car from the Pikes Peak and Manitou Cog Railway sitting on the old New Orleans road bed. You just can’t make this stuff up. This was a car from the early diesel days of the Pikes Peak cog. Although it has been painted over, you can still see the outline of the red “swoosh” and traces of the Manitou and Pikes Peak wording on the side. These photos show it in it prime and as it sits today.
Sweet Road dead ends onto Elbert Road. Turn right and it will lead you back to Highway 24 and a quick 15 minute drive back to Colorado Springs.
If you still have the time and the energy, the Pikes Peak Ocean to Ocean Highway exploration starts out here, too.
Footnote: There was a spur line of the Denver and New Orleans Railroad that led to downtown Colorado Springs, running from the Eastonville area as passing near Prospect Lake. Visit the Evergreen Cemetery chapter of this blog to see a map.