Before The Flood
Way back in 2012, I took a trip to Boulder, CO with my friend Amy. We went to attend a Bryan Kest yoga workshop. One of the other fun things we did on our trip was visit the semi-ghost town of Gold Hill that is located at the top of mountain behind the city of Boulder.
Gold Hill is a census designated place which means that a few people live there so they have to call it something. According to the 2010 census, the population was 230. The town has (had?) an active town meeting with elected officials but no municipal government.
Originally a mining camp, Gold Hill holds a historical significance in Colorado history as the site of the first major discovery of gold during the 1859 Colorado Gold Rush. During it's heyday in the late 1800's the population soared to around 1500 but has been in a long decline since then.
Gold Hill also boasts the oldest public school house in Colorado which has been in continuous operation since 1873. There are lots of historical wooden structures, some abandoned, some renovated and modernized. It's a fun little town to walk around and look at stuff, maybe stop in to the local coffee shop for a mocha.
Be advised that, if it's still there, the access road to reach Gold Hill which sits at an elevation of 8300 feet is not paved and is sketchy on a good day. DO NOT ATTEMPT in inclement weather. From 4th and Mapleton in Boulder, take Sunshine Canyon Road all the way to the top.
Before attempting to reach Gold Hill, I highly recommend doing some research to see if it's still there. After the massive flooding of the area in 2013, I had heard from a resident of Morrison that Gold Hill was leveled and washed away. So far I've had a hard time verifying this information but I wouldn't drive all the way back out there unless I knew for sure.
The Creepiest Thing Ever
I wish I had taken a wider shot to show the context but this really bizarre tile was embedded in the wall of a stairwell that would've led to the basement of the structure. The basement is all that was left though so it was more like a stairway to a hole in the ground. Next to the knives on the table in Navarino, WI this wall tile is ranking high on the list of creepiest thing found in abandoned structures. And to have put it in the stairwell to the basement, where the evil resides, is just messed up.
The Old Cemetery
The photo below makes me think of the song, Mykonos, by the Fleet Foxes. There is an old cemetery outside of town and I made my friends walk for over an hour to find it because I remembered it from a previous trip but couldn't remember how to get there. It is old and creepy and everything a mountain ghost town cemetery should be in the September before the flood.
All of these photos were shot with an iPhone4 (which was cutting edge at the time) using the Hipstmatic app.
A Return Trip To Cerrillos
Back in April, my mom and I made a return trip to Cerrillos and I got some shots that I wasn't able to get the first time. For example, I really wanted to get some photos of the Antonio Simoni building (see above) but on my previous visit there were cars parked out front, ruining the old and haunted vibe that I wanted to show. But on this trip, no cars and a nice little breeze to blow that New Mexico state flag out at the exact perfect angle. Sometimes I get lucky!
To see the photos from my first post about Cerrillos, including Mary's Bar and other iconic locations, click here.
Abandoned House On The Outskirts Of Town
When I say the "outskirts of town", keep in mind that the outskirts of Cerrillos are only about three blocks from the inskirts of town, even though "inskirts" is not a proper word.
So anyway... this house is off HWY 14, The Turquoise Trail, right before the turn off that would take you into town. This house is abandoned BUT it is on the same property as another house that is not abandoned and they're all inside the same fence so don't go inside or you will likely have a wild west encounter with someone who doesn't want you there.
When I initially posted the photo below on Twitter, a woman commented that her daughter used to live in this house. She told me that her daughter lived there with her slacker boyfriend and that the house was a disaster on the inside. She said that her daughter eventually came to her senses and moved out, leaving the boyfriend to his own devices.
This kind of thing happens all the time and I think it's super cool when people recognize and can share what they know about the abandoned places I photograph. Just goes to show that it's a small, small world.
Houses Farther From The Road
Close to house above, off HWY 14, are these other two abandoned houses. They are pretty far off the road but are also on the same property as a house that is clearly inhabited with a No Trespassing sign on the gate to the driveway. The photo below is particularly far from the road (and no good way to zoom in with the MotoX4) but if you look close there is a horse running in front of the house.
And Then There's This Place
This structure is not exactly in Cerrillos or Madrid. It's on HWY 14 in between the two towns. The building has no windows and only one door so maybe it was a jail or a general store? In any case, someone went through a lot of trouble to do the nice brick work over the door.
The building is built into the side of a hill so, if you walk around to the back, you can look down into the interior (since there's no roof). Two camp fire sites show evidence of continued habitation.
The Pump House
This place is actually at the south end of Madrid. There is a gate but it's not locked and there's no signs. Additionally, there are several picnic tables on the north side. Initially, I thought it was an abandoned house but, upon closer inspection, it's a pump house. There is a huge holding tank behind the house and that trough on the right hand side is full of fresh water. Perhaps it was a home or a small store at one time but it's definitely a pump house now.
Gold Mine Road
Be careful on Gold Mine Road. There is a nice bed and breakfast at the top of the hill called Hacienda Dona Andrea de Santa Fe. Other than that, everything else is private property and the hills have eyes! Additionally, if you turn off Gold Mine Road, all those little roads are not paved and are pretty sketchy. Definitely not appropriate for your average city slicker mobile. The photo below was shot from a location pretty close to the bed and breakfast.
All photos shot with Motorola MotoX4 and edited with Snapseed.
The Creepiest Abandoned House Ever
I shot these photos while visiting Wisconsin during the winter of 2004. Why am I just now posting them? Long story short, these photos were officially missing for over a decade before I rediscovered their whereabouts a couple weeks ago.
Winter in Wisconsin looks like a Stephen King book. Everything looks old and creepy and haunted, whether is actually is or not. But this place is all of those things.
According to the 2000 census, the population of Navarino was 440. Chances are it's less than that now. Navarino doesn't seem like a place people move to. It's a place people move from.
I couldn't tell you how to get to this location other than I think it was somewhere off the 156. It's probably not standing anymore anyway.
This house was not a normal abandoned house. It was also the manager's office and sat in the middle of a huge junk yard of discarded appliances and junk cars. At the time of my visit, half the structure had already collapsed and it probably wasn't safe to enter the other half, not that that stopped me from going in.
The house was still full of the family's belongings, as if they left not knowing they wouldn't be coming back.... But I don't think they just left, I think something happened to them. In addition to the sinister vibe wafting from all the religious paraphernalia, there are blood rusty knives waiting on the kitchen counter and the unmistakable feeling that their lives here didn't end well.
Walking around the property, the dirt roads are lined with junked out cars, literally hundreds of them. Car trunks in the middle of nowhere sure would make a handy place to stash a few bodies. My personal feeling has always been that the guy killed his family and then killed himself out in the woods somewhere or maybe in the van pictured below. I think everyone who lived in this house could've disappeared and no one in town would've known the difference.
At the time of my exploration, this house had been abandoned for at least 24 years - judging from the 1978 calendar still clinging to the wall.
Creepy Jerry Falwell postcard dated Christmas 1976.
Abandoned in the mid-1670's, the Abo ruins sat undisturbed for nearly two hundred years until they were rediscovered by Major J.H. Carleton on a stormy evening in 1853. If you've spent any time in New Mexico, you know exactly what Carleton meant when he wrote that, "the cold wind... appeared to roar and howl through the roofless pile like an angry demon."
Similar to the other Salinas Pueblos, Abo was already a thriving community prior to the Spanish showing up and forcing the inhabitants to build giant churches. The church at Abo was completed in the late 1620's.
According to the brochure,Gran Quivira was the largest of the Salinas Pueblos but Abo must run a close second because it too is massive in size. While the church atQuarai takes your breath away, I believe that it and the entire site are quite a bit smaller than Abo. Along with the church, the Abo site has expansive excavated ruins and numerous mounds of earth that are obviously un-excavated ruins.
Eventually a perfect storm of problems including drought, famine, and the Apache raids forced the inhabitants of the Abo to leave their home and assimilate into neighboring communities along the Rio Grande. By 1678, Abo was abandoned.
To see my posts from the other Salinas Pueblo Mission Ruins, click here.
Ruins From A More Recent Time
As soon as you turn off the highway onto the road that goes to Abo, there are two little abandoned houses. Thinking that perhaps it had been a ranger station, I only photographed the smaller one because it was more easily accessible.
To my surprise, when I posted the photos on Facebook, someone I went to college with said the houses belonged to his grandparents and that the little one was his grandmother's art workshop. He even had a photo of the family standing out front in the 1980's. How cool is that?
It's a small, small world.
All photos shot with Motorola Moto X4 and edited with Snapseed.
Not The Best Public Relations
Unlike many of the abandoned places in New Mexico, I actually remember when this gas station was operational. Given it's location on a busy section HWY 550 north of Bernalillo, it's hard to imagine that they didn't have enough business to stay open.
I'll tell you this though...
I only ever stopped for gas there once. When it was open, there was all kinds of fun stuff on the outside of the building, including a really cool antique Dr. Pepper sign. I was parked at a gas pump, planning to buy a full tank of gas plus snacks and drinks from the store inside, but first I wanted to grab a quick photo of the Dr. Pepper sign. Camera in hand, I made it about half way across the parking lot when the proprietor of the business burst through the doors like the Tasmanian devil, arms flailing and screaming like a tornado that I can't take photos because we're on the (Zia) reservation.
Ok, I get that the gas station is on a reservation (and I have many posts about how not to make an unwelcome ass of yourself with a camera), BUT it's a gas station that is clearly set up to attract tourist activity. It's not a private residence, or a church, or a cemetery and since when does a Dr. Pepper sign constitute a sacred native american artifact?
Needless to say, I left without buying anything and barely made it to Bernilillo on fumes. Never went back.
A Career In The Film Industry
Some of you may recognize the Big Chief Gas Station Market from it's appearance in the show, Breaking Bad. Jesse stops here in the motor home to buy gas & cigarettes and convinces the clerk to accept a dime bag of blue meth as payment. Later, Hank has the bright idea of reviewing the surveillance footage from the ATM in the parking lot to identify the make and model of the RV.
In other film news, from time to time my cousin works on movie sets and I recently found out that he is the one who repainted the "Big Chief" sign (in the photo above) for this location's use in a movie.
All photos shot with Motorola Moto X4 and edited with Snapseed.
I am DeAnna Vincent, fine art and portrait photographer in Los Lunas, New Mexico. These are the photos from my everyday adventures.