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St. Elmo, the ghost town in Colorado

Located in Chaffee County, Colorado, St. Elmo is a well-preserved ghost town that offers visitors a glimpse into the state’s vibrant mining history.

It was founded in 1880 and quickly became a thriving community with a population of nearly 2,000 people.​

Situated in the heart of the Sawatch Range, St.​ Elmo is surrounded by stunning natural beauty.​ The town was primarily built around mining activities, especially for gold and silver.​ At its peak, it boasted over 150 mine claims, a telegraph office, general store, five hotels, dance halls, a newspaper office, and a schoolhouse.​

However, like many mining towns, St.​ Elmo experienced a decline in the early 1920s. The mining industry began to wane٫ and in 1922٫ the local railroad line was discontinued. With the absence of economic opportunities٫ the town quickly fell into decay.​

Despite its declining population and economic downturn, St.​ Elmo has managed to preserve its historic charm.​

Today, visitors can explore the nearly 50 buildings that are still standing, including a saloon, courthouse and jail, general store, and private homes.​ Walking through the town’s streets is like stepping back in time, as the old boardwalks and architectural remnants tell the stories of the past.

One of the highlights of a visit to St. Elmo is the General Store. Open during the summer months, it offers a unique selection of souvenirs and antiques, providing visitors with a glimpse into the town’s past. Additionally, there is a year-round accommodation option called the Ghost Town Guest House, which offers a rustic and immersive experience.

St.​ Elmo is also known for its ghost stories and paranormal activity.​ Some visitors claim to have experienced encounters with spirits while exploring the town. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, the eerie atmosphere of the abandoned buildings combined with the stunning mountain backdrop creates a truly captivating experience.​

Getting to St.​ Elmo is relatively easy.​

It is located about 20 miles southwest of Buena Vista and can be accessed via County Road 162. The scenic drive offers breathtaking views of the Sawatch Range and is a treat in itself.​

To preserve its historical significance, the entire St.​ Elmo district was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. Thanks to this designation, St.​ Elmo remains one of the best-preserved ghost towns in Colorado.​

If you are fascinated by the history of the American West, a visit to St.​ Elmo is a must.​ Immerse yourself in the stories of the past as you explore the abandoned buildings and take in the breathtaking mountain scenery.​ St.​ Elmo is a truly unique destination that offers a window into Colorado’s rich mining history.​