One of my passions, photography and otherwise, is abandoned buildings. Whether it's farms, houses, barns, stores, warehouses, whatever, I love abandoned places. A couple weeks ago a few friends and I took a trip to the old abandoned mining town of Gilman. It lies in the beautiful Rocky Mountains, with spectacular views there really isn't a better place to go exploring!!
Taken from inside the Mine office.
Ore was found in the Eagle Mine in 1879. The town was built for the miners and their families. In the early 1980's the remaining residents were packed up, moved out and the gate to the town was closed. It sits now pretty much like it did the day they closed it down.
The majority of the houses in town still stand today, even after being abandoned for close to 30 years.
Besides houses, there are boarding houses for the miners. Despite all the vandalism over the years they're still pretty awesome structures and very cool to explore. It's hard to imagine what this town was like in it's heyday. With people working in the shops and offices, families bustling around and kids playing in the school yard. They had a bowling alley, an indoor basketball court, a stage (some of the curtain still remains) and many other ammenities. I imagine the winters were pretty rough!
The two Lane Bowling Alley has seen better days
For me, the mine offices are one of the most fascinating places in town. It shows the long history of Gilman and of the people that worked there. When the town was abandoned so was all the paperwork. As we were looking around in the file rooms we found paperwork dating back as far as 1931. Everything from work orders to payroll books to vouchers to absentee reports. Imagine.......all that we do on computers now was done by hand. The paperwork that hasn't been damaged by the weather is still in great shape!
Lucky Strikes, anyone?
As we got further into town we came across the work shops and garages for the mine equipment. The two gas pumps have had the fronts and sides pulled off and one was tipped over (very sad that people feel the need to do things like that). There are still dump trucks sitting in a couple of the garages.
These are only a portion of the garages we were able to explore
As with any good town they needed a place to dump old, non-running vehicles. We ventured down to the junk yard. Anything that might have been salvagable has been removed from the vehicles.
Just a few of the cars in the junk yard
This abandoned town, as I said before, sits in one of the most beautiful spots in the Rocky Mountains! The views from everywhere in town are just amazing! I could stand and stare at the gorgeous mountains around me for hours! But.....it was starting to warm up and we needed to be on our way to the next part of town. This was the second time I had been able to explore Gilman. The first time I didn't even get as far as the garages, this time we were going well beyond them! I was really excited to get to the school to check it out. I can honestly say I was disappointed. I knew it would be small, but there was nothing interesting left inside the school, no desks, no chalkboards, nothing. It was just a building with empty rooms. Oh, well, that was the only disappointing part of the whole adventure.
We then ventured down into some of the newer homes. They all sit in a thickly wooded area. Lots and lots of aspen trees and pine trees. They're built on hills that are not always easy to navigate. The steps down the inclines are less than safe in most cases. But, what a great place to explore! I'm always extremely careful when exploring any abandoned buildings. If anything looks sketchy, I don't go in! I am always excited when I can go inside a building to look around.
Living room in one of the houses. I love the old radiators!
The stone walls that were built around a lot of the houses are wonderful!
All these years later they're still intact.
Many of the newer structures were like townhomes. Some were end to end that housed up to 10 or more families. I was pleasently surprised to see that a lot of the old wavy windows were still intact! With 30 years of abandonment I didn't expect that. We explored more of the homes then headed back to the trail that brought us into town. There's still so much more to see that another trip just may be in order! We have not yet been down to the mine. It's down a very steep slope so we'll need to find a way to get down there that doesn't require climbing.
As we leave town we stopped often to take a look back. It sure is an interesting old historic town! I try to imagine what it was like to live, work and play there when it was a booming town. I have read a lot of the history and accounts of people that grew up or lived there. History has always fascinated me and this historic town is in my backyard!
Looking back at the town and mine on our way back to the car
The walk into and out of town takes about 20 minutes. The buildings you see in this picture at the top are some of the boarding houses, garages, workshops, mine offices and houses that we explored. At the bottom of the shot you can see the mine.
Row houses and more of the mine
Driving past the town this is one of the views you have of the town. All these buildings are abandoned, the houses, the mine, everything. It's sad to see. This is an area that we have not yet explored. To the right of this shot (out of the picture), up in the trees are the bulk of the houses in town. Further to the right, and up the mountain, you find the mine offices, shops, garages, and a bulk of the boarding houses.
I hope you enjoyed the tour through a part of Gilman
To see more pictures from the trip