In the spring of 1880 two prospectors, Charles B. Culver and W.F. Coxhead left the mining boomtown of Leadville in search of silver deposits in the Castle Creek Valley. Originally known as Castle Forks City and then Chloride until 1882, it was a mining town located ten miles (16 km) south of Aspen, Colorado. Together the men formed a Miners’ Protective Association, built a courthouse and laid out the streets in just two weeks. The town was renamed Ashcroft in 1882 after a rich ore strike was uncovered in Montezuma and Tam O’Shanter Mines.
Home to two newspapers, a school, sawmills, and a small smelter, by 1885 the town was home to about 3,500 people, had six hotels and 20 saloons. By the turn of the 20th century, only a handful of aging, single men lived in Ashcroft. Though they all owned mining claims they spent most of their time fishing and hunting or reading and drinking in a local bar. The town’s last resident, Jack Leahy, died in 1939, making Ashcroft an official ghost town.
Photograph copyright (c) Trevi Bennett 2012