Author Ken Jessen Talks About Ghost Towns At Estes Park Museum
Join author Kenneth Jessen when he describes his adventures documenting nearly 1,000 abandoned sites in Eastern Colorado for his book Ghost Towns: Eastern Colorado at the Estes Park Museum on December 12, 2009. This program begins at 11:00 a.m. and is free and open to the public. This book and other publications by the author are on sale in the Estes Park Museum Shop, managed by the Friends of the Estes Park Museum.
Ghost Towns: Eastern Colorado recognizes that each place has a unique story. Some of the towns Jessen will cover in his talk had humble beginning similar to Estes Park: a post office, general store and a school that served the children of neighboring farmers and ranchers. While some small towns grew to have a street system, others never amounted to more than the establishment of a single building. Such is the history of the many ghost towns that were built on a “sea of grass” that entail struggling homesteaders hoping for the return of prosperity they once enjoyed during the wet years. Jessen’s research recognizes waves of settlers forced out by drought in certain communities only to be replaced with newcomers filled with hope and optimism. The Dust Bowl of the 1930s was the final blow for many Coloradoans that led to the abandonment of their dreams for a developing town. Sites included in the book range from stage stations to forts to once-thriving towns along cattle trails, agricultural communities and railroad-financed towns.
Jessen’s most recent publication, Rocky Mountain National Park Pictorial History (2008), was featured on “Colorado Getaways” (Channel 4, CBS). He is the author of over ten books and is presently working on a pictorial history of the establishment of the Town of Estes Park. In addition to writing, Jessen is a professional tour guide for the Colorado Historical Society, the Estes Park Museum and the National Park Service. His tours include Colorado ghost towns, historic lodges and sites in Rocky Mountain National Park, and public art in Loveland. Be there when he presents the history of the towns described in Ghost Towns: Eastern Colorado.
Now through April, the Museum, located at 200 Fourth Street, is open Friday and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and Sunday from 1:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. The mission of the Estes Park Museum is to collect, interpret and preserve local history, as well as to present exhibits, programs and events for the education and benefit of residents and visitors of all ages. For more information call the Estes Park Museum at 586-6256 or visit the Museum’s website at www.estes.org/museum. Admission is free.