Before it was "the last great ski town" in America, Colorado's Crested Butte was a mining town first incorporated in 1880 with a population of only 400 people. And while almost every ski town has creepy stories of ghosts roaming the mountain lodges and saloons, Crested Butte's ghost population will send shivers down the spine of any tourist. Curbed Ski goes behind Crested Butte's perfect western movie-set facade to reveal the haunted history of this hallowed ski town.
The first famous ghost in Crested Butte appears before you even hit the town boundaries. For decades, locals have sworn that an otherworldly man can be seen hitchhiking along the road between Gunnison and Crested Butte. He seems harmless, but lock the doors just in case.
Once you enter the town, it's hard to find a place that doesn't have some sort of tragic, haunted history. With the extension of the railroad from Gunnison to Crested Butte in 1881, coal mining boomed, especially at the Jokerville mine. On January 24, 1884 an explosion occurred at the Jokerville mine, killing between 60-70 people. In 1891, an avalanche wiped out much of the camp mining complex and killed dozens. Many locals believe that these untimely deaths are why restless souls haunt establishments today.
Old saloon girls in elaborate, large dresses can be seen in the windows of Slogar's Bar & Restaurant late at night. Other's claim that Elk Mountain Lodge, a boarding house built in 1919, is haunted by the ghosts of past disasters.
Perhaps the most famous ghost in Crested Butte resides at the Forest Queen Hotel, one of the original hotels in town. Legend has it that a lady named Elizabeth was staying at the Forest Queen when she fell in love with a transient gambler. To win his affection she gave him her life's savings, which the gambler promptly used to double his fortune. But instead of declaring his undying devotion to Elizabeth, the transient fled town, leaving her penniless and destitute. Soon after the gambler left, Elizabeth jumped out of the Forest Queen Hotel window into the icy waters of Coal Creek. Ever since, the jilted woman has haunted the hotel, banging pots and slamming doors. Tell us Curbediverse, have you seen Elizabeth or any other ghosts in Crested Butte?
· Crested Butte: A National Historic District
· A good old fashioned Crested Butte Colorado Halloween [Crested Butte Property Shop]