Galatea was one of those towns that took me more then one attempt to find. I had driver past it several times but never noticed it. The railroad has a huge earth berm beside it and things on the other side are well hidden. Where the county road turns off the state highway there is a small window to look back into it. Then it still looks like no more another abandoned ranch house, which are plentiful on the plains.
Galatea sits north of the junction of SH 96 and CR 27. It had its beginnings in 1887 as a railroad camp. The Missouri Pacific wanted to reach the Rocky Mountain goldfields and this route to Pueblo was almost a straight line from Kansas City.
Most of the railroad camps became memories. Galatea lasted for a bit. Some shops were there plus homes. Today there is mostly weeds, couple houses, some out buildings and lots of concrete piles from footers and foundations.
The depression hit followed by the drought. The lack of money and moisture took its toll on the early settlers. The Dust Bowl of the 30’s blew many a settler out. Most farm land was ruined and very little range land could be used.
The railroad provided some work for the few that hung in there during the dust storms. The land is still dry and the dust boils in the sky on occasion. It is not an easy land to live on yet a few make a nice living. Many people grudgingly left their homes, for here were their dreams, their own land.
The railroad no longer carries trains, the rails are possibly going to be removed and the highway sees the occasional traveler. Near by is the town of Eads, the County Seat. Here are the stores and shops for provisions and take care of business. Way over there someplace is a city or two. Homes are few and far between. Population for the entire county is less then 2000. Galatea seldom shows up on maps and most travelers fly by not even noticing the few trees that struggle to survive marking the once town.
Here one can walk the path of John Steinbeck and the Grapes of Wrath.
Highway 96 begins in western Kansas and ends in Pueblo, Colorado. Along this route are scores of little ghost towns like this. After doing some more research on Galatea, I found there were numerous camps the railroad built that never became towns. So I have future excursions along this stretch of road to go town looking again. Have to find a better map that shows the railroad locations.
It is a highway of ghosts that winds beside the railroad tracks, much like it did more then a century ago. The code polls still stand and the rails are rusted and the highway glides on past these pages of times past.