Arlington, began its life as a railroad camp on the Missouri Pacific RR, in Eastern Colorado. The trains have stopped running and the rails collect rust. No longer is there the clicking of wheels flashing over the tracks. Cars and trucks can be heard rumbling along the highway that followed the rails to Pueblo.
There a couple of hardy ranchers that still call this little prairie burg home. The Post Office closed and moved to Hasewell a few years back. The roadside businesses are gone and the few store fronts are now silent. The roadside park has a caretaker and the occasional traveler will stop for a moment. Silence is the main companion for the few that pause.
The main feature of the town is the schoolhouse that sits in far corner of the town. The two story building dominates the land, yet years of neglect is showing. Number of years ago some locals wanted to buy the school but the scrapper that owned it would not sell. Today the junk that had littered the yard is gone except the tires left in the weeds. The winds whistle through broken windows, the bell tower is sliest for the few birds and it appears that the school may be doomed.
The town has set vacant for so many years that the weeds dominate. The few streets are overgrown and the remains of houses and building rise above them. Street signs mark where the roads had once been. Rooflines are barely visible in the overgrown town.
Yet someday the tracks may hear the clicking of wheels again. A group wants to buy the rails but the transaction is held up in court and government agencies. Arlington has no farming, most of that is to the east. Trains would just pass through the remains of what once was on their way to Pueblo.
Nearby is a WWII auxiliary airstrip and little further is Adobe reservoir. The canals today carry dust of yesteryear when the sugar beet ruled the country.
Located on the north central plains of Eastern Colorado, the little village has more memories on Main Street then pedestrians. It is a country settler’s village that has hung on. There are no major highways through town or a railroad. Yet the town has maintained a small population of around 30 souls. Main Street is empty, boarded up and the sidewalks are rolled up. Down at the end of the road is the Post Office, there are enough residents in the area to keep it going.
For one weekend a year, Vernon comes to life, people stroll the town park, tractors pop and sputter and horses have the right of way. Vernon Days is celebrated just before Labor Day. It is a day to remember when their forefathers came into the area and homesteaded. The few town folks roll out the old time carpet to celebrate yesteryears.
Otherwise the other 51 weekends are pretty noiseless as the sleepy little goes about life. Surrounded by farmland, the whirr of farm equipment is more common the laughter of school children, from the now shuttered school house. The little country church is well kept and hears the word on occasion. The shops of Main Street remind one of when they could stop in and pick up supplies. Across the street is the town park square, well groomed and cared for.
Off in the distance on a ridge can be seen the community cemetery. Looking at it one could see that the area was populous at one time. Yet like so many prairie towns, the people left to try and find greener fields in the city.
Those that remain have different pace of life, the nearest towns with shops are miles away. Sometimes the bus ride to school can be over 100 miles. Yet the people take it in stride and live out a life from the land.
Situated in the southern end of Lincoln County, Colorado, Carr Crossing was a community/rural Post Office during the early 1900’s. For the visitor of today, it is some of the most empty land in the state. Lincoln County is called a Frontier area, there aren’t enough people to qualify as rural. Population density is less than one person per two square miles. In the areas of Carr Crossing the density is probably 1 person per 10 square miles.
Yet during the early 1900’s scores of people came out to this area to settle and homestead. Scattered through the area are the sites of numerous empty and abandoned homes. Moisture is extremely sparse and farming is almost impossible. Today it is mostly range land with a few cattle grazing on the rolling hills.
The Car Crossing Post Office was located on a wagon road that overlooked the valley of Horse Creek. Today there are no roads that go past it and way out there in the pasture is where it used to be.
The same is for the school, way out there in another pasture is where the school was located. As the crow flies, it is about 5 miles from the PO to the school. First time I visited the area, I had no idea there was a school because it was way off any road.
When talking to some local people, they mentioned that the merry go round still sat out in the pasture form when the Carr Crossing School was teaching the children of the settlers. So when I went through the area, I made it point to go looking a little closer to try and see the merry go round.
Driving down the road, I spotted a dead tree off in the distance sitting on a ridge and an outline next to it. Pointing the camera off that direction and zooming way out, I snapped a couple of pics. Sure enough there was the merry go round. I tried finding a road to get closer but no luck. So I have an ethereal picture of school playground out in the middle of a pasture, I would of never found if not for idle conversation.
Carr Crossing is one of those places that will probably stay unexplored for decades because of their locations. Then that is okay, I don’t know many people that like folks walking across their backyard.
Here is an open area that has not changed much over the eons.
One of those places where I was a few days late and a whole bunch short. Situated off Hwy 94 and down a dead end road a short distance, was Kuhn’s Post Office. This where one could cross Bijou Creek and continue their journey westward. Off and on for years I drove past this location, not knowing what was located just over the rise.
Back in the trees lining the creek I could a barn with its silo and the other ranch buildings. It was a very pastoral scene as I whizzed by on the highway. Back down the road had been Kuhn’s Crossing Schoolhouse and there were some log cabins.
Over the years these structures had weathered and collapsed into piles of lumber scrap heaps. The markers of the little pioneer community were gone. Down the road a ways were some ranch houses and outbuildings after crossing the creek. A rubble heap sat on the ridge where the school had once been. I took too long to go looking and found not much.
It is a fascinating area to drive through. To the south a ways was a stage stop and a branch of the Smoky Hill Trail. To the north on another road is another branch of the Smoky Hill Trail. There are some other communities nearby and some wide open range land. Cottonwoods line the creek bottoms and stately pines dot the ridges. It is a varied land of rolling grasslands, towering ridges, 7000-8000 feet in elevation. The Indians would roam here in the summer
Today, many of the pine trees have grown back, ranches dot the land and cattle graze the grasses.