Eerie Ghost Town of Model, Colorado and Abandoned School in Tyrone

The rural highways of Southern Colorado meander through a harsh landscape where abandoned homes and businesses stand as crumbling monuments to the broken dreams of those that once lived there.

Abandoned Building in Model Colorado Ghost Town

After exploring the ruins of Ludlow, Colorado, a bleak mining ghost town and the site of the infamous Ludlow Massacre, I turned my sights northward. Only a few hours of daylight remained and I intended to make the most of them. I stopped in Trinidad to refuel before following Highway 350 toward the crown jewel of my road trip, an abandoned Titan missile silo complex.

Several interesting sights caught my eye, and I ended up staying in Trinidad longer than anticipated. Just off the freeway I spotted a cluster of mysterious old brick buildings on large piece of land.

Abandoned buildings in Trinidad, Colorado

I drove through the neighborhood and parked to take a few pictures. One of the neighbors was getting home just as I arrived, so I asked him if he knew anything about the old buildings. He didn't have any concrete information about them, but believed the site had once been a farm, and at one point had housed military personnel.

Abandoned buildings in Trinidad Colorado

Abandoned buildings in Trinidad Colorado

I was dying to get a closer look, but my hopes were dashed when I came to a gate with no trespassing signs.

Abandoned buildings in Trinidad, Colorado

I settled for a few low-quality zoomed-in shots and then got back on the road.

Abandoned building in Trinidad, Colorado

On the way out of town I spotted a few other neat old buildings and snapped a few quick shots from the road.

Abandoned building in Trinidad Colorado

I had a long drive ahead of me, but was determined to reach an abandoned schoolhouse in the rural community of Tyrone before dark. About twenty miles from Trinidad I passed a sign for the oddly named town of Model, Colorado. I hadn't planned on stopping there, but an abandoned store caught my eye, and I could resist pulling over for a closer look.

Abandoned building in Model, Colorado ghost town

I walked down the dirt road and caught sight of a desolate little town full of decaying buildings.

Abandoned building in Model Colorado ghost town

Abandoned buildings in Model, Colorado ghost town

Abandoned house in Model, Colorado ghost town

I immediately knew I wouldn't make it to Tyrone before dark; there was too much to explore in Model.

My heart pounded as I roamed the town, taking in the unexpected beauty of the place. It was one of those torturous moments that simultaneously filled me with wonder and frustration. I wanted to explore the entire place, but the sky was darkening and I knew it would be impossible to see everything before the remaining daylight faded away.

Abandoned Tank in Model, Colorado ghost town

There were many abandoned homes in Model, ranging form one room shacks to full-sized houses.

Abandoned house in Model Colorado ghost town

Abandoned house in Model Colorado ghost town

Many of the homes still had possessions in them, like this cute little shack with a chair, a sink, a fridge, a stove, some shelves, and not much else.

Abandoned building in Model, Colorado ghost town

Abandoned building in Model Colorado ghost town

While running around to the different properties I encountered a feral cat outside that almost looked like a bobcat. It was pretty big and brown with black accents on its fur. When it saw me, it moved, but then stood there watching me from a couple yards away. It had been well concealed in the scrub before I disturbed it. It didn’t act pissed or anything, so I just continued on my way.

Abandoned building in Model, Colorado ghost town

The only homes that still seemed to be inhabited were on the far side of town. One or two porch lights shone in the distance, and the urgent barking of a dog carried through the cold evening air.  The dog, unaccustomed to visitors, continued to bark the whole time I was there.

There was no graffiti anywhere in the town. And all the damage done to the structures was the result of weather – mostly in the form of dripping ceilings and the weakened flooring that follows. 

Abandoned House in Model, Colorado ghost town

It got dark very quickly, so I used the hell out of my flash. The camera I had at the time wasn't great at handling low light conditions, so most of the pictures ended up very grainy.

Abandoned structure in Model, Colorado ghost town

Abandoned house in Model Colorado ghost town

Abandoned house in Model, Colorado ghost town

Abandoned house in Model Colorado ghost town

Abandoned house in Model, Colorado ghost town

Abandoned building in Model Colorado ghost town

A few abandoned vehicles and trailers sat rusting in the yards.

Abandoned trailer in Model Colorado ghost town

An old car propped up on a stack of wood reminded me of the Ghostbusters car.

Urban Exploration in abandoned Model, Colorado ghost town

Urban Exploration in abandoned Model Colorado ghost town

I didn’t go into many of the structures, mainly because of time considerations, but I did take a look inside one house near the highway, adjoined to a shuttered mechanic shop.

Urban Exploration in abandoned Model, Colorado ghost town

Urban Exploration in abandoned Model, Colorado ghost town

Urban Exploration in abandoned Model Colorado ghost town

The place was in bad shape. Water from thawing snow dripped continuously from a damaged ceiling.

Urban Exploration in abandoned Model, Colorado ghost town

The place looked like it had been abandoned for several years. It seemed like the person who used to live there had died, and the trustees didn’t put much effort into emptying the place out. It reminded me of the junkyard house in Desert Center, CA.

Clothes still hung in the closet.

Urban Exploration in abandoned Model, Colorado ghost town

Appliances, light fixtures, and a few odds and ends remained in the kitchen.

Urban Exploration in abandoned Model Colorado ghost town

Urban Exploration in abandoned Model, Colorado ghost town

It looked like someone had come in and sorted through many of the deceased's possessions and gathered them in the living room.

Urban Exploration in abandoned Model Colorado ghost town

 A junk room/workshop was cluttered with machine parts and equipment.

Urban Exploration in abandoned Model, Colorado ghost town

The living room was huge and contained some interesting artifacts including an oscilloscope,

Urban Exploration in abandoned Model Colorado ghost town

a set of encyclopedias,

Urban Exploration in abandoned Model, Colorado ghost town

a bunk bed,

Urban Exploration in abandoned Model Colorado ghost town

a homemade bookshelf,

Urban Exploration in abandoned Model, Colorado ghost town

and a pressure cooker.

Urban Exploration in abandoned Model, Colorado ghost town

A whiteboard listed several items and their estimated cash value, most of them quite low. The camper, valued at $100 was still parked in the backyard.

Urban Exploration in abandoned Model, Colorado ghost town

I imagined the former resident of the house as a self-sufficient do-it-yourself type of guy, who didn't care much about appearances. I felt a little sad that the life he made for himself was now sitting in perpetual decay, discarded by his next of kin.

With a name like Model, I expected there to be an interesting story behind the town, but my research turned up surprisingly little information about the place. The region was home to local farming and was gradually abandoned due to competition from corporate farms and devastating droughts.

If you have any more info, please share it in a comment at the end of this article.

I continued up the dark Colorado highway until I reached Tyrone, a tiny unincorporated community with barely anything in it. I stopped at a very old mechanic shop along the highway.

Abandoned building in Tyrone, Colorado ghost town


Abandoned building in Tyrone, Colorado Ghost town

Abandoned building in Tyrone Colorado Ghost town

I have no idea when it was built or when it closed, but it is in a very advanced state of decay, literally coming apart at the seams.

Abandoned building in Tyrone Colorado Ghost town

One room was filled with a huge pile of tumbleweed.

Abandoned building in Tyrone, Colorado Ghost town

Abandoned building in Tyrone, Colorado Ghost town

No artifacts remained, but I found the place incredibly interesting.

Abandoned building in Tyrone, Colorado Ghost town

The pink paint held up surprisingly well in some places.

Abandoned building in Tyrone, Colorado Ghost town

In others, not so much.

Abandoned building in Tyrone, Colorado Ghost town

Abandoned building in Tyrone, Colorado Ghost town

Abandoned building in Tyrone, Colorado Ghost town

Nearby is an old schoolhouse. A piece of construction equipment sat outside, so it might be under renovation. 

Abandoned school in Tyrone, Colorado Ghost town

But work hadn't started yet when I was there. A lot of junk was piled up in the schoolroom.

Abandoned school in Tyrone, Colorado Ghost town

Abandoned school in Tyrone, Colorado Ghost town

And the basement contained several old desks, which appeared to be the only school-related artifacts left.

Abandoned school in Tyrone, Colorado Ghost town

I left Tyrone and continued north through the darkness, finally stopping outside Denver to get a good night's rest.

I could hardly wait for the morning, when I would experience the most highly anticipated exploration of the entire road trip: an abandoned Titan I missile silo complex.

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24 comments :

  1. This is great! The ted brick places fascinate me and I love your perspective on the lonely do-it-yourselfer. So sad!

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    1. Thank you! I wish I could have gotten a closer look at those brick buildings. I bet there's some interesting history behind them.

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  2. Looks like you stumbled onto a very nice surprise with Model.
    Nice photos--and I actually think the low light/flash made it look even more "creepy".

    Be careful out there, kiddo

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    Replies
    1. It really was a nice surprise. I'm so glad I decided to stop there. And I'm glad you like the low light photos. I'd like to go back there and see the town in daylight. I promise I'll be careful :)

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  3. Those cars! Bet they would look amazing against a starry night sky with a long exposure and maybe some fill light on the car! :D

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    1. That's an excellent idea. I wish I'd been better prepared to shoot at night.

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  4. The most interesting part for me was that old XT class IBM PC wasting away there, I would have been super tempted to rescue the old girl and give it a good home.

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    1. I love finding old technology. It provides a clue about when the place was abandoned.

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  5. AMAZING! I agree about the low light photos! Wowza!! I would love to know about the red brick buildings.

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  6. Great photos and story!
    I retraced your steps it seems a few days back. Hit Ludlow, then down to Morley. My group and I then headed out to Model. Such an incredible location. Sad to see everything just left behind like that. The poor cat you saw during your exploration has left us I am sad to say. We saw it too...but it wasn't breathing.
    Thanks for getting shots inside that schoolhouse in Tyrone! We stopped there but some old guy who lived across the highway drove up and yelled "Private property!" at us every 5 seconds. So we left before we could peek inside.
    So many cool places to be seen and explored along that stretch of road! Too bad there is so little information about them online.

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    1. Thanks for commenting! Sorry I didn't see it until just now. I'm sad to hear that the cat is no longer alive. At least he probably had a pretty interesting life (or 9). I'm glad I didn't run into the angry man. I suppose it's tough for him to know whether people are there just to take pictures or to make trouble.

      That sure is an awesome part of Colorado. I hope someone has written a book on those old towns, so their memory is preserved somewhere. If not, maybe someone who knows more about them will leave some comments here.

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    2. I've been stopping there for a cold one for the last 25 years on my way to Sturgis. I have 2 good Trinidad friends who's moms grew up there. They told me an military plane crashed there maybe in the 1940's. They are pretty old, but still alive, I'll see if I can get some information....Russ

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    3. Must have been crazy to witness the plane crash. Where do you like to stop for a cold one? I'll check it out next time I'm in the area.

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    4. Yes there was a military plane crash in the Model area, my aunt & uncle were first on the site. My Dad & family were raised in Model as was my Mom's family, my Granddaddy had a Farm there, Mom used to tell me you could see the ruts of the wagons on the Santa Fe trail thru the farm. My Dad was raised in the 2 story house across 350 and the railroad tracks.

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    5. I hope you are able to go back in the day time and get more pictures! Love what you did!

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  7. This is so cool! I'm really interested in that sort of stuff but I'd be scared to go there in case it was haunted! I'm such a scaredy cat! ��

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    1. Thank you! I don't blame you; these places can be pretty creepy, especially after the sun goes down.

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  8. Heidi from coloradoOctober 30, 2016 at 1:09 PM

    how do i find an address for my gps to go and see model, colorado also?

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    Replies
    1. Check out the map on my "Places I've Been" page.

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    2. That would be cool! I remember going in that store.

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  9. Someone recently purchased the entire town and lives in the general store. He is photographer friendly but will greet you armed if you catch him off guard! If you ask nicely, he might even open the old store next door for you. :)

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    1. Be extra watchful for snakes if you do visit this location.

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    2. Thanks for the update. I'll have to get in touch with him the next time I'm in the area. I'd love to see the old store.

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