|Abandoned Cisco Landing Store|
The drive from the abandoned sugar mill in Loveland, Colorado to Cisco, Utah ghost town took up most of the remaining daylight hours. By the time I arrived, the sun had already touched the horizon. I explored as much as I could in the waning light before it became pitch dark outside. Without another soul for miles in any direction, I decided the Utah ghost town would be a perfect place to spend the night.
I snapped a few pictures by the inadequate illumination of my flashlight before I decided it would be best to wait for the light of morning.
Many of the buildings were in an advanced state of decay.
Some appeared incredibly old and were constructed entirely of wood.
Miscellaneous car parts and mattress springs were a common sight in the abandoned houses.
Quite a few rusting vehicles had made Cisco, Utah their final resting place, including an abandoned bus,
quite a few abandoned cars,
and several RVs.
After the sun disappeared, the only source of light as far as the eye could see were three light posts near the railroad tracks. Occasionally a train passed by, its three bright headlights slicing through the darkness, and once in a great while, a car sped past on the lonely stretch of highway along Cisco's northern border.
With virtually no light pollution I had an incredible view of the stars. I gazed up at the sky for a while, a bittersweet thought churning in my brain: the epic road trip was nearing its end. In two short days I would be back home in Los Angeles.
I was shocked to realize that, despite the fact that I was in an abandoned town, my phone had perfect reception. I called a few people at home and gushed about the amazing places I'd seen over the last few days. I talked to my better half for nearly an hour. I missed him like crazy; it was the longest we'd ever been apart. Finally I wrapped myself up in a cozy nest of blankets and fell fast asleep.
The next morning, I woke with the sun and immediately set out to finish exploring the abandoned buildings of Cisco, Utah.
|A cluster of old shacks in Cisco, Utah ghost town|
A gas station appeared to have been abandoned long ago, judging by the severity of its decay.
Houses spread out over the large swath of land were slumped in various states of ruin.
Some still contained artifacts left by their former inhabitants.
I spotted what looked like mine entrances, which turned out to be very old cellars that were still fairly intact.
Without thinking, I opened the refrigerator and a horrible moldy odor instantly infused the air. I held my breath and got the hell out of there.
Only one house had any indication that someone might still be living there. It was quite large with several additions. The porch light was on; I hadn't noticed it the previous night because it was set away from most of the ghost town's crumbling abandoned homes. I kept a respectful distance.
Several modern trailer homes stood nearby. One of them was being used for storage, and contained shelves full of mysterious unmarked bottles.
The other looked like it had housed a small family somewhat recently.
The appliances and cabinetry were still intact.
It even had a Jacuzzi.
An emergency fire plan was tacked up beside the front door.
And one corner of the place was badly scorched by a fire that might have driven the residents out.
One of Cisco's most notable landmarks is the tiny post office. It is incredibly small and contains only a desk and a chair.
There are plenty of other interesting artifacts lying around too.
|Abandoned Wonder Bread Truck in Cisco, Utah|
Cisco, Utah has a robust history that dates back to the late 1800s. The town was first established as a watering stop for steam engines operated by the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad. The station became an important shipping depot for the cattle ranchers and sheep herders from the nearby Book Cliffs.
An increasing number of work crews and travelers passed through town and restaurants, stores, bars and hotels were built to meet the growing demand.
The town's economy was spurred on by the discovery of oil and natural gas in 1924. It became such a thriving industry that Cisco was, for a time, Utah's largest producer of oil and natural gas.
The switch from coal-powered steam locomotives to diesel engines in the 1950s spelled trouble for Cisco because it meant that trains would no longer need to stop to replenish water supplies.
Fortunately the mid-1900s saw an increase in car ownership in the US, reinforcing Cisco's role as a stopping point for travelers crossing the harsh desert.
Another boon to the local economy occurred when uranium and vanadium were discovered nearby, drawing thousands of prospectors.
It wasn't long before the period of ore discovery died down and much of the population moved away. The final blow to Cisco's declining economy occurred with the construction of the Interstate system. In a fate similar to many of the abandoned towns I've visited, I-70 completely bypassed Cisco, depriving local businesses of the traffic that had been essential to their existence.
Scenes from several movies were filmed in Cisco, including Vanishing Point (1971), Thelma and Louise (1991), and Don't Come Knocking (2005).
According to http://www.legendsofamerica.com/ut-cisco.html, one of the last businesses in Cisco was a gas station/restaurant, whose owner went to jail for shooting a man who drove off without paying for his gas. The gas station owner's wife took over the business and ran it poorly, allegedly keeping the door locked and only serving customers when she felt like it. She had a large bad-tempered dog that frequently bit customers. It is said that if the customer got upset or kicked the dog, she turned them away, but if they kept a cool head, she would serve them.
I left Cisco and continued homeward, stopping to admire the beauty of Utah's landscapes and to check out a few more abandoned places on the way. Be sure to come back next week for more!
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