If venturing to Colorado wasn’t on your bucket list, it may be after reading this week’s blog. It’s notorious for its ancient mining and ghost towns. Just 46 miles from the outskirts of Denver sits yet another one of Colorado’s old mining towns, Silver Plume. This ‘living ghost town’ holds the remains of the silver mines that once pumped life into this western town. The town still breathes a little. Older citizens of the semi-ghost town still remain and are in love with their historic scenery.
With any ghost town comes a vibrant history. The sad tale of Clifford Griffin goes back to Silver Plume’s early days. In his early 20’s, Griffen fell madly in love and proposed to his lover. After only a few months, the bride-to-be was found dead in the late hours of the night. Griffen was so heartbroken, he had to distance himself from the painful memories. He uprooted his life and settled in Silver Plume with his brother in hopes of finding a mining job to distract him. After just a short time, he became the owner of the 7:30 Mine (a mine that generously started their day 1 hour later than the others). Griffen was known around town as a kind and somber man. The only thing thing that seemed to bring him any happiness was his violin that he would play in the evenings in the entrance of his mine. On the evening of his death, a mournful yet heartfelt recital could be heard throughout the town with a gunshot to follow. Griffin was laid to rest at the entrance of his mine. It is said that once evening hits and the sun starts to set, you can hear the beautiful violin of Clifford Griffen.
Tom Young was another man with his own story to tell. Young was a well-liked older man who owned and operated a bookstore in the middle of town. He had a much loved companion always by his side, his dog Gus. On September 7, 1987 neighbors watched as Young left his book store and locked the door behind him. In passing, he had a comment about taking a short vacation. He was last seen walking with Gus down the main street of town into the unknown. Tom and Gus were never seen again.
If Tom Young’s death isn’t mysterious enough for you, surely a second missing person may start to freak you out. Keith Reinhard, a successful sportswriter decided to leave Chicago for a slower paced life in Silver Plume just 1 year after the disappearance of Young. Just days before Reinhard went missing, the remains of Tom Young and his dog Gus were found. Their skeletal remains were found up in the mountains just off a trail with bullet wounds to their body. The death was ruled a suicide, although no ballistics were ever preformed on the revolver. A few days later, Reinhard was seen walking down the main street in town, the same road Young and his beloved dog were last seen too. Keith or his body were never found. The town is certain both deaths were not a suicide. A few years after the unusual deaths, Unsolved Mysteries did a story on the disappearances.
This town offers much more than a mournful lover and a few eerie disappearances. If you’re ever passing through, be sure the check out The George Rowe Museum, which was the original school house of the town or take a hike through the haunted 7:30 Mine Trail for a grand view of the Silver Plume valley. If you’ve enjoyed these Colorado tales, come along for this week’s stories, featuring more about the states haunted history and cosmic highway.