Last spring we made a trip down to the Great Sand Dunes National Park. We decided to take a different route home than we normally take so from the Sand Dunes we headed north on Highway 285 in the San Luis Valley towards Poncha Springs, Colorado. On the way we discovered there was a turnoff (CO Rd L156) close to the small town of Villa Grove which took us to the old ghost town of Bonanza, Colorado with a current population of 14. The town was originally settled by Lieutenant Kerber sometime after the Civil War. The town, at that time, was called Kerber City after the Lieutenant along with the Creek, which still bears his name, Kerber Creek. Sometime around 1880 silver was found upstream from Kerber City. After the silver was found, the town took on the name Bonanza because the miners all thought they were going to get rich, which didn’t happen. At one time Bonanza had more than 500 residents. There are still many old buildings standing in and around the almost forgotten community. Autumn would be a great time to visit and photograph Bonanza as there are many aspen trees in the area. Below is a slideshow of some of the old buildings still standing around the ghost town of Bonanza.
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Books on Ghost Towns of Colorado