Tin Cup

Location: Latitude: 38.75444, Longitude: -106.47778. 

GhostTowns.com Description: The first placer gold was found in the Tin Cup area in 1859, and the first big strike in 1879. Tin Cup got its name from one of the prospectors that carried out his gold dust in a tin cup. The underworld ruled Tin Cup and there never really was any law. Every time an honest sheriff would arrive, he would be told what to do by the leaders of the underworld. If he didn't comply, he was killed. And so the cemetery at Tin Cup is filled with honest sheriffs and other good people that did not comply with the underworlds demands. Around the turn of the century there was said to be about 2000 people here and shortly after that the population dwindled. Now there are only ruins and a popular recreation area. More information and images can be found here.

PitkinColorado.com Description: Even if you don't know exactly where it is, or how to get there, chances are you've probably at least heard of Tin Cup. It's a breath of fresh air, photogenic, pastoral, and the quintessential "get away from everything" kind of place that is fun to find.

But contrary to what you might have thought, Tin Cup is not a ghost town. This misconception is probably a result of the fact that almost all local residences are very old cabins that have been restored to original condition - giving it the appearance of a town that has not changed in the last 150 years.

The western flank of the Continental Divide had for centuries been home to the Ute Indians. Captain Zebulon M. Pike reportedly reached the area in 1806 while exploring territory acquired by the United States in the Louisiana Purchase. But it wasn't until the 1850's as prospectors were returning east after being discouraged in efforts to find their fortunes in the California goldfields, that the Rockies began to attract non-Indian visitors. James Taylor, an 18-year-old Georgian is the first reported white man to settle in the Taylor Park area, which makes up most of the Tin Cup District's land area.

There are only a couple businesses in Tin Cup, a small store/gift shop in the middle of town, and Frenchy's, a small log cabin restaurant (with a colorful past!) where you can enjoy a great burger, or dessert. They're not always open; but the sign out front will clearly let you know whether they're Open or Closed. Take a few minutes to visit the old cemetery. It contains Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish sections.

Tin Cup can be accessed from Cottonwood Pass west of Buena Vista, from Taylor Canyon east of Almont, and from the beautiful Cumberland Pass which exits from the north end of Pitkin.

Tin Cup has a colorful past, and for an excellent account of the history of the area as well as some entertaining reading, we recommend you pick up "Colorado's Alluring Tin Cup" by Conrad F. Schader; it provides an entertaining account of the Tin Cup District, its settlements, people, and mines.

The book is available in the small store across from Frenchy's, as well as many book stores throughout Colorado.

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