Karval – Colorado Ghost Town?
by local author & historian: John LaBorde
Karval Colorado has a history but it isn’t a ghost town yet. But let us take you across the prairie where a grove of trees reaches for the clouds, roof lines peeking through the leaves. On down the country road a small farming community comes into view. Trees line the streets, buildings scattered along the roadway. Some are still in use a few are abandoned. The flag flutters over the Post Office, couple of pickups parked in front of the coffee shop, the pulse of Karval still moves.
Farming/ranching communities were quite common in the early 1900’s.
They served the local settlers with basic necessities. In the day of horse and wagon, travel at 4mph, an all day trip was arduous.
A short distance trip saved time for the early day settlers. Here they could shop, visit and take care of business.
With the changes in transportation many of these wide spots faded back into the grasses. No longer was travel at 4mph.
The horseless carriage could fly over the puddles and be to the big towns by the railroad tracks in no time. Over the years the people of Karval have hung on to their community.
The school still teaches students and the post office still handles mail. Most of the other businesses have vacated. The empty buildings are reminders of when it was a bustling community.
Stores are closed, the station is gone, garage shuttered up and vacant lots now house the memories of other days. The community building still hosts a variety of events, most notably, the Mountain Plover Festival each April.
The Rocky Mountain Plover, looks like a Killdeer, migrates through the area on the way to its summer and winter habitat. Early spring the birds are moving and some of the local ranches open up for tours to search out the elusive bird.
Situated in southern Lincoln County, Karval is not on any highway. It is in a ghostly location that takes some searching to find, or just follow the signs. Here one can stand on the ridge and see to eyes end, the air is cleaned by the breezes of the high plains and peace pauses for those who look.
Antelope herds boil over the ridge, fox surveys from his den, hawk circles overhead, deer seek the shade of creeks and the coyote ambles over the grassland. Here the old west lingers: cattle drives across pastures, roundups and branding and get along little doggies. All rounding bends in the road to whatever lies ahead.