Limon – The Ghosts in Town
by local author & historian: John LaBorde
Limon Colorado is not a ghost town but it has more than its fair share of ghostly tales. When the Chicago Kansas and Nebraska built across the Kansas Pacific Railway they created an area full of myths and other tales.
The space between the converging rails became a place of storied fields.
Even today, there’s an area just south of the old Rock Island tracks known as Hollywood that is supposed to harbor ghosts. Many a younger couple have taken advantage of the area and have returned the next day to school with stories of strange happenings.
When the Rock Island railroad crossed the rails of the Kansas Pacific there was nothing in this area, just open grassland. The depot for the KP was “that a way” a couple of miles. Here on the banks of the Big Sandy Crick the new railroad set up camp and named it after one of the local workers.
This new railroad was not new to robberies, Jesse James had them for a notch back east. Experience with outlaws was nothing new but to set up on haunted pastures was something new. From the beginning there were gremlins floating around Limon’s camp. Fires started, depots burned and equipment disappeared. Workers were scared off. The lights that floated over the barren grasses did not set well. The myth of Limon’s camp was growing.
Today the stories are there but quietly whispered for fear of angering the gods of myth. Along the banks of the creek small camps can be found. Here the bums and hobos would pause briefly. There were marks and signs that are tagged on walls, piers and other places indicating what is available in Limon. Food, clothes, shower and whether the local police will hassle them. These passing wayfarers created more stories adding to the myth. Separate out the reality, was it ghosts or a transient?
Hollywood is where the Rock Island built their roundhouse and other structures. One can pause next to the yard and look across the tracks and see rubble piles of the remains of these buildings. Here men lived out their lives working for the railroad. Today it is the spirits of these men that make the clanging sounds that roll out of the rubble piles. The occasional train uses the wye to circle around the rubble pile to turn their engines around.
Nearby are the remnants of bridge piers sitting in the Sand Creek. Standing on the banks by the depot one can look off in the distance to Pikes Peak and hear the roar of the trains pounding the now gone iron rails. The Rock Island, “she was a mighty fine line” as the song goes. No longer do the Rock Island Rockets zip over the rails. Today it is but ghostly memories gliding on the high iron.
Gone are the majestic hotels, the railroad worker trodding up the rise for a night’s rest, the lonesome whistle that no longer flys over the prairie or black smoke arching high over head. Its a time that has been lost. In the myths of stories it is a flicker.
Myths abound in Hollywood. The fallen railroad lamented. Ghost trains now roll on the high iron.