Punkin Center – Colorado Ghost Town
by local author & historian: John LaBorde
One of the more famous little stops in Eastern Colorado is Punkin Center, located at the intersection of State Highways 94 and 71 in southern Lincoln County. Here there are no pumpkin patches but the junction has been referred to as Punkin Center.
In the early 1920’s an adventuresome soul thought there should be a gas station at the intersection. So he built one along with a general store and coffee shop. The buildings were painted orange and over time faded to a pumpkin color.
This little business is where legends come from. The proprietor carried a gun for protection from thieves. But some thieves once got the jump on him and tried to rob the establishment. He wrestled with the assailant and in the process got shot in the shoulder. But he did best the thief. Wounded and bleeding the shop keeper drug the guy to the neighbors where the police were called. The other thief that got away was caught later.
Business continued at the country store for a number of years. Sometime later some youngsters out cruising needed some gas. They stopped to fill up and decided to rob the station. Being confronted by the robbers the store keeper reached for his gun but was not quick enough. He was fatally wounded and left to die as the crooks fled in their car.
The business was bought and stayed open for a number of years. The new owner was returning from the big city and saw smoke on the horizon. Upon his arrival he saw that it was his store going up in smoke. The orange building had become a pile of ashes. It is said the ghost of the first owner can be seen wandering the area searching.
Today the roar of tractors can be heard on a hot summer day as they charge down their course. Garden tractors roar to life for races and tractor pulls throughout the summer.
No longer is there a gas station or a restaurant at the junction. There are a couple of homes and the Highway Department maintains a small shop.