Wezels – Colorado Ghost Town
by local author & historian: John LaBorde
The wagon cracked and groaned as the animals struggled to get it through the sand creek. It was an easy crossing but the sand grabbed the wheels like glue holding tight. The driver was walking next to his team encouraging them on. Ahead and over a bit was a barn and other buildings. Here the animals would be unhitched from the wagon, watered, and allowed to graze by the creek. There were a few trees for shade from the late afternoon sun.
Louis Wezel had seen the approaching wagon as he worked around his yard doing evening chores. The driver walked up to Louis and said, “hi”. Louis was asked if it was okay to spend the night here as the sun was setting. “Sure”, was the reply, “You can spend the night in the barn.”
In 1891 Louis Wezel immigrated to the United States and found his way to Colorado. In south central Lincoln County is where he homesteaded. Little did he know that soon his place would become an early day version of a “barn and breakfast”.
Homesteading on the south banks of Rush Creek, close to the confluence of two branches, was an easy crossing for wagons headed north and south. The Wezel homestead was on the early day wagon freeway. As the travelers passed by they would pause for a spell to take care of their animals before climbing up out of the creek bottom. If it was late evening they would spend the night. Being hospitable, the settler offered his barn for the overnighters. In the morning, the travelers could have some biscuits and gravy.
Later the Wezel place would become a Post Office. Here the neighbors could stop by for a visit and send mail or pick up their mail. The little homestead that had humble beginnings in a dug out was now a post office and a place for travelers to pause for a bit of refreshment.
Today the homestead still sits on the bank of Rush Creek but it is empty. Louis Wezel’s grandson now operates the ranch and a few decades ago a new home was built on the hill overlooking the creek. The homestead is now a ranch of over 3000 acres along parts of Rush Creek.
Along the banks of the creek one can still see some of the ruts from the wagons traveling through the ranch. As one trail up the hill became too worn, a new path would be made beside the old one. Across the pasture were a variety of traces going up the creek bank.
The Wezel’s still have the little pigeon hole frame that was used to sort the mail and there are pictures of the building that was the Post Office. Today these are but dusty memories of another time.