Places – Hawkinsville: An Obscure Ghost Town

These are just a few of the cabins at Low Pass, located in Low Pass Gulch north of Hawkinsville. Those living in these cabins worked at the Granite Tunnel, at the Belle of Granite stamp mill or at one of the area mines.

Story and photos by Kenneth Jessen

On the east side of the Arkansas River, north of the town of Granite, were several small mining camps based on the discovery of gold ore in 1860s. Historically obscure, they are only mentioned in passing in ghost town books. Hawkinsville, in Hawkinsville Gulch, was not really a town and more of a named location. There are a few scattered cabin ruins today, but there were probably many more during its peak.

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The Lost Canyon Placer

From the upper Lost Canyon cabin, there is a magnificent view of Twin Lakes.

Article and photos by Kenneth Jessen

Located west of Granite, Colorado, is the Lost Canyon Placer, with its two remaining cabins on the north side of County Road 398 and a creek on the south side. To get to Lost Canyon requires heading west past the Granite Cemetery and the site of Cache Creek. The road begins to climb through an aspen forest in a little less than three miles from Granite. A series of switchbacks brings the road into the canyon proper. Almost all of the way to the first cabin the road is relatively smooth. Beyond this point, it may require a high-ground clearance vehicle.

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A Prospector’s Pick: The Early Town of Cache Creek

The town of Cache Creek once supported a boarding house, supplies stores and upwards of 300 residents.
The town of Cache Creek once supported a boarding house, supplies stores and upwards of 300 residents.

By Jan MacKell Collins

Hike along Cache Creek outside of Granite today, and you are certain to run into folks all along the water. These aren’t your average outdoor enthusiasts; rather, the folks scrambling along the riverbanks are on a mission. They are looking for gold, which can still be found over 150 years after being discovered.
Cache Creek’s name is derived from the French word, “cacher,” meaning “to hide.” One story goes that around 1854, French trappers hid their pelts there, while another claims that explorers Kit Carson and Lucien Maxwell hid their supplies in the vicinity as they fled some Native Americans. Because of its odd pronunciation, Cache Creek was sometimes referred to as “Cash Creek.”

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Granite Stage Stop and Livery Stable

By Fay Golson for The Chaffee County Heritage Area Advisory Board

This Granite stage stop and Livery Stable is the fifth property featured from the Chaffee County Historic Resources Survey completed this summer. Granite was spawned by the stampede of prospectors struck by gold fever. The initial gold discovery in 1860 by G.A. Kelley along the Arkansas River – about four miles south of the present day town of Granite – was on a gravel bar later to take the name Kelley’s Bar. Just to the north, Cache Creek became an even more profitable site. Virginia McConnell Simmons in The Upper Arkansas, A Mountain River Valley states it precisely: “Granite’s role in the life of this area went back to 1860, when the entire section along the Arkansas from Kelley’s Bar on the south to Cache Creek on the north was lined with prospectors’ tents. But Granite was simply a suburb of the placer camps, particularly of Cache Creek.”

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