By Kenneth Jessen
Hippies are usually thought of in negative terms, especially when it comes to any kind of work ethic. To run across a town – ragged and run down or not – founded by hippies is certainly a rare find. During the late 1960s, landowner Dan Archuleta allowed a hippie colony to move into his goat sheds along the north side of C.R. 580 a little over a mile west of Red Wing. The hippies named the place Archuletaville and made improvements to the property. A row of south-facing stone sheds was enclosed and windows added. They may have added several free-standing log cabins, but these may have been moved from another location. There is also an adobe house.
The hippies at Archuletaville were part of a large movement of freethinking individuals who populated a small portion of Huerfano County. They called themselves Libre and occupied isolated areas along Hwy. 69 northwest of Walsenburg including Farisita, Gardner, Malachite, Red Wing and surrounding drainages. Some lived in shacks, while others constructed elaborate geodesic domes. Each commune had its own identity and name. The hippies applied for food stamps and took what odd jobs they could get. They pooled their labor and financial resources, children were home-schooled, and marriages seemed to be informal arrangements. Toward the end of the 1970s, the hippie movement began to die out and the communes disbanded. Some remained in the area and maintained their free lifestyle, while reality set in for others as they moved away to settle down into ordinary lives.
To reach this unusual ghost town, take C.R. 580 west through Red Wing, past a small cemetery. The abandoned row of buildings at Archuletaville sits on the north side of the county road.
Loveland author Kenneth Jessen is always looking for the bizarre and unusual – something that fits his personality.