Aroya, a Colorado ghost town

Ben Moreland's Aroya filling station

I first discovered the ghost town of Aroya Colorado while spotting storms, but I was unable to explore due to a tornadic supercell bearing down on us, so I chalked this up to investigate the next time “I was in town”.  I was again chasing but the storms were not firing, so I decided to stop by and check out this old ghost town.  During my initial drive by I only noticed the school building from the road and I thought the town was a farmstead; I didn’t realize there was a abandoned townsite to explore!

Map - Town of Aroya
Town of Aroya

Aroya Colorado was founded in 1866 by Joseph O. Dostal who was a Bohemian Immigrant (I had to look up Bohemia, which was a country about where modern Czech Republic is).  Like everyone coming to Colorado in those days, his dream was to open a meat house in a mining community, but he ended up homesteading a ranch on the Colorado plains (which is still in operation today, two cowboys were on horse herding cattle when I stopped by).  By the early 1900s the town was thriving including a train depot (this was a watering station for the Kansas-Pacific Railroad), blacksmith, feed store, lumber yard, hotel, school, bunk house and many homes.

The demise of the town occurred due to common changes impacting many homesteaded pioneer towns, the state highway bypassing town and the train company having better days.

William Smith's General Merchantile, Aroya Colorado
William Smith’s General Merchantile, Aroya Colorado.  This was on the corner of the county road and main street of town.
Home of Owen "Red" Moreland, built on the foundation of the old Aroya hotel
Home of Owen “Red” Moreland, sone of Ben Moreland who ran the gas station.  This home was built on the foundation of the old Aroya hotel.  Red was an artist and a statue he welded together is at the museum in nearby Kit Carson.
Ben Moreland's Aroya filling station
Ben Moreland’s Aroya filling station
Aroya's second Schoolhouse, 1919
Aroya’s second Schoolhouse, circa 1919
Aroya's second Schoolhouse, 1919
Aroya’s second Schoolhouse, 99 years old!
Aryoa TV Antenna
Television was likely hard to get in Aroya, or were these alien beacons?
Windmill turned Antenna
Windmill turned Antenna
Aroya General Mercantile stuff
Aroya General Mercantile stuff

Aroya Main Street attraction...
Aroya Main Street attraction…or detraction.  An old doll hung out for the elements!
Aroya Main Street attraction...
Aroya Main Street attraction…
Aroya abandoned home
Aroya abandoned home
Aroya abandoned home
Aroya abandoned home
Aroya outbuilding
Aroya outbuilding
Barbed Wire
Barbed Wire
Motor on fence post
Motor on fence post
Aroya's portal into another dimension
Aroya’s portal, one of Colorado’s only portals into another dimension

9 Comments

  1. Thanks for posting this information and sharing it on the web. My Dad grew up in Aroya where Grandma operated the hotel. Aroya in those days was where train crews rotated so the crews stayed in the hotel and it was fairly busy. I visited there circa 1990. At that time Red Moreland was living in the basement of the old hotel which had burned to the ground some time ago. Kind of spooky down there to say the least. I purchased a small cowboy figurine Red welded together from scraps he collected in the old town. I’d be willing to send you a photo of the figurine if you wold like to have it.

    1. Hi Edd. Thank you for sharing this information. I’d love to see the figurine photo; I have stopped in Kit Carson to see his sculpture there. Definitely was spooky when I stopped by, there was some cool art! dave -at@- davealex.com

  2. My grandpa’s uncle lived on the other side of town from Red. Marvin Sargent and Red were the only 2 inhabitants when I visited in 1974-5.
    I remember the lighthouse and when Red sheared his sheep. Marvin raised goats and chickens.

  3. Hey Dave! Great post about this eastern prairie town. I was curious where you were able to find the date on the construction of the school house. Thanks!

  4. William Leavett and Davealex: I own 50% of Old Town Aroya, the part that includes my Great Uncle Owen’s house, the old Mercantile building, the portal to another dimension etc. My grandfather, Vern Hockett, was foreman at the nearby JOD Ranch for many years, and I would spend a week each summer with my Grandad and Grandmother (Evelyn Hockett (Moreland). Owen was my grandmother’s brother. My father grew up in Aroya/Wild Horse, helped by grandfather and grandmother with ranch duties at the JOD wile growing up (obviously!), and attended the 1-room schoolhouse. I have pictures of me as a young lad atop the lighthouse that now stands in front of the Kit Carson Museum when the lighthouse was still next to my Uncle Owen’s house. When Owen dies, he left that side of Old Town Aroya to my father, and when my father passed away several years ago he left the property to me. I don’t live in Colorado, and have been thinking about possibly selling it, as it is not likely that I will retire there and appoint myself Mayor, Sheriff, and Judge of Aroya (HA!). Anyway, if anyone is interested in owning a ghost town and caring for the site better than I could, please post and maybe Davealex can figure out a way where we can chat offline.

What do you think?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.