Durango Ghost Tours (Colorado) Aug 30, 2017 4:57:17 GMT -5
Post by Graveyardbride on Aug 30, 2017 4:57:17 GMT -5
Ghost Tours Recount Durango’s Storied and Haunted Past
If you have lived in Durango, Colorado, for any amount of time, you have probably heard a range of tales about the town’s storied past – from the tunnels under Main Avenue to the old red light district, to gunfights in the streets. But you may be amazed by what you do not know about Durango. Since May, Ghost Walk Durango has been shedding light on Durango’s history – both supernatural and otherwise. Led by Joe Nelson, the tour takes participants on an hour-and-15-minute walk up and down East 2nd and 3rd avenues. Nelson, a Durango resident since 1992, had considered the idea of starting a tour for a “year or two,” he said. “There are very similar businesses in most of the places I go on vacation to, but there wasn’t anything here,” he continued. “Everything on the tour I’ve either witnessed myself or I’ve spoken to the person that’s witnessed it, besides the historical stuff, obviously, that happened over a hundred years ago.”
And while stories about people who died and may still be sticking around are a big part of the tour, it is not just showing haunted places; Nelson makes sure there is historical context. Things such as measles outbreaks and fires can wreak havoc on a small community and the families living within it. “It’s also talking about who built the house, what the name of the first family was that lived there,” he added. “A lot of times, tragedies happened that would cause some people to believe that there was something supernatural happening there.”
It was this idea of context that made Sunday night’s tour compelling. Nelson told stories about the misdeeds of the Stockton Gang and where liquor was hidden during Prohibition. He also pointed to hitching posts – things residents probably see here every day but fail to notice.
Tour-goers learned about the bricks that were used in the construction of some of the older buildings that are in use today. (The old high school (above), now Durango School District 9-R’s administration building, is an example; it is home to a phantom student who has been there since 1957.) The student isn’t the only spirit haunting the old building.
Sunday night was overcast, perfect for a ghost walk. As the tour made its way up and down 2nd and 3rd avenues, Nelson would occasionally stop to tell stories of residents of long ago who have remained despite their deaths: mothers still grieving for children lost to diseases, inmates who died from asphyxiation and a prostitute who just can’t seem to check out of the Rochester Hotel – Nelson’s favorite stop of the tour, he said. In case you didn’t know, two gentleman spirits inhabit the Elks Club. According to Nelson, plenty of ghosts haunt 2nd and 3rd avenues, some of whom he has encountered. “I always start off by saying I’m not one of these people that is trying to communicate with the spirits and I can walk in your house and tell you that your Great Aunt Tootie wants you to paint your kitchen cabinets blue or anything like that,” he explained. “I just saw some stuff that I didn’t even realize that there was something weird about it until after.”
Two members of Sunday’s tour group were from Farmington. Casey Morrow and Selena Yows said it was the ghost part that drew them to the tour, but they were also interested in the historic aspect as well. “It’s something new,” Yows asserted. “It’s nice to know the history of the places around us. There’s not much the newer generations do know.”
Admission is $15 and the tour is free for children 10 and under. Participants meet on the steps of Durango 9-R Administration Building at 201 E. 12th Street. For additional information, call (970) 759-9393.
Source: Katie Chicklinski-Cahill, The Durango Herald, August 27, 2017.