Sego ghost town

Just a mile or two up Sego Canyon from the pictographs that were the subject of my previous post stand the slowly decaying remains of the old coal mining town of Sego – called Ballard when it was originally laid out back in 1910 by Henry Ballard of Thompson Springs.

Brick by brick

Getting a look at the anthracite coal seam on site, the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad bought the property from Ballard, and in 1912 completed a spur line running right up to the town. Ballard was renamed Nelson after the mine’s new general manager. (Developers of natural resource properties seem to have little imagination when it comes to naming conventions.)

D&RGW spur line

But that wasn’t the last time the name of this company coal town would be changed. After hard times in Nelson (stemming in large part from the difficulty securing enough water to carry out coal extraction operations), in 1918 the powers that be rechristened the town Sego in reference to the native sego lily. (Finally, a hint of poetry!)


On the occasion of our visit we discovered that the wooden boarding house (seen in recently published photos of the site) had entirely collapsed into a pile of weathered boards, with the husk of a vintage automobile partially obscured beneath the rear portion of the ruin.

The crack

The functional identity of the burg’s most well preserved remaining structure is unclear to me, but judging by its solid masonry construction and somewhat imposing edifice I would hazard a guess that it served as the company offices, or perhaps the store. Definitely a building with some money behind it, as opposed to what must have been the rude shacks constructed by wage earning miners – none of which were in evidence during our brief visit.

What dreams remain


8 thoughts on “Sego ghost town

      • Absolutely. In fact, a train ride through all your photographs would be dreamlike. Hmm. Sounds like the perfect metaphor for an essay… (Or, if I were particularly brave, a poem. But I’m not that brave, so I’ll stick to letting the idea of the essay brew…)

  1. Not sure I could pick a favorite…I love them all. However when I reached the Brick by Brick picture it was the blueness of the sky that captured my attention. When is the picture book coming out John?

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