Where I'm At

Ghost Town Girl

Cherry Creek Drive-Thru
Clouds Embrace
Mustang In Gold
Golden Oasis
Pony Express Gravesite
No Trespassing
Miner's Kitchen

What city do you live in? What neighborhood?

Cherry Creek, Nevada.

Population: 25

What are some adjectives that describe your neighborhood?

Historic western ghost town, remote, rural, uncivilized

How long have you lived there, and what brought you there?

I lived here as a small child; spent a lot of my childhood here, even after my family moved into town (because there was no school). When my parents retired, they moved back to The Creek, and though I lived far away, my heart has always remained here. When my mother passed away in 2004, leaving my elderly father alone, I returned to be a help.

What is your favorite thing about this place? Your least favorite?

My favorite thing about Cherry Creek is the freedom, and wide-open spaces that we enjoy. I love that the wilderness is accessible, and the views are spectacular! I love that some of the old historical buildings remain. I love that I can walk for miles without seeing another human being, and that I know where the wild horses are.

My least favorite thing about Cherry Creek is that some of the newcomers here don't respect and appreciate the history and the value of what remains here.

Do you feel that you belong there?

Absolutely.

What is the most common misconception about where you live?

Most people believe that Nevada is desolate desert, like what exists in the southernmost part of the state. In fact, most of the region is high desert and mountains. I usually just say, "We're higher than Denver."

Visitors here have said to me, "How do you stand the QUIET?"

"Quiet?!" I say. "There is nothing quiet about this place! I can hear the birds squabbling, cattle calling, the wind howling, and a conversation all the way across town. I know which of my neighbors is going by, by the sound of their engine. At night, I hear coyotes crying, and owls hooting. WHAT quiet?"

What is a special fact about your city that you have to live there to know?

Cherry Creek has never been officially incorporated as a town, village, or city. It recently came to light that the town is in fact a land patent (similar to a mining claim).

The streets are 160 feet wide - to allow a 20-mule team and ore wagon to turn around.

What aspect of your city do you secretly love?

The quirky resourcefulness required to live in this environment.

Anything else you'd like to add?

Cherry Creek was a wild and rowdy mining camp, established in the 1860's following the discovery of gold and silver in the nearby mountains. At it's zenith, it was one of the largest cities in Nevada, boasting 6,000+ souls. It was a diverse population of European and Chinese immigrants, and a few Native Americans. It was once home to the largest horse racing track in the state. By the 1920's the gold rush was over, and most of the residents drifted on.

Much of the town was destroyed by fires; the last of the wooden buildings in the business district were burned by vandals in the 1970's.

Cherry Creek is a relic of the old days of the west. One of the most well-preserved of ghost towns, the years of neglect have placed all of the old buildings in jeopardy.

There are two camps in this town; those who would preserve what is left of the flavor and character of our village, and those who would bulldoze it down and put in modular homes instead.

I have made it my mission to preserve through photography, what remains of the history of Cherry Creek.

13 responses

  • Stefanie Richardson

    Stefanie Richardson said (10 Nov 2008):

    I have always wanted to go to a "ghost town." I enjoyed reading this and seeing your great pictures!!

  • Arla Ruggles

    Arla Ruggles said (2 Dec 2008):

    Thanks Stefanie and Bradley!!
    For anyone else who does plan to come this way (I have had JPG visitors from this article!!) ... please email me ahead of time. Cherry Creek is not a State Park, and all of the buildings --even the "abandoned" ones -- are privately owned. You'll need a guide with local cred. :D

  • Matt.

    Matt. (Deleted) gave props (14 Dec 2008):

    I really liked this story Arla well done...I am drawn to old Ghost Towns for some strange reason.

  • Sarah Dudley

    Sarah Dudley said (19 Jan 2009):

    What a fascinating place! If I ever venture out that way I would love to see it. I love the part about the streets being 160 feet wide for the mule team! Such a photographer's paradise, you are so lucky!

  • Arla Ruggles

    Arla Ruggles said (19 Jan 2009):

    Thanks again, to everyone who commented, and voted!!
    I regret that I did not catch the typo in time, and now this story cannot be edited: The streets are 100 feet wide -- for the reason I mentioned.
    Come on over, Sarah! You won't be the first JPG'er to show up here, after reading this essay. I have become practically the town's offical "tour guide". ;D

  • May Lattanzio

    May Lattanzio gave props (17 Jun 2009):

    Arla - You're doing a fine job. I'd fit right in. I once lived in the town of Coloma, where the Gold Rush began. And left in nine months because progress caught up with it. Population zoomed from 150 to 1000 in no time, so we moved back down to the Mojave Desert in N. Los Angeles. Keep that town like it is. It's what we need - a reminder of survivors with grit and survival against elements. Puts things in perspective, doesn't it?

  • Paul Thomas

    Paul Thomas   gave props (20 Jan 2010):

    I think it's great. I would love to visit Cherry Creek. I think your photos capture just some of the beauty that's there. Well done.

  • Sabina Zych

    Sabina Zych (Deleted) gave props (4 Apr 2010):

    Great work!

  • D. Smetana

    D. Smetana gave props (20 Apr 2010):

    great story, looks like some place I would love to visit...

  • Katia Antz

    Katia Antz gave props (1 Apr 2011):

    I couldn't live much more differently, on the 17th floor of an inner-London tower block. My daily view is the grit of the city. You images are beautiful and I envy the vastness you have to point your lens at. Lovely work

  • Dena Sinatra

    Dena Sinatra gave props (14 Sep 2011):

    i would love to come there it seems so nice. i love the pictures they're expetional

  • Jules or Jane

    Jules or Jane said (19 Dec 2011):

    beautifully written! even more beautiful photos!

  • teresa willis

    teresa willis said (19 Jun 2012):

    Fantastic, Arla! I had no idea about the race track.

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