Ghost Town Girl
By Arla Ruggles
2 Jun 2008
What city do you live in? What neighborhood?
Cherry Creek, Nevada.
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?
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.