Tuesday, February 9, 2021

ROSITA - "Little Rose' of Colorado

 Post by Doris McCraw writing as Angela Raines

The area near the Wet Mountain Valley
Photo property of the author

There is a 'ghost' town in the Wet Mountain Valley known as Rosita. While there is not much left of the town now, in the early days of the Valley it was The Rose. 

Author Helen (Hunt) Jackson wrote of this town in her book "Nelly's Silver Mine". Jackson, who had moved to Colorado in 1873 had visited the area and used that knowledge in her description of the area. Below is the description Jackson wrote of March families arrival in the area:

You go down a steep hill, just as you come into the town of Rosita. On the top of this hill, Mr. March called out to his wife to stop. She was driving box and pumpkinseed; and he was following behind with the mules. He jumped out, and came up to the side of her wagon.

"There, Sarah!" He said, "did you ever see anything in your life so beautiful as this?"

Mrs. March did not speak; both she and Nelly and even Rob were struck down by the beauty of the picture. They looked right down into the little village. It was cuddled in the ravine as if it had gone to sleep there. The sides of the hills were dotted with pine trees; and most of the little houses were built of bright yellow pine boards: they showed in the sun. Just beyond the village they could see a bit of the most beautiful Green Valley; and, beyond that, great high mountains, half covered with snow.

Photo from Amazon

The town was the county seat from 1878 to 1886. The area originally was ranchland, but with the discovery of silver, the town grew to a population of around 1500 in 1878. According to some accounts, the town had numerous hotels, a saloon, a weekly newspaper, a cheese factory, and a brewery.

As the silver mines in the area declined so did the town. The 1958 movie "Saddle the Wind" with Robert Taylor, Julie London, and John Cassavetes, plus screenplay by Rod Sterling was partially filmed in Rosita.

If you ever visit the beautiful Wet Mountain Valley in Colorado be sure to stop by the townsite of Rosita. Who knows, you may hear the music and voices of the people who inhabited the area all those years ago.

IMDb movie information

Western Mining History link

The Wet Mountain Valley and Rosita are the inspiration for my current WIP as yet to be titled. Here is a sneak peek:

"You fool, Drake, you had no more to do with that fire, than the moon in the sky," Pauline mumbled. Reliving last night, her hands begin to shake, the cup she was holding fell to the floor, shattering. What if whoever had started the fire tried again? What would she do without Drake's strength to lean on?

Standing straighter, Pauline looked out the window, saying, as if to the world,"I will not be driven away."

When her husband had died, she’d been shunned as she continued to pursue her dreams of being a doctor. There were even some in town who said she’d killed Thomas for his money to pay for her unnatural dream. When Caleb had come home crying about what the children said as they repeated the words their parents wee saying, she packed up and moved. Now, she’d found a place where Caleb could grow and learn. She was determined to stay.

Doris Gardner-McCraw -
Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women's History
Angela Raines - author: Telling Stories Where Love & History Meet


Julie Lence said...

Thanks for the info, Doris. This sounds like a place to see on a Sunday drive.

Renaissance Women said...

Julie, I have always loved that drive to the Valley and spending time in that whole area. It's so lovely in summer and fall. Doris

GiniRifkin said...

Thank you for sharing. What a wonderful quote. Used to stay in Westcliffe many years ago.

Renaissance Women said...

It really is such a great area. I'm glad you like the quote from Helen's book. Doris