"Ghost Town for Sale!! $350,000."
That's the opening pitch of a Craigslist ad for Cabin Creek, Colorado, a collection of buildings off Highway 36 in Adams County, near Byers, about a 45-minute drive from Denver.
And while the offer has gotten loads of attention thus far, owner James Johnson admits that completing a transaction for the place has proven difficult.
"It's got to be a buyer with a lot of cash on hand," Johnson says. "You can't get financing for a ghost town. If you could, we would have sold it a dozen times already."
According to Johnson, he first spotted the property while driving past it as a teenager — and years later, he was able to obtain the spread, which includes just under five acres of land plus a gas station, an eight-room motel, a roadside cafe, an eight-space RV park, two houses and a private shooting range.
He estimates that it took him a couple of years to make the necessary repairs to the assorted structures to make the place livable, after which he sold it to a nonprofit that subsequently neglected the place and allowed its clients "to completely trash it. They ripped out all the wiring and all the other stuff that I'd done to fix it up in the first place."
And so in 2012, after six years, the property returned to Johnson, who had to redo much of the repair work he'd tackled more than a decade earlier — a process that soured him on holding on to Cabin Creek for the long term.
In the interim, Johnson allowed a company called Wanted Clown Productions to use Cabin Creek for a haunted house.
Marijuana Deals Near You
A haunting real-life event took place at Cabin Creek almost three decades earlier — the 1987 murders of Grace Kuamoo, 73, and Russell Schwartzmiller, 48, by Steven Miller, 34, and John 'Doc' Whitus Jr., 36, a pair of California killers who'd been on the run for more than a year.
Miller and Whitus were subsequently killed during a gunfight with authorities in Helena, Montana, after a propane tank exploded, burning them to death.
Do Kuamoo and Schwartzmiller haunt Cabin Creek? According to Johnson, the property's been scoped out by paranormal investigators who said "they heard some things," but he's not convinced.
"I lived for years in a mobile home while I was fixing up the place," he says. "I never experienced anything that would make me feel it was haunted, and after all that time, you'd think I would have if it was."
Still, the story of the slayings only adds to Cabin Creek's ghost-town allure, and Johnson says, "We've had a lot of looky-loos, a lot of drive-bys" since he put the burg up for sale on Craigslist, in addition to inquiries from curious folks across the globe.
Thus far, however, no one's pulled out a checkbook — "and that's what we want to see," Johnson says, laughing.
Continue to check out text from the Cabin Creek Craigslist ad, featuring plenty of additional photos.
Ghost Town for Sale!! $350,000
Have a huge family? Want to start a business? Need a huge shop? Racing Fans? Fix and flip? Just want acreage out of town? Own it all. Just under 5 acres of property with the old Gas Station, 8 room Motel, Road Side Restaurant Cafe, 8 space RV Park, 2 Houses, and private shooting range. You will have over 500ft of Highway 36 frontage with 4 driveway entrances to draw in Customers. The traffic going out to High Plains Raceway on the weekends could be huge $$. All paved highway to the property, easy 45min commute to Denver and only 10 minutes from Byers/I-70 exit. Most neighbors are hundreds of acres away. Property is in Adams County.
Here are the Basics.
Commercial Zoned Shop
The old Gas Station still has pumps outside. 3300 sq ft Building was a gas station repair shop and at one point a movie theater! It has a 300 sq ft office with men's and woman's restrooms, 800 sq ft front showroom, 2200 sq ft clear span shop with 12 ft overhead door. Concrete block construction. Concrete floors. Separate metered 200 amp electric service. Mobile home space behind the Garage.
Old road side Cafe had small seating area, bathroom, cook kitchen, manager's office, underground cold storage room and 3 bedrooms in the basement. Side of building has Men's and Woman's restrooms for the public and RV park use. Behind Cafe is a 10 ft x 8 ft concrete block "smokehouse" with fire pit, you could smoke huge amounts of meat in that! Main floor is 1864 sq ft with 624 sq ft basement. Cold storage is about 6 x 10 ft. Backlit Cafe and Pepsi sign on 15 ft pole out in front.
8 RV spaces are behind the Cafe. Have water, sewer, and electric. RV spaces are on separate electric meter. Also have outside restrooms next to the Cafe.
8 unit single story motel. Building is 222 5sq ft concrete block construction. Has new electric meter with 200 amp service. Cabin Creek Motel neon sign out near road.
1074 Sq ft 2 bedroom one bath house with separate laundry/mudroom and front sun room. Propane heat with electric water heater.
We did mention this is a ghost town right? What to do first? We brought in a motor home to live in and started work. This property needs major work and restoration and here is how we started.
First thing was to get power turned back on. The property has 4 electric meters. We installed a brand new 200 amp service and breaker panel at the Motel. The Garage has a 200 amp panel that also feeds the well and Mobile home space. The well has new service wiring and the Mobile home has new service wiring. The House has a 100 amp panel. The RV park and Cafe still need work.
Now that we have power we needed water.
Continue for more photos and details about Cabin Creek, Colorado, available now on Craigslist.
Property Water well
The Property is fed by one common water well. A New fully cased water well was drilled because the old setup was a rusty mess from the 1920's. We are just now finishing a new well house distribution center. This below grade 12 ft x 15 ft reinforced concrete rebar building has new electric service, chlorine injection, sediment spin down filter and carbon backflush system. It can be expanded as we have provided additional room for more equipment and water storage. We have Amazing clear great tasting water. The well and well house have new PVC pipes and new lines to the Mobile home and Shop. Several new freeze proof hydrants have been installed around the property.
Next the nasty work nobody likes to do.
We spent many hours probing and digging to locate the septic tanks. We found the house septic tank first. After more fun than I can tell you the tank was cleaned out and found to be in good condition. The sewer line from the house was collapsed so an all new main line with a cleanout was installed. The gigantic tank for the Cafe and RV Park was located next. It was cleaned out and found to also have a collapsed leach pipe. This was fixed and is now operational. The Motel tank has been located but not restored yet and the gas station has not been fixed either.
So now we have power, water, and sewer. At this point we bought a beautiful mobile home so we could have a really nice, normal, needs no repair, place to live while we fix the rest of the property.
Very nice 2 bedroom one bath home with a huge covered front porch. Full drywall, no paneling. Heavy insulation with all 2x6 walls. Dishwasher, LP gas stove, dual sink, LP gas water heater, forced air furnace, electric air conditioning. Washer and electric dryer. New Ceiling fans and all hardware updated to brushed nickel finish. Installed Electronics include 65in wall mounted Panasonic TV with Sonos Surround Sound Speakers. The home is built in 2004 but only lived in for 2 years. It is 886sqft and titled separately, we have all paperwork.
Mobile home space has all new separate water line to well house, electrical service, and sewer line to RV septic tank.
The Garage/Gas station.
Part of the reason I bought this place was for the 3300 sq ft garage. I have had 12 cars stored in it at one point, it's huge. This building has lights and some power now. It is an empty shell that can be made into whatever you want. The office and bathrooms have been stripped. I have already run a new separate water line to this building from the new well house.
This building has been gutted and a new electric service installed. It has had most of the interior walls removed so it is an empty shell for whatever you want to do. Construction is concrete block on slab.
The house needs repairs but is livable. I have one bedroom redone and the bathroom has new plumbing. Newer electric water heater works great and the old propane fireplace heater keeps it nice even in the winter. I have a newer forced air furnace with a/c for the house. Kitchen is not working yet.
This building has a pretty new good roof but the rest is just a shell. This building needs foundation work. Right now it is used for storage only and has no power or water.
This is ready to go! Makes a great shed too.
Most were damaged by a tenant who stole the wiring and sold it. I have all new better power pedestals for all the spaces. Each new pedestal has a 220 v 50 amp outlet, a 30 amp 120 v outlet and a 110 v ground fault receptacle with breakers. The water lines and valves should be replaced. Several sewer riser pipes are broken but easily replaced.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Westword's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Denver's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
It's a long story but as I noted some idiot tenants stole and ruined many things out here along with breaking a ton of windows. I have installed 16 high definition Security Surveillance Camera's covering the entire property. I have also installed alarm systems on the buildings and the property calls me when someone pulls off the Highway into the driveway. I instantly get the video on my phone or computer so I can see what's going on. The front of the property along the highway has a 6 ft chain link fence with gates.
We would like to sell. We have some traveling we would like to do and this project keeps us here. Possible Owner carry with 1/2 down. Website, Facebook, domain names and web sites are included with town sale.