The history of a Colorado ghost town tells us it was born on the Fourth of July.

According to legend, Independence, Colorado was established when prospectors struck gold nearby on July 4, 1879. Within a year, there were some 300 people living in the camp and it continued to grow.

By 1882, the town grew to 1500 people with over 40 businesses and three post offices. Between 1881 and 1882, more than $190,000 worth of gold was mined. The next year, production diminished to about $2000.

Harsh winters at the high elevation, 10,900 feet, proved to be a difficult life, and by the turn of the century the town had essentially dissolved and has been a ghost since 1912.

If you visit the site today you will find remains of the stables, an intern cabin that has been restored, and what is believed to have been the general store.

You'll find the Independence ghost town, 16 miles east of Aspen on Highway 82. You can visit the site daily from 10 am through 3 pm through September 3 for a suggested donation of $5 and there is a docent on site. After hours, the tour is self-guided and the honor system is implemented.

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