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Ever prowl around a ghost town?

In high school and for years afterward, one of my favorite things to do was drive with my Kiowa friend Tim Kloberdanz into the high country to check out Colorado's ghost-towns. With names like St. Elmo, Pearl, Querida, Apex, Pandora and the ever-popular Eureka, these shells of one-time boomtowns, fallen aspirations and might-have-beens dotted the landscape in the hundreds in those days. Most of them were old mining towns where the veins of gold, silver, lead and copper had made a handful of people rich, tickled the hopes of a few hundreds or thousands of others and then played out, their residents trickling away or hanging on until old age turned them into ghosts as well.

At that time, half-a-century ago, many of these towns had been abandoned for only a few decades and some of the buildings were in remarkably good condition given the heavy weather that the Colorado mountains can deliver. Inside the best preserved, you could still find intact curtains, stoves, furniture, dishes, books, ledgers, figurines and other knick-knacks, even sealed tins of food. It was as if the zombie apocalypse had occurred and the people had suddenly departed wearing only the clothes on their backs. Other towns were gone much further into rot, all the windows without glass, the doors off their hinges, roofs caved in and the walls askew as the ground slowly gave way.

House in Summitville, Colorado.
House in ghost-town of Summitville, Colo.
Like many other ghost-town fans, Tim and I prowled for the mere fun of it but also we were treasure hunters. We were realistic enough to know the great odds against finding a stash of gold or silver, although our friend Dennis (who sometimes traveled with us) did—years later—find a metal box filled with silver dollars wedged in the decayed walls of an old store in the gold-mining ghost-town of Tomboy at a lung-challenging 11,500 feet.

Our own big finds were far more mundane: a couple of broken, rusty pistols; cartridges; framed family photographs; oil lamps with intact glass chimneys (just like the ones used in the house where I was born until electricity was installed when I was 7); solid, dovetailed wooden boxes; costume jewelry; buckles; spoons and forks; and many dimes and cents, including a few Indian head pennies. Nothing spectacular. Nothing sellable for more than a few dollars. But supremely good fun.

We did none of our poking around the way modern ghost-town spelunkers and other treasure hunters do, with sophisticated metal detectors. Just folding Army surplus shovels and a careful eye. We surely missed a lot.

One mid-'70s summer day we took another friend, Richard, with us to Cripple Creek. Not quite a ghost-town, with a few dozen mostly aged residents still living in what had been a booming little metropolis of 10,000 during the last big Colorado gold rush in the 1890s. The place was still decades away from economic revival as one of the state's local-option gambling towns.

In the rubbish dump behind an abandoned store, we found lots of mostly broken dishes and scores of empty patent-medicine bottles. Some of these had been imbued with factory color, mostly purples, blues and greens. Others had started out clear but turned violet by exposure to the sun.

Empty bottles. We had no idea of their economic or aesthetic value. And there we were with our target pistols. So, yes, clueless, we took those bottles to an isolated hillside and shot holes in every single one of them. Even in those days decades ago, they were probably worth a good deal more than all those Morgan dollars Dennis would later discover.

We also made a bit of a find in Blackhawk. In those days, it was three-quarters of the way to ghost-town status strung along the banks of Clear Creek. My parents were friends with an artist and teacher who decided that with a little fixing up, the town's brothel would provide quarters for a dozen or so students to spend their summers working on their art projects, with him and his wife as instructors. They put together the $25,000 asking price and over several years, added two additional ramshackle stories to the three-story building.

Next door to the brothel was Blackhawk's old jail, a windowless stone building with a dirt floor hacked partway into the mountainside. It boasted an intact crimson-painted iron door. One day Tim and I brought our shovels and scraped the jail floor for artifacts. We made two finds: a pair of heavy old handcuffs and a human skull without its lower jaw.

Years later, the brothel-art retreat was sold for $6 million to one of the casino companies that have in the past 20 years transformed quiet, charming, dying Blackhawk into a flashy, thriving, gambling resort where players face greater odds of striking it rich than the early miners who often visited the painted ladies there.

Inevitably, most of Colorado's ghost-towns have become mere phantoms, crumbled by time and the elements, and picked over by several generations of people like Tim and me. Finding anything of worth in those places not protected from interlopers by land-owners or preservation societies is a good deal harder than when we did our thing.

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Latest Updates on Kossack Regional Meet-Up News Below the New Day sunrise cloud

:: COMMUNITY BUILDING UPDATES ::
Let's build communities!

Every region needs a meatspace community like SFKossacks.
We take care of each other in real life.
I urge YOU to take the lead and organize one in your region.
Please tell us about it if you do and we're here for advice.


THINK GLOBALLY, ACT LOCALLY

:: Regions Organizing ::
>>>Instructions on HOW TO FORM A NEW DAILY KOS GROUP
NEW GROUPS IN THE PROCESS OF ORGANIZING:
Send a Kosmail to the organizers and ask for an invitation to the group.
Northern Indiana Area: Kosmail Tim Delaney

Long Island: Kosmail grannycarol

Northern Michigan: Kosmail JillS

Nebraska: Kosmail Nebraska68847Dem

Westburbia Chicago Kossacks: Kosmail Majordomo

Caprock Kossacks (Panhandle/Caprock/Lubbock/Amarillo area) : Kosmail shesaid

West Texas Kossacks (including Big Bend Region and El Paso) : Kosmail Yo Bubba

Vermont Kossacks: Kosmail 4Freedom

Note to the above new leaders: Feel free to leave a comment any day reminding readers about your new group. Also, tell us about your progress in gathering members. Kosmail me when you've chosen a good name for your group and have created a the group. Then I'll move you to the NEW GROUPS LIST. When you've planned a date for your first event I'll make a banner for you to highlight your event in our diaries and your diaries.
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These are the groups that have started since * NEW DAY * began. Please Kosmail navajo if you have started a group before that.
NEW GROUPS LIST:

California Central Valley Kossacks - Formed: Jul 29, 2012, Organizer: tgypsy

New England Kossacks - Formed: Aug 6, 2012, Organizers:
Clytemnestra for Lower New England (Conneticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island)
nhox42 for Upper New England (Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont)

Houston Area Kossacks - Formed: Aug 7, 2012, Organizer: Chrislove

Kossacks in India - Formed: Aug 14, 2012, Organizer: chandu

CenTex Kossacks - Formed: Sep 9, 2012, Organizer: papa monzano

Central Ohio Kossacks - Formed: Sep 26, 2012, Organizer: VetGrl

Kansas City Kossacks - Formed Oct 15, 2012, Organizer: [Founder stepped down]

Phoenix Kossacks - Formed Oct 16, 2012, Organizer: arizonablue

Chicago Kossacks - Formed: Oct 31, 2012, Organizer: figbash

Koscadia the Pacific Northwest coast from Northern California to Alaska  
- Formed Oct 17, 2012, Oganizer: Horace Boothroyd III based in Portland, OR

Boston Kossacks - Formed: Nov 7, 2012, Organizer: GreyHawk

Motor City Kossacks South East Michigan (Detroit) Area - Formed: Nov 10, 2012, Organizer:  peregrine kate

Pittsburgh Area Kossacks - Formed: Nov 12, 2012, Organizer: dweb8231

Salt Lake City Kossacks - Formed: Nov 17, 2012, Organizer: War on Error

Twin Cities Kossacks - Formed: Nov 17, 2012, Organizer: imonlylurking

Dallas Kossacks North Texas - Formed: Nov 21, 2012, Admins: Catte Nappe and dalfireplug. Please contact them to join the group. An Event Organizer needed.

The Southern California Inland Empire Kossacks - Formed: Dec 3, 2012, Organizer: SoCaliana

Los Angeles Kossacks - Formed: Dec 17, 2012, Organizer: Dave in Northridge  

Northeast Ohio Kossacks - Formed: Jan 16, 2013,  Organizer: GenXangster

Kansas & Missouri Kossacks - Formed: Jan 17, 2013, Organizer: tmservo433

I-77 Carolina Kossacks who live from Columbia, SC to north of Winston-Salem, NC. - Formed: Jan 30, 2013, Organizers: gulfgal98 and eeff

Indianapolis Kossacks - Formed: Feb 6, 2013, Organizer: CityLightsLover

Southwest Ohio Kossacks - Formed: May 10, 2013, Organizer: Dr Erich Bloodaxe RN

Northern Arizona Kossacks - Formed:  Jul 5, 2013, Organizer: Sam Sara

Mexican Kossacks - Formed: Apr 14, 2013, Organizer: roberb7

New York Hudson Valley Kossacks - Formed: Oct 27, 2012, Organizer: boran2

North Carolina Triangle Kosmopolitans - Formed: Aug 2, 2013, Organizer: highacidity

Silicon Valley Kossacks - Formed: Oct 31, 2013, Organizer: Glen The Plumber

Seattle and Puget Sound Kossacks - Formed: Dec 17, 2013, Organizer: EagleOfFreedom

Las Vegas NV Kossacks - Formed: Oct 22, 2013, Organizer: miracle11

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ESTABLISHED GROUPS LIST: (List will grow as we discover them)

SFKossacks Founded by navajo, Formed: May 2, 2005

Maryland Kos Founded by timmyc, Formed: Feb 23, 2011. Contact: JamieG from Md for a group invite.

New York City Founded by Eddie C - Contact the group organizer for meet-up events: sidnora

Baja Arizona Kossacks, Event Organizer: Azazello

Three Star Kossacks Tennessee, Founded by maryKK, Formed: Apr 8, 2011

Nashville KosKats, Founded by ZenTrainer Formed: Jan 30, 2012

Virginia Kos Founded by JamieG from Md, Formed: May 3, 2011

Kos Georgia Founded by pat208, Formed: Feb 13, 2011

Colorado COmmunity Founded by Leftcandid, Formed: Feb 13, 2011

New Mexico Kossaks Founded by claude

Philly Kos Founded by mconvente Formed: Aug 29, 2011

DKos Florida Founded by ThirstyGator, Formed: Feb 14, 2011, Currently organizing: Kosmail Vetwife to be included in next event.

Oklahoma Roundup Founded by BigOkie, Formed: Feb 13, 2011, Currently organizing: Kosmail peacearena to be included.

DKos Asheville Founded by davehouck, Formed: Feb 13, 2011 - Organizing Assist by: randallt

San Diego Kossacks Founded by La Gitane, Formed: Nov 18, 2011

Massachusetts Kosmopolitans Founded by mem from somerville, Formed: Feb 13, 2011

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:: Event Reporting ::
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LIVEBLOG NYC Kos Meetup 1/12/14


by ericlewis0for New York City

Wow. Boom! ericlewis0 blew us all away on Sunday. He provided a LIVE BLOG of the NYC event complete with photos and bonafide commentary from the attendees. Amazing!

imageimage
Photo 1 L-R: In the orange, thankgodforairamerica, ghchaucer2, sidnora, joanbrooker, dave g & kathny Photo 2 L-R: Plf515, Laura Clawson, mets102, son of broccoli, Communitygis, no exit, designthefuture & mattc129

Please visit ericlewis0's diary for the live blog commentary from the attendees! Enjoy! You can join NYC Kossacks by sending a Kosmail to sidnora.

sidnora promises her faithful follow-up diary and she could likely have food pr0n. I hope so. I live for explicit photos of the fries at Spitzer's Corner.

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Houston Area Kossacks banner

Houston Area Kossacks Meet-Up Pr0n, Pizza Edition


by Chrislovefor Houston Area Kossacks

Our intrepid Houston Area Kossacks got together again. It was time for socializing after all the Battle Ground Texas work many of them did last year. Here's to gearing up for more work this year.

Chrislove is the group organizer and he can be seen in the photo below on the top right:

 photo 3ec874ca-fed6-4a6b-89f3-78176201c5b1_zps0c186ba7.jpg
Top L-R: doraphasia, cosette & Chrislove
Bottom L-R: htowngenie & MarciaJ720
 photo zzaj_zps5d004b9d.jpg photo dyo5_zpseb896d7c.jpg photo afc7_zps23c0c74f.jpg photo nt9o_zpsd29547af.jpg
L-R: mjbleo, Mary, flekk17 & TDDVandy

Please visit Chrislove's diary for amazing food pr0n photos! Enjoy! You can join Houston Area Kossacks by sending a Kosmail to Chrislove.

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Motor City Kossacks Banner

Motor City Kossacks Meetup Report re Sat. 1/4; Reminder re NN14 Meetup Th. 1/9 @ 7pm Sidetrack, Ypsi


by peregrine katefor Motor City Kossacks

A polar vortex could not stop six Motor City Kossacks from getting together on January 4th. Kudos, all! ACA Daily Kos celebrity, Brainwrap attended and brought the group up to date on his work.

Even folks from the White House are quoting his figures now. He also observed how odd he thought it was that the mainstream media (and governmental) sources were 1) not talking to him directly, seemingly content to take his numbers as valid, and 2) not conducting similar statistical aggregations on their own. We shared his astonishment, but agreed that he is doing an important job.
Also in attendance were prolific diarist BFSkinner, user ID 162795 and has been around since long before 2008. Amber6541, famous pootie/woozle diarist with an old user ID of 157580 and sydneyluv, who beat them all with the user ID of 132330. Long timers, these three!

Discussion included Michigan's crucial statewide elections in 2014 and the need to displace Rick "the Nerd" Snyder.

As hosts for upcoming NN14, the Motor City Kossacks are ready for their first meeting with the NN14 staff this January 9th. peregrine kate expressed the need to hear from as many politically radical, grass-roots organizers in Detroit during NN14 as possible and coalesce all this collective energy. All who attend this early meeting will get to shape the agenda. Please kosmail peregrine kate to attend this important event.

Here's one photo:

Four Kossacks at Sweetwater Tavern meetup
L-R: Four Motor City Kossacks: Amber6541, Brainwrap, sydneyluv, BFSkinner

You can still recommend peregrine kate's diary and see many MORE photos! Enjoy! You can join Motor City Kossacks by sending a Kosmail to peregrine kate.

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:: Events Currently on the Books for Kossacks  ::
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Logo for Three Star Kossacks group.  Font used is Cooper, selected especially to emphasize the Nashville-area Congressman who deserves to be primaried.
AND
 photo Nashville-KosKats-banner-wTEXT_zps27b135a0.jpg
Saturday, January 25th

Tennessee Three Star Kossacks & Nashville KosKats Meet-up

TIME: TBA
LOCATION: TBA (Please send suggestions to marykk)
[Address] • Nashville

ORGANIZER: Send marykk a kosmail to attend.

RSVPs:
1. marykk
2. Sandy on Signal (Guest of Honor)
3. jnhobbs
4. ZenTrainer
5.
Maybees:
Latest diary: Nashville Meet up with KosKats and 3 Star Kossacks
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Dkos Asheville
 photo the-cantina-biltmore_zps9107bc71.jpg
Saturday, January 25th

Asheville Kossacks Meet-up

SPEAKERS:
Asheville City Councilman Gordon Smith
Sarah Zambon from the League of Women Voters.

TIME: 1:00 PM
LOCATION: The Cantina
10 Biltmore Plaza • Asheville

ORGANIZER: Send randallt a kosmail to attend.

RSVPs:
1. davehouck
2. LamontCranston
3. randallt
4. joieau
5. Gordon20024
6. flwrightman
7. Otteray Scribe
8. emmasnacker
9. GordonNC (UID 5123 & City Councilman) GUEST SPEAKER!
10. cultjake
11. DawnN
12. Captain Sham
13. Mrs Sham
14. SteelerGrrl
15. SteelerGuy
16. Alecia
17. Mr. Alecia
18. Nic Goodman
19. Sarah Zambon (League of Women Voters) GUEST SPEAKER!
Maybees:
Munchkn
One Pissed Off Liberal
people power granny
Burns Lass
Aviator Doc
stellaluna
eternallyvigilant
Latest diary: DKos Asheville Update-Guest speakers!
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Golden Gate Bridge at sunrise with SFKossacks banner treatment
 photo GrizzlyIsland_zps294e19df.jpg
Sunday, January 26th

SFKossacks Welcome matching mole to San Francisco!

TIME: TBD, daytime car trip to the Delta for birding with lineatus
LOCATION: Grizzly Island Wildlife Area
2548 Grizzly Island Road • Suisun City
lineatus will have a spotting scope and a few spare pairs of binoculars, so novices can have something to use.

ORGANIZER: Send lineatus a kosmail to attend.

RSVPs:
1. lineatus
2. matching mole
3. tgypsy
4. kimoconnor
5. Kestral
6. bwren
Maybees:



TIME: 6:30 PM, evening event for city folk and to celebrate dharmasyd's and kimoconnor's birthdays!
LOCATION: Chenery Park
683 Chenery Street • San Francisco
Near Glen Park BART

ORGANIZER: Send lineatus a kosmail to attend.

RSVPs:
1. lineatus
2. matching mole
3. navajo
4. dharmasyd
5. side pocket
6. norm
7. kimoconnor
8. Glen The Plumber
9. remembrance
10. TLO
11. bwren
12. anonymous
13. navajo's guest
Maybees:
jpmassar
Latest diary: Dawn Chorus: Preview of Coming Attractions
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 photo LasVegasKossacksBannerTEXT_zps20a7924a.jpg
LasVegasDemocrats
Tuesday, January 28th

Las Vegas Kossacks SOTU Watch Party

TIME: 5:00 PM
LOCATION: Barefoot Bob's Beach Bar & Gaming
1590 E Flamingo Rd • Las Vegas

Northside of Flamingo, across from Blueberry Hill Diner, Barefoot Bobs is the old Murphy's Law Pub. We will be outside in the enclosed HEATED Patio with 2 big screen tv.s. We will be a private group and Happy Hour prices will apply!

ORGANIZER: Send miracle11 a kosmail to attend.

RSVPs:
1. miracle11
2.
3.
Maybees:
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SiliconValley Kossacks Banner by Glen The Plumber
 photo curb-appeal-2-10_zpsf3ae3545.jpg
Tuesday, January 28th

Silicon Valley Kossacks SOTU Watch Party

TIME: TBA
LOCATION: Lusty's Home
Address given privately to RSVPs • Silicon Valley

Event will be potluck, please bring a side dish to complement a crock-pot main course provided by Lusty. Desserts and tasty beverages are needed, also.

Discussion will be about how the Silicon Valley Kossacks can use their group effectively to support Mike Honda since he is being primaried.

ORGANIZER: Send Lusty a kosmail to attend.

RSVPs:
1. Lusty - Crock-pot main course
2. Glen the Plumber
3. remembrance
4. TLO
5. navajo - wine
6. BroadBlogs
7. BayAreaKen
8. MrNavajo - wine
9. SanJoseLady
Maybees:
Cali Scribe
Mr. Cali Scribe
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 photo SeattleBannerTEXT_zps86d1e352.jpg
DETAILS COMING VERY SOON! TBD

Seattle & Puget Sound Kossacks Inaugural Meet-up

TIME: TBD
LOCATION: TBD
[Address] • Seattle

ORGANIZER: Send EagleOfFreedom a kosmail to attend.

RSVPs:
1. EagleOfFreedom
2.
3.
Maybees:
Latest diary: [Waiting for linked diary]
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Send navajo a kosmail if you post a diary about an event so we can update our round-up.

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