The Lost Town of Edlowe

Legends Still Linger For Former 50-Acre Boom Spot Near Woodland Park

Trevor Phipps

When the Ute Pass region first started to get populated, vacationing and gaining better health drew people to the area in the late 1800s.

When the railroads were constructed, more people started settling and building towns along the tracks.

But after the railroad running through Teller County and beyond ceased, many of the towns dissipated. Some still exist with lower populations  such as Cripple Creek and Victor, while others have basically turned into ghost towns.

Some on the other hand completely disappeared from the map. For various reasons, towns that once had several inhabitants like Midland, Gillett, Altman, Anaconda, Independence, Midland and Edlowe are now either completely gone or consist of a few buildings standing, faint memories of their one-time prosperous existence.

The closest former boom town to Woodland Park, which no longer exists, is the town of Edlowe that once sat on the intersection of Edlowe Road Hwy. 24. This was once a small town created around a railroad stop, and one that boasted of much activity.

The former town site is now occupied by the St. David’s Episcopal Church, which was renovated from a ranch-style home built in the 1970s into a scenic sanctuary, offices and meeting area in 2000 and 2003, according to the church’s website. But, the sole remnant of the Edlowe town area is an old Colorado Midland section house/flag stop that still stands today and is occupied as a private residence. The old firehouse, which once stood at the old town site, no longer exists.

But some amazing colorful historic stories still surround this spot, which is probably known now to locals and visitors as the entrance to the Catamount Ranch area.

According to the book, “Discovering Ute Pass Volume II: Tales of Upper Ute Pass Woodland Park, Edlowe, Divide, and Midland,” Edlowe was a small town about half way in between Divide and Woodland Park. The town was not much more than a railroad flag stop, but those travelling on the Colorado Midland Railway west from Colorado Springs could stop in Edlowe if they requested it.

In the late 1880s, Wesley Wheeler and Frederick Bacon were two of the first homesteaders in the area. The pair eventually completed a town plat and called it Summit Park.

According to the book, historical articles about the town report that Edlowe once had several homes, a station house, a school, a post office, a church, and a 10-room hotel. A second plat of the same area was redrawn in 1896 by Hattie Wheeler, Wesley’s widow.

A man named Edgar Lowe drew out the plat and signed it. The book said that it is alleged that he crossed out the words, “Summit Park” and then wrote the name “Edlowe” on the plat.

But once the railroad stopped taking passengers up the mountain, the town started to become desolate. In 1958, the Teller County Board of Commissioners ordered the town “to be vacated.”

The Characters of Edlowe

The town became famous mainly as a railroad stop as people would often get out in Edlowe during one of the Midland’s wildflower excursions. The area around the town became populated by homesteaders, ranchers and farmers.

The book published by the local Ute Pass Historical Society states that little is known of the first settlers in the area, but that a lady only named as Mrs. Hays lived on a ranch near Edlowe in the 1880s. She and her husband would provide room and board for around 50 people during the time when work occurred on the railroads in the area.

In 1903, Rex Cooper and his family homesteaded near Edlowe. In the 1920’s, Walter Parmley and his son Loren Parmley raised cattle and grew lettuce in the area.

Glen Johnston moved near Edlowe in the 1920s when he was three years old and his family had a ranch that grew lettuce and potatoes and later had a dairy farm. When Johnston was in high school he drove his own school bus and he would deliver bottles of milk to customers on the way.

Naomi and Bob Markus first came to Teller County to work on the Quarter Circle H Dude Ranch. In 1946, the couple bought the 1,300 acre Patterson Ranch and then later bought another 500 acres next to it.

In 2012, the Markus family donated conservation easements in the Pikes Peak Conservation Corridor to the Palmer Land Trust. Members of the Markus family still reside on parts of the ranch to this day.

The Famous Catamount Charley

Probably this most well-known resident of the Edlowe area was a mountain man coined “Catamount Charley” by the locals. Charley was a tough looking hunter and trapper who was known by just about everybody in Colorado Springs.

In December, 1880 Charley’s fame would grow even more when he was featured in an article in the Gazette Telegraph newspaper in Colorado Springs. The article was so popular that just over a week later it was published by The New York Times.

The article tells the story of when Charley went riding his mustang named “Captain Kid” in town to the store. Charley entered the store in an attempt to sell a bison hide and three mountain lions hides, one he claimed was nine feet long.

Charley told the store’s clerk that he was out in the mountains one day when he came across three mountain lions having a vicious battle with a bison. Charley said that when he got close enough to shoot he fired one bullet and was shocked about the destruction it caused.

“The surprising part of the affair was that just as I pulled (the trigger), one of the lions jumped in between me and the one I shot and caught the ball (bullet) just back of his ribs,” Charley said. “It passed clean through him, and bein’ a little turned from its course, it cut the throat of the second lion, and broke the neck of the bison.”

Charley then claimed that he killed the third mountain lion with another shot after the animal tried to charge him. The newspaper report then left the store and let Charley argue with the clerk over the price paid for the four skins.