Craig, named for Rev. Bayard Craig in 1889, was incorporated as a city on April 24, 1908. Craig
became the county seat when Moffat County was created out of the western portion of Routt
County on February 27, 1911. In the same area as Craig, at the confluence of the Yampa River
(then known as the Bear River) and Fortificaton Creek, were previous towns known as Yampa
(as early as 1885) and Windsor (as early as 1878). In 1878 the area consisted of a number of
ranches and at least two businesses: Himley’s Ford (which allowed crossing of the Yampa River)
and Peck's Store (a one room trading post).

Craig, the Moffat County Seat, is rich in recreational opportunities, natural resources, and old
west lore.

Located at the junction of U.S. Highway 40 and Colorado Highway 13, Craig is the midway point
for Denver and Salt Lake City travelers, and the economic center of Northwest Colorado.

                       Photos from

Article from Craig Daily Press

                 City has its share of spooky stories

By Michelle Perry, Daily Press Writer
Friday, October 28, 2005

Dan Davidson has heard an earful about Craig being haunted. Many people believe there are
ghosts looming around town. And many tell the Museum of Northwest Colorado about their
spooky sightings, he said.

"Every few years, someone comes in and asks us questions about stuff like that," said
Davidson, the museum's director.

In the spirit of Halloween, Davidson and Jan Gerber, the museum's assistant director, recall
some of most memorable other-worldly accounts.

One of the troubling ones, Davidson said, is about a house that was used as a make-shift
morgue in 1918, when the Spanish influenza epidemic swept through Craig. Bodies were stored
in the garage of the house, near Fortification Creek, until they could be buried some time later.

A few years ago, a group of girls inquired at the museum about a barn on the north side of town.

"They were out there partying and supposedly they saw what they thought were ghosts," Gerber

But Gerber didn't know the barn's history.

Another woman, who was an employee of the now closed Burger King, told of seeing a male
ghost walking on the stairs leading to the basement of the restaurant.

Davidson said the building used to be a filling station. Before that, it was just a hay field. He said
he couldn't imagine why the site would have spirits.

‘Terrible stories'

A well-known ghost story was one told by the late John Eilts, who used to own Coal View Ghost
Ranch, east of Craig on U.S. Highway 40. Eilts, who died earlier this year, insisted his ranch was
haunted and spoke of it often.

Talk of an old woman dying in the museum is untrue, Davidson said. But he concedes to
witnessing a near-ghostly event himself.

About 10 years ago, the museum had a lighted exhibit surrounded by a curtain. The exhibit
would heat up, and the heat would cause the curtain to move, setting off the security alarm. Or
at least that's what Davidson said he believes triggered it.

He said he also heard rumors that one man saw ghosts floating above graves at Craig
Cemetery and some kids who dared one another to visit some of the spookiest sites.

"There's a lot of terrible stories out there," Davidson said.

That's one of the reasons he said he wanted to organize the first Tombstone Tour -- to share
the tales of Craig's past with its current residents.

"There's a lot of history buried up on that hill," he said. "It's a pretty peaceful place but it's had
its share of issues."

Among those buried in Craig Cemetery are people who have streets named for them, a baby
who was starved to death by his parents and the first man to be murdered in Craig.

Deadly affair

In 1893, George Carr, a so-called "morphine eater," or drug addict, was camped out in the lot
behind what is now Smoker Friendly and Outdoor Connections.

The man, according to reports, went to a saloon just behind the then eastern city limit for a drink
and ran into another man, Charles Reed, who was also just passing through. The two got into
an argument, the story goes, because Carr thought Reed was having an affair with his wife.

Carr shot Reed. Reed is buried in Craig Cemetery. Carr went to the state penitentiary.

"They made a big deal out of it in the paper because Craig only had 100 people," Davidson said.

Other headstones at the cemetery include John Parker, an orderly for President Lincoln, and
Mickey Jacobs, a dog buried near its owner's parents.

"It's supposed to be illegal to bury dogs in the cemetery," Davidson said. "You can't do that."

Davidson said he hopes the Tombstone Tour will educate residents about the history of Craig,
as well as spook a few people just before the holiday. The free tour will be at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

"We'll talk about a lot of things," Davidson said. "Hopefully, it's sort of an entertaining look at
some of the tragic things."

For more information on Craig's history or the Tombstone Tour, call the Museum of Northwest
Colorado at 824-6360.

Museum of Northwest Colorado
590 Yampa Avenue
Craig, Colorado 81625


                                          Back to Home Page