Franktown is a community with deep historical roots. James Frank Gardner  originally came
to this area in search of gold in 1859 and built his first home on Bayou Gulch and Cherry
Creek, he called it "Frankstown,, after his middle name.

On Nov. 1, 1861, Frankstown was named after James Frank Gardner, and the town was the
first county seat in Douglas County at the Bayou Gulch site when it became Colorado

   Cemetery tours

                             (Franktown Historical Society)

September Fest
Sept. 10th, 2005
12 noon to 4pm
Franktown Cemetery

First Colorado Calvary Guided Cemertery Tours - Escorted from Firehouse by the
First Colorado Calvary.

Tours depart at 1:00 PM & 2:00 PM.

See grave sites of Civil War Vets & pioneering families.

September Fest includes guided tours of the Franktown cemetery (among many other

Cemetery tours are scheduled to begin by wagon from the firehouse at 1 and 2 p.m. The
cemetery tours will be escorted by the 1st Colorado Cavalry and will visit the grave sites of
Franktown's founding father James Frank Gardner and his wife, Helen.

Also featured on the tour will be the grave sites of Civil War veterans and pioneering
families who have been in this area for more than 140 years.

In addition to the tours and lunch, there will be a K-9 demonstration (by the Douglas County
Sheriff Dept.), museum tour (Franktown Historical Society) and a silent and live auction.

Some of the auction items include a hog, fancy homemade pies and cakes donated by
Franktown residents and various other items donated from local merchants.

All the proceeds go to the Franktown Historical Society for the maintenance of the
Franktown Cemetery and to revise old displays and add new displays in the Franktown
Museum. The proceeds will also fund programs and future special events.

Admission to the Franktown September Fest, which includes all activities, is $10 for adults,
$5 for children ages 5-14 and free for kids younger than 5.
You can also purchase a membership to the Franktown Historical Society for $25 dollars
and the whole family is free.

For more information, call Edie Green at 303-663-6572
or Pam Reed at 303-886-1617.

Supernatural visitors
at                     Castlewood

Employees ponder what's haunting Castlewood Canyon State Park

The seeds of speculation are slowly growing into local legend at Castlewood Canyon
State Park, sprouting from a 39-year-old murder mystery and what some call
supernatural occurrences.

Ron Claussen, a volunteer naturalist, has heard stories of ghosts and poltergeists at the
state park, located along Colo. 83, since he started as a seasonal employee four years
ago. Some of the little things can possibly be explained - like small items being moved or
odd shadows skimming across the floor.

"I do that all the time," he said. "I moved (something) and forgot or I misplaced it."

But there have been other happenings that are difficult to find a true and reasonable
explanation for, harder to dismiss as coincidence or a consequence of what Claussen
calls chaos theory.

One evening in April 2004, a single employee in the park's visitors center, which is
locked after 4 p.m., heard a display rack of postcards and maps in the main room being
shaken, as if someone had walked by and bumped it. Upon hearing of the event,
Claussen mentioned off-handedly it happened on the anniversary of the discovery of a
body under the bridge that crosses the canyon.

"The event was attributed to Roger," he said.

The body of Roger Henry Floth, 26, was found on April 7, 1965. Floth's last known
address was the City Mission on Larimer Street in Denver. The coroner's report said he
hadn't been dead for long before his decapitated, dismembered and nude body was
discovered by a motorist stopped on the bridge to admire the view.

According to newspaper reports at the time, authorities had two suspects in Floth's
killing, but it is unknown whether either was prosecuted.

"In the 1960s, the bridge was way out in the boondocks and a good place to commit
murder, dump a body and get away with it," he said.

Claussen said Roger is credited with another strange event. One evening a back door to
the visitors center slammed closed, harder than normal, as Claussen tells it. Employees
went back to investigate and in the park manager's office, three books were found on the
floor. One was quite far away from the shelf where it sat, as if it flew across the room and
landed upright and open.

"The door slamming would explain how the books fell, but not how one of them ended up
all the way across the room," Claussen said.

The pages displayed were about some old, obsolete equipment that had been removed
from the mechanical room in the visitors center years before.

"The feeling by the person who noticed what was on the pages felt that the ghost was
trying to get them into the mechanical room," Claussen said. "So there was an uneasy
feeling there."

A couple of weeks later a water filter failure in the mechanical room flooded the visitors
center with six inches of water. Park employees who believe there's a spirit haunting the
park and visitors center concluded Roger tried to forewarn them by slamming the exit
door and bringing the book to their attention, Claussen said.

Once in a while, there is a rapping on the east wall of the visitors center. Claussen said it
doesn't sound like a woodpecker or an animal, but like a fist beating on the wall. There
are no water pipes in the wall, but it's an exterior wall and the noise could be heating and
cooling effects, normal expansion or contraction emulated as a "boom, boom, boom."

"If you're a believer in ghosts, it's easy (to explain the unusual happenings at Castlewood
Canyon State Park)," Claussen said. "If you don't believe in ghosts then it's a
geomagnetic storm in coincidence with high sunspot activity. There has to be some
explanation other than it's a poltergeist."

What makes Claussen skeptical is that perhaps some have what he calls "Roger on the
brain," attributing things to him that maybe shouldn't be. Park employees who close up in
the evenings are the ones who usually experience things, and three have experienced
events on a consistent basis.

"There's a radio in the visitor's center used by the supervisor," he said. "On a couple of
occasions, it turned on by itself. Of course, now, with everyone talking about Roger, he
gets credited with everything."
And maybe it isn't Roger at all. Shaun Boyd, an archivist for Douglas County Libraries,
said a man by the name of Conrad Moschel was killed on the Cherokee Trail by Native
Americans in 1884 on what is now the Winkler Ranch south of Castlewood Canyon State

Moschel was serving a 100-day enlistment in the Colorado Cavalry stationed at the
ranch. On Aug. 4 of that year, he was detailed with three other men to recover some
cattle. They were attacked by about 30 Native Americans. Everyone survived but
Moschel, whose body was found with an arrow in his back, a bullet wound to his forehead
and his scalp missing. He was buried where he was found, on a bluff just south of the
state park.

Claussen keeps a written record of stories of the ghost, "just from a historical point of
view." He tries to write everything down to see if there's a pattern, to find whether the
strange events are something that can or can't be explained. He listens to stories and
explanations from non-believers and believers.
Despite his healthy skepticism, the idea there may be an entity out there haunting
Castlewood Canyon State Park is enticing.

"If this is really a poltergeist and it's really true, then it would be my first knowledge or
experience of something unexplained," he said. "Wow, what a learning experience."

Contact Kiersten J. Mayer at

Douglas County News-Press
By: Kiersten J. Mayer
October 21, 2004

                                      Back to home page