Town of Cleora

The town of Cleora was located at the southeastern end of the Arkansas Valley, at the mouth of the canon, in the vicinity of Rocky Mountain Livestock Sales.

According to Colorado Post Offices, 1859-1989, Cleora had a Post Office from December 5, 1876 to March 7, 1882.

upper arkansas

From The Upper Arkansas: a Mountain River Valley by Virginia McConnell Simmons:

‘In 1878, the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe bought land for a town and depot on the west side of Bale’s Tavern and its Cleora Post Office. Prospects were high for the railroad town, which adopted the name of Cleora, too. About two hundred people moved in and set up their businesses, including a newspaper. When the D & RG instead of the AT & SF arrived and put its station a mile and a half farther up the river, Cleora’s dreams of greatness were smashed, and its population picked up and moved, taking buildings with them, to South Arkansas, as Salida then was known. By the fall of 1880 little was left of Cleora.’

guide to colorado ghost towns

From a Guide to the Colorado Ghost Towns and Mining Camps, by Perry Eberhart:

‘Cleora is one of the many towns throughout the west that was born of railroads and died by railroads. The Santa Fe Railroad laid out the town in 1878 and named it for the daughter of William Bale, operator of a stage station here. For a few short years Cleora grew rapidly as a railroad supply point for camps along the Arkansas River and on the other side of the divide. Then the Denver and Rio Grande rambled into the area and a dispute rose over the site of the railroad terminal. When the smoke cleared away another railroad terminal was laid out about two miles away. The new site was named Salida. With its growth, Cleora was soon forgotten. Now, only an old tombstone marks the spot where Cleora was.’

From the Ouray Times, dated March 29, 1879:

‘The new town of Cleora is attracting considerable attention and many of the business firms in Ouray are preparing to establish “branch” houses there. The railroad extension is progressing, the track today having been laid as far as the soda spring, and before this reaches you the construction train will be within the confines of the Grand Canon. The work of grading is being pushed as rapidly as possible, at the point where the heavy work is to be done night and day, forces being employed. At the new depot ground, large quantities of iron, bolts, spikes, plates, bridge timbers, ties, piles, etc. are being piled up ready for use in the extension, and every effort is being put forth to make good the statement of the company that is would run a train into Cleora by the first of July.’

From the Denver Post, dated December 31, 1903:

‘In 1878, there was founded by parties connected with the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad Company, the town of Cleora, one and half miles below where Salida now stands. Cleora flourished during the next year. But when possession of the canon was awarded to the Rio Grande Railroad Company, the Palmer forces crushed out Cleora by building Salida.’

Vacating Cleora — at Colorado Central online.


You can find more information and photos about Cleora in the following books:

alamosa salida and the valley line   blecha's colorado place names   george l beam and the denver and rio grande




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