On our recent trip to Utah to experience Zion and Arches National Parks, we heard about the town of Cisco. What made it interesting was that it was a ghost town and we thought we might be able to make some interesting images. It was about a 45 minute car ride from the Red Cliffs Lodge near Moab, where we were staying. On our third day, in the afternoon we decided to make the trip. When we arrived we saw abandon buildings that looked like time had thrown them to the wind. There were not many, maybe less then a dozen and what looked like a few abandon cars and pickup trucks.
The first building we saw as we drove down what looked like the main road.In the past a house? Pretty grim and I didn't see any color just old wood and metal against a desert floor This was the first house we saw as we drove down what I would call the main street. We stopped the car and I started photographing a white building and across the street, another building with a new coat of white paint and a sign that said Post Office. This building didn't fit with the others, it looked newer or at least the paint did. I was studying it and speaking to Phyllis when out of seemingly nowhere a voice said, "Hi". I kind of jumped inside myself, at least I hoped it wasn't noticeable to this young women now standing in front of me. Startled I asked," Do you live here?" "Yes I do" she answered. Too quickly I asked, " Anyone else live here?" and she said she lived alone in the house in the black and white Image. Asked her if I could take her picture and she answered with one word, "No". "Okay no problem," was my response. " She then added, "Unless you would like to donate ten dollars to my rebuilding fund." I laughed and then gave her ten dollars. It was the only time I have paid someone to take their picture.
Eileen by herself but not aloneEileen was packing a pretty large gun on her side. We then proceeded to have a very nice conversation with Eileen as she gave us the tour. We found out she had purchased 2.5 acres of the town and wanted to remodel it and rent out the rooms. Using an online marketing and hospitality service called Airbnb, It enables people to lease or rent short-term lodgings including vacation rentals and apartments rentals. The company does not own any lodging; it is merely a broker and receives percentage service commissions from both guests and hosts in conjunction with every booking. There were a few things she proudly wanted to show us, one of which was the apartment she had rented the night before for $56. She had fixed up the post office and it was really very pretty and comfortable, if not small. Although for $56. not a bad deal. Cisco was built in the 1880s and became abandoned when the freeway was built nearby. Your abode for the night is the original post office which closed its doors in the 90s. There are many other buildings in Cisco, none of which are currently inhabited and most of which are in a state of decay adding to the spooky ghost town feel. The Apartment available for rentShe had rented it the night before for $56. AlThe bathroom was umm lets say different or at least a throw back to another time in history.
I laughed and told her how I had told my wife about a two seater that my Great Grandparents had in New Hampshire when I was very young. I said at the time I never thought much about it but years later when I was older, I wondered how long you would need to be married to share this? Eileen said in the early years when there were large families, it was just practical to have two seats. This way people could get back to their chores, I think I would still wait and I was one of six boys!!!
I then asked if I would take her picture in front of a wall she had just built, she was very excited about it and led me to another building close by. She posed with the rake, kind of my American Gothic moment!!
Eileen in front of a wall she had just finished building I asked if she had carpentry experience and she told me no but you can learn many things if you try. I asked her about living with no water, she does have WIFI and air conditioning and she said she would go into town every three weeks for supplies. She seemed non plussed about being alone in the desert in this abandoned town. When I mentioned that I noticed she was carrying a gun, she said she was not that great a shot. When I mentioned that up close she would not need to be, she laughed and agreed. This is the outside of the room she has for rent and yes mail is still delivered there.
During the day you may hear trains, as there are tracks running near the town. There is also moderate traffic during the day since there is a river rafting drop off site a couple miles away. Your host, Eileen lives across the street in her 1950s airstream trailer and will be happy to help with anything you need.
More abandoned buildings Another abandon buildingThis one not for rent but I bet Eileen eventually fixes it up So that was our visit to Cisco the inhabited Ghost Town. We didn't see any ghosts but we did meet one of the most interesting people we have met on any trip.