Ghosts of Greeley: City has its fair share of haunted historyThe Union Pacific Train Depot in downtown Greeley has long been known as one of the most haunted buildings in the city. The ghosts of the “Ten Circus Men” who died in a fire and were brought back to the depot, are thought to be the ones doing the haunting.
Photo illustration by JIM RYDBOM
Sunday, October 31, 2010
It's dark at the depot. Nighttime along the railroad tracks, a few streetlights casting yellow-tinted shadows, no traffic, no one walking the sidewalk. Dead silence in downtown Greeley.
And inside the depot, a light goes on. Then off again.
Could it be Horace?
Or could it be what are currently called the “Ghost Clowns?”
On this Halloween, there are stories of hauntings and ghostly, unexplained things happening in Weld County.
Few buildings in Greeley would have the history of emotions as the Union Pacific Train Depot, 902 7th Ave. People have gone to this old stone building, hugging someone to say goodbye or embracing a loved one in a greeting. During the wars, soldiers shipped out and came home through the depot. Families were pulled apart, then brought together again.
Located in downtown Greeley, the 80-year-old building is a beautiful example of old architecture, of what can be accomplished in remodeling; a shining example of a modern business hanging onto a beautiful past.
And, it's haunted.
“No, it's not a scary thing,” according to Sarah MacQuiddy, president of the Greeley Chamber of Commerce, which has its offices in the depot. Strange things are happening, but nothing is threatening.
» The metal desk bell that customers can ring for help will suddenly start ringing by itself, even though the employees are just a few feet away and can see that no one is there.
» Faint music — an unknown tune — can sometimes be heard playing in the main room, repeating itself over and over.
» At a recent pet fair at the depot, one dog suddenly reacted to “something,” by dancing around and raising its paws. The owner said, “That's funny — she doesn't do that unless she's meeting somebody new...”
» Employees can sometimes hear voices in the building when no one else is there, and they've found that pictures on the wall have been moved.
» Footsteps can be heard on the basement stairs, lights flicker on and off again, doors open and close, all by themselves.
The original name for the ghost, “Horace,” of course comes from the city's namesake, Horace Greeley, who came to Greeley for only one day in 1870; but he came on the railroad.
The original depot was built in 1883 and replaced in 1930 with the present building.
The “Ghost Clowns” name comes from a disaster in 1884.
In August of that year, a sleeping car in a circus train coming from Fort Collins to Greeley suddenly caught fire. Ten men died in the fire, and the Orton Circus Train just unhitched the car and continued on to Denver for their next show.
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