National Geographic : 1932 Jul
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE HOLY CROSS CITY IS ONE OF COLORADO'S GHOST TOWNS The deserted village was once a busy mining community. Started in 1881, the town grew rapidly. Hundreds of dwellings and store buildings have disappeared entirely, and grass covers former streets that saw business by day and rollicking celebrations by night. The site of the town is near the Mount of the Holy Cross, at an elevation of II,500 feet (see illustration, page 23). oil shale near De Beque. The shale is bone dry; no greasiness, no seepage of oil; yet in each ton of it, securely locked up in some unexplained way, are from 15 to 50 gallons of crude oil. In the known de posits, it has been estimated by petroleum specialists, are nearly 50 billion barrels of recoverable oil. This is enough, at the 1932 rate, to supply the annual produc tion of crude oil in the United States for more than half a century. THE SECOND STATE TO STRIKE OIL But Colorado's interest in oil is not con fined to shale. It is a surprise to many, who know pretty well the magic story of petroleum development, to learn that Colo rado was the next State after Pennsylvania to strike oil. The Florence oil field, a few miles west of Pueblo, was discovered in 1862, and, although it was not spectacular, its wells have produced petroleum in pay ing quantities since their development, in 1887. In recent years other fields have been discovered, some of the most promis ing in 1931. By far the most spectacular gas well in the State lies in North Park. It is a nat ural soda fountain, a well from which gushes daily forty million cubic feet of carbon-dioxide gas. This freakish hole has been dubbed "the ice-cream well," for when the tremendous pressure of the gas is released as it reaches the outer air, the ac companying oil is frozen to a white, snow like substance. The temperature of the gas is more than Ioo degrees below zero. In a little factory near by the gas is made into carbon-dioxide ice and shipped for refrig erating purposes.