c 2023 by Jan MacKell Collins
Portions of this article appear in Lost Ghost Towns of Teller County, Colorado.
Alternately known as Lanter, Lantern, Lander’s, Landres and Landen, Lanter City hoped to become the next thriving metropolis in Teller County. Alas, the effort was a failure. The town first bore mention in 1896, but the few records about this long-gone community are obscure. Lanter City, and has been described as being located on Pikes Peak, near the toll road leading to the top of the mountain. BLM land records show the town to be located in the vicinity of Crystal Creek Reservoir, on Glen Cove and South Catamount Creeks. Roads from Lanter City probably led not just to Ute Pass, but also the Pikes Peak Toll Road and perhaps even Edlowe between Woodland Park and Divide.
Around the turn of the century, the Fountain Creek Mining District was formed in the area that would later include Lanter City. Though only four miles square, the district was comprised of thirty eight claims. At that time, the land on which Lanter City was situated was owned by Henry Law. For three days, November 7, 8 and 9, 1900, surveyor L.J. Carrington surveyed, platted and laid out the town in the vicinity of the North Star Gold Mining Company. First, Second and Third Streets were intersected by Carrington, Main and Parshall Avenues.
Lanter City’s desire to grow was indicated by a November, 1900 ad in the Colorado Springs Gazette. “Wanted,” the advertisement read, “Men and women to engage in all kinds of business at Lanter City in the Fountain mining district five miles north of Pikes Peak. One shipper and lots of good prospects. Take stage at Woodland Park. For information address Tyler and McDowell, Woodland Park, Colo.” The ad was presumably taken out by Robert Lanter, who appeared in various news articles about the budding boomtown.
Response to the advertisement was apparently positive, for on November 30 Robert Beers, who had purchased some nearby land in 1891, platted his own Robert Beers Addition. The addition created 5th, 6th and 7th Streets, as well as Hartman Street. The new activity spurred more articles; the December 3rd edition of the Colorado Springs Gazette identified the “camp” as being located near Cascade in El Paso County, but “to the north of Pikes Peak.” In fact, the article wondered if Lanter City was not destined to be the next Cripple Creek. “Local mining men have been rather indifferent until very lately but it certainly must be admitted now that the camp…at least calls for respectful attention,” said the Gazette. Of particular interest, according to the article, was that gold was being found in the area. The news was enough to entice a group from Victor in the Cripple Creek District to hire one of their “experts” to go have a look. The man found several claims and figured that ore in the area was worth between $20 and $80 per ton.
In the end, county records show that Henry Law was able to sell only eight of the lots at Lanter City, to four different buyers. During the town’s heyday, however, there were twenty homes, a livery stable and a blacksmith shop. News of the town continued drifting into newspapers. “Ed Weston of Lanter City was in [Colorado Springs] Sunday,” read an article in January of 1901. “Mr. Weston, with Messs. McDowell, Foster and Wheat, have leased the Rico lode and will proceed at once to find what is in it.” On February 27, another article hinted a post office was soon to be established, but that never happened. Other news articles told of “Uncle Billy” Parshall who staked the Louise claim in April, and progress on the McCleary brothers’ mine in May. Also in May, fourteen more lots were sold at Lanter City. By October, plans were underway to build a steam plant on Lord and Dean’s claim just southwest of town.
Unfortunately, the gold mines around Lanter City simply weren’t enough to create the boom everyone was hoping for. Aside from gold mining, Lanter City’s other main industry was intended to be logging, until the Pike National Forest was established in 1907 and the homesteaders at Lanter City there came to be regarded as trespassers. Thus, in 1908 Henry Law bought back the lots of Lanter City and sold his city to the Empire Water and Power Company for just $3,000. The company planned to build four reservoirs, but eventually sold the property to the City of Colorado Springs in 1930. Lanter City was vacated for good, and five years later, South Catamount Reservoir covered about half of the old townsite.
Researchers Kimberly Carsell and Kimberle Long believed they found five or so ruins at the site in 2000, as well as a large “glory hole” at the south end of the valley. Any remaining mines were sealed by the Colorado Division of Reclamation and Mining Safety in 2008. Today there is nothing left of the town, only a dream of what could have been.
The plat map for Lanter City shows what might have become the “next Cripple Creek”