The Bizarre History of the Abandoned Virginia Dale Cafe on Highway 287
Pickled bodies. Pickled human bodies.
Oh, don't worry. That wasn't an item on the menu. We think...
Back in 2015, a friend and I were dying to just get out of Fort Collins for the day, and decided to take a mini road trip up Highway 287. Just after passing Livermore, but before we reached the Wyoming border, we came across this abandoned cafe and post office on the side of the road.
This place looks pretty cool. We stopped for a few minutes in the truck pull off, snapped some pics and became incredibly curious about what this place was. So I Googled it, duh.
Unfortunately, I didn't really find what my grade school teachers would call a 'credible source' -- but I did uncover some weird stuff about Virginia Dale.
The ghost town was once a stage stop on the Overland Trail, founded in the 1860s by a raging alcoholic named Jack Slade, who supposedly had a bad temper. According to Wikipedia (I know... Wikipedia...) he was a former stagecoach station manager in eastern Colorado, where he got into an altercation with Jules Beni (of Julesburg,CO). In the argument, Beni shot Slade five times, but not fatally, so Slade tied Beni to a fence, shot off his fingers, then his head, and allegedly kept his ears as a trophy. Nice guy.
As for Slade, he was reportedly hung and his wife, whom Virginia Dale is named after, had his body pickled (what?) and put in a casket, which she kept under her bed (WHAT?). That's all according to legendsofamerica.com, and nowhere am I able to verify if that has any semblance of historical accuracy to it.
Also, nowhere does it say when this old cafe came along, or why it closed, but it's been abandoned since the '90s. Creepy! But we like the old sign.
Go check it out sometime, but don't trespass. It is on private property and we have a good feeling you'd get shot -- BY THE GHOST OF JACK SLADE. *wo0o0oo0o*