Can You Believe This Run Down Place Was Once a Colorado Resort?
An establishment that once housed tourists overnight and hosted lively nights of dancing, drinking, and gambling now sits vacant, in a very dilapidated state on the outskirts of a tiny Colorado town.
Club 40 was a part of Wiley's Resort Motel just west of the town of Dinosaur. At one point in time, many travelers passed through its doors.
But first, a little about how this small town in Moffat County came to be.
The Fremont Indians, followed by the Ute Indians were the first individuals to inhabit the region, as made apparent by pictographs and petroglyphs that have since been discovered on rock walls.
After that, the area was known as Baxter Flats. It was named by Art and Fanny Baxter, who came from Rock Springs, Wyoming, and settled there, building a simple homestead on the land. Many other settlers began moving into the area during the 1800s and early 1900s, hoping to start up family ranches on the wide-open land.
In the 1930s, the oil boom spawned another population surge in the community. It was also during this time that the town was given another new name, Artesia, which paid homage to its valued water supply.
With the increasing amount of people who were moving and passing through Artesia between the 30s and 40s, a need for new services arose. Gas stations and cafes began popping up, as did another exciting destination - Wiley's Resort.
Wiley's Resort Motel opened in 1933. According to historians, by 1937, the establishment was an incredibly popular stop for people who were traveling along the newly constructed Highway 40. By 1943, the resort had its own café, large dance floor, hotel cabins, apartments, grocery store, and a park. The dance hall was called Club 40, after the nearby newly constructed highway. Cocktails flowed freely here, and it beckoned tourists with a good time.
During the oil commotion of the oil boom, the dinosaur bones were uncovered within the region, as well as in nearby parts of Utah. President Woodrow Wilson created the Dinosaur National Monument in 1915, but it wasn't until 1930 that the park expanded its boundaries into Colorado. In 1966, the town formerly known as Artesia, changed its name yet again to capitalize on its close proximity to Dinosaur National Monument. The statutory town has been known as Dinosaur, Colorado ever since.
By the 1990s, the exterior facade of the long-since-closed Wiley Resort was beginning to fade.
More than thirty years after that, the paint of the once-bright pink, green, purple, and yellow cabin walls is now pale and peeling and all that's left are remnants of what used to be. You can still see this historic structure off of Highway 40 while passing through the town.