Traversing Northeastern Colorado’s Cigarette-Burn Country

Railroad Street in Sedgwick, Colo. (Photo by Michael E. Grass)

Railroad Street in Crook, Colo. (Photo by Michael E. Grass)

CROOK, Colo. — Seven or eight years ago, I came across a large but very worn United States Geological Survey map of Colorado in the garbage room of my apartment building in Washington, D.C. I rescued it, naturally — it can be difficult to throw out an old map — and still have it somewhere.

Curiously, there’s a cluster of what appears to be cigarette burns in northeastern Colorado, somewhere in either Sedgwick County or Logan County. (I’ll have to dig out that map when I return home to make certain.)

So now, I get to check out what I’ve nicknamed Colorado’s cigarette-burn country.

To get to this part of Colorado from California Hill across the border in Nebraska, I made a detour from the Lincoln Highway’s primary route west to head into the Centennial State to use the long-controversial Colorado Loop, which links back up with the Lincoln Highway in Cheyenne, Wyo.

There’s a long history to this, but Brian Butko’s very useful guide, Lincoln Highway Companion, has it summed up concisely:

Continue reading