CLIMATE: Cold, windy in winter, nice in summer.
BEST TIME TO VISIT: Any time of the year.
Willard is located approximately 20 miles west of Sterling on Highway 14. You will come to a sign along 14 showing the Willard turnoff where you turn south for about 5 miles. All of the roads are paved so there is never a problem driving to the town. There are a few occupied houses on the south side of the town but for the most part the town itself is completely abandoned. However, there are plenty of old homes and places of business that still remain. As far as things to see and do, there is Prewitt reservoir State Recreation Area about 20 miles to the southwest where you can camp, fish, boat and swim. Plus, there is fabulous waterfowl hunting in the fall along the South Platte river on many of the public hunting areas. Check with the Colorado Division of Wildlife in Denver, for information on the area. Also, the Pawnee National Grasslands is just a few miles further west on Highway 14.
REMAINS: There are plenty of old buildings, a grainery and quite a few old stores, all of which are abandoned.
|The town was originally planned and established on October 29, 1888, by the Lincoln Land and Townsite Company of Lincoln, Nebraska. That particular attempt at settlement failed and the town was abandoned but was replatted by William A. House in 1910 and the first house was built by F.W. Gilliland. The first postmaster was Joseph Killerlain. The first school teacher was Minnie Mathison and she held school in a small house just north of town. In 1914 the Willard Methodist Episcopal Church was built and was the first church between Sterling and Cheyenne, Wyoming. The Pastor was P.D. Griffin. There were three grain elevators, two garages one of which was owned by Erwin Harris, two general stores owned by E.J. Gamill and G.P. Nelson, and a hardware store. John Erickson was the town blacksmith. In the 50's an attempt to dril for oil was tried and after drilling over 5000', the project was abandoned. I was unable to find anyone who could tell me when the town became deserted. However, Willard is a very intersting ghosttown to visit because of all the structures still standing. Submitted by: Jay S. Warburton