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Cisco is a ghost town in Grand County, Utah, United States near the junction of State Route 128 (SR-128) and Interstate 70 (I-70). The town started in the 1880s as a saloon and water-refilling station for the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad. As work crews and, later, travelers came through, stores, hotels and restaurants sprang up to accommodate them. Nearby cattle ranchers and sheep herders in the Book Cliffs north of town began using Cisco as a livestock and provisioning center. Around the turn of the 20th century, over 100,000 sheep were sheared at Cisco before being shipped to market. Then oil and natural gas were discovered. People began traveling more and Cisco continued to grow. Then the bottom fell out. The town’s decline coincided with the demise of the steam locomotive. A declining economy crashed when Interstate 70 came through and bypassed Cisco altogether.
Oil and natural gas were discovered near Cisco in 1924. In 2005, new oil and gas wells were drilled in the nearby Cisco Oil Field by a Reno, Nevada-based company. Newly drilled wells can be seen next to the railroad track and around the freeway. Cisco Mayor Dan Vanover was also an oil and turquoise miner from 1963 until his passing in 1986. His home had a large flag pole in front of it.
The town site contains many relics of a typical old west railroad town. Cisco survived long enough into the 20th century to be assigned a ZIP Code, 84515. Unfortunately for history and railroad buffs, the ghost town’s easy access and proximity to the freeway have lured vandals; the relics are heavily damaged and the town is littered with abandoned vehicles.
Cisco is along the former routing of US-6/US-50. The town was bypassed with the completion of I-70 through the area but is still accessible by way of Exit 204. Cisco is listed as a control city for SR-128, although the highway does not enter Cisco. Cisco is still served by the Union Pacific Railroad where a rail siding remains in use. The California Zephyr passenger train passes through Cisco, but is not a scheduled stop. During the summer months, whitewater river rafters use Cisco as a landing site, particularly for a trip through Westwater Canyon. The Kokopelli mountain bike Trail passes through Cisco. A fiber switch has been installed at Cisco by Emery Telecom. DSL is now available at Cisco, provided by Emery Telecom.