By 1896, the city boasted a population of
10,000 residents and on January 21, 1896, the
Creek Stock Exchange was opened. The National Hotel, the largest
and tallest structure was completed in February, 1896, complete with
Turkish baths, an elevator and its own electric light plant. It
contained 150 rooms, 40 suites, and a restaurant with fine cuisine.
April 25, 1896 a fire wiped out nearly half of the city. Started
in one of the many brothels, a dancehall girl named Jennie Larue, got
into an argument with her lover and while quarreling, accidentally
upset a gasoline stove. The wooden frame buildings of the camp
quickly ignited and spread from one building to the next. Buildings in the fire’s path were blown up in an effort to stop the
approaching flames. The fire departments of Victor, Florence, Colorado Springs and Denver
dashed to the city’s aid but there was little that could be done.
Four days later, half of the city lay in
smoldering ruins, when a second fire alarm went off. This fire
began in the Portland Hotel on Myers Avenue and was believed to have
been deliberately set because other fires were discovered
simultaneously in other parts of the city. In this second fire,
eight blocks of buildings were consumed, six lives were lost and
nearly four thousand residents were left homeless. When it was
all said and done, less than ten buildings were left to mark the site
of the city. The firebugs who were suspected of setting the
second fire were lynched and
Creek began to rebuild. Within just a few months, modern
businesses built of brick or stone rose on the foundations of the
Having survived the fire,
the city continued to prosper and the Butte Opera House was remodeled,
giving culture to the city in October, 1897.
By 1898 the mines were yielding greater
amounts of valuable ore and production jumped to some 16 million dollars. By 1899, gold production had reached 21 million dollars and
Creek was named the County Seat. By this time there were as many
people on the streets at 3:00 am than 3:00 pm and the camp supported 75
restaurants, four department stores, a business college, 40 stock brokers
and 72 lawyers.
By 1900 gold production had reached some 23
million and over 500 mines were operating in the area. The
Creek Times reported that the Mining District had grown to 55,000
citizens. Of those residents,
Creek boasted 35,000.
Victor, on the south end of the District was
home to 5,000. Another 11 towns with populations of a few hundred to over
2000 were scattered around the District.
On Sunday morning,
hundreds of people crowded
Creek's 16 churches. The Teller County School System was one of
the best in the country. At the time 3,849 students were enrolled in the
District’s 19 schools, and 118 teachers were employed in