Legends of America

Follow the links to the various pages of Legends of America

The Old West Legends of America Outhouse Madness Ghostly Legends Outlaws Old West Saloons Rocky Mountain General Store Legends Photo Store The Book Store Make your travel reservations here! Route 66 Native Americans The Old States - Back East

Legends of America    |    Legends General Store    |    Legends Photo Shop


Legends Of America's Facebook PageLegends Of America's Twitter PageLegends on Pinterest

Legends Home

Site Map

What's New!!


Content Categories:

American History


Ghost Stories

Ghost Towns

Historic People

Legends & Myths

Native Americans

Old West

Photo Galleries

Route 66

Travel Center

Treasure Tales


   Search Our Sites

Custom Search



About Us


Article/Photo Use

Copyright Information


Facebook Page




Privacy Policy

Site Map

Writing Credits


We welcome corrections

and feedback!

Contact Us


Legends' General Store

Old West/Western

Route 66

Native American

Featured Items

Sale Items


CD's - DVD's

Nuwati Herbals


Wall Art

Custom Products

and Much More!


  Legends Of America's Rocky Mountain General Store - Cart View


Legends' Photo Prints

Legends Photo Prints and Downloads

Ghost Town Prints

Native American Prints

Old West Prints

Route 66 Prints

States, Cities & Places

Nostalgic Prints

Photo Art Prints

Jim Hinckley's America

David Fisk (Lens of Fisk)

Specials-Gift Ideas

and Much More!!

Legends Of America's Photo Print Shop - Cart View


Family Friendly Site













Cripple Creek - Page 2

<<  Previous  1 2  Next  >>


Cripple Creek, Colorado, 1890

Cripple Creek, Colorado, 1890. Courtesy Denver Public Library.



Cripple Creek, Colorado 

Cripple Creek, Colorado today, Kathy Weiser, September, 2009.

This image available for photo prints & editorial downloads HERE!




By 1896, the city boasted a population of 10,000 residents and on January 21, 1896, the Cripple 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.

1896 Fire in Cripple Creek ColoradoOn 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 Cripple Creek began to rebuild. Within just a few months, modern businesses built of brick or stone rose on the foundations of the former camp.

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 Cripple 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 saloons, 25 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 Cripple Creek Times reported that the Mining District had grown to 55,000 citizens. Of those residents, Cripple 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 Cripple 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 Cripple Creek and Victor.


Cripple Creek-Victor Railroad

Cripple Creek-Victor Railroad, Kathy Weiser, September, 2009.

This image available for photo prints and editorial downloads HERE!


Soon, however, the gold would begin to play out and by 1920 there were only about 40 mines operating and production had been reduced to four million dollars. The 1930s saw a brief revival of mining, but this, too, waned and by 1945 there were less than 20 mines operating with only about one million dollars in gold produced each year.

Determined not to become a ghost town, the citizens of Cripple Creek began to promote its rich history to potential tourists. The Imperial Hotel began showing melodramas in the Gold Bar Room Theatre in the 1940s. In 1953 the Cripple Creek District Museum opened in the old Midland Terminal depot. In 1967 the Cripple Creek Narrow Gauge railroad began operation.

However, by the 1980s tourism began to drop in Cripple Creek and other historic towns of Colorado. As a result, Colorado passed a law to authorize limited stakes gambling in Cripple Creek, Central City and Blackhawk, saving these old towns from total extinction.


Today Cripple Creek offers a wide array of events and attractions for the vacationing visitor including summer celebrations, art shows, fall aspen tours, rodeos, symphony performances and craft shows. Old mine shafts, head frames and cabins still dot the landscape in the high country behind Pikes Peak where driving tours and hiking of the area abound. The biggest event in Cripple Creek event is Donkey Derby Days, always held the last full weekend of June. Nearby Victor holds Gold Rush Days every year, during the third weekend of July.

Though still labeled a "ghost town", because it's not nearly as large as it once was, and has lost its former mining status, it remain the county seat of Teller County. It is called home to almost 1,200 people. The Cripple Creek Historic District, which received National Historic Landmark status in 1961, includes part or all of city and includes surrounding area. Cripple Creek is 48 miles from Colorado Springs via U.S. Highway 24 and Colorado Highway 67. Shuttle services are available from Colorado Springs and Pueblo as well as local shuttles servicing Cripple Creek and Victor.


© Kathy Weiser/Legends of America, updated April, 2013.



Also See:


Colorado Ghost Towns

Cripple Creek Photo Print Gallery

Ghosts of the Cripple Creek Mining District

Pearl de Vere - Soiled Dove of Cripple Creek

Victor - The City of Mines



Cripple Creek Cemetery

Cripple Creek Cemetery, Kathy Weiser.

This image available for photo prints and editorial downloads HERE!


Cripple Creek, Colorado Slideshow:




All images available for photo prints and editorial downloads HERE!


<<  Previous  1 2  Next  >>

Legends of America on Facebook


Legends of America's Facebook FanpageIf you just can't get enough of Legend's of America's tales and travel destinations, ghost towns, Native Americans, vintage photos, and Legends' General Store, check out our Facebook Pages. Here, you will find even more information including daily posts, photographs, additional information, and specials only available to our Facebook fans. You can also interacting with other fans, make comments on articles, and upload your own photos and information.


Join Legends of America's Facebook Fan Page


Ghost Towns of the American West

Ghost Towns

Legends' General Store on Facebook

Legends General Store

Native Americaan History on Facebook

Native Americans

Restored Vintage Photos by Legends of America

Vintage Photos


                                                            Copyright © 2003-Present, www.Legends of America.com