Cripple Creek, Colorado: Wikis


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City of Cripple Creek, Colorado
—  City  —
Entering Cripple Creek
Location in Teller County and the State of Colorado
Coordinates: 38°44′50″N 105°10′45″W / 38.74722°N 105.17917°W / 38.74722; -105.17917
Country  United States
State  State of Colorado
County Teller County Seat[1]
Incorporated June 9, 1892[2]
 - Type Statutory City[1]
 - Mayor Dan Baader[3]
 - Total 1.1 sq mi (2.9 km2)
 - Land 1.1 sq mi (2.9 km2)
 - Water 0 sq mi (0 km2)
Elevation 9,494 ft (2,894 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 1,115
 Density 1,013.6/sq mi (384.5/km2)
Time zone MST (UTC-7)
 - Summer (DST) MDT (UTC-6)
ZIP Code[4] 80813
Area code(s) 719
FIPS code 08-18530
GNIS feature ID 0204769
Website City of Cripple Creek

The City of Cripple Creek is a Statutory City that is the county seat of Teller County, Colorado, United States.[5] Cripple Creek is a former gold mining camp located 44 miles (71 km) southwest of Colorado Springs near the base of Pikes Peak. The Cripple Creek Historic District, which received National Historic Landmark status in 1961, includes part or all of city and includes surrounding area. The population was 1,115 at the 2000 census.



At an elevation of 9,494 feet and just below timberline, for many years Cripple Creek's high valley was considered no more important than a cattle pasture. Many prospectors avoided the area after the misnamed Mount Pisgah hoax, a mini gold rush caused by salting (adding gold to worthless rock).[6]

View of Cripple Creek, circa 1900
Cripple Creek, 1957

On October 20, 1890, however, Robert Miller "Bob" Womack discovered a rich ore and the last great Colorado gold rush was on. Thousands of prospectors flocked to the region, and before long W. S. Stratton located the famous Independence lode, one of the largest gold strikes in history. In three years, the population increased from 500 to 10,000 by 1893. Though $500,000,000 worth of gold ore was dug from Cripple Creek, Womack himself would die, penniless, on August 10, 1909.[7]

By 1900 Cripple Creek and its sister city, Victor, were substantial communities.

During the 1890s, many of the miners in the Cripple Creek area joined a miners' union, the Western Federation of Miners (WFM). A significant strike took place in 1894, marking one of the few times in history that a sitting governor called out the national guard to protect miners from forces under the control of the mine owners. By 1903 the allegiance of the state government had shifted, however, and Governor James Peabody sent the Colorado National Guard into Cripple Creek with the goal of destroying union power in the gold camps. The WFM strike of 1903 and the governor's response precipitated the Colorado Labor Wars, a struggle that took many lives.

Through 2005, the Cripple Creek district produced about 23.5 million troy ounces (731 tonnes) of gold. The old underground mines are exhausted, but open pit mining has operated since 1994 east of Cripple Creek, near its sister city of Victor, Colorado.

With many empty storefronts and picturesque homes, Cripple Creek once drew interest as a ghost town. At one point the population dropped to a few hundred, although Cripple Creek was never entirely deserted. In the 1970s and 1980s travelers on photo safari might find themselves in a beautiful decaying historic town. A few restaurants and bars catered to tourists who could drive by weathered empty homes with lace curtains still hanging in broken windows.

Colorado voters allowed Cripple Creek to establish legalized gambling in 1991. Cripple Creek is currently more of a gambling and tourist town than a ghost town. Casinos now occupy many historic buildings. Casino gambling has been successful in bringing revenue and vitality back into the area.


Downtown Cripple Creek in January.

The Cripple Creek and Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad, a narrow gauge train ride from Cripple Creek passes several small ghost towns, goldmines, and glory holes. The Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine provides tours into a real gold mine led by a real gold miner.[8]

In 2006 Cripple Creek broke ground on the new Pikes Peak Heritage Center. Constructed at a cost over $2.5 million, the building is over 11,000 square feet (1,000 m2) of educational displays. State of the art electronics are used throughout the building and there is also a theatre showing historical films about the area. Newly named the Cripple Creek Heritage Center, admission is currently $3.00 for adults, $2.00 for military (please show ID), and children 16 and under are free.

Cripple Creek is also home to the Butte Opera House, a theatre first managed by the Mackin family (previous owners of the Imperial Hotel and producers of a long-running, much-loved melodrama theatre company). The Butte is currently the home of the Thin Air Theatre Company that produces shows year-round.

Cripple Creek features many events throughout the year like the Cripple Creek Ice Festival, Donkey Derby Days, the 4th of July Celebration, and a Gold Camp Christmas.


Overlooking the environs surrounding the city.

Cripple Creek is located at 38°44′50″N 105°10′45″W / 38.74722°N 105.17917°W / 38.74722; -105.17917 (38.747294, -105.179283).[9]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.1 square miles (2.9 km²), all of it land.

Volcanic history

The gold-bearing area of the Cripple Creek district was the core of an ancient volcano of six square miles. Cripple Creek is in the Thirtynine Mile volcanic field. Free gold was found near the surface but at depth unoxidized tellurides and sulfides were found.


Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1900 10,147
1910 6,206 −38.8%
1920 2,325 −62.5%
1930 1,427 −38.6%
1940 2,358 65.2%
1950 853 −63.8%
1960 614 −28.0%
1970 425 −30.8%
1980 655 54.1%
1990 584 −10.8%
2000 1,115 90.9%

As of the census[10] of 2000, there were 1,115 people, 494 households, and 282 families residing in the city. The population density was 988.7 people per square mile (381.0/km²). There were 737 housing units at an average density of 653.5/sq mi (251.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 92.29% White, 0.90% African American, 2.15% Native American, 0.81% Asian, 1.43% from other races, and 2.42% from two or more races. 6.01% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 494 households out of which 23.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.7% were married couples living together, 7.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 42.9% were non-families. 30.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 2.82.

In the city the population was spread out with 22.2% under the age of 18, 10.4% from 18 to 24, 29.2% from 25 to 44, 30.2% from 45 to 64, and 8.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 104.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 100.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $39,261, and the median income for a family was $41,685. Males had a median income of $27,600 versus $25,000 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,607. About 4.7% of families and 6.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.8% of those under age 18 and 6.1% of those age 65 or over.

Students are served by the Cripple Creek-Victor High School.

See also

Looking east on Bennett Avenue, early 20th century


  1. ^ a b "Active Colorado Municipalities". State of Colorado, Department of Local Affairs. Retrieved 2007-09-01. 
  2. ^ "Colorado Municipal Incorporations". State of Colorado, Department of Personnel & Administration, Colorado State Archives. 2004-12-01. Retrieved 2007-09-02. 
  3. ^ "Mayor and City Council". City of Cripple Creek. Retrieved 2008-12-24. 
  4. ^ "ZIP Code Lookup" (JavaScript/HTML). United States Postal Service. Retrieved 2010-03-11. 
  5. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  6. ^ Dan Plazak A Hole in the Ground with a liar at the Top (2006) ISBN 978-0-87480-840-7 (contains a chapter on the Mt. Pisgah hoax).
  7. ^ Robert "Bob" Womack of Colorado by Joyce and Linda Wommack. Retrieved 2010-03-11.
  8. ^ Feitz, L., (1968), Cripple Creek Railroads: The Rail Systems of the Gold Camp, Little London Press, Colorado Springs, ISBN 0-93656-415-6.
  9. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  10. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 

External links

Coordinates: 38°44′50″N 105°10′45″W / 38.747294°N 105.179283°W / 38.747294; -105.179283

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