Cripple Creek Colorado History
Nestled in a sunny valley west of Pikes Peak, Cripple Creek epitomizes the old West. Just head west from Colorado Springs through Manitou Springs on Colorado State Highway 24 to Divide. Then enjoy one of two scenic routes to Cripple Creek. See the prehistoric rock formations and fossil beds heading to Florissant and entering through Teller County 1, or turn on Highway 67 for Colorado scenery too spectacular, in any season, to believe.
As you wind into the town, you'll feel transported to another era of classic old West enchantment. From the rowdy mining days of yesteryear, Cripple Creek now comes to life with electrifying casinos sprawling down main street (Bennett Avenue). Park the car and take a stroll through the gambling halls and shops, or leave the driving to a casino, with buses that transport from many front range locations on regular schedules. Missing a trip to Cripple Creek would be like missing Colorado all together.
The "World's Greatest Gold Camp" and renowned mining district opened in 1891, with the story of the "$30 million cow pasture." Bob Womack, a cowhand, was riding the range and doing a little prospecting on the side. An outcrop of rocks at Poverty Gulch looked promising, and he took a sample to the assay office. Womack's claim, although he sold it, ended up yielding $5 million in gold.
By the end of 1891, folks were streaming into the area with dreams of getting rich, and by 1896 the population was 25,000. The yearly yield was $8.5 million, a fortune in today's dollars. The wide-open mining town had "lodes" of bars, dance halls, casinos, theaters, shops, hotels, restaurants and well-patronized bawdy houses on Meyers Street. There were 41 assay offices, 91 lawyers, 46 brokerage houses, 88 doctors and dentists, 14 newspapers, 70 saloons and one "very busy" coroner.
In 1996, two major fires, in three days, destroyed nearly the entire town, so it was rebuilt with brick and stone, a testament to the character of the towns people That character still exists today. Visitors will enjoy year-round events that capitalize on Cripple Creek's rich history. Plan to stay the night and see all the sights in the area, then enjoy a variety of gaming and entertainment at large and small casinos. You'll see why Cripple Creek is the "World's Greatest Gold Camp," when you experience golden memories in the making.
Cripple Creek Chamber of Commerce