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  • Writer's pictureRuthie Grainger

Cripple Creek and Victor History

Cripple Creek and Victor Colorado are incredibly unique. I don’t just say that because I have lived here my whole life. We don’t call ourselves the “World’s Greatest Gold Camp” for no reason! That title explains a lot about our history and how we came to be.

When gold was discovered it led to a rush, which brought in many people of all walks of life. Mines were scattered all over the hills here, and you can still see some of the old headframes. Besides Cripple Creek and Victor, there were many little towns that have long since faded away like Elkton, Independence, Altman, Lawrence, and Love. These are just a few that I remember reading and hearing about. The people who built this area were very hard working and it shows. Many of the buildings are still standing and older homes are original or built after the fires. Each town fell victim to a massive fire, although I am not sure who’s cow is to blame or if we should blame a donkey…

When the gold started to peter out, the towns slowly followed. However, we still have a large active mine here, with many people who still work there. Our history does shape our future and both towns are growing again which I think is great! Heck they filmed a movie here not too long ago! I always heard people talking about the J.C. Penny’s store in Victor. Still odd to think that we even had one!

Cripple Creek had a red light district and some say that is where the term comes from, though I am not 100% sure. All this to say, our history is deep and rich in more than just gold.

I have been told that the black cow (root beer float) was invented in cripple creek and I must say I could believe that! They make some mighty tasty ones over there. We have trains running all the time and one still operates on coal.

Our museums are out of this world with the artifacts and knowledge they hold.

We had large cattle operations here before the gold rush and there are many stories of the Ute Indians passing through. We still have a live theater in Cripple Creek and they put on some of the best plays I have ever seen. I am not going to bore you with all the details but if you are interested I have included links for you to see all the great history we have.

My family has a great history here and I am blessed to call this area my home. The people are great and the land is amazing. Every sunrise and sunset is just beautiful, some days I could do without the wind but I would never leave, not in a million years!

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