Central City, Colorado

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Central City is a home rule municipality in Clear Creek and Gilpin counties in the U.S. state of Colorado, and the county seat of Gilpin County.[5] The city population was 515 at U.S. Census 2000. The city is an historic mining settlement founded in 1859 during the Pike's Peak Gold Rush, which came to be known as the "Richest Square Mile on Earth". Central City and the adjacent City of Black Hawk form the federally designated Central City/Black Hawk National Historic District.



On May 6, 1859, during the Pike's Peak Gold Rush, John H. Gregory found a gold-bearing vein (the Gregory Lode) in Gregory Gulch between Black Hawk and Central City. Within two months many other veins were discovered, including the Bates, Gunnell, Kansas, and Burroughs.[6] By 1860 the population of Central City was 598. At its peak in population in 1900, 3,114 people lived in Central City.

As placer mining was gradually replaced by underground lode mining, the year 1863 brought the first attempt by hard rock miners to form a hard rock miners' union. Of 125 miners signing a union resolution in Central City, about fifty broke windows and doors at the Bob Tail mine, forcing other workers out. After a night of shooting and fighting, the union effort among Central City miners failed. A month later more than 300 miners successfully organized at the Comstock Lode, although this effort also faded.[7]

Many Chinese lived in Central City during the early days working the placer deposits of Gregory Gulch. They were forbidden work in the underground mines. Most of them are believed to have returned to China after making their stake.

Gold mining in the Central City district decreased rapidly between 1900 to 1920, as the veins were exhausted. Mining revived in the early 1930s in response to the increase in the price of gold from $20 to $35 per ounce, but then virtually shut down during World War II when gold mining was declared nonessential to the war effort. The district was enlivened in the 1950s by efforts to locate uranium deposits, but these proved unsuccessful.[6]

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