Cripple Creek, Colorado

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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.

Contents

History

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]

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.

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