Spotlight: Cripple Creek, Colorado

From Wikipedia:

At an elevation of 9,494 feet (2,894 m) and just below tree line, 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).

On the 20th of October, 1890, however, Robert Miller “Bob” Womack discovered a rich ore and the last great Colorado gold rush began. 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 five hundred to ten thousand by 1893. Although half a billion dollars’ worth of gold ore was dug from Cripple Creek, Womack himself would die, penniless, on 10th August, 1909.

For the past 16 months I’ve been researching local business regulations around the United States. In the course of the work, I talk with police chiefs and mayors, and I read a lot of municipal ordinances. Over time, it’s become a telephonic tour of America.

Cripple Creek, the seat of Teller County, is a great example of late Victorian frontier architecture and town planning. It almost became a ghost town in the 1960s, but it’s apparently made a comeback with gambling and historical tourism.