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George Crofutt’s observations of Gilpin County (1885)

George Crofutt’s observations of Gilpin County (1885)

Gilpin County, of which Central is the commercial center, is the oldest and perhaps the best developed mining portion of the state of Colorado. Its population is 7,000. The veins hereabouts are all true fissures, and there are many shafts down to the depths of 700 to 1,800 feet. The people are generally prosperous; some […]

A Tailing Tale of the Musgrove-Franklin Gang

A Tailing Tale of the Musgrove-Franklin Gang

November 25, 1868 – Wrapped in the chilly darkness of night, Sam Dougan stands in the back doorway of the Jack Hill Saloon. Dougan, a member of the Musgrove-Franklin Gang, is wanted for a series of robberies in Denver and mining towns to the north. As he anxiously awaits the return of his friend Miles […]

A TAILING TALE – A Tailing Tale of George Nelson

A TAILING TALE – A Tailing Tale of George Nelson

In 1931, President Herbert Hoover led our struggling country through the great depression. The U.S. adopted the Star Spangled Banner as our national anthem, and on May 7, George Nelson was born in a little hospital on the corner of Broadway and Alpine in Boulder. The first child born to Martin and Dollie Nelson, George’s […]

A Tailing Tale of Dolores Spellman, Matriarch of Black Hawk

A Tailing Tale of Dolores Spellman, Matriarch of Black Hawk

Born January 10, 1933 in Chase Gulch, Dolores Blake Spellman proudly states she is the oldest native resident still living in Black Hawk. As I sat down with the town matriarch recently, she pointed out on a picture of the town every location that has been an integral part of her life for the past […]

A Tailing Tale of Winks Lodge of Lincoln Hills

A Tailing Tale of Winks Lodge of Lincoln Hills

During the 1920s, the Ku Klux Klan was at its height of power in Colorado. In the election of 1924, the Klan won control of the Colorado House of Representatives and saw its favorite, Clarence Morley, elected governor. Denver Mayor Benjamin Stapleton was friendly to the Klan and it was common to see crosses burning […]

A Tailing Tale of Mae West

A Tailing Tale of Mae West

Come Up and See Me Sometime . . . in Central City Many thanks to David Forsyth, executive director of Gilpin County Historical Society, for this tale. When Mae West arrived in Denver in July 1949 to perform her play Diamond Lil at the Central City Opera House, it seemed as if she was the […]

A TAILING TALE – Pony Express to printing press

A TAILING TALE – Pony Express to printing press

When miners and settlers first came west, the only communication they had with home was through travelers they met along the trail, or in towns and mining camps. News was precious and rare, and word-of-mouth was the only means of keeping in touch. However, soon after the California gold rush of 1849, the U.S. Post […]

A TAILING TALE – George Crofutt’s observations of Gilpin County (1885)

A TAILING TALE – George Crofutt’s observations of Gilpin County (1885)

Gilpin County, of which Central is the commercial center, is the oldest and perhaps the best developed mining portion of the state of Colorado. Its population is 7,000. The veins hereabouts are all true fissures, and there are many shafts down to the depths of 700 to 1,800 feet. The people are generally prosperous; some […]

A Tailing Tale of Verena Kepler, Pioneer Woman Photographer

A Tailing Tale of Verena Kepler, Pioneer Woman Photographer

Thanks to David Forsyth, executive director of Gilpin County Historical Society for this story. From the moment gold was discovered in 1859, Black Hawk and Central City were popular destinations for thousands of people, including photographers. Hundreds of photographers moved in and out of the two towns, photographing people, buildings, mines, trains, and anything else […]

The Bummer Gang and Judge Lynch

The Bummer Gang and Judge Lynch

Born from the Pikes Peak Gold Rush, by the late 1850’s, Denver soon became a city rampant with boozers, losers, and petty thieving. Clothing disappeared from local clotheslines.  Game and supplies vanished from farmer’s wagons and markets.  The perpetrators robbed stores in broad daylight, and heavily armed hooligans prayed on the weak and innocent. One […]

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