Let’s all go to Cripple Creek!
That is the tag-line for the most politically incorrectly named town in all of the Colorado.
Cripple Creek is an old Victorian era gold mining town located about an hour from I live in central Colorado. It has a dazzling array of Victorian homes from the 1880s through the 1910s, and as you might imagine, I go there often to house peep.
Cripple Creek circa 1900:
Cripple Creek February 2013:
Technically, the area is referred to as the “Cripple Creek District” because it is actually a collection of tiny old mining towns from the gold rush era clumped in the same geographic region. Today, only two main town sites remain: Cripple Creek and Victor. Cripple Creek is the larger of the two with a population of just over 1,100.
In the early 1990’s Colorado passed a law that allowed gambling in only a handful of locales in the hopes of reviving the historic towns that went bust after the mines closed. Cripple Creek was one of those lucky destinations and over the past 2 decades has enjoyed a renaissance of sorts, thanks to all the fancy casinos that now line the main street (Bennett Avenue).
I recently read a book about the history of the Cripple Creek district and thought a visit to the town was in order. So on a recent Saturday I snapped a few photos of the sights around town…
As you can see, Cripple Creek is Victorian lover’s paradise.
One thing that thrills me about peeking in the windows of these old houses is that many of them have antique lace curtains like the bungalow below:
This little green house (below) was minuscule but it had the prettiest gingerbread and fish scales under the eaves:
The streets of Cripple Creek are kind of terraced on top of one another since the topography is so steep and varied.
The brick houses in Cripple Creek are generally the oldest homes because the town suffered several catastrophic fires in the late 1800’s that burned most of the wood-frame structures to the ground.
However, the town was tenaciously rebuilt and many of the homes displayed here date back to the 1890’s and 1910’s.
There are also some phenomenally well-preserved historic brick churches in Cripple Creek:
A fun/morbid story about the church pictured above:
I was told by a local that there are more people buried in the front yard of this little church than anywhere else in North America. How is that possible you ask? Well, apparently there is a long tube that goes down into an old mine shaft or tunnel and it has been filled with vials of deceased people’s ashes for many decades. Reportedly, thousands of people from around the world have requested that their ashes be buried here at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, even though they have never been to Cripple Creek Colorado. True story – *I was told* although I have been unable to independently verify this. I did find that there is indeed a Columbarium at this particular church, however.
Since there are so many remarkable/creepy houses and buildings in Cripple Creek, I thought I would do a whole week’s worth of posts dedicated to unique historic homes in Cripple Creek.
That’s right – welcome to Cripple Creek Week on House Crazy!
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post about a very unique Cripple Creek bed & breakfast.
ps….. if you are interested in reading more about the history of Cripple Creek, I highly recommend the book The Cripple Creek District from Arcadia Publishing’s Images of America series.