image from: Zillow.com
image from: Zillow.com

Welcome to the Last Dollar Inn at Cripple Creek, Colorado!

photo credit: Sarah Felix Burns
photo credit: Sarah Felix Burns

This unique property is actually a two-for-one — a 1901 brick home and a newer (1997) Victorian style wood frame house. The old brick two-story is the Inn section…

image from: www.tripadvisor.com
image from: www.tripadvisor.com

The newer part of the house is the owner’s living quarters…

image from: www.tripadvisor.com
image from: www.tripadvisor.com

Here are the conjoined houses from another angle – you can see how they are connected with an upper and lower passageway:

image from: destinationnexus.com
image from: destinationnexus.com

A brief but interesting aside: You may have noticed the asses mulling around out front. This is one of the very unique joys of Cripple Creek: the town has its own communal donkey herd. These things just run wild (or saunter and loiter) freely about the town and the townsfolk (since time immemorial) collectively feed and maintain them. That’s right – these asses don’t belong to anyone. You can often see them just hanging out in the town park or bumping slowly up and down the steep streets looking for something to munch on.

We went looking for the donkey’s on our recent weekend jaunt to Cripple Creek, and found that they were “out to pasture” for some “diet time” because they were getting too fat from all the goodies they normally enjoy in town.

Actual Cripple Creek Donkeys:

photo credit: Sarah Felix Burns
photo credit: Sarah Felix Burns

They are very mellow creatures, as you can see. The Cripple Creek donkeys are the pride of the town, hearkening back to the gold-rush days when donkeys were used for hauling and packing in mining operations.

Anyway, back to the Last Dollar Inn

image from: www.zillow.com
image from: www.zillow.com

I was lucky enough to tour the inside of the Inn a few years back. I was up in Cripple Creek for a training conference (back when I used to “work”) and a group of my co-workers and I took a ghost-walk tour of Cripple Creek – probably the most fascinating ghost walk I have ever been on. But at the end, the tour guide said we could come into his house to get out of the cold and he just happened to be the owner of the Last Dollar Inn!

image from: www.zillow.com
image from: www.zillow.com

Our gracious host gave us a full tour of the historic side of the house, including the recounting of some very vivid ghost stories.

image from: www.zillow.com
image from: www.zillow.com

The freakiest thing he told us about the Last Dollar Inn was actually regarding the new addition. The newer half was built by the owner back in 1997 (not sure if it is the same owner today).

image from: www.zillow.com
image from: www.zillow.com

The owner told us that a short time after the completion of the new house, an elderly local came along with a black & white photo of the original house which stood on the lot years before but was torn down sometime in the past. According to the owner’s story, The new house was identical to the wood frame Victorian which graced the lot in the 1800’s – he had no idea beforehand that the building he designed was so similar to the site’s original house.

image from: www.zillow.com
image from: www.zillow.com

A neat story to go with a very unique home – or set of homes. Another thing I remember about the old brick side of the Last Dollar Inn, was that there was an original door in one of the upstairs bedroom closets that had the most horrendous scratch marks on the INSIDE, painted over many times but etched deep into the antique wood. As though some demon from hell was trapped in there and had tried to scratch his way out. *shivers*

image from: www.zillow.com
image from: www.zillow.com

The Last Dollar Inn was recently up for sale (I snagged all these interior photos from the listing) but is now under contract pending a sale.

image from: www.zillow.com
image from: www.zillow.com

The sellers were asking $425,000 for this 9 bedroom, 9 bathroom 5,233 square foot home.

image from: www.zillow.com
image from: www.zillow.com

According to the listing description, the house was built by the Womack’s – one of the founding families of the area. Today, there is a casino on the main drag in Cripple Creek called Womack’s in honor of this pioneer family.

The listing write-up also claims that famed inventor Nikola Tesla and writer/astrologist Linda Goodman stayed at this very home.

Nikola Tesla / Linda Goodman

As one of the most haunted houses in Colorado, the Last Dollar Inn has been featured in numerous, books, articles and even television shows.

image from: www.zillow.com
image from: www.zillow.com

Having been inside the Victorian part of this home, I can tell you with a straight face that this house is in fact home to a ghostly presence (or two). It just felt haunted and so very creepy. Stepping through that front door really was like stepping back in time to 1890’s Cripple Creek.

image from: www.pureparanormal.com
image from: www.pureparanormal.com

I do hope the new owners will continue to run it as a bed & breakfast, or perhaps a museum of some sort. If you are ever in Cripple Creek, Colorado, the two homes are located on Carr Avenue, one block north of the main drag between 3rd and 4th streets.

~~~

Sources:

http://www.visitcripplecreek.com/businesses/last-dollar-inn

http://www.lastdollarinn.com/

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g33379-d117921-Reviews-Last_Dollar_Inn-Cripple_Creek_Colorado.html

http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/315-E-Carr-Ave-Cripple-Creek-CO-80813/81881233_zpid/

http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/315-E-Carr-Av_Cripple-Creek_CO_80813_M28068-68268