Adventure · Uncategorized

THERE’S GOLD ‘N DEM DER HILLS

It all started with Bob Womack, panning in the mountain creeks 18 miles (as the crow flies) west of Colorado Springs. In 1890, he hit pay dirt and the race for gold was on. In no time, the unnamed cattle field of fifteen was a town of 50,000 people.
It was not known as Cripple Creek in the beginning. It was just a cattle camp for the Welty family who had moved up from Colorado Springs because it was getting to populated due to General William Palmer and his railroad. One day while building a shack over the spring that fed the creek, a rifle accidentally discharged, scaring a calf. The critter wanting out of there right now, tried to jump the creek but banged up his leg real bad doing it. Papa Welty said, “well boys, this is some sort of cripple creek” and a town name was born.
Soon the railroads came and the town was filled with a variety of people. Men in city clothes might be mine owners, brokers or politicians. Mule skinner, miners, gamblers in fancy shoes and others rubbed shoulders on busy Bennett Avenue. Ladies in Paris gowns might be of the “Upper Tens” (the rich folk) or the “sporting women”. They lived on Myers Avenue, 433 yards of dance halls, parlor houses and pawnshops.
Womack’s mine, the El Paso Lode and the Independence mine, owned by Winfield Scott Stratton yielded millions of dollars. Stratton sold his holdings for more than ten million and went on to buy massive amounts of land in the Colorado Springs area, much of which carries his name. Womack sold his mine as well but died broke. His name lives on in present day. Cripple Creek which for years was a Summer tourist destination. In 1994, the State legislature allowed low stakes gambling to be legal and the small shops that catered to tourist needs and wants became large houses of “try your luck at the one armed bandits and card tables”. Now everything is electronic. You do not need to pull the handle anymore. Just put your money in the slot and hit the button. Bob Womack’s Casino is there along with the Midnight Rose, the Brass Ass (which used to be a store selling brass articles), Bronco Billy’s, the Double Eagle and many more.
Oh yes, they still dig for gold but not like 100 years ago. At today’s price per ounce, more than eleven billion dollars came out of the Colorado Rocky Mountains around Cripple Creek during the mining period.

Adventure · Uncategorized

MISSING STAGECOACH OF 1881 SIGHTED

Rumors persist on the recent sightings of the missing payroll stagecoach that left Cripple Creek on July 21, 1881 with four passengers and a miners payroll of approximately $120,000.00 in gold dust. The stage driver, Silas Peabody, and his shotgun man “Big Stick”, a loyal Mescalero Apache, have been sighted recently in banks and bars in and around Manitou Springs and Old Colorado City trying to exchange the gold dust for drinks, Poker games, and cold cash.
The most recent sighting of the stage coach was in the vicinity in what is today Bancroft City Park, in Old Colorado City. The authorities were called in to retrieve the coach but by the time they arrived it was gone. Over the years the coach has been sighted on the Pikes Peak Highway during the Hill Climb, at Colorado College during prom and even back in Cripple Creek.
A $50,000 reward is still in effect for the return of the gold dust. Be on the lookout for Silas and his 1875 vintage Overland stagecoach, if sighted please do not approach, “Big Stick” is known for being the fastest shotgun man in the west, and not for his sense of humor. If seen please contact the authorities at once. If the coach is found you will claim your reward.
The strangest part of the whole story is that all four passengers, of Silas’s ill fated stage, arrived at the Colorado Springs Stage Depot the next morning with no recollection of how they got there, or what happened to the stage. The passengers said the coach had a foul smell about it and the ride was the smoothest they could remember.
JJ Montana reporting