Cripple Creek! A Quick History of the World’s Greatest Gold Camp, by Leland Feitz
Five out of five stars
For many towns in the west, the discovery of a minable resource led to rapid growth and years as a town with both sin and high-level culture. However, with no other economic base such as manufacturing, once the veins of ore played out, the city declined almost as rapidly as it sprouted and grew. Cripple Creek is one such town and this book is a brief history of the city.
At the height of the mining years, Cripple Creek had a population over 10,000 people and in the 1970s the population dropped under 500. That is when this book was published, so it ends on a note of describing what was nearly a ghost town. However, with legalized gambling, a refurbished core and an expanding and versatile tourist industry, the population is back over 1,000.
The site of the last great gold rush in Colorado, Cripple Creek is a town that lived fast, hard and with a lot of history packed into a few years. The location of some of the worst labor strife in the country, at separate times the Colorado governor called out the National Guard to protect the striking miners and then with the goal to break the miner’s union.
Published as a pamphlet to be sold as a tourist souvenir, this book is an excellent brief history of a town that became a city, a poor town and now a town with increasing wealth again.