Zeb the Duck heads to Cripple Creek and Victor, Colorado

Today I, Zeb the Duck, am taking mom and a friend to Cripple Creek, Colorado.

Cripple Creek, Colorado

Cripple Creek is an old mining town in Colorado.   And that is why we are here today.   Our friend’s grandfather left Illinois and came to Cripple Creek about 1900.   The family story says he had mine claims but did not become rich.   In fact, he lost most of his money here.   The family has a photo of him in Cripple Creek, wearing a bear skin coat, from a bear he shot.   We are here today, looking for any records about Grandpa.   First stop is the museum in Cripple Creek.

Cripple Creek Museum

They used to have records available to the public, but not now.   The very nice lady suggested we go the the nearby town of Victor to search for records.   On our way to Victor, we stopped at the outdoor mining exhibit.

Cripple Creek and Victor gold rush

Wow.   Did you read that?? The towns of Cripple Creek and Victor had a really huge amount of gold.   More gold here than in the California and Alaska gold fields, combined.   There were a few old gold mining machines here, but look at this huge tire.

Huge tire

You can hardly see me in this tire.   What do they do with these giant tires?

Tire information

Each tire weighs 3,270 pounds and costs $14,500.   We will never complain about buying new tires for our cars again.   There is now surface mining in this area.   In Victor, we see that things have not changed much.

Victor, Colorado

We love this sign.   Let’s see what was happening in Victor during the gold rush.

Victor, Colorado during the gold rush

Famous people here, Jack Dempsey, a famous fighter, Lowell Thomas, famous radio and TV commentator, and what??  Soapy Smith was here also.   Isn’t this exciting?  Soapy Smith was promoting bullfights.   And fire station.

Firestation

Buildings look the same as when they were built over 100 years ago.   Here is the Lowell Thomas museum.

Lowell Thomas museum

There is an entire section dedicated to Lowell Thomas.   Also many interesting things from Victor and Cripple Creek.   Isn’t this a cute church?

Friends of St. Victor church

This is Friends of St. Victor Church.   Next to the church I, Zeb the Duck, loved this grotto.

Grotto next to church

Of course, while in Victor we inquired about records from the mining days.   They said they did not have any available, but to try Teller County Courthouse.   So, back to Cripple Creek to Teller County Courthouse.

Teller County Court House

We were sent to three different offices and each person we spoke with was so nice.   Everyone looked through the records in their office, but did not find anything we wanted.   But the staff was so helpful and showed us what they did have and let us also look at the records.   But, no records from Grandpa were to be found.   The humans will have to think and decide if they have any other ideas of places to look.   I would not be surprised if in the future we try again.   Leaving the courthouse and heading for our car, we encountered some of the local residents.

Local residents

They are descendants from the mining days and the working burros.

I think he likes me

I love this burro.   He is so relaxed and comfortable with humans and a rubber duck.   Well, time to leave Cripple Creek, but we make one last stop.   This is the famous, former brothel.   The gray building on the right.

Former brothel

Pearl DeVere was the madame and although shunned by the good people of Cripple Creek, she was very generous, helping the children and the poor.  During this time, miners earned about $3.00 per day.   Pearl’s ladies received $250 per night, which included dinner with Russian caviar, and French champaign, and the company of the lady.   And each gentlemen had to pass a personal and financial background check.  We learned about Pearl a few years ago when we were here for the cemetery tour.   Cripple Creek is a great town.   We think you would enjoy a visit here.

Mt. Pisgah Cemetery in Cripple Creek Comes to Life

The Gold Camp Victorian Society of Cripple Creek, Colorado held their annual cemetery tour, with Zeb and Soapy Smith Duck proudly in attendance.   This great tour features pioneers of the Cripple Creek area, portrayed by members of the Gold Camp Victorian Society.   We are ready to board the Trolly to Mt. Pisgah Cemetery.

Let's get on the trolly.

Let’s get on the trolly.

We have arrived.

Mt. Pisgah Cemetery, Cripple Creek, Colorado

Mt. Pisgah Cemetery, Cripple Creek, Colorado

This cemetery is located on the slopes of Mr. Pisgah, a mountain with a native American burial grounds.   Isn’t it great that native Americans and white settlers have final resting places on the same mountain?  One of our stops was to visit with Dr. Susan Anderson, or Doc Susie.

Dr. Susan Anderson, or Doc Susie

Dr. Susan Anderson, or Doc Susie

A female doctor, she helped many in Cripple Creek and than finished her career in Frasier, Colorado.   The dry mountain climate helped her personal battle with Tuberculosis contributing to her long life of more than 90 years.   Next we visited one of Cripple Creek’s more infamous entrepreneurs, Madam Pearl DeVere.   Pearl owned and operated the most expensive and successful brothel in the Cripple Creek area.

Madame Pearl DeVere

Madame Pearl DeVere

With miners wages about $3 per day, her ladies received $250 per night from clients, after they passed personal and financial background checks.  For that amount of money, the gentlemen received a dinner with Russian caviar and French champaign.   Of course, they also received a female companion for the duration.  Breakfast was also available.    Sounds like a very exclusive gentlemen’s club, doesn’t it?  Nearby we saw the tombstone of the original Fred E. Krueger, born December 7, 1881 and passed January 21, 1897, long before movies made his name famous.

Fred E. Kruger

Fred E. Kruger

On to the Civil War Memorial.   Our host, Lt. David McClintock of the 21 Ohio Infantry, is the only Confederate soldier buried here.

David McClintock

Lt. David McClintock

He moved to Cripple Creek and became the local butcher, passing June 15, 1906.   Next we heard from Mabel Barbee Lee, a very accomplished women.   Born in 1824 she soon moved to Cripple Creek.   She became a teacher at nearby Victor High School, an administrator at Colorado College and later at University of California in Berkley.   Author of 4 books, her first Cripple Creek Days was written when she was 75 years old.   Mom just finished reading this book and thought it was both informative and entertaining.

Mabel Barbee Lee

Mabel Barbee Lee

Mabel passed in 1978.   Wasn’t she an amazing lady?   Next a lady of Cripple Creek told of a sadder side of life.   During the mining time, cyanide was used in the process.   One day a miner came in, so thirsty, he drank from the first cup he saw.  It had some cyanide in the water. While the miner, Mr. T. Miyake died in horrible pain, no one helped him, as he was just an immigrant.

Remembering T. Miyake

Remembering T. Miyake

That incident was published in the newspaper and was the beginning of better treatment for all.  In the late 1800s Cripple Creek was a very rich district.   The cemetery would bury anyone, for free, in the Potter’s Field area.   This lady walked across the field, singing, carrying her baby.

Potter's Field

Potter’s Field

She said she had no name and that her baby died right after the birth, which also took the life of the mother.   This is sad, but also good as thousands, at least had a place to be put to rest.   This nun is a Sister of Mercy.   The Sisters started and ran St. Nicholas Hospital.   During the fires of 1896 many were helping save the hospital.  However, there were some in town that did not like the Catholic Church and one man got in the hospital, where he put dynamite in the stove chimney.

Sister of Mercy

Sister of Mercy

But, the dynamite exploded immediately, taking a part of the man’s leg and throwing his boot on the tea kettle, simmering on the stove.   The Sisters of Mercy nursed him back to health and he then became one of the biggest supporters of St. Nicholas Hospital.   Another citizen of Cripple Creek, Winfield Scott Stratton, began leasing a mine claim and through hard work and some luck, became one of the richest miners in the area.   When mining was slow, he gave tours of the mine, generating extra income.   The members of the Gold Camp Victorian Society that portrayed him, were his grandchildren.

Early gold mine owners

Early gold mine owners

One of the true characters of Cripple Creek was Johnny Nolon.   This Irishman ran a saloon in town.   One day the notorious, Carrie Nation, a female temperance movement leader, came into town.   After a discussion about drinking and nude pictures, Johnny Nolon picked her up, carried her out of his establishment and set her in the middle of the street.

Johnny Nolon

Johnny Nolon with the Colorado Traveling Ducks

Carrie Nation was known for attacking alcoholic establishments with a hatchet.   The story says that he also escorted her to the next train leaving Cripple Creek and she did not return.   Johnny Nolon’s establishment is still in business on Cripple Creek’s main street.

Johnny Nolon's at original location

Johnny Nolon’s at original location

He, however, moved to nearby Colorado Springs.   This was a great tour.   Our tour guides were very nice and very knowledgeable.

Our tour guides

Our tour guides

It was informative and a lot of fun.   We, Zeb and Soapy, never knew dead humans could be so much fun!   After leaving the cemetery, we saw another famous resident, a left over from the mining days.   When miners left town, they often just released the donkeys.   Now there are wild donkeys roaming the streets of Cripple Creek.

Donkey of Cripple Creek

Donkey of Cripple Creek

Isn’t he so cute?   We hope you visit and take the cemetery tour next September.

Cripple Creek, Colorado Ice Festival with Zeb, Soapy Smith, and JB Duck

An Old West town made of ice, with slides, firehouses and miners.   Cripple Creek, Colorado has that and more.   The Colorado Traveling Ducks traveled southwest of Denver, into the mountains, to the old mining town of Cripple Creek.   Yesterday was the last day of the Ice Festival.

Cripple Creek Ice Fsstival

Cripple Creek Ice Fsstival

Wow.   This is a “cool” train.   Small humans are having fun on the ice slide.

Ice slide

Ice slide

They sit on a piece of cardboard and slide down.   If necessary, bales of straw stop them at the end.   This could be a scene in the Old West.

A glimpse into the past

A glimpse into the past

An important part of old towns is the Saloon.

Here is the Saloon

Here is the Saloon

Let’s go in.   This is a well stocked bar.

This bar has everything

This bar has everything

And, mining towns need a diligent prospector.

Prospector

Prospector

We really like him.   Without cars, horses were the major form of transportation.

Riding the horse

Riding the horse

Guess we are going back to the Saloon.   Even in the Old West towns, the sheriff was needed.   There were always some characters wanted by the law.

Wanted??

Wanted??   Reward??

Before cows, the buffalo did roam.

Buffalo

Buffalo

Just in case, the Firehouse was ready.

Firehouse

Firehouse

Now that scoundrel, Soapy Smith Duck, is sitting on a big boot.

Soapy on the boot

Soapy on the boot

Careful, that spur can do damage.   Leaving the ice sculptures, we sat in the caboose.

Sitting in a caboose

Sitting in a caboose

This is nice.   Hey, look at the wooden swing.

We love swings

We love swings

These are logs for log homes.    Swings are so much fun.   Here we have Sangria, from http://www.whatwelove.com

Sangria

Sangria

Michael Hasler is the owner and winemaker.    Time to eat.   Grammies Desserts have less to sell now.

Grammies Desserts

Grammies Desserts

Moms are buying lots and it looks so good.   We also bought warm, homemade tamales here.   Yum!   Cripple Creek Ice Festival is great and we love it.   As the sun begins to get lower in the sky, we enter Century Casino.

Century Casino

Century Casino

Twenty-five years ago gambling was legalized in Cripple Creek.   The casinos are not allowed to build huge new casinos.   The historic buildings now are casinos.   This makes the town retain the Old West look and atmosphere.  Video poker is the game of choice today.

Let's play video poker

Let’s play video poker

The moms have a good time.   Some hands they win and some they lose.   We ducks are fascinated with video poker.   Soon the humans are finished, cash out the winnings, and head for the bar.   A bag of popcorn, a hot dog and diet Cokes are just what we wanted.   Great festival food.   Visit Cripple Creek soon.   This is a great town and they have great festivals.

A Glimpse of Victor, Colorado with Zeb the Duck

A few days ago I told you about the Donkey Derby in Cripple Creek.  After the Donkey Derby, we went the short distance to Victor.   Victor is often referred to as the city of mines.

Entering Victor, Colorado

Entering Victor, Colorado

Gold was discovered there in the late 19th century.

This is one of the old homes in town.

Very nice home

Very nice home

I love the design of these older homes.  The Baptists were the first to organize a church in Victor, and that church is still an important part of the community today.

Baptist church in Victor, Colorado

Baptist church in Victor, Colorado

This church has a two-story brick bell tower.

This is the fire department.

Great fire trucks!

Great fire trucks!

Isn’t that a great door!  Near the fire department we found an ore cart.

Wow!  A ton of gold ore

Wow! A ton of gold ore

This cart, when filled, contains one ton of gold ore!

Here I am riding a blue elk.

Zeb riding the blue ek

Zeb riding the blue ek

Even historic mining towns  have cute things for tourists and this traveling duck.

A reminder of the gold days of the late 19th century and early 20th century, this gold mine looks pretty good.

Old gold mine

Old gold mine

And, today they are still mining here in Victor.  In 2012 they brought 250,000 troy ounce of gold from the mines.  The Cripple Creek and Victor Gold Mine is a successful, working gold mine.

Visit this museum

Visit this museum

Victor, the city of gold mines, is nearly 10,000 feet above sea level and is on the southwest side of Pikes Peak about 50 miles from Colorado Springs.  You will enjoy a visit to this town.  We did!

Donkey Derby Days in Cripple Creek, Colorado

This is what I, Zeb the Duck, saw as mom and I entered Cripple Creek.

Festival at Cripple Creek

Festival at Cripple Creek

This is a beautiful town 44 miles southwest of Colorado Springs, and there is a festival now. It is Donkey Derby Days in Cripple Creek.

Donkey Derby Days

Donkey Derby Days

Young humans can ride on donkeys.

Enjoying a donkey ride

Enjoying a donkey ride

There is a dog show and we saw these dressed up dogs.

Dressed up today

Dressed up today

So pretty

So pretty

Also, this is a really tall dog.

So tall

So tall

All the dogs looked good and were so nice.

Festivals always have venders and Donkey Derby venders had things I don’t usually see at festivals. I loved these wooden bowls.

Great bowls

Great bowls

And chandeliers and coat racks from antlers.

All from antlers

All from antlers

There were even booths with wooden pictures. I enjoyed the booth with items from Peru and the Andes. Remember JB Duck was recently there.   Just look at these hummingbird feeders.

Hummingbirds are so fast

Hummingbirds are so fast

Everything is so nice here.

Of course, festivals make us hungry. There was burger, hot dogs, burritos, and my favorite funnel cakes. Today mom found the brats.

She saw this sign

She saw this sign

Good lunch

Good lunch

Cripple Creek’s Donkey Derby really had donkey races. The donkeys, each with 2 humans, lined up at the top of the hill.

Donkeys are ready

Donkeys are ready

The street was cleared and the donkey race began.

Here they come

Here they come

The donkeys raced right passed us.

This donkey is running with the human

This donkey is running with the human

She is leading donkey toward the finish line

She is leading donkey toward the finish line

Cripple Creek is a friendly former gold mining camp. They have great festivals. There is also camping and many mountain activities available. The altitude is 9494 feet above sea level, so drink water and be careful. When you want something to do inside, Cripple Creek has legal gambling. Many historic buildings have been converted to casinos. You will be glad you visited Cripple Creek.