The now famous Cripple Creek District was for many years a cattle grazing country.
In 1891, Bob Womack, a ranchman found some good looking gold ore, specimens of which he brought to Colorado Springs, and interested a few men with capital, who located the El Paso Gold King Mine, which has paid its owners hundreds of thousand of dollars.
Bob Womack, known as "Lucky Bob," now lives in Colorado Springs.
A rush of fortune seekers followed the discovery of gold, and new mines were opened with surprising rapidity, until today the District, considering its area, is the greatest gold producing camp in the world.
1891, the first year, the total value of the gold produced was $200,000. 1903, the twelfth year, the value of the production was $17,630,107. The total value of the gold produced in the twelve years of the camp's existence, to December 31, 1903, was $141,395,087.
There are about 300 properties in the Camp which produce with more or less regularity. Of this number, the greatest proportion are spasmodic shippers, making their production from the efforts of leasers.
There are thirty big mines in the District, each producing $100,000 or more annually.
Dividends paid by the mining companies in 1903 amounted to $1,707,000. Total dividends paid to December 31, 1903, $32,742,000.
Under ordinary conditions, 6,270 men are employed in the mines, and the monthly payroll averages $652,189, exclusive of large salaries paid mine superintendents and managers and clerks in offices.
The lowest wage paid in the Camp is $3.00 per day of eight hours, while rnany of the miners receive more than that. The average wage per day paid for labor amounts to $3.44.
There are twelve towns in the District, with a population of 50,000 people. During the boom days the population was about 70,000. The principal towns are Cripple Creek, Victor and Goldfield. The other towns are Independence, Altman, Anaconda, Elkton, Cameron, Araqua, Lawrence, Eclipse and Gillett.
The towns of Cripple Creek and Victor were both partially destroyed by fire. Handsome and modern buildings of brick and stone were promptly erected to replace the rude structures of pioneer days, and the town lost, in appearance, the characteristics of the mining camp.
The Free School System of the District is second to none in the country. The total enrollment for the year 1902 was 3,849 pupils, housed in nineteen modern, well ventilated buildings, and taught by 118 teachers, directed by a District Superintendent and an assistant. In 1902 the District expended for maintenance of the schools, exclusive of construction work, $200,000.
Within the Cripple Creek District there are thirty-four organizations maintaining places of worship. Nearly every religious body is represented.