From the earliest known history of society to the present time, gold has been an object to excite the most intense energies and passions of our race. In the clink of new-found gold is a music which goes around the world; the sluggard is aroused, the poor take heart, the lame start up, and the fire of stirring enterprise lifts quickly the heavy heels of plodding conservatism with a spirit of advancement and change.
It is natural that people who hear of this new El Dorado should wish to learn all they possibly can about it. There is poetry, romance, anecdote and instructive history connected with every place where fortunes are made in a day, where paupers become millionaires, where hope long deferred finds sweet fruition - no matter whether it is at a California sluice-box or at Monte Carlo. Rumor and loose tradition grow dissipated and unreliable with time and distance. They only satisfy the first outcroppings of desire. Accurate and substantial information becomes an object.
This latest wonder of the world, the Cripple Creek gold mining district, lies ten miles southwest, as a bird flies, from the summit of Pike's Peak, that famous sentinel of the Rockies, about which cluster the romance and tradition of so many generations of gold "scares," from the fever of '59 up to the present one; twenty miles southwest from Colorado Springs; thirty miles southeast from the geographical center of Colorado; forty miles northwest from Pueblo, and eighty miles south from Denver. The elevation of the main body of the region is about 9,000 feet, but the hills where most of the rich mines are found are from 1,000 to 2,000 feet higher. Some of the best mines are practically' two miles above the sea. The district is principally in El Paso county (Colorado Springs the county seat), though continual extensions have spread it into Fremont on the south and Park on the west. Topographically the camp presents a series of little but picturesque parks and valleys, with sloping, round-faced hills rising smoothly and gracefully up between - all covered with a delightful growth of aspen, spruce and pine, and carpeted with splendid grass and flowers. Little of this beauty is left to-day, however, save that of the glorious hills which hide the priceless treasure. Nature had on a freakish mood when this spot was made. These hills are eruptive modules - monuments of volcanic sport - so long beaten upon by rain and storm that disintegration has rounded them off as if by hand, and left soil for grass and tree. In such a place the miner was not wont to find his gold.
The title of this region is odd and easily remembered. It is said that for a time mail came addressed in every conceivable variation of the name or what it might imply. A letter from Europe was addressed to So and So, "Lame Stream," Colorado. It was received by the party for whom it was intended. There are several legends as to how the old buffalo pasture came by its present cognomen.
One of them runs to the effect that a cowboy, while endeavoring to lasso a wild steer, was thrown from his broncho; rider, horse and bovine got into an inextricable tangle; the man broke an arm, the horse a leg, and the poor steer lost his life via a broken neck. They were on the banks of the little stream, which is about two yards wide, and ever after the cowboys referred to it as Cripple Creek. Every one on first arriving in the country, asks, naturally enough, how the place got its name. Some hear one thing and some a dozen.
A second explanation runs to the effect that a little old house, still to be seen in Arequa, one of the numerous outlying camps, was occupied by a family from Posey county, Indiana, who were one day invited to a dance by some distant neighbors, originally from Arkansas, who happened to be passing. The Posey county lady answered that "We kain't go; all broke up; Sam's down with th' rumatiz; Betsy's got th' fever; Jake's got 'is arm broke; old Pied (the cow) broke 'er laig, and the hosses is run off. So, ye see, we kain't go. But if you all 'ill come over to Cripple Creek, we'll he'p ye out th' best we can fur yer hoedown." It is related that the Toothpicks went over and had a "high old time" with the Hooppoleites, and afterwards referred to them as "the folks at Cripple Creek."
Many other stories have found access to the eager ears of the tenderfoot, one more of which will be given, and it is probably the most reasonable one of all: Along the little creek are said to be, or to have been, many spots of a boggy or quicksand nature. Cattle, horses and animals of all kinds, wild or tame, would rush into these when thirsty, and mire down. In the mad rush and tussle of the unreasoning herd, the unfortunates were trampled down and crushed beyond power to extricate themselves, and left there, crippled and helpless, to perish. So there is something gruesome as well as catchy in the name, no matter upon which of the stories it is based.
Not often does a gold cry hang fire and linger along for thirty-five years, and then go straight to the mark, yet this one did so. The quiet, grassy little mountains and valleys of the vicinity, with the purling streams, afforded excellent pasturage, and were duly kept in use after the white man came. Previously, no doubt, the red warriors found it a profitable hunting ground. It was a freak of nature to hide this, her richest field of precious metal, beneath a verdant garb of mountain pine, wild flowers and waving grass. Old prospectors scoined the suggestion of gold in grass roots, and when Robert Womack, farmer, in the summer of 1890, happened upon what he thought was "good stuff," they laughed at him. Nevertheless, that was the beginning of those rumors which brought all mankind to a knowledge of the region. Assays proved good and the news went around the earth.
This same Bob Womack came to Colorado in 1876, chose Cripple Creek for a cattle ranch and settled there. In 1881 he found free gold that assayed $200 to the ton, but was scoffed out of it, and finally abandoned his claim. He was told that the formation was not correct, and that such gold as he would find there would not command a market. He still foolishly persisted in his own unprofessional opinions, however, more or less, and in 1890, as above stated, located a vein which he called El Paso, built the first house in Poverty gulch, sold out for a song, and now sells real estate among the 30,000 people whom his perseverance brought to the mines behind Pike's Peak. He appears to be one of those unfavored individuals who have always been destined to lead the way to the promised land, without partaking of its milk and honey.
In 1881, following on the heels of Mr. Womack's first discovery, a considerable breeze sprang up on account of some pretended finds by other parties, and a rush was made to Cripple Creek. The principal prospect turned out to be a salted spot, however, and they all rushed again - back home. This first Cripple Creek excitement began and ended somewhat after the style of a certain historic military incident, in which it is related that the great commander marched his army up the hill and then marched down again.
A very remarkable thing about these gold fields is that for half a century there have been rumors and traditions of them and their richness. Especially in the times of the "Pike's Peak or bust" contagion, there was constant belief in their existence, and persistent effort was made to locate the precious spot. In the early forties, before the California rush, William Gilpin, of the Pike expedition, then a very young man, but a graduate of West Point and a man of large mind, sized up the region with a prophetic eye and declared it to be his conviction that powerful gold deposits existed there. Gilpin afterward became the first governor of Colorado, was a distinguished soldier, a remarkable student, profound scholar, extensive traveler and explorer. He always retained his early convictions concerning these gold fields, and on more than one occasion was known to reiterate his prophecy that some day the richest mines ever found on earth would be uncovered there. In the latter years of this good and useful man, he was thought by some to be mentally vagarious and slightly unsound, on account of this idea of his and his still more well-known project for a transcontinental railway. Yet he lived to see the world rubbing its astonished eyes at the rising sun of Cripple Creek.
Scientific explorations by the United States Geological Survey of 1893-94: have not produced any more gold, but they have increased confidence in the permanency of the gold-bearing matrix and in the extent of the productive area. At first, as elsewhere stated in these pages, the gold area was not suspected to be more than three or four miles in length or width, whereas it is now demonstrated to be ten or twelve long, by six or eight in width, and is yet being extended. There is no telling where it will end.
In the early life of the camp the porphyry - or, more correctly, the andesitic breccia - was thought to be the only gold-bearing material. But far outside of the andesitic breccia lines are found extensive dikes of phonolitic intrusions, which are proving rich in the yellow dust. The overlaying rock at Cripple Creek is granite. The gold-carrying breccia - loosely termed porphyry and rhyolite - is of volcanic origin and appears in the form of dikes penetrating the surrounding country rock, which is granite. The veins go downward into the granite.
For a long time - a few months constitute a long time here - this fact was a subject of doubt and speculation. That it is so no longer is a matter of much consequence, and, while some eight hundred or a thousand feet constitute the greatest depth yet attained, there is every reason to believe that two thousand feet will find the veins stronger and richer. In fact, it is now generally believed that to the extreme depth of practicable mining, these deposits will continue to be unrivaled.
Five years ago this marvelous gold region was a cattle pasture, where men were seldom seen. With the cloud-capped Sangre de Cristo range rolling out to the far southwest, and Pike's snow-clad peak towering up between it and the rising sun, it would have required the foresight of a prophet and the zeal of a Gilpin to believe that the early days of 1896 would have seen 30,000 people there, all busy as bees in a hive. But "gold," the magic proclamation which none neglect, will move the blood of philosophers, and the sight of it will warm the world.
Through the phenomenal development of Cripple Creek, California has been relegated to second place, and Colorado holds the honors of being the greatest gold producer among the states. Since the opening of the first vein in 1891 the yield of the district has steadily advanced until, in 1895, it reached the total of more than $8,000,000. Here is a golden era at the commencement of which there was no forecast of the transformation. It was left for the plucky adventurer to pilot the expert, who was deceived, and the capitalist, who had no faith. The formation was all wrong, and new lessons had to be learned by old students from the ancient school of experience. When week after week chronicled the fact that poor men had been suddenly transformed into millionaires, capital turned its sullen eyes that way, and experts acknowledged their mistake. At first a small field, the area steadily expanded, veins grew richer with depth, capital poured in, and the camp surely and swiftly became one of the valuable permanencies of the world.
The output for the first year was $200.000. The next year $500,000 was culled out; in 1893 more than $2,000,000, while 1894 added, according to the branch mint at Denver, $3,080,000. And it is to be remembered that the great local miners' strike of that year practically closed every mine and mill from February 1 to July. The miners had, or conceived they had, a grievance against the employers. They struck and, under the leadership of one of their number, who was said to have been educated at West Point, fortified themselves on Bull hill, closed down all work and, under arms, held their position for months. The state military forces were called out and the two armies menaced each other for weeks; but a battle was avoided and at last, after much suffering on the part of the miners, and great loss to all concerned, the matter was reconciled. The state spent some $135,000. Notwithstanding this, the figures of gold returned by the camp in 1894 set the knowing ones to casting up estimates and guesses for 1895. Some were rash enough to place the probable output at $5,000,000 or $6,000,000. But they were hooted and laughed at - called wild dreamers. Yet when the year was done, upwards of $8,000,000 had been uncovered to the world.
A wonderful impetus was given to the district by the advent of its two railroads, the Florence & Cripple Creek from the south, and the Midland Terminal from the north. Before their completion charges for transportation and treatment amounted to about $25 on the ton. This was a prohibitive rate for a great deal of fine ore. Many low grades could not be handled. But now that cheap transportation has been secured, millions are saved to the owners of such ores.
For months people have been rushing into the country; amazing activity is manifest; houses go up at every turn; cities and towns are incorporated in every corner of the hills, and capital eagerly knocks for admission. The town of Cripple Creek is the most important one in the district, but Victor is also a thoroughly equipped city. Modern and convenient appliances equal to those of the great centers of the East are to be found in each of them.
Altman has the distinction of being the highest incorporated city on earth. Anaconda, Goldfield, Gillett, Arequa, Independence, Love, Mound City, Lawrence, Elkton, Marigold City and others are here to-day - there will be others to-morrow.
The visitor meets with none of the trials and disadvantages of the early mining camps; everything is strictly up to date. No place ever had a surer or brighter outlook. Every day, almost, heralds forth the news of another great discovery. A few of the sharpers, liars, steerers and other detestable excrescent growth, are naturally to be found. But no man has reason to be a beggar here if he has sound limbs and parts. Miners' wages are $3 a day, and other labor of all kinds is to be had. A novice cannot always strike it rich, but many have done so. Money is required to open and develop mines, but good prospects command the attention of those who are experienced and have capital. No placer mining of account is done; it is all lode or fissure gold.
No man dare estimate what the future will bring. A noted authority says there is every reason to believe the increase in yield for the next four years will be even greater in proportion, year by year, than from January, 1891, to January, 1895. The prediction has been more than verified for 1896, so far.
Most of the foregoing matter in these pages has been about the region in general, which includes not only the town bearing the name of the district, but Victor and all the others mentioned a few lines back, besides innumerable small groups and villages. There are numerous camps, yet the entire country is referred to as a camp. Cripple Creek proper is a large city for its age. The matter of exact numbers cannot be gleaned in such a place. People come and go, but mostly come. At the first of the present year well-posted individuals of fair judgment estimated the population of the city at 15,000. All the rest of the region combined had at least as many more. This marvelous metropolis of the auriferous hills is a modern one. Electricity lights it by night; a gas plant has been incorporated and will soon turn on the illuminating fluid; separate school districts are set out, and children enjoy all the advantages of an Eastern place; churches abound; three mining exchanges are in full blast; big business blocks exist; the Masonic Temple is of stone and brick, four stories high, and cost $20,000. Public ore sampling works are in full operation, and an electric railway company has secured incorporation rights and will soon start the ubiquitous trolley from camp to camp in Cripple Creek. Two banks, a brickyard, three daily and four or five weekly newspapers flourish. A full complement of hotels and boarding houses are, of course, to be found, and the leading ones, with rates ranging from $3 to $5 per diem, are not behind their day and generation.
The influence of this marvelous camp upon the surrounding country has been notable. Colorado Springs, twenty miles away, puts on immense airs - has five or six mining exchanges in full blast, some of them day and night, and recently there has been talk of forming one exclusively for women. Florence, Pueblo, Canon City. Florissant and others have in varying measure felt the touch of a prosperous wave. And, though it suggests something of that much-talked-of anomalous canine phenomenon, the tail wagging the dog. even Denver has brushed out one or two of the ill-concealed wrinkley results of 1893, and begins to primp again in the jolly old way of former times.
In the one item of receipts at the office of the secretary of state of Colorado, the sum has been swelled from a few hundred dollars to the gratifying amount of $50,000. or thereabouts, per month for incorporation fees. Each new incorporation for mining or whatever purpose files articles with the state, and pays a fee measured by the amount of its capital for the same. So all Colorado can exclaim for her Cripple Creek, in the language of the Ionians, "Great is Diana of the Ephesians!"
The reader should have, as nearly as possible, an adequate idea of the dimensions, or rather the immensity, of the Cripple Creek gold district. A stranger is too apt to think of it as a spot down in a gulch and along a hillside - perhaps altogether a place about as extensive as an old-fashioned woods-lot, where horses, sheep, calves and hogs had free range on five acres of unbroken but well-fenced timber land, with the spring branch running through one corner.
Remember, the district is several miles in extent, running in a general north and south direction. In fact, there is a general mineral trend lying along from somewhere in the southward of the district all the way to the new West Creek region, some thirty miles to the north. Between these two terminals are Florissant and Woodland Park; the first already a place of note, and the latter at present being prospected with considerable activity. The reader should also have in mind, when thinking of this Cripple Creek aggregation of mines, towns, camps, gardens, parks and hills, that it is not a place to be held upon the palm of one's hand. The mountains herein mentioned, and the hills, such as Gold hill, Bull hill, Raven hill, etc., are not mere ripples or undulations, but real mountains, reaching from 10,000 to 12,000 feet heavenward. The valleys between them are sometimes extensive, and were originally coated with grass and piney groves.
Victor, the second most important city of the district, is six miles by rail from Cripple Creek, southeasterly. The two railways, the Florence & Cripple Creek and the Midland Terminal, enter the district, the first from the south and the other from the north, and meet at Victor. They then squirm along side by side through six miles of quaint topography, gouged, picked and dotted with shafts, holes, villages and camps, from Victor to Cripple Creek, where they come abruptly to an end, as though the latter point was the veritable jumping-off place. Victor lies along the gently sloping base of Squaw and Battle mountains. It is the very heart of the gold-bearing region. Around it, above it, beneath it, almost, from the granite-ribbed bosom of the earth pours a stream of wealth upon the world through her veins of gold. The place has become locally known as "the city at the mines" and as "the hub of the district." Harry E. Woods, once a rustling newspaper man in the East, is the real father of Victor, and himself and associates have made fortunes in the place.
The town is beautifully located, and in the summer of 1893, when the natural scenery was yet undisturbed and the sweet perfumery of wild flowers was the only outgoing freight, one would have seemed much at fault in judgment had he predicted that $5,000,000 in gold would have been transported thence in 1895. But such are the figures. Of the $8,000,000 and upwards from the entire region, the Victor neighborhood is said to have given $5,000,000 to the world. Less than two years ago the big mines about the city were "prospects." None of the paraphernalia which now heralds it to mankind as a wonder could then be seen; no huge dumps, prodigious ore bins and thundering machinery were there. In the latter part of 1893 there were only a few tents on the ground where now are hundreds of business houses, commodious hotels, banks, sampling works, electric plants, waterworks and all the other conveniences, comforts and industries which distinguish a modern city. The business structures are of brick and stone; the residences are elegant and permanently built. There is a good municipal government and order prevails, to the pride and satisfaction of the community. In this respect, as in numerous others, Victor presents a gratifying contrast to most new mining centers. Her prosperity began in 1894, at the time the great mines on the hill caught the eye of the outside world. The tide of excitement rolled in to her threshold an army of miners and business people from all quarters. It was the old story of the gold cry when it carries the sonorous ring of truth. It was Black Hills and Leadville again, but both in one; their single glories wane in the blazing light of Victor's triumph. She has been the Murat of gold camp achievements: her history is not that of long sieges, laborious marches and tiresome tactics; hers was the charge and the onset. And yet she fixed herself as solidly as her granite hills. She has the prestige of good schools and churches, as well as those of the mines and the prospective advantages which fascinate alike the miner and the calculating man of business. Along with her banks, mills, newspapers, theaters and commercial bodies, it should be noted that from the inexhaustible sources beneath the perpetual snows of Pike's Peak she has a pure water supply, with her own waterworks plant on Beaver creek.
Within an arrow's flight, almost, are the bustling suburbs, Altman, Independence, Lawrence, Goldfield, Elkton and others. An electric line is already proposed, which will practically unite these places with "the hub," and the combined population will not be short of 7,000 or 8,000. The speculative feature, especially the obnoxious curbstone class of it, is not so much in evidence as might be expected. With 1,500 miners and their families residing within her limits, Victor realizes that a constant and an ever-increasing source of solid wealth is in her hands, without the scrambling, unscrupulous and shark-like devices of the highwayman or the gambling shyster.
It might be well to explain the cause for so many little camps or villages around each larger one in such a region. Cripple Creek and Victor is each a center about which cluster almost innumerable lesser lights. The incoming throngs have filled the district with swarms of people. To these a daily walk back and forth to one of the principal places is tiresome and time-killing. They naturally, on finding a prospect where they must work for days, and especially when the prospect turns into a producer, begin to try to provide means for living near the work. In time each great mine becomes the location of a hamlet - for convenience sake, if nothing more. Thus the Elkton property gave us the town of that name; the Pharmacist gave us Altman. distinguished for altitude as well as wealth; the properties on Wilson creek gave us Goldfield; the town of Anaconda, which now embraces Squaw gulch and Mound City, is the urban outcrop of the Anaconda mines.
Those who have watched the mining stock quotations will have observed that the Anaconda stock has fluctuated more than any other in the region. On a capitalization of 1,230,000 shares at a par value of $1, the stock advanced to $l.84 in 1892. A few hours at that price was all, and then it went down, and it kept going down until 9 cents on the dollar would buy it. Then it was reorganized on a basis of 1,000.000 shares at $5 each. The new stock sold at $1.25 for a single day and then dropped. For two years it swung back and forth, sometimes worth $1, sometimes 13 cents. Of late it has been steadily advancing, and stands firm between 70 and 75 cents.
The Anaconda was the first incorporated company in the district. Its great fluctuations have undoubtedly been due to manipulation. The company owns 150 acres of ground on Gold hill, and the showing of the properties would warrant a higher price for the stock based upon them if the public did not evidently fear continued manipulation. The management, however, has never been suspected of anything but honest methods; it was only stocks that wavered. A large amount of development work has been performed and a good output is assured for the present year - possibly dividends. A half-tone of the mine is shown on another page; also one of the town of Anaconda.
On another page will be found a late half-tone view of Battle mountain, one of the most interesting promontories in the Cripple Creek district. This is the home of the Independence and the Portland. It is a veritable mint of gold. Besides the two world-famous mines just mentioned, there are 200 others. Upwards of 400 miners are employed here, and more than 70,000 tons of gold ore were shipped from the interior of this hill last year.
The Portland No. 2, Anna Lee, Scranton and Black Diamond are visible in our picture. The Independence and the Strong are further down the slope and cannot be seen here. The time will come when one can walk for miles under this mountain, through shafts and tunnels lighted by electricity, as if in the streets of a city.
It may be interesting here to state that Battle mountain produced more ounces of gold in 1895 than all of Gilpin county, and Gilpin has ranked for a number of years as the banner gold camp of Colorado.
The king bonanza of Cripple Creek, if not of the world, is Mr. Stratton's first mine, the Independence. It was located on the Fourth of July, 1891. At first the claim did not show anything marvelous; in fact, many experienced miners passed it unheeded, and even after assays were made, the showing fluctuated for some time. But long since then it has proven itself a sure-enough mine. Mr. Stratton works it very leisurely. He has many other valuable properties, and, as this one is an absolute certainty for any number of millions, he simply allows it to jog along at the rate of from $50,000 to $100,000 a month. Since its development work was completed only a few men actually work about it.
Many people consider that the Independence has the richest ore vein of any property yet discovered, and it is so prepared that $2,000,-000 could be taken out during the present year if its sole owner desired to make the display. It has the qualifications of being wide, well defined and rich - and all these improve with depth.
At the time this mine and its mate, the Washington, were located, they lay entirely outside what was considered the mineral belt, and the discovery of the Wilson Creek district is almost wholly due to the efforts of their owner. The only ore thus far removed from this property is what was taken out in development; practically no stoping has been done, and its present reserves are unquestionably the greatest in the region. From $7,000,000 to $10,000,000 worth of gold are said to be in sight.
Winfield Scott Stratton, the most noted individual in the Cripple Creek district, prince of millionaires and prince of good men, was born at Jeffersonville, Ind., July 22, 1848. He learned the carpenter's trade and then came to Colorado in 1872. Evidently a fortune was the purpose of his visit and, remembering that no royal road led that way, he went to work, took a course in assaying and mineralogy, tried his luck without success in nearly every camp in the state, at last struck Cripple Creek and was one of the first to strike it rich. His greatest effort now is said to be to keep his income within the point of comprehension. Mr. Stratton's kindness of heart has become proverbial. He raised the wages of his men unasked; gave a $3,000 check to the widow of one of his late employes; bought a farm and presented it to an old friend, and numerous other deeds, all as discreet as they were generous.
The Independence is his first and greatest property. It is, possibly, the richest gold mine on earth. Several other good properties belong to Mr. Stratton. His investments have all been directed by sound judgment and business discretion. The Washington, Rosario, Lottie, John A. Logan, American Eagle, Little Harry, Portland No. 2. the Lowell and others are his property.
The good fortune of this man was well deserved, and it is being well used. It was not a matter of mere chance, as has been frequently stated, that he located the Independence. It was lucky, to be sure, but he was directed by the good judgment born of experience, hard study and careful observation. He selected the mine on the Fourth of July - hence its name. Some prospector had passed that way and had broken rock there, but saw no encouragement. After Mr. Stratton had located it, many pronounced it worthless. He was right. The good deeds of this man have made him as popular as his wealth has made him famous, and many a heart joins many another in the hope that his good fortune may never desert him, and that he may live long in this happy fruition of his early hopes.
Directly east of the town of Cripple Creek, about three-fourths of a mile, stands Globe Hill, where one of the initial successes of the district was made, and thereby hangs a little romance. Some day, when the rush is over and the public has time to get a full breath, it will be interesting to gather tip all these pleasant stories and put them into a permanent shape for the future generation.
In the spring of '92 a locomotive fireman "grub staked" his father, Mr. Sterrett, who was anxious, at the age of seventy or thereabout, to woo the lady of fortune. On Globe Hill be found the treasure. With no money to hire help he labored alone with a perseverance worthy of success. Mr. Cy. War-man, the laureate singer of the west, has told the world how Mr. Sterrett dug away as long as he could pitch the dirt out of the hole; then he put in a ladder and pick out a bucketful, climb up with it and go back for more. In this way he labored with incredible zeal till the treasure lay before him. Then came an enterprising young rustler from Denver with an offer of $40,000 cash. The old man laid down his pick and bucket to at last enjoy his well-earned rest and refreshment. The purchaser was Mr. Herbert C. Eastman, whose discretion was proven by the fact that almost $100,000 was taken away during the first six months and without machinery other than a windlass. Within fifty feet of the original shaft a rich body of surface ore was encountered and, after plowing away the sod, the hillside was shipped to a quartz mill.
Mr. Eastman resold the mine to a syndicate of Denver and Chicago at a large advance over the original figures, and has continued in an active way, exploring and developing the great region. He went to Cripple Creek in 1892 and has done much of the telling work there since. The Deerhorn is one of the great permanencies of the camp. The character of the ore in the mine is a florine-colored quartz.
In the J. C. Tatman lease, on the north end of the Theresa, a new vein has been opened in a shaft fifty-five feet deep, and some wonderfully rich ore is coming from a six inch pay streak. The lessee discovered a small seam at the surface and has been following it down until it opened into six inches of ore that is running $1,000 to the ton. Of course there is not much of this grade of ore, but at the rate of increase, it is believed that the vein will open into something important and make a new shipper for Bull hill.
Katie Hartnick, a pastry cook of Sioux City, Iowa, was working until recently in the kitchen of the Hotel Garretson on a salary of $5 a week. Later she was on her way to Cripple Creek, where she is to be married to Fred Kerger, who has struck it rich. Miss Hartnick and her lover met last summer while she was working in the Ute Park (Colorado) hotel. Neither was in position to be married then, so Kerger plunged into the mining country in search of a fortune, while the young woman came to Sioux City to earn her living until he sent for her. She received a certified check for $48,000 and an urgent request to come to Cripple Creek, where the wedding is to take place.
"There is now four times the development being done in Cripple Creek than ever before in its history," says one of the camp's pioneers. "We have 216 shipping mines; that is, mines that are shipping ore, of which 187 are regular and constant shippers. The opening up of the West Creek section has given strength to the proposition that the Cripple Creek district really extends that far north. Just now, however, attention is centered around Ryolite and Gillett, and development is showing this to be as good territory as any yet opened."
There certainly never was such a gold camp as Cripple Creek in the history of the world. Just think of a district something like twenty miles square, about four years old, and at this writing containing more than 200 shipping gold mines! And the list of producers being added to almost daily, some of the best properties producing more than §1,000,000 a year. Ah, it is almost beyond belief, but it is true, nevertheless, for hundreds have made fortunes there, many of whom have never seen the wonderful camp, but have invested through reliable Colorado brokers or friends. One important matter should be observed in Cripple Creek investments - do not sell too soon.
Occasionally some of our readers write the publisher of this book personal letters asking if they should make certain investments in the West. All such inquiries receive careful consideration and prompt answers by mail where a stamp is enclosed; but we wish to say that our advice to all such, both publicly and personally expressed, is to make no investments anywhere unless you think you can afford it. If you need what ready money you have for actual living expenses and necessaries of life, it occurs to the writer that the better plan would be to apply same to that purpose and assure yourself all the comforts possible. On the other hand, if you possess a certain sum which you do not at present specially need, and can spare same without inconvenience, in that case the amount, no matter how small, judiciously invested in Colorado gold stocks, should prove the most desirable investment we know of.
Some two or three years ago the publisher of this book was the fortunate owner of several small blocks of cheap Cripple Creek shares, and in the course of events he was enabled to sell same on the market for just about double the first cost. He was elated over the good profit made, but, lo and behold! lie now mourns. The shares he sold for some $200 are now in steady demand on all Colorado markets, and would readily command from $14,000 to $13,000. This simply goes to show that while an investor may lose money by selling too soon, although he may double his first investment, it is not necessary for any one concerned to really lose by the operation. Gold is produced from old Mother Earth, and by the discovery of the precious metal the entire world is benefited. There is a strong moral lesson in the above.
John B. Robinson of South Africa was a poor grocer in 1878. He and his wife begged their way to Kimberly, and he was lucky enough to find a diamond which he sold for $1,200. With that his fortune began. To-day his wealth is set down at $350,000,000. He is among the richest men, if not the richest, upon the globe.
In the following table will be seen a comparison of quotations on a few Cripple Creek stocks. These are taken at random. Some are the best and some among the cheaper of the district. The reader may also be interested to know that of all the Cripple Creek stocks listed in the regular exchanges from January, 1895, to January, 1896, not one would have lost money to an investor. Had he bought from every listed offer at the first of the year and sold at the end of the year, he would have been ahead several hundred per cent.:
PERCENTAGE OF INCREASE.
The table below shows what a remarkable increase has occurred in some of the best-known Cripple Creek gold properties during the year of 1895. This is sufficient to that show no investment offers more or greater profits than well-chosen mining stocks:
|Stocks.||Jan. 5||Dec. 23||Per cent of increase.|
|Anaconda||$ 0.23 1⁄2||$ 0.67 1⁄2||191|
|Gold Standard||0.03 1⁄2||0.11 3⁄8||266|
|Gold and Globe||0.17 1⁄4||0.24 1⁄2||243|
|Mt. Rosa||0.03 5⁄8||0.16 1⁄2||433|
|Jack Pot||0.01 7⁄8||0.12||500|
|Bankers||0.01 7⁄8||0.19 1⁄2||900|
|Creede and Cripple Creek||0.01 1⁄2||0.06 1⁄4||500|
|Union Gold||0.09 1⁄2||0.32 1⁄2||255|
Appended is another table, showing
PERCENTAGE OF INCREASE FOR 1895.
COMPARISON OF STOCK.
|NAME.||Per share.||Per 1,000.||Per 1,000.||Per share.|
|Alamo||0.00 3⁄4||$ 7.5||0.08||$ 80.00|
|Gold & Globe||0.08||80.00||0.32||320.00|
The following mines in the Cripple Creek district have commenced to ship ore or have pay ore in sight in sufficient quantities:
The main body of the Cripple Creek gold district is embraced in the new topographical map given in the middle of this book. It will be an easy matter to lift the staples and take out the map, should it be desired, to place upon the wall.
It has been revised and corrected up to date and gives a reliable, comprehensive idea of the camp. It will be seen that from the heart of the camp, where the figures show an elevation of about 9,000 feet, a continual advance in altitude is made in the direction of Pike's Peak, the highest point shown being 12,750 feet. It will be easy to understand why the railways are obliged to traverse a trackage of six miles in order to cover a possible three, between Victor and Cripple Creek, when one notes the rugged inequalities of the surface.
One of the railroads and Beaver Creek stroll along together from the foot of Pike's Peak southward making their way toward Victor through Gillett, around Mt. Trachyte, Cow Mountain, Invincible and Big Bull hills. This shows the present eastern boundary of the great mine region, the Ealza K. and Invincible groups looming up prominently and invitingly to view. Many other important properties are traceable along this way ; the Legal Tender, Independence, Portland, Victor, Little May and Buena Vista. Near Altman will be seen the elevation called Bull Hill, ever memorable now as the seat of war during the historic strike of '94.
The past decade has given a greater impetus to gold production than all the centuries before. And that is chiefly the result of a simple process of saving gold from low-grade ores. In the early history of the human race, men doubtless learned to value the yellow metal because of its lustre, unchangeable nature, its malleable and ductile qualities, etc. The mining of it doubtless consisted in picking it up in native purity from the earth. Further desire for it led our primitive fathers to begin washing it from the dirt - the first placer mining.
This method has been universally used, and billions of the world's gold supply was created by it. By and by methods were invented for crushing the hardest granite or quartz into dust and washing the gold therefrom. But to make mining profitable the rock had to be very rich in metal, running several ounces to the ton. Millions upon millions of gold were known to exist in various localities, locked in the everlasting rock, but in such spare quantities to the bulk as to render the mining of it worse than useless. But at last what is called the "cyanide process" was stumbled upon.
Few people outside of those actually engaged in its use know precisely what it is, but it is known that ores running anywhere from $3 upwards to the ton can be handled by this method with profit. The great South African fields are all of low-grade ore. yet in 1893 some $40,000,000 were extracted there. It takes immense capital to operate, but the returns are also immense, on account of the enormous quantity of the ore and the low cost with which it can be handled. As a usual thing, where very large ore bodies are found, the grade is low, and vice versa. Some of the best-paying mines of the world have been of comparatively low grade, but the vast extent and accessibility of the ore body rendered it easy prey to miners' brawn. In other cases of lode or fissure mining, where the ore is so rich as to be almost pure metal, the vein is narrow, perhaps only a few inches in width, while the walls around it are so massive and obdurate as to require almost infinite labor and patience to penetrate them.
In thousands of cases a portion of the gold-bearing rock has been worked, while still greater portions were thrown away or ignored, because the percentage of metal was too small for profit. The Transvaal regions of South Africa were at first gigantic failures on this account. The ore was accessible and of measureless abundance, but so refractory and low of grade as to destroy all hope of profit till the cyanide process was brought into play. Now they are working out countless thousands there, and will continue to do so for many years to come.
As before stated, the process is a simple one and, as with many other valuable and useful discoveries, we are filled with wonder that it was not thought of long ago. Briefly, it consists in taking the "tailings" - the residue of the stamp mill - and dumping it into a vat filled with cyanide of potassium. To make it as plain as it can be done on paper, the rock bearing the gold is crushed and pounded into dust in a mill for that purpose. Water runs through the gold-laden rock dust and works out the gold to a large extent. Some, however, escapes and lodges, further along, on metallic plates. This latter remains mixed with the dirt and mud, and is so infinitely fine as to defy usual methods of separation. The entire mass, gold, mud and all, is termed "tailings." These tailings are thrown into the cyanide solution, which has a remarkable affinity for gold. It soon picks out every particle of its favorite metal, and then the useless mud can be thrown away. The next thing is to now take the gold away from the cyanide. This is accomplished by dropping a lot of zinc shavings into it. The gold at once adheres to the zinc. Now place the gold-coated shavings into a vessel of clear water and shake vigorously; the gold falls off and settles in the bottom, where it may be dipped up and shipped to the mint.
Of the entire world's production last year, some $205,000,000, perhaps one-third was due to this simple process. And it is not yet so generally in use as it most probably will be within the next few years. Cripple Creek is using it or perfecting a plant with which to do so at Florence. Mr. D. H. Moffat is largely interested in the mill, as well as in the ores it will treat. He is reported to have stated that the plant will handle profitably ores running as low as $5 to the ton.
Although strenuous efforts were made at first to develop placer mining at Cripple Creek, it never succeeded very well, and has long been practically abandoned. The wealth of the camp has come from fissures. The joy of the miner is fulfilled when he finds a vein, lode or dike which opens up for a few thousands to the ton at the grass roots and "grows richer as it dives." This has been literally true in a few instances in this marvelous camp. In many cases the vein has a few inches of extremely rich formation, while large volumes of the outlying rock are of low-grade and refractory ore. This latter is not thrown away, but is carefully kept to be treated by the cyanide process, which is explained in another place, and millions are thus saved.
The method of prospecting for, opening up and disposing of lode or fissure mines, has been so well treated by a recent writer that the reader cannot be better served than by placing an extract before him:
"The practical and experienced prospector, when he finds a rich piece of surface ore - which he calls 'float' - doesn't trouble his mind as to the manner in which nature put the precious metals in the rock which he has found, but directs his energies to discovering the source from which it came. In this tracing of the 'float' to the source, it is important to get started right. If the pieces of 'float' are numerous and are found on a sloping hillside, the prospector's task is comparatively easy, unless the upper portion of the hill is covered with wash or slide rock, which may have broken off the 'outcrop' (the part of a vein which comes to the surface and sometimes 'crops' out above the surrounding surface) and have covered the vein with loose rock. If there is no slide rock or wash above the point to which the prospector has traced the 'float,' and the 'outcrop' cannot be seen, he digs a trench at right angles to what he believes to be the general course of the vein. While digging he carefully notes the different pieces of rock which his digging brings to light, expecting to find pieces similar to the 'float' which he has traced up the hill to this point.
"Having found pieces of rock similar to the 'float' in this or successive trenches, either above or at the side of the supposed ore accompanying it (called the 'flow streak'), until it is found 'in place,' Then, having found his mine, he generally starts out to find a buyer for his 'prospect' - which he frequently finds to be a harder job than to find the lode; but sometimes he decides to develop it into a mine himself and reap the benefit.
"Unless the mine is very rich - so that he can pound the ore in a mortar and pan or wash out enough gold to pay his expenses and give him something over towards building an arastra or small stamp mill - the prospector will have a long and hard siege of it; for it takes many shifts of work to make a mine out of a 'prospect.' After working on his claim for a year or two, to accomplish what capital could do in a few months, he frequently gets discouraged by his ore streak 'pinching' or by striking poor spots in the vein, and decides that 'as soon as she looks good again' he will get Colonel Somebody to sell it for him. Colonel Somebody, the 'promoter,' takes a bond on the property at as low a figure and as long a time as he can get, and proceeds to hunt up an investor to buy the 'mine' at as high a price and in as short a time as possible.
"The hill on the sides and at the head of the gulches in which rich placer mines have been found, nearly always contains the veins or ledges from which the gold came - that is, found on the placers. Where the placers appear to get richer as the head of the gulch is approached, the probable source is at the head of the gulch; when the rich parts of the placer are quite a distance apart, the veins which fed it are to be sought in the hills on The sides of the placer, almost directly uphill from the rich spots. If the gold taken from the placer shows any particles of quartz or rock adhering to the nuggets which are found, it should be carefully noted, as, in following the 'flow streak' (which you will strike when you get upon the right track), if you find any rock like that you saw adhering to the nuggets, you will know that you are upon the right 'streak.' By washing some of the dirt in a gold pan your doubts will be speedily displaced by visions of 'champagne bottles in the air,' or whatever your pet 'castle in Spain' may be.
"The prospector's life is full of hardships, privations and 'hopes deferred,' with occasional brief seasons of red-fire-hurrah 'pleasures,' which soon deplete his pockets of the few hundreds he has received for his last rich strike and undermine his health. The capitalist who comes in on the palace car through the pass where a few years ago the prospector followed his patient burro over a rough trail, is the one that makes the millions - not the prospector. Well, as we can't all be capitalists, with large sums of money at our disposal, those of us who are of an observing and adventurous disposition may as well own, for a little time at least, possible bonanzas as prospectors."
A lode or vein is first to be found. Then work must be immediately done sufficient to show the good intentions of the prospector; and, in a camp hot with excitement, no shams will answer. Bona fide labor only will hold. In out-of-the-way places, where there are no contentions, nor likely to be any, it may not be so necessary to fulfill the precise letter of the law. Next thing, the claim should be surveyed, and the surveyor's location certificate recorded at the county seat. The full dimensions of a claim in the Cripple Creek district are 300 feet by 1.500 feet, or about ten acres. These claims are often piled and crossed upon, around and over each other in a way entirely bewildering to a novice. From this and other causes arise many legal complications, involving millions of dollars very frequently. After location has been properly accomplished, development work must begin. Work to the value of at least $100 must be done annually for a period of five years, or until the amount of development has reached $500. This may all be done in a single year, if preferred by the owner. When proof of the necessary improvement can be established by competent testimony, application is made at the United States land office. The officials advertise the proposition in a designated newspaper, and on a fixed date the title is allowed by them at an expense to the owner of $5 per acre. Surveying and other expenses will probably reach $200, besides the improvement work.
The above beautiful little engraving is an actual photographic representation of what is known in general terms as a mill. A mill is a set of machinery for reducing and treating ores. It may consist simply of a pulverizing or crushing contrivance called a "stamp mill," or it may consist of more elaborate arrangements and combinations for crushing, amalgamating, separating and sluicing all in one. The above represents one of the most complete establishments of the kind in the Cripple Creek district.
Adit - A level, a horizontal drift or passage from the surface into the mine.
Bed - A horizontal seam or deposit of mineral.
Blende - An ore of zinc, consisting of zinc and sulphur.
Breast - The face of a tunnel or drift.
Cap - A vein is in the "cap" when it is much contracted.
Carbonates - Soft carbonates; salts containing carbonates; the same with iron for a base.
Chlorides - A compound of chlorine and silver.
Cheek - The side or wall of a vein.
Chimneys - The richer spots in lodes as distinguished from poorer ones.
Contact Vein - A vein along the contact plane of or between two dissimilar rock masses.
Country Rock - The rock masses on each side of a vein.
Course of Vein - Along its length. (See "Strike.")
Cribbing - A timber or plank lining of a shaft, the confining of a wall.
Cropping Out - The raising of layers of rock exposed at surface.
Cross Cut - A level driven across the course of the vein.
Cut - To intersect a vein; open cut, a level without a covering driven across the course of the vein.
Dip - The slope, pitch or angle which a vein makes with the plane of the horizon.
Drift - A horizontal passage underground.
Dump - A place of tailing or waste rock, also of ore.
Face - The end of a drift or tunnel.
Feeder - A small vein entering a large one.
Gash Vein - A vein wide above and narrow below.
Geode - A cavity studded round with crystals of mineral matter; a rounded stone containing such a cavity.
Hanging Wall - The layer of rock or wall over a lode.
Heading - The vein above the drift.
Horse - A mass of rock matter occurring in or between the branches of the vein.
Hydraulicing - Washing down a placer claim by the use of hose or "giant nozzle."
Inclined Drift - An inclined passage underground.
Infiltration - The theory that veins' filling is introduced by an igneous fluid and solidified.
In Place - A vein or lode enclosed on both sides by fixed and immovable rock.
Lagging - The timber over and upon the sides of a drift.
Level - A horizontal passage or drift into a mine from a shaft.
Little Giant - A jointed iron nozzle used in placer mining.
Lode - Aggregations of mineral matter containing ores in fissures.
Matrix - The rock or earthy matter containing metallic ore.
Mill Run - A test of a quantity of ore after reduction.
Outcrop - That portion of the vein appearing at the surface.
Placer - A gravelly place where gold is found; includes all forms of mineral deposits excepting veins in place. (Sections 23, 29, Revised Statutes, United States.)
Pocket - A rich spot in a vein or deposit.
Riffle Blocks - Wooden blocks set on end in a sluice, with interstices for catching gold.
Salting - Skilfully arranging good mineral specimens or ores in a worthless prospect for the purpose of deceiving purchasers.
Selvage - Thin band of earthy matter between the vein and walls.
Shaft - A wall like excavation in the earth.
Shift - The time for a miner's work in one day or night.
Slickensides - Smooth polished surface on walls, caused by violent trituration.
Sluices Boxes joined together, set with riffle blocks, through which is washed auriferous earth.
Stamps - Machines for crushing ores.
Stope - One of a series of steps, into which the upper surface of an excavation is cut; to excavate in the form of steps above a drift.
Stoping - The act of stoping or breaking down the surface of an excavation with a pick.
Stull - A framework covered with timber or planks, to support rubbish in working a stope.
Sublimation - The theory that the vein matter was introduced in a gaseous condition.
Sump - That part of the shaft below the platform used for receiving water.
Tailings The refuse matter discharged from the end of a sluice.
Tunnel A level driven at right angles with the vein, which its object is to reach.
Vein - Aggregations of mineral matter in fissures of rocks.
Walls - The sides next to the lode.
It would not be well to finish a book on the Cripple Creek mining region without mentioning the brand new camp of West Creek, some thirty miles to the northward of the first-named place. Here during all the winter, so far. the rattle of the saw and the hammer has been heard amid the click of the pick and the drill. Like the magic of a fairy tale a city has arisen in the barren wilderness, and this, contrary to all custom in this latitude, is almost entirely a winter growth. The discovery of the camp seems to date from August, 1895, when Captain Tyler's mine was prospected and located on patented ground.
The general trend of the ore belt here is north and south, and appears in two great mineral veins or blowouts, known as the Hoosier and the Big Blue. This may be a long-drawn extension of the Cripple Creek district; no one knows. North of Cripple Creek a few miles is Florissant; thence three miles north and twenty east is Woodland Park, and still a few miles north comes this West Creek wonder. It is said that a different character of ore shows up; what of it? It is all gold, and as to the gold-bearing rock, it differs in several ways in Cripple Creek alone. Gold is a base, and it is the same, no matter whether, when it was blown up from the cauldric bowels of the earth, it was matrixed into granite, porphyry or sandstone. This was done, perhaps, at the same instant all along this thirty miles of gold-bearing country, and the precious stuff in liquid state fixed itself into whatever substance would receive and lock it in for the use of future ages.
They find all sorts of ores at West Creek - the reliable and familiar granite of Central City and Black Hawk, the tellurium of Telluride. the now well-known porphyritic andesite of Cripple Creek, and large blankets of soluble gold-bearing sandstone. But no certainties have been uncovered. Hundreds upon hundreds of holes have been dug. from ten feet in most cases to forty or fifty in a few. Absolute confidence pervades the camp from side to side and from hill to hill. There have been innumerable assays, and all the different ores run gold - some a trace, some several hundred dollars to the ton.
This camp, like all others where strong excitement prevails, extends over several miles of hills and valleys. The mineral lodes are some seven or eight miles wide, from east to west, by an indefinite length from north to south; and over it all people are to be seen, on foot, in wagons, horseback, in camps, tents, shanties and some substantial buildings. Tyler, West Creek and Pemberton are the principal towns, but dozens of sites are laid out along the twelve or fifteen miles from Mouat's old sawmill to the dividing line between this district and Woodland Park. To reach West Creek, people go from any point of the compass toward the new Mecca, on foot or by any other means at hand, without waiting on railroads, stages or other effete conveniences of civilization. But, of course, the larger percentage go from Denver by rail to South Platte, thirty miles, and thence by stage the additional twenty odd. The entire way is scenic to a delightful degree. The fare from Denver is said to be $1.35 for the railway portion of the trip, and that is a fixed rate, But the stage coach part of the journey is said to be problematical. The passenger is charged according to the style of his apparel, anywhere from $1.75 to $2.50. A shirt of the "fried" variety is said to invoke a tax something like the latter amount. The camp in general is not so altitudinous as Cripple Creek or Leadville. Pemberton is 7,300 feet. From the beginning, the salubrious character of the climate, the pure water and the delightful scenery have induced the presence of many entire families, so that, for so young a camp, a remarkable number of women and children are to be seen. Wood and water are abundant, and even when wells are necessary, from twelve to twenty feet is sufficient depth for an abundant supply.
The district lies in and contiguous to no less than four counties - El Paso, Douglas, Jefferson and Park. Some of the lands are patented; some yet belong to the government and are subject to mineral entries, and some are state school lands, while yet some are government reserves. There are ways for bringing out the gold, if it exists in paying quantities, from any of them, however, and none will be left if the ingenuity of man can obtain it. There are estimated to be not less than 3,000 or 4,000 people in the district, and new arrivals by the score. It is impossible, of course, to determine the population with any degree of accuracy, but the old saying that "the woods are full" is here a veritable truth. Next summer will tell the story and. if West Creek is to be another Cripple, the demonetization of gold will soon be the active theme of the financial world.
Apropos of fortunes quick and unexpected, the sudden luck of the subject of this sketch will be in place. It properly belongs to the story of West Creek camp.
Years ago Mr. Rahn trusted one of his patrons to the extent of $150. Rahn was a coal dealer on a small scale and had a dingy little office in one of the lower neighborhoods of Denver. His customer could not pay the debt in money, as had been intended, and the dealer in black diamonds was obliged to satisfy himself by accepting the title to a quarter section of land, away off in the woods, where he never hoped to realize a dollar. But one day - about the first of the present year - two strangers came along by Mr. Rahn's little coal office and made him an offer of $25,000 for forty acres of his almost forgotten land. As 120 acres of the original purchase would remain to him for future taxation, he accepted the tender on the spot. He has since heard of West Creek, and that the forty acres are situated in that promising camp.
Midas is a strange king. What he handles turns to gold: but there is no telling whom he will favor, nor when. Mr. Rahn waited till he was seventy years of age for the magic touch. Led on, no doubt, as we all are led, by the rosy-faced goddess, Hope, he reached at last the rainbow's end of gold, and felt the smile of star-eyed Fortune on his heart.
Florissant is situated on the great trans-continental railway, the Colorado Midland, now a part of the gigantic Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe system. It is distant from Denver just 100 miles, and thirty six west of Colorado Springs. Leadville is about seventy-five miles to the west of Florissant. Cripple Creek, the greatest gold camp in the entire world to-day, is situated but eighteen miles south of Florissant, and, in fact, was brought to the notice of the public through the efforts of some of the enterprising citizens of the latter town. Many citizens of Florissant have become wealthy through lucky strikes made at the great gold camp. They were the very first on the ground, and did considerable prospecting before it was generally known that gold in paying quantities existed.
Some prospecting has been carried on at various times, and some very good strikes in gold and other ores have been made. Along the Platte river, some four miles below Florissant, there are now some very rich placer mines. Recently a miner working a lode claim struck a lead which assayed as high as $80 per ton in gold. Good finds in silver and copper ores have been made in the vicinity, and there are many who predict that some day some very rich mines will be worked very close to Florissant.
Within a mile of Florissant is the world famed Petrified Forest, which undoubtedly most of our readers have heard of, and possibly a few have viewed with their own eyes this greatest of all of nature's great wonders. Great stumps and roots, just as natural as real wood, are numerous. One, which is probably the largest petrified stump in the world, was visited by the writer and a few specimens as souvenirs taken from it. This stump is about twelve feet in height and forty six feet in circumference by actual measurement.
Crystal peak, a peak noted for so many fine crystals as clear as the best diamonds, is three miles distant. Pike's peak is plainly visible from the town, as is also Mount Pisgah. From Florissant to the summit of either of these famous mountains it is about fifteen miles. Florissant canon possesses a great many scenic attractions, and is immediately adjoining the town on the east. Granite canon is to the westward, and contains many attractions. Fortification hill, adjoining the town on the southeast, deserves a page in history. About ninety years ago a fierce war was waged between two tribes of Indians, the Cheyennes and Utes. The latter took refuge on this noted hill, and for a long time stood their enemies off, but were eventually starved out and captured by the Cheyennes. The breastworks, which may still be seen, gave the hill its name.
All classes of business are carried on at Florissant. It is a supply point for a radius of twenty-five miles. The town has a good city government, Hon. Frank F. Castello being the mayor at present, assisted by six trustees or aldermen.
A great deal of hay from the South Park country is shipped here, and there is a daily line of stages to Cripple Creek.
Two railroads have surveyed through the town, and it is thought will be built at no distant day. However, the railroad connection is very good as it is at present.
The population of Florissant is at present about 500. which figure does not include the transient or floating population who spend the summer months here on account of the many climatic advantages. The town is growing right along. It is not an old town - it was originally laid out with the appearance of the Colorado Midland railway in the valley in 1885-86.
Highland Grove is a most admirably located addition to Florissant, and adjoins the town on the south. That portion which has been platted consists of forty-eight acres or 216 town lots, averaging in size about 50x125 feet each. A single pair of these lots would make a plat of ground 100 feet front and 125 feet deep. A charming size for a home, you will say.
As far back as 1886, previous to the completion of the Colorado Midland through Florissant, Thomas Donnell, the venerable attorney, came to Colorado from his home in Coffey county, Kansas, in search of health and a desirable location to settle permanently.
In 1889 Highland Grove was platted and a great many lots were disposed of to various persons, some of whom have since erected residences for homes or for summer residence. The finest and best of water is abundant anywhere on Highland Grove. The average height of Highland Grove above the depot in Florissant is about fifty feet, and it is a gentle slope upward. The greater portion of the grove is covered with stately young pines, varying in height from ten to seventy-five feet, evergreen and ever casting out their health-giving and invigorating fragrance.
That portion of Highland Grove which remained unsold up to a short time ago is now owned jointly by Thomas Donnell and W. C. Calhoun.
Three years ago Colorado was in the throes of a panic such as she had never dreamed to see. With her vast output of precious metals, chiefly silver, added to her grazing, agricultural and horticultural profits, she had stood boldly out as an example of prosperity seldom equaled. But the hand of national legislation struck down her chief industry and she fell, for a time, as a gladiator would fall in the midst of combat at the unexpected loss of his right hand. Yet her prostration was brief. Necessity, ever the prolific mother of invention, forced the young and stricken commonwealth to look about for recuperative remedies. The world was in love with gold. She turned to her granite-locked treasure house in the eternal hills and poured out the yellow metal by the millions to the world. Stimulated by dire need and the appreciated value of gold, the miners of Colorado began to search again where they and their forerunners had searched before. Armed with the experiences of half a century and abetted by the appliances of modern science, they felt able to achieve success where some years before profitable mining would not have been seriously contemplated. The result has not stopped with merely working over old fields, which has been done in many instances very successfully, but it has been the finding of new and richer ones, chief among which is the Cripple Creek district.
And no state in the Union has recovered more quickly or surely from the panic of 1893. The state produced last year $38.000,000 of gold, silver and other metals, $17.000.000 of which are gold, more than $8,000,000 of this from Cripple Creek. The state has an inexhaustible supply of coal, 3.000,000 tons of which were mined in 1895. Onyx, granite and marble quarries add materially to our wealth; petroleum, zinc, clays and stone of exceptional qualities and unfailing quantities are in our Rocky mountain storehouses. While mining receives great attention and brings the state much proper fame, the value of her horticultural, grazing and agricultural product annually exceeds the enormous output of her mines. These industries are all young, and the state is young. Not one of her industries has more than passed the threshold of development. Any one of them could singly build up a powerful commonwealth. Together, and pressed by the energy, brawn and brains of half a million earnest people, they will soon place the Centennial State in the advance column of this progressive Union.
One of the rising young journalists of the Rocky mountain country is the subject of this sketch. His portrait is reproduced herewith. Mr. Calhoun is probably the most extensive general advertiser in the West, and one of the very few publishers who practice what all who follow the profession preach - advertising.
Several years ago there came into Denver a young man who had a number of years' experience publishing country newspapers, principally in the plains country of Western Kansas, where there had been a great boom.
When most of the settlers were forced to leave their homes on account of drouth, crop failures, etc., the young man in question (who, by the way, was no other than our friend "Cal.") was compelled to follow suite; for although a country newspaper may come very nearly existing on wind, it cannot do so entirely. Therefore, instead of returning "back East." as most settlers did, Calhoun journeyed westward to Denver, where he believed he could start a newspaper with the most humble beginnings and force it to succeed.
Accordingly the Rocky Mountain Sentinel was established, and for two or three years was published as a local weekly. It was uphill work. So in 1891 the founder commenced to advertise in other papers, and from that time the real success, financial and otherwise, of the enterprise begun.
The legal advertising patronage of the Sentinel began to grow so rapidly that for years past the paper has contained from three to five pages of such business each issue. The necessity soon became apparent that, in order to issue a paper of general interest to subscribers all over the United States, another publication would have to be brought into the field. So the Illustrated Weekly was established, and its success has been phenomenal from the very start, the subscriptions pouring I by mail at times at the rate of hundreds daily.
Just at this season of the year Mr. Calhoun is advertising in considerably in excess of 1,000 newspapers and magazines, and he states that returns are first class and that business in general has never been better. So much for a liberal use of printers' ink. It might not be out of place to state here that this advertising does no small amount of good for the city of Denver and also for the entire state.
Fortunately, Mr. Calhoun was among the first to become interested in the Cripple Creek gold camp, and he has, of course, made considerable money out of his interests there. He was heard to express his opinion recently that the opportunities to make money in the wonderful camp are just as good to-day as at any period of the life of the booming camp.