Mining

From 1890 to 1910, more than 22,400,000 ounces of gold were extracted from 500 mines in the Cripple Creek Mining District, which included Cripple Creek and the neighboring town of Victor.

1900 was a pivotal year from the Cripple Creek Mining District.  Gold worth more than $18 million was mined that year in nearly 500 mines.  Eight-thousand miners worked there, including 700 men at the Portland Mine alone.  The rewards of this hard life were worth the effort.  The quaint mountain community was home to over 50,000, many seeking their fortunes in the hillside mines.

The district produced 30 millionaires, including a hard-working Colorado Springs carpenter named Winfield Scott Stratton.  Stratton dug for 15 years and finally found gold on the 4th of July in 1901.  He called the claim the Independence, and he eventually sold it for $11 million.  The C.O.D. Mine was also profitable, and co-owner Spencer Penrose used his profits to build The Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs.

Most miners lived in tents or simple log cabins.  They started work at daybreak and the wage for a day was $3.

Photo courtesy of the Denver Public Library, Western History Collection