Central City Colorado – A piece of the Old West.

In the late 1850’s John Gregory discovered what would be called “The Gregory Lode”  A few weeks later the Colorado Gold Rush was on and soon around 10,000 people were seeking their fortunes .  William Byers who would create the Rocky Mountain News and some friends, pitched their tents in the middle of it all.  So Central City Colorado was born and was sometimes referred to as the Richest Square Mile on Earth.  Some struck it rich, other’s did not.  Fist, knife and gun fights were common.  It is said though that despite that, no one was killed.

In 1872 the Teller House Hotel was built.  In 1973 Presiden Ulysses S Grant visited his friend Henry Teller, who would become Colorado’s first senator.  (Colorado attained statehood in 1876 and so is sometimes called the “Centennial state” being formed 100 years after the formation of the United States of America.

Now if it looks as though the building is sagging, well it is, sort of.  One of the original buildings of Central City, the years took a toll on it, but rather then destroy the building it was rebuilt from within but the sagging front was preserved and houses the very old Easy Street Casino and Saloon.  Next door is an arcade for the younger folks, not allowed in Casinos.
The very old and very famous Gold Coin Saloon

In 1874 fire ravaged the town of Central City destroying a majority of the buildings.  It was rebuilt of brick and mortar the second time around.  In 1878, the famous and still operating Central City Opera House opened, starting a long tradition of community theatre.  Buffaloe Bill’s show and P.T Barnum’s Circus performed there.

See more of the history of Central City History here.

Surviving for many years on the summer tourist business, the town was in decline.  In 1991 Colorado Voters approved a bill legalizing gambling in Central City, Blackhawk and Cripple Creek, three of the most famous Gold mining towns of the Colorado Rockies. Since that time, some of the historical attractiveness has been lost but one can still find some of the old west Flavor and see many of the historical buildings that remain.  In the summer the Teller House is active with theatre and music.

Just down the road a bit is the old Mining Town of Black Hawk but it has been replaced almost in its entirety by Big Modern Casinos.  You can still find Crooks Palace, the oldest standing Saloon/Bar in Colorado.  However an extensive modern casino has been built on to its back end.

If you ever find yourself in Colorado and in the Mountains above Golden, take a little time and glimpse what is left of some of Colorado’s earliest gold mining and old west history.  And if you like old architecture, especially houses, you can find some lovely ones there as well.

You don’t have to visit the modern casinos, there is so much more to see, but no one would complain if you did.

– David

NOTE:  Photographs taken with an Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark 11 and 12-40 F2.8 Pro lens for the benefit of photography enthusiasts.

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