Cripple Creek, Teller County, Colorado

This page is dedicated to the mines and miners of Cripple Creek, Teller County, Colorado, USA. Cripple Creek is located about 45 miles west of Colorado Springs, CO. This area is most famous for its gold telluride ores which produced vast amounts of gold ore after metallurgists discovered how to extract gold from the ore. One of the most famous mines was the Cresson Mine in which was found a massive walk-in gold vug. All in all the Cresson produced over $51,000,000 up thru 1961 and the entire area over $450,000,000. Some ore samples produced over 20 oz/ton of gold.

Over 20,000 ounces of gold ore in crystalline form alone were
scraped from the cavity walls in the Cresson Mine the first few days after the vug discovery.

The minerals pictured on the following page are the genuine article due to two strokes of luck:

1) I was lucky enough to have been given them by a kind old rockhound, Henry Norek, many years ago. It turns out that his father-in-law, Allison J. Gunn, was one of the primary assayers in Cripple Creek during the boom years. The kind old rockhound that gave me the historical specimens passed away on September 14, 1998. Henry Norek had the wisdom to see that the specimens would be preserved by someone that cared. Click here to see Allison J. Gunn's business card....

2) Ironically I also had the fortune of being in a rock club , the Searchers, in which it turns out there was alot of unknown mining history within the membership. I ended up being the person putting the pieces together. If you dont ask people about the past you wont learn a thing. Here again I was asked if I wanted to buy a mineral collection from one of the ex-members children. The minerals were insignificant to her but not to me since I could see the historical value.

The daughter actually grew up in Cripple Creek and remembers lots of townfolk. She even knew the Gunn family - another irony. It turns out her father Mr. Robert Hodges and her grandfather Mr. Richard Hodges had both operated and mined mines in Cripple Creek. Not only that but the elder had worked there at the turn of the century and had indeed worked at the Cresson Mine, Ajax Mine and some others in the area. All of their gold specimens were only from the Cripple Creek area mines. Click here to see parts of the City Directories from 1902 to 1907.

In the case of Cripple Creek today most of the mines are still under claim and possibly under recovery operations. Collecting is probably not allowed at any of the mines in this area.

In February of 2000 the owner of the Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine in Cripple Creek contacted me. He indicated that the Cresson Vug was one of two vug discoveries at the Cresson Mine - the first being in 1903 on the 600' Workings (relatively unspectacular) and the second being the vug discovered on November 24, 1914 by miners working on the 1200' level whom had the luck of breaking into a vug 40 feet high by 20 feet long and 15 feet wide. The walls were covered with sylvanite and calaverite crystals with thousands of flakes of pure oxidized goldand bronze colored calaverite crystals the size of a thumbnail lining the entire vug. He indicated that 20,000 ounces of gold was a good estimate for the first few days but they actaully mined over 60,000 ounces of gold in about four weeks - about $20 million in todays values. The Cresson Mine was reopened in 1994 and is now Colorado's largest gold producing mine and a Top 10 world gold producer. Good news for mining....

To get to the pictures and other mineral information please click here.

For more information on the Cripple Creek area please feel free to check out the county site: Cripple Creek area,
and some other sites of interest Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine, Mollie Kathleen and Cresson Gold Mine Tours.

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