Turning Back the Pages

30 years ago – June 24, 1988

Problems continue to plague Black Hawk’s water system, the latest being masses of mud in the bottom of the reservoir.The problem was caused, said Councilman Bill Lovingier at the June 15 council meeting, because contractor Jerry Buckley, of Georgetown, failed to perform the work he was contracted to do in a timely and correct manner. Mud removal is nearly complete, reported Alan Genter, city street road and water supervisor. He expected to begin filling the reservoir late last week. While clearing the bottom, Genter and the city crew have been sealing cracks and patching the granite surface. The city will attempt to recover cleaning costs, and possibly damages, from Buckley.

Central City’s 13th annual visit to the past gave participants and spectators alike reason to smile. This year’s Madam Lou Bunch Day, honoring one of the most famous madams from this area, drew an increasing number of locals and visitors who dressed in costumes befitting of the time period in the late 1800s. It was like the Old West revived when “working girls” arrived on the Black Hawk-Central City Narrow Gauge Railroad, met by many fine looking gentlemen dressed in their “Sunday best” for the occasion. Once the Madams and Sporting House Girls were escorted through these streets in grand style by Dandy Dans, onlookers were treated to a parade, a comical introduction of the “girls,” and the annual bed race down Main Street. The first place winner in the bed race was the Toll Gate Saloon, followed by second and third place winners respectively, the Black Forest Inn and the Teller House. The Gilded Garter Saloon received the award for best team costume in the bed race. The day concluded with a dance at the Teller House where the award for Madam of the Year in 1988 was given to Cherry Emerson. The Best Sporting House Girl honor went to Kris Wade. Tom Evans was named Dandy Dan of the year.

Sculpture, pottery, glass, jewelry, photography, oil paintings, watercolors, pen and ink drawings, and pastels, artwork for virtually everyone, can be seen at the 41st Annual Gilpin County Arts Association’s gallery in Central City from now through September 11. The exhibit is open daily from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Admission is free. All of the artwork on display is for sale, and it is definitely an exhibit no one should miss!

Underground studies of the first 1,500 feet of the 4.16 mile long Argo Tunnel have been completed, said officials of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Tuesday. For will now begin on a feasibility study, which will outline various options for neutralizing the acidic water drainage from the tunnel and for preventing future blowouts. Twice in the past blowouts have occurred at the site when water trapped behind fallen rock built up sufficient pressure to burst through the obstructions. Two miners lost their lives in the first blowout, which occurred in 1943. The latter incident, in about 1980, did not claim any lives. The feasibility study is expected to be published in August, and will be followed by a public comment period. The final decision on corrective measures, said EPA Project Manager Holly Fliniau, will be issued in late September. Initial studies included construction of a sludge pond and a settling pond. An eight foot wide, two feet deep plywood flume channeled mine water and sludge from the tunnel to the first pond, where it was filtered through sand and rock, and then into the lower pond before being released into Clear Creek. Assay results on the sludge, performed by the EPA at the request of property owner James Maxwell, yielded disappointing results, said Charles Batter of Camp Dresser McKee (CDM), the engineering firm hired by the EPA to conduct the project. While analyzing the first 1,500 feet of the tunnel, said Baltzer, the EPA crew rehabilitated the workings, including putting up new timbers for the safety of the workers. It is believed, he added, that the first 1,500 feet “characterize the entire tunnel.” It is believed that the most important source of acid drainage from the tunnel is coming from eight major mines that are connected by underground workings to the Argo. The EPA and CDM base this belief on the fact that the water entering the tunnel through fractures in the rock measure 6.2 on the pH scale, while the drainage at the portal is considerably more acidic at 2.6. Several mines that connect with the Argo are located in Gilpin County. The tunnel extends from its portal in Idaho Springs to its terminus in Prosser Gulch.

60 years ago – June 27, 1958

Across the Crossroads, by A.F. Mayham: An old friend of Central City, Rev. O. Franklin Archer, now of Westwood Methodist Church has been assigned to a church in Santa Barbara, California. Frank was married in the Methodist Cathedral in Central City a score of summers ago and as the alto of the choir at that time, sang a solo of “The Old Rugged Cross.” Three boys, now grown, are all away from home, and while the Lord has been good to Frank, the reverend has also been good to the Lord and built his congregation beyond the capacity of the current edifice. He and Uncle Ed have been friends all the intervening years, but Frank sort of gave up trying to save Ed from perdition as Ed always maintained he was beyond redemption and anyway he didn’t sin enough to be castigated. Frank has been quite active in the Knights Templar and frequently discoursed at the Easter services of Knights, endeavoring in an unobtrusive manner to point the way down the “straight and narrow.” He will be missed by a host of friends and some sinners after July 1, including Uncle Ed.

Mr. and Mrs. D.W. Justis and two daughters of Farmington, N.M., spent last week here with her brother and wife, County Assessor Victor Tavonatti.

Histories of the Names of Central City and Black Hawk: The title, “Central City,” is singularly appropriate since it occupies a central position between Black Hawk and Nevadaville, Russell Gulch, and Apex – the extremes of settlement in the inhabited ravines. Its origin is thus explained by Mr. Hugh A. Campbell, now deceased, who relates that in 1859 he and Jess Trotter opened a miner’s store of supplies in a cabin built for the purpose, at the corner where Main and Lawrence Streets unite; that they put over the door a sign calling it the Central City Store, and persuaded the miners and others who called to change the addresses of their mail matter from the regular post office at Mountain City to Central City, and by persistently pushing it to the front finally secured its general adoption. It was not recognized as a town, indeed there were only a few scattered cabins and sheeted wagons in that vicinity. By 1861, however, it had become the principal center of business and population. It was surveyed and plotted in 1866 by an engineer named George H. Hill, when a patent to the townsite was applied for by the municipal authorities. The area embraced in the application was a fraction over 629 acres, and the patent received for that amount, less fifty one acres already covered by mining claims. Says Burrell, one of the historians of the county, “The question of superior rights as between mine owners, and two lot owners, came up very early in the history of the city and was not definitely settled until August 7th, 1871. At that time, the claim of Theodore H. Becker vs. the Citizens of Central had been in contest in the land office department claimed fifty feet in width of surface ground with his lode through the heart of the city, and because his claim antedated on the records the town lots in some instances, he expected to obtain patents for the surface ground as well as for his mine.” This, the Secretary of the Interior declined to grant. “Here the matter rested until the second application of the city for its town site occurred May 27th, 1874, when Mr. Becker, probably to still further test, and if possible to settle the question objected to its being granted without a special reservation in favor of the mines to hold the surface. The Commissioner of the Central Land Office, however, December 23rd, 1875, issued a patent to the city in trust for the owners of the city property, with the provision that no title should be thereby acquired to any mine or gold, silver, cinnabar or copper, or to any valid mining claim or possession held under existing laws.” To Central City and its surroundings was built the first narrow gauge commercial railway that ever penetrated the Rocky Mountains. The record of Central City’s vanished years is replete with glorified triumphs, the sudden accumulation of fortunes, and splendid social amenities, shadows at times with calamities, failures, disappointed hopes, and millions of recklessly squandered tragedies and despairs. Nevertheless, the everlasting hills are as thickly ribbed with mineral veins running into and through them down to unfathomable depths as of yore, although only a suggestion for the early years remains upon the surface in countless prospect holes.

Black Hawk derives its name from one of the earliest mining companies— Messrs. Lee, Judd, and Lee, who brought in a quartz mill bearing the title of that famous Indian Chief, and set it up on North Clear Creek, just within the present center of town. It was the largest and most important of the original line or reducing works planted there in the spring of 1860. Prior to this event, though no particular lines were drawn, the settlement, extending up to the intersection of Spring and Gregory Gulches was known as Mountain City, with its center just below the old Buell Mill. It stands at the junction of Gregory and Chase Gulches with North Clear Creek, one flank extending a mile or so along Gregory Gulch up to Gregory Point where it is met by Central City, which covers the intervening space on toward Nevadaville, Quartz Hill, and Russell Gulch.

90 years ago – June 29, 1928

Mr. and Mrs. Walter Funk were guests of Mrs. John H. Nakervls Saturday and spent a happy evening greeting old neighbors and friends. They were one time residents here and built a bungalow now occupied by the Harringtons. Mr. Funk engaged in Y.M.C.A. work during the war and Mrs. Funk was a teacher in our schools. They are very pleasantly situated and are enthusiastic over California, but they have a warm spot in their hearts for Idaho Springs. They have been living at San Luis Obispo, California. —Idaho Springs Journal

Clarence Auger and Bert Johnson were in Central Wednesday o get supplies for the Boy Scout Camp which is being inaugurated above Nederland.

Mr. and Mrs. Fred Rogers came up from Denver Tuesday morning, on a visit at the old home at Gregory Point.

Professor J. H. Lambert was over Tuesday on a short business visit from Boulder, prior to taking a trip to the pacific coast.

Alida Withrow, daughter of the late Edgar Withrow, of this city, from Manasquan, New Jersey, arrived in Central Monday on a visit with her grandpa, Chase Withrow. She was accompanied by Dorothy R. Sprague from the same town.

How to Make Steamed Cherry Pudding, by Nellie Maxwell: Take two tablespoonful’s of butter, cream and add one cupful of sugar, three beaten eggs, one cupful of milk, one tablespoonful of lemon juice, three cupful’s of flour, three teaspoonful’s of baking powder and one half teaspoonful of salt. Mix all the ingredients and add one quart of stoned cherries. Pour into a large mold and steam two and one half hours. Sauce: One cupful of sugar, one cupful of cream, one beaten egg and one cupful of stoned cherries. Melt one fourth of a cupful of butter and sugar in a saucepan, add the cream and egg and then the cherries.

120 years ago – July 1, 1898

Mrs. Frank Mayhew, who had bene visiting relatives in Nebraska for several weeks, returned to her home in Nevadaville on Friday last.

Ellis and Missal ran a 50 yard foot race Tuesday evening in Nevadaville, the former being an easy winner. The race was gotten up by Fred Bollinger and Reuben Morse, Bollinger naming the winning runner.

Mr. Ed. I. Grenfell, the agent of the railroad at Black Hawk, who has been on a business trip through the northwestern states, as far as British Columbia, returned home on Friday evening.

A force of twenty five men are at work in the First National Kansas Mine on Quartz Hill, most of them on the leasing or tribute system, and regular shipments of ore are being maintained to the stamp mills, which is returning from 4 to 5 ounces gold to the cord, with good values in the tailings.

The Phoenix-Burroughs Mine on Quartz Hill continues to ship from 7 to 10 cords of mill ore daily over the tramway lines to the mills in Black Hawk which gives good returns in gold retorts.

A new shaft house is being erected on the Michigan Boy Mine in Russell Gulch by Mr. L. Sternberger, the owner, who intends on installing a gasoline hoister to operate the property. The shaft has been sunk 100 feet for exploration purposes, and in the bottom a nice crevice of ore is showing up, having a value of $30 per ton, which is a good grade of ore for the mills.

A home pool has been formed and taken over the Mackey-Burroughs Mine east of the Phoenix-Burroughs property, and are engaged in erecting a shaft house and placing a plant of machinery. The main shaft is supposed to be about 500 feet in depth, and as no work has been done in the property since 1884, a considerable amount of work will have to be done before any great production can result.

Born: In Lake Gulch, June 23rd, 1898, to the wife of Forrest Jones, a daughter.

Born: In Central City, June 26th, 1898, to the wife of Joseph Hicks, a son.

Born: In Russell Gulch, June 23rd, 1898, to the wife of Baerlittli Berzilis, a daughter.

Born: In Russell Gulch, June 24th, 1898, to the wife of J.J. Hebert, a daughter.

Born: In Russell Gulch, June 28th, 1898, to the wife of William Tamblyn, a daughter.

Born: In Central City, June 27th, 1898, to the wife of James Hallinan, a son.

Born: In Central City, June 29th, 1898, to the wife of Man Walker, a son.

Married: In Central City, June 30th, 1898, Rev. A.E. Clay officiating, Mr. Henry Richards and Miss Lena E. Owen, both of this city.

Married: At Smith Hill, Rev. D. Utter, of Denver, officiating, Mr. Homer J. Hawley of Denver and Miss Helena Hutchinson of Smith Hill.

Married: In Nevadaville, June 25th, 1898, Rev. J.F. Long officiating, Mr. Henry Richards and Mrs. Grace Nicholls, both of Nevadaville.

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