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Turning Back the Pages


30 years ago – June 30, 1989
It took Ray Chavez a mere 58 seconds to drill a regulation size hole through hard rock at the Black Hawk Mining and Milling Festival, the fastest time logged by any of the competitors in the drilling competition held Saturday, June 24. The contest drew a number of hardrock miners, and next year’s competition is expected to be even bigger. It was the event that generated the most interest from the locals and tourists alike who stood in pouring rain to watch the demonstration that combined muscle with skill.The second most popular activity was panning for gold, with free lessons from miner Jesse Peterson. It wasn’t just the kids who peered intently into pans looking for the golden flecks that caused the original rush to this area more than a hundred years ago. Numerous adults, especially the male variety, took advantage of the opportunity to pick up a few tips from a pro on how to find the elusive metal. Both fun and educational, the festival drew crowds despite Saturday’s heavy rains. Artisans displayed their wares, browsers hunted for items to take home, and everyone took cover under bright blue tarps when the rains came. State Senator Sally Hopper put in an appearance, and although she really did have enough sense to get out of the rain, she was lured out into the downpour just long enough to grab hold of a jackleg drill. Ideas for a bigger and better festival next year are already hatching, and plans are already underway to expand and increase the activities.
The Central City Opera Association just seems to be outdoing itself this year. Not only is another wonderful opera season about to begin, considerable amounts of time and money are being spent beautifying the Opera block from corner to corner. Marti Niman applied a coat of weather seal to the redwood boardwalk that is nearing completion. The new sidewalk runs from Pine Street to Spruce Street, except for an expanse of smooth concrete in front of the Opera House entrance. In addition to the new boardwalk, said Opera employee Christopher Haworth, five houses owned by the association have been painted and fixed up, inside and out. They are the Johnson, McFarlane, Sauer, Parrish, and Moore houses. The Opera Association Assay Office also was rejuvenated recently. It is used as the Central City ticket office of the Opera Association. All the projects should be complete in time for the start of the season, which begins July 8.
The brand new Gilpin County Preschool Group opened its doors to the youngest “at risk” students in the county in December and has gotten off to a good start, thanks to the many dedicated volunteers who joined forces to provide help to our youngest children. The program was just an idea until new Special Education Coordinator Carol Hickam jumped right in and got the ball rolling. Then teacher Marge Quiller offered to share her classroom and other people joined in to support the program. The day before the preschool started, the room looked like a disaster area, with boxes everywhere and not much in place. Thanks to teacher Catherine Ryan and a few hard working high school students, everything was unpacked, bulletin boards went up and decorations covered the walls in time for opening day. Charlene Bridges pitched in to help make equipment and supplies, and Richard and Karen Graven volunteered not only time and materials to construct wooden stools for the kids but Richard also painted Sesame Street characters on them. Preschool directors Mur Hiltebrand and Marlene Thomas are delighted with the many caring people who got the program off to a tremendous start, and expressed appreciation for the teamwork shown by members of the community.
The Social Register
Born: Blair and Pam Wacha are the proud parents of a new son, Raymond Michael, born June 21, 1989, at Lutheran Medical Center in Wheat Ridge. Little Raymond weighed in at 7 pounds 8.5 ounces, and measured 20.5 inches in length. He joins big brother Shawn, 11, and big sister Morgan, 2, at the family’s Missouri Lakes home. Maternal grandparents Laurence and Gertrude Smith live in Wheat Ridge, while paternal grandparents Raymond and Charlene Wacha are from Denver.
60 years ago – July 10, 1959
Central City Nuggets
Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Wilsey, son and daughter, arrived Monday evening from New York, and will spend the summer here. They found their home had been broken into and considerable damage done to the furniture and dishes. A wrapping from a stick of dynamite was found outside the house and the dynamite alone heaped in a small pile. The clumsy way of forcing entrance to the house, and also that toys had been placed on a table, appears obvious that damage was done by teenagers. The house owned by Mrs. Emma Wilson at Dogtown, half way to Nevadaville, was broken into and several valuable paintings taken. This is the old rock building on the left side of the road going to Nevadaville, and has been furnished with valuable old pieces of antiquity. Law enforcement officers are working on several clues which we hope will bear fruition, and the culprits apprehended within a very short time.
Fifteen members of the Leadville Band were in Central Monday afternoon on a tour of good will and to advertise the annual burro race from that city to Fairplay, to be held July 26th.
Jack Foster, Editor of the Rocky Mountain News in Denver, spent Sunday night here, and the following morning found a large traffic ticket on his windshield for being parked in a restricted zone. His car was adorned with press plates, but it apparently made no difference to the Officer. Rather proves that even a brilliant Editor is treated the same as the average layman, and rather reminds me of the man who pasted cotton labels on all his wool suits just to fool the moths. However, Jack graciously paid the fine.
Toni Missinia, who has been operating “Tony’s Cafe” and the “Central City Famous Restaurant,” decided Sunday night about 12:00 o’clock that “the gold ain’t here like it once was,” and took himself off to greener pastures, but perhaps temporarily.
Died: A very serious and fatal accident occurred early Wednesday morning, when the car driven by Wm. J. Gravitt, 27, of Riverside, California, left the road at the intersection of Highway 119 with the road leading to Perigee. The car apparently was traveling at a high rate of speed as it rammed into the embankment on the left side to a distance of over a foot. Dr. Fowler, of Idaho Springs was called, and also the State Patrol, and it was found that Gravitt suffered severe wounds to his head, and was lying halfway out of the car. His companion, James Kreeps, 31, of Boulder, sustained various injuries. Both men were placed in the ambulance brought over by Dr. Fowler and on the way to the hospital in Boulder, Gravitt died without recovering consciousness. The body is being held in Boulder awaiting word from relatives.
Black Hawk Gold Dust
Jess Clemens of Denver, and for several years a resident of Black Hawk, was one of two men injured while at work on the new Abraham Lincoln High School in Denver last Thursday. An unwieldy load of concrete shifted and caused a section of the second floor to collapse. The injured men were released from St. Luke’s Hospital after X-rays showed no serious injury.
Mrs. Agnes Pringle and her son, Jack, from Winfield, Kansas, are here visiting her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Ben Purdy.
The Robert Lehrers and another couple spent the 4th of July weekend camping in Silver Creek.
Mr. and Mrs. James Betts and daughters were vision relatives here Sunday and enjoyed a picnic at Cold Spring.
Mr. and Mrs. Jack Birtwhistle and three children from Stockton, California, arrived Wednesday. They will visit two weeks with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Robins.
Mrs. Ethel States, who has been living in Denver for some time, was up last week.
90 years ago – July 5, 1929
A Central City miner, Nels Nelson, miraculously escaped death when his car left the road at a point five miles up Boulder Canyon and plunged down into Boulder Creek. The car dropped 12 feet and turned over and Nelson escaped with a few fractured ribs and minor injuries. A blow on the head rendered Mr. Nelson unconscious, and but for the aid of four Denver people he might have perished from the water in the car. The swiftness of the current and the depth of the water at that point made the rescue work difficult, according to the report of the Denver young people. It is not known whether the steering wheel locked or whether Mr. Nelson attempted the turn in the road at too high a rate of speed. —Boulder Miner
Mrs. Florence Dukes and son came up from Denver last week on a visit with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. R.C. Johnson, and Saturday afternoon Mr. Dukes and two sons arrived to spend Sunday here, the latter returning home that afternoon, and the former remaining for another week.
Mr. and Mrs. Amos B. Clark, and Amos Jr., arrived from Denver on Friday afternoon, on a visit with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. G.M. Laird, returning home Sunday afternoon, accompanied by Mrs. Laird, who will visit with them for the balance of the month.
120 years ago – July 7, 1899
Messrs. Ed. M. Rogers and Fred Rogers, of Aspen, two former well known residents of Gilpin County, arrived here on Wednesday, on a visit with friend and to look after their mining interests.
Mr. B.F. Seymour and wife, who for the past couple of weeks have been visiting relatives in Ohio, returned home on Wednesday evening.
Mrs. G.M. Laird and children left for Denver Thursday morning to spend a couple of months visiting relatives and friends.
Mr. and Mrs. Haley and son, of Pittsburg, Pa., arrived in Central Thursday evening on a visit with Mr. and Mrs. A.H. Day and family.
Miss Bessie Alexander of Peterson’s Lake, is visiting with Mrs. V.M. Kepler, of this city.
The rifle team of Black Hawk went over to Idaho Springs on the 4th to compete with teams from Denver, Cheyenne, and Silver Plume in off-hand shooting 200 yards. Denver won first prize with a score of 409; Black Hawk second with 408; Idaho Springs, 404; and Silver Plume with 360. The Cheyenne team had only five members present, and as no arrangements could be made satisfactory to all teams for a sixth man, the club did not enter the contest.
Charles Hesselbine, the 14 year old son of Christian Hesselbine, living in Denver, in celebrating the 4th, made a homemade bomb, composed of a tin can filled with powder, clay and waste paper, and in the explosion which followed a piece of the can struck him squarely in the eye, injuring that member and in all probability destroying the sight.
A letter received by Mr. Eureka Homes this week from William Woodruff, brought the information of the death of his daughter, Mrs. Inex Woodruff Wrightman, at Missoula, Montana, at the age of 33 years. She is survived by a husband and one child.
During the past week great activity was noticed around the Gunnell and Whiting mines, with men getting both properties in shape for active development work. The Cornish pump in the Gunnell shaft was started up on the evening of the 4th and, notwithstanding the long time that the property had been idle and working portions of the pump covered with several hundred feet of water, the pump worked without any trouble and raised water with the first stroke, and has been doing so ever since, and is making good progress in unwatering the mine. In the lower levels of the Gunnell are hundreds of cords of ore broken, which will be reached as soon as the mine in drained.
Married: In Central City, July 3rd, 1899, at the Methodist Church parsonage, Rev. J.F. Coffman officiating, John W. Nelson of Perigo, and Miss Mattie Manson, of Chicago, Ill.
Died: In Russell Gulch, July 1st, 1899, John, son of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Griffith, aged 2 years.
Died: In Central City, July 2nd, 1899, Henry Westervelt, aged 22 years.
151 years ago – July 9, 1869
Rev. Albert Hall, of Springfield, Illinois, preached at the Congregational Church in this city Sunday evening.
Thomas Mullen, of Central City, and Benjamin Woodbury, of Black Hawk, were the lowest bidders for building the penitentiary at Canyon City.
A run of three and one half cords of ore from the Jones Mine, of Nevadaville, returned gold retorts worth $1,761. One cord of galena ore, traded under stamps, yielded 13 ounces in gold bullion.
The county assessment had just been completed and the assessable property footed up to be $2,657. This did not include real estate, because there were no real estate titles to property which could be taxed.
Thomas Campbell, of the Central City Herald, William Aitcheson, John Brenneman, William Joblin, and others went over to Bear Creek Saturday to spend the 4th in hunting and fishing.
The 4th of July fell on Sunday and was celebrated on Monday, but no particular celebration of the day was observed.
James Bartlett and Frank E. Cafferty held up Cornelius Daily on Casey Street on Sunday evening, and after beating him up badly, they robbed him of $600 in certificates and $25 in cash. They were arrested and held in bail of $1,000 for appearance at the next term of court.
Mr. Halsey M. Rhodes, who had been employed on the Register, having gone into business for himself, Samuel Cushman has been selected to take his place.
One cord of ore from the Pewabic Mine in Russell Gulch, weighing about 6 tons, returned a gold retort weighing 44 and one half ounces, after being treated in the stamp mill.

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