Turning back the pages

30 years ago – August 2, 1991

Clark Gym, which is owned by the Gilpin County School District Re-1(GCSD) is now up for sale or lease. The property is located on lots four, five, and six of block six in Central City. Owned by GCSD for years, the building itself has no historical value. It was built in the 1950s. The facility was used as a community center. The site of the building may have some historical significance. Looking back in the Weekly Register-Call archives, a small tidbit of information was found in the 100-year anniversary which was published June 27, 1962. The school gymnasium covers the spot where one of the largest gambling operations in the West was situated. “Gold dust and nuggets were used entirely for the poker games.” This tantalizing tidbit was the only information we could pluck from our back issues. More research will be done on the subject in the near future. When asked the reason for selling or leasing the gym, Superintendent Paul Coleman said, “Right now the time is right and we want to take advantage of that.” One of the provisions of the sale or lease is that monthly payments be made to the GCSD for a percentage of the gross proceeds generated by the purchaser’s/lessee’s business operations located upon the property. “We want to perpetuate money for the school district to benefit special programs and education,” explained Coleman. “We would also like to supplement what the state is not doing for us.” Coleman said that the governor doesn’t know how to build a budget and the schools are suffering for it. Selling the gym will help the school get needed money. “The school will never use the gym, and we can get a percentage of the gross from now until forever and put it to good use,” said Coleman.

The Social Register:

Emma Eccker, who broke her hip on June 4, and had hip replacement surgery on June 6, is making a speedy recovery. “Hopefully she will be coming home a week from today,” said daughter Kathryn Eccker last week. Our best wishes go to Emma who is undergoing physical therapy at Beth Israel Pavilion. She was born Emma Bishop on February 10th, 1904, in Black Hawk.

Born: Jim and Kathy Graham, formerly of Gilpin County, are the proud parents of a new baby boy. Nicholas James Graham was born June 23rd, 1991, in Vallejo, California, weighing in at 8 pounds, 12 ounces, and measuring 20 and one-half inches. Nicholas has a big brother Adam, who is six years old. Kathy worked as a nurse at the Columbine Clinic, and Jim was the general manager of the Golden Rose Hotel and the Teller House. The Grahams moved to California a few years ago.

Died: Daniel Claire Gross died Wednesday July 24th, 1991, at Denver General Hospital after having a heart attack. He was 34. A memorial service in Macon, MO, on July 30th followed cremation. Gross was born on May 17, 1957 in St. Louis, Missouri. His parents were the late Foster Gross and Martha Torres. He first moved to Gilpin County in 1981 and lived here until 1984. During that time, Gross worked part-time at the Toll Gate Saloon, playing the piano and singing. Gross returned in February, 1990, purchasing a home in Russell Gulch. He then participated in the gun fights at the Toll Gate, including the last gun fight held on May 12th. Gross is survived by his wife, Andrea, son Mike Bishoff, daughters Mindy, Jenny and Sarah Gross, stepson Richard Freeze and stepdaughter Candace Bode, all of Macon, MO. Contributions for the family are being collected at the Kwik Mart in Black Hawk.

Died: Robert Lee Willingham, known to many as “White Buffalo” died Friday, July 26th, 1991, at St. Joseph Hospital in Denver. He was 61. Willingham was born September 12th, 1929, in Oklahoma City. His parents were Arnold Willingham and Agnes Bishop Willingham. He served in the Marine Corps in the Recon Division, where he learned martial arts. After leaving the service, Willingham owned and operated the Oklahoma Academy of Judo, Karate, and Jujitsu in Oklahoma City. He was a member of the Universal Life Church of California. In 1983, Willingham moved to Idaho Springs. Over the following years, he divided his time between Gilpin County and Idaho Springs, where he was known as “White Buffalo.” “White Buffalo” appeared often in staged gun fights, both at the Toll Gate Saloon in Central City and the Argo Mill in Idaho Springs. He was living in Idaho Springs at the time of his death. Willingham is survived by sons Kendall; Ronald Willingham, Idaho Springs; Robert, Boulder; Cliff Willingham, Oklahoma City, OK; Trent Willingham, Red Oak, OK; daughters Kim; Wakenda Rose Willingham, Boulder; Mary Beth Willingham, Odess, TX; Debbie Willingham, KS; half-brother Arnold Willingham, Oklahoma City, OK; and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

60 years ago – August 11, 1961

Central City Nuggets:

Robert P. Monroe and family, former residents of Central City, and now residing in Richland, Washington, were visiting with friends here last week. Bob Monroe and his wife are on their way to attend the 48th Triennial of the Grand Encampment Knights Templar of the United States of America, in the capitol city of Ohio. He is Grand Generalissimo of the Grand Commandery Knights Templar of Washington and is a past Master of Central Lodge No. 6, Past High Priest of Central City Chapter No. 1 R.A.M. and a Past Commander of Central City Commandery No. 2 K.T. Mr. and Mrs. Leroy J. Williams are also in attendance, Leroy being the Grand Representative from Colorado.

Two men were killed and a 14-year-old boy were injured Monday evening when their car went off the road and plunged down a 300-foot embankment on the second round of the Giant’s Ladder opposite Tolland. Donald McCoy, age 21, was thrown from the car, and his body was found some 300-feet down the mountainside in a pile of rocks. Death was instantaneous as almost every bone in his body was broken. Sheriff Rom Collins and Co. Commissioner Arthur Crow and several volunteers from Rollinsville were at the scene, also an ambulance from Boulder who took Frank Perry, aged 50, and son Robert, age 14, to the Boulder Community hospital, where Frank died on the way. Robert is still in serious condition with multiple bruises and cuts. The three had been cutting timber near Antelope, a small, abandoned station on the old right-of-way on the old Moffat road, and were returning to Tolland where they had been temporarily living, and in attempting to pass another car, drove too close to the edge, hitting a soft shoulder. The truck, an Army Dodge Power Wagon, went over the embankment. State Patrolman Norman Claxton, of Golden, was also at the scene, and helped in bringing the body of McCoy to the road, where the Tomford Mortuary ambulance of Idaho Springs took it to Idaho Springs. All three had permanent residences in Denver.

90 years ago – August 7, 1931

Mrs. Edwina Hutchinson, son and daughter, and Mrs. Coover, of Fort Collins, left on Thursday of last week for their home in Oakland, California. Mrs. Ll. P. Davies will visit in Denver for several weeks before returning to California.

Attorney Leroy William came up from Denver on the bus Friday, on a visit with his family and to attend to business matters, returning home Sunday afternoon.

Thomas Mitchell left for Grand Junction on Saturday morning last, to attend the annual meeting of the State Firemen’s Association, to be held there.

Died: In Denver, at St. Joseph’s Hospital, August 4th, 1931, James Daley, aged 67 years. Mr. Daley went to Denver a couple of weeks ago to undergo an operation at St. Joseph’s Hospital, and rallied from the operation, but it was found that another one would be necessary, which was accomplished last week since which time he had been in a serious condition, and the doctors gave little encouragement for his recovery, and he passed away on Tuesday. “Jim” as he was so well known to almost everyone here, had been a resident of the county over half a century as a miner, quartz hauler, and prospector, and had many friends throughout the state who will be surprised by his death. He was a member of Central City Lodge, Order of Elks, and is survived by a sister, Mrs. Frank Bullene, of Denver; Will Ryan, a half-brother in Mexico, and Roy and Charley Griffin, nephews. Funeral services will be held this Friday morning from the Young Chapel, Denver, with interment in Mount Olivet.

Died: In Denver, at the Grace A. Worrell Home, August 4th, 1931, Elmer Reynolds, aged about 60 years. “Tug” as he was called by all who knew him, was born in Black Hawk, attended the schools there, and grew up to manhood in Gilpin County, which has been his home all those years. He had been at Mrs. Worrell’s Home for some time, recuperating but to no benefit, and he was compelled to answer the summons on Tuesday. He is survived by his two sisters, Mrs. Frank Teats, of Littleton, and Mrs. Edith Gunn, of Cripple Creek, and his funeral took place yesterday afternoon.

Died: In Arvada, August 5th, 1931, George M. Williams, aged 72 years. Mr. Williams has been a resident of the county for over 50 years, before going to the valley to make his home. He was a first-class mill man, and some thirty years ago had charge of the stamp mill in the Perigo section of the county, which he conducted for years. During his residence at Arvada, he made numerous trips to Central City, to meet old friends, and live over events of his early days. He is survived by his wife and other relatives. His funeral will take place today, at 2 o’clock, from the Presbyterian Church in Arvada, with interment in the Arvada Cemetery.

120 years ago – August 7, 1901

George Stroehle and sons, of Black Hawk, have let the contract for their new building to Fred Ballard, who will attend to the carpenter work, and James Tierney will do the mason work.

Postmaster Harry Sears received an assay on Saturday of a piece of ore taken out of the Bobtail Mine, where he is interested as a lessee, which was a big surprise to himself and associates. The assay was made by Mr. P. R. Alsdorf, the assayer, and showed values of 2,864 ounces gold and 616 ounces silver, or a commercial value of $57,699 per ton.

Married: In Denver, August 2nd, 1901, Rev. A. Brandelle officiating, Mr. B.A. Johnson and Miss Ingry Johnson, both of Black Hawk.

Died: In Black Hawk, August 5th, 1901, Mrs. Elizabeth Hill, aged 75 years.

Died: In Black Hawk, August 6th, 1901, the infant child of Mr. and Mrs. James Sanderson, aged 9 months.

Died: In Central City, August 5th, 1901, Claud, son of Mr. and Mrs. Sherman McCallister, aged 2 months.

Died: In Central City, August 7th, 1901, of pneumonia, David Cerolini, aged 33 years.

Died: In Russell Gulch, August 7th, 1901, Redvers, son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Hore, aged 1 year.

Died: In Bennett, Colorado, August 5th, 1901, of consumption, Herbert M. Hammons, of Banger, Maine, aged 26 years.

151 years ago – August 11, 1871

Mayor Hugh Butler was reported quite ill at his rooms in the Gurney block.

Mr. H.M. Teller left for Philadelphia the first of the week to negotiate with Mr. Scott and associates on railroad construction.

Harper’s Claim on the California was down 370 feet. The first-class smelting ore was worth from $100 to $110 per ton, the second class $45 per ton, and the mill ore was yielding from 5 to 7 ounces gold to the cord, in the stamp mills.

Richards and Company, leasing on the Ophir-Burroughs Claim, had a crevice 4 feet in width, the mill dirt from which returned 13 ½ ounces gold to the cord, and the smelting ore was worth from $80 to $100 to the ton.

Mr. Jerome B. Chafee & Company had disposed of and transferred their banking business to Nat Young & Company.

Married: At the residence of J.M. Daily, in Georgetown, July 30th, 1871, Rev. Foley officiating, T.J. Charles and Miss Mary Kavanaugh of Georgetown.

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