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Highlands Ranch High School - Mr. Sedivy
Highlands Ranch, Colorado

Colorado History

- Colorado History -
Other Colorful Towns in the Cripple Creek District
Gillett, Victor, Fremont, Independence

Colorado's Only Bullfight and More!

Gillett, Colorado

Gillett, Colorado during the gold rush
Gillett, Colorado during the Cripple Creek gold rush

Gillett was a gold camp known as the "Monte Carlo of the West." The town of Gillett bragged of three dance halls, and 14 saloons that were open 24 hours a day. Gillett also had the Cripple Creek District's race track, and the town was a popular site for sporting events.

Bullfight at Gillett
Colorado's only bullfight was at Gillett.

Colorado's only bullfight was held in Gillett in 1895. On the first day of the event, the crowd included 100 women, mostly prostitutes, and a few nervous humane society official and local law enforcement agents. The promoters were fined $5 for cruelty to animals and then the show proceeded.

The bulls were too frightened to fight. It ended up that the first bull was tortured for 20 minutes before it was finally killed, and the second bull was shot by a deputy. By the time it was all over, the promoters only took in $2600 against their $7000 in expenses. Gillett's bullfight was a fiasco in part because it attracted as many pickpockets and con men as legitimate patrons.

Victor, Colorado

Victor tightrope walker in 1895
Performance by a tightrope walker in Victor, Colorado in 1895

Victor was a lusty gold camp and its saloons and whorehouses were as wicked as Cripple Creek's were. But, the mine owners and big spenders all lived in Cripple Creek. One of the area's richest mines, the Gold Coin, was discovered in the middle of town. The Portland, Independence and Ajax mines were located on Battle Mountain, just north of Victor. The prizefighter Jack Dempsey mucked in the Portland Mine, and Vice President Theodore Roosevelt laid the cornerstone of the YMCA.

Vicotr, Colorado fire of 1899
Victor never fully recovered from its disastrous fire of 1899.

Victor's disastrous fire began in a crib in Paradise Alley on August 21, 1899. As the Times reported, the crib's denizens had been smoking opium. While the ashes were still smoldering, the citizens of Victor began rebuilding - the banks and saloons were back in business in just three days.

Fremont, Colorado

Fremont, Colorado in 1892
Town of Fremont in the Cripple Creek District - July 14, 1892

The town of Fremont was close to Poverty Gulch and several of the first gold discoveries. By the spring of 1891, there were a hundred or so prospectors who had pitched tents and made camps on the Broken Box Ranch owned by the Houseman Company. Instead of evicting the prospectors, the land owners decided to seize the opportunity.

They platted the Broken Box Ranch and began to sell "town lots." The sale of lots was brisk, but since no one in the Houseman Company had faith in the new gold discoveries each deed was written with the restriction that all lumber and improvements had to be left on the lots when the property was abandoned.

The Hayden Placer Group just northeast of the Fremont area entered into competiton with the Houseman Company's lot sales, but the deeds of the Houseman Company did not have restrictions on gambling or liquor sales. Hayden Placer took on more of a residential character, while Fremont became the business district.

Independence, Colorado

Cripple Creek District's Independence Depot
The Independence Depot in Independence, Colorado

Independence played a decisive role in the 1903-04 labor war in the Cripple Creek District. Terrorist Harry Orchard, allied with the Western Federation of Miners, blew up the Independence depot. Thirteen men died when the Independence depot was bombed, and several more men were mutilated. This incident hastened the end of the Cripple Creek District's labor war.

Independence was named for the Independence Mine, Winfield Scott Stratton's great discovery. the town was within walking distance of many of the mines in the district. Independence was finally deserted in the 1950s, so it is one of Colorado's best preserved ghost towns.

Cripple Creek District Labor Strikes:
| The Western Federation of Miners / State Militia |
| The 1893 - 1894 Strike | The Strike of 1903 - 1904 |
| The Mine Owners Association |
| Crimes and Military Rule in the Cripple Creek District |
| Marshall Law in Cripple Creek District / End of the Strike |

Early Cripple Creek District
| Photos, Fire, and Life in Cripple Creek |
| Other Colorful Towns in the Cripple Creek District:
Gillett - Colorado's Only Bullfight, Victor, Independence
| A Guide to the Miners' Gritty Lingo |

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- Colorado History In Depth -
Lecture Notes, Reading, and Information:

| The Cheyenne Migration to Colorado |
| The Gratlan Affair, Massacre, Fort Laramie Treaty |

The Cheyenne Social Club
| A Cheyenne War Story: Wolf Road, the Runner |
| Cheyenne Traditions and Beliefs, Sacred Stories |
| Horses, Warriors, War Pipe, Sweatlodge Ceremony |
| Cheyenne War Parties and Battle Tactics |
| The Scalp Dance and Other Cheyenne Dances |

Fort Union
| The Sante Fe Trail and Fort Union |
| Sumner - Ninth Military Department / The First Fort Union |
| Early Arrivals to Fort Union, Daily Life at Fort Union |
| Captain Grover - The New Fort Union, the Confederate Threat |
| Fort Union Arsenal, William Shoemaker, End of Fort Union |

Americans from the East
| Thomas Jefferson, the Louisiana Purchase |
| The Expedition of Zebulon Pike |
| Pikes Peak or Bust / Colorado Gold Rush |

Colorado's Role in the US Civil War
| The Civil War, Fort Wise / Fort Lyon |
| Mace's Hole, Colonel Canby, F.C.V.R. | Fort Weld |
| The Pet Lambs, John Chivington |
| General Henry Sibly, Battle of Valverde, Fort Union |

More Colorado History Information
| Bent's Fort Photos, Personalities, Plans, and More |

| What Was Easter Like at Bent's Fort? |
| Colorado Trivia, Miscellaneous Old Photos,
Western Personalities, Forts, and More

| Lullabies for Jittery Cows - Cowboy Ballads |
| Heraldry of the Branding Iron |
| Project Aims to Clear Infamous Cannibal, Alferd Packer |
Lead Gives Alferd Packer's Story More Weight |
| Legendary Colorado Love Stories: Baby Doe Tabor & More |
| Colorado Pioneer Women: Elizabeth Byers |
| Early Denver Jokes / The History of April Fools' Day |

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Highlands Ranch High School 9375 South Cresthill Lane Highlands Ranch, Colorado 80126 303-471-7000

Mr. Sedivy's History Classes
| Colorado History | American Government | Advanced Placement Modern European History | Rise of Nation State England | World History |
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