November 25, 2011

Cripple Creek

Denver or Colorado Springs were popular towns in Colorado Territory, and have remained so since Colorado received statehood in 1876. Although Cripple Creek is often overlooked, the gold mining camp’s footprint is deep and widespread in Colorado’s historical soil.   
Cripple Creek, nestled in a saddle valley on the southwestern slopes of Pikes Peak, became a booming gold mining camp in the late 1890’s. At an elevation of nearly 10,000 feet and just below timberline, the city’s history is one of highs and lows with fires, disease, outlaws, Indian wars, labor wars, and prostitution.  

        Here’s a peek at the Cripple Creek that inspired this author to write The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series.
  • Tens of thousands of men (and women) flocked to the rocky mountains of Colorado seeking gold.
  •  Between 1890 and 1910 more than 22,000,000 ounces of gold were extracted from 500 mines in the Cripple Creek District, mainly Cripple Creek and the neighboring town of Victor.

  • The Cripple Creek District produced thirty millionaires.
  • Many influential women made history in Cripple Creek, including Sister Mary Claver Coleman of the Sisters of Mercy who helped establish the first general hospital in Cripple Creek; business entrepreneur Mollie O’Bryan, the first woman with an official seat on the Cripple Creek Gold Mining Stock Exchange; Dr. Susan Anderson (Doc Susie); Mollie Kathleen Gortner who became the first woman to file a gold claim in her own name in the Colorado camps; and Pearl DeVere, proprietor of The Homestead House. As a bonus, I feature at least one of these women in each of the four stories in the Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series.
  • By the time the nineteenth century gave way to the 1900’s, Cripple Creek had become a cultural destination, drawing the upper tens of Denver and Colorado Springs to its opera houses and ice cream parlors.

  • This rowdy but charming mountain home of The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek now houses several engaging museums, including the Cripple Creek District Museum, Pikes Peak Heritage Museum, Outlaws & Lawmen Jail Museum, and the Old Homestead House Museum.

  • Between mid-may and mid-October, you can ride the Cripple Creek & Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad, reliving Vivian Sinclair’s train ride to Victor in combination with the tactile experience and your imagination.
I hope you’ll spend time in my fictional town of Cripple Creek with Kat, Nell, Ida, and Vivian Sinclair in The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series, and plan to visit the historic Cripple Creek one day soon. Perhaps June 22-24, 2012, for Donkey Derby Days?

Extra! Extra! In the spring, WaterBrook Press will sponsor a spectacular contest to launch Book Three, The Bride Wore Blue (available May 8, 2012). The Grand Prize? Win a trip to Donkey Derby Days in Cripple Creek, Colorado! Plug into the Mona Hodgson Author Page on Facebook (,, and the Mona Hodgson Update Newsletter for details (You can sign up on my website).

 Recommended Reading:
Money Mountain by Marshall Sprague
Cripple Creek Days by Mabel Barbee
Cripple Creek District: Last of Colorado’s Gold Booms by Jan Mackell
The Cripple Creek District by the staff and board of the Cripple Creek District Museum
Cripple Creek: World’s Greatest Gold Camp by Leland Feitz
Cripple Creek Railroads by Leland Feitz


Blanche aka Dianne Hartshorn said...

Cripple Creek in the old days, before gambling came into existence was one of the greatest places to visit. I am so glad you are keeping the history of old Cripple Creek alive

Mona Hodgson said...

Hi Blanche,
Thanks for reading the post, and for your comments.
Blessings and Happy Reading,

MJ @ Creative Madness Mama said...

Love the pictures, brings everything right to life. I cannot wait to get into these stories!

Mona Hodgson said...

Hi MJ,
I appreciate your enthusiasm for the Sinclair Sisters. Book Three will be available in May, and Book Four in October. Thanks for reading the post and commenting.
Happy Reading! :)

Janet Chester Bly said...

Mona: Your Cripple Creek stories look great!

Mona Hodgson said...

Thanks, Janet. Always good to hear from you. I love Stephen's cowboy poetry.

jtwebster books said...

I enjoyed reading more about Cripple Creek. I feel like I know it so well after reading your first two books about the Sinclair sisters.Can't wait for May and the next instalment!

kimdtaylor said...

I loved reading your story about Cripple Creek. Especially love the rock face building.

Mona Hodgson said...

Thanks for the note, JT. I'm so glad you're enjoying the Sinclair Sisters. Can't wait for you to read Vivian's story.

Mona Hodgson said...

Hi Kim,
So glad you enjoyed reading about Cripple Creek. I love writing about. And you can see why--still so rich in history.