Central City, Colorado

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Central City, Colorado
City
The Teller House
The Teller House
Nickname(s): The Richest Square Mile on Earth
Location in Gilpin County and the state of Colorado
Location in Gilpin County and the state of Colorado
Coordinates: 39°48′9″N 105°31′0″W / 39.80250°N 105.51667°W / 39.80250; -105.51667
Country United States
State Colorado
Counties Clear Creek, Gilpin[1]
Settled 1859
Incorporated June 12, 1886[2]
Government
 • Type Home Rule Municipality[1]
Area
 • Total 1.9 sq mi (4.9 km2)
 • Land 1.9 sq mi (4.9 km2)
 • Water 0 sq mi (0 km2)
Elevation[3] 8,510 ft (2,594 m)
Population (2000)
 • Total 515
 • Density 271.1/sq mi (105.1/km2)
Time zone MST (UTC-7)
 • Summer (DST) MDT (UTC-6)
ZIP Code 80427 (PO Box)[4]
Area code(s) Both 303 and 720
FIPS code 08-12910
GNIS feature ID 0181484
Website Central City

Central City is a home rule municipality in Clear Creek and Gilpin counties in the U.S. state of Colorado, and the county seat of Gilpin County.[5] The city population was 515 in the 2000 United States Census. The city is a historic mining settlement founded in 1859 during the Pike's Peak Gold Rush, which came to be known as the "Richest Square Mile on Earth." Central City and the adjacent City of Black Hawk form the federally designated Central City/Black Hawk National Historic District.

History[edit]

On May 6, 1859, during the Pike's Peak Gold Rush, John H. Gregory found a gold-bearing vein (the Gregory Lode) in Gregory Gulch between Black Hawk and Central City. Within two months many other veins were discovered, including the Bates, Gunnell, Kansas, and Burroughs.[6] By 1860, as many as 10,000 prospectors had flocked to the town, then known as Mountain City,[7] and surrounding prospects, but most soon left, many returning east.[8] The 1900 census showed 3,114 people.

The year 1863 brought the first attempt by hard rock miners to form a hard rock miners' union. Of 125 miners signing a union resolution in Central City, about fifty broke windows and doors at the Bob Tail mine, forcing other workers out. After a night of shooting and fighting, the union effort among Central City miners failed.[9]

Many Chinese lived in Central City during the early days working the placer deposits of Gregory Gulch. They were forbidden work in the underground mines. Most of them are believed to have returned to China after making their stake.

The frontier gambler, Poker Alice, lived for a time in Central City and several other Colorado mining communities.[10]

Gold mining in the Central City district decreased rapidly between 1900 to 1920, as the veins were exhausted. Mining revived in the early 1930s in response to the increase in the price of gold from $20 to $35 per ounce, but then virtually shut down during World War II when gold mining was declared nonessential to the war effort. The district was enlivened in the 1950s by efforts to locate uranium deposits, but these proved unsuccessful.[6]

The population of Central City and its sister city Black Hawk fell to a few hundred by the 1950s. Casino gambling was introduced in both towns in the early 1990s, but had more success in Black Hawk (which has 18 casinos) than in Central City (which has 6 casinos), partly because the main road to Central City passed through Black Hawk, tempting gamblers to stop in Black Hawk instead. In an effort to compete, Central City completed a four-lane, 8.4-mile (13.5 km) parkway from Interstate 70 to Central City, without going through Black Hawk.[11] The highway was completed in 2004, but Black Hawk, which prior to the introduction of gambling was much smaller than Central City, continues to generate more than seven times the gambling revenue that Central City does. To compete, Central City has recently eliminated height restrictions for building on undeveloped land. Buildings were previously limited to heights of 53 feet (16 m), so as not to overshadow the town's historic buildings.[12]

Tax from the gambling revenue provides funding for the State Historical Fund, administered by the Colorado Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation.[13]

Geography[edit]

Central City is located at 39°48′9″N 105°31′0″W / 39.80250°N 105.51667°W / 39.80250; -105.51667 (39.802631, -105.516782)[14].

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.9 square miles (4.9 km2). None of the area is covered with water.

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 598
1870 2,360 294.6%
1880 2,626 11.3%
1890 2,480 −5.6%
1900 3,114 25.6%
1910 1,782 −42.8%
1920 552 −69.0%
1930 572 3.6%
1940 706 23.4%
1950 371 −47.5%
1960 250 −32.6%
1970 228 −8.8%
1980 329 44.3%

As of the census[15] of 2000, there were 515 people, 261 households, and 101 families residing in the city. The population density was 273.0 inhabitants per square mile (105.4 /km2). There were 394 housing units at an average density of 208.8 per square mile (80.6 /km2). The racial makeup of the city was 91.84% White, 0.19% Black or African American, 1.55% Native American, 1.17% Asian, 1.17% Pacific Islander, 2.52% from other races, and 1.55% from two or more races. 9.32% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 261 households out of which 17.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 26.8% were married couples living together, 8.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 61.3% were non-families. 43.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.97 and the average family size was 2.76.

In the city the population was spread out with 16.5% under the age of 18, 10.1% from 18 to 24, 34.0% from 25 to 44, 30.9% from 45 to 64, and 8.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 115.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 115.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $30,921, and the median income for a family was $31,667. Males had a median income of $32,917 versus $25,446 for females. The per capita income for the city was $26,465. About 7.4% of families and 12.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.3% of those under age 18 and 5.2% of those age 65 or over.

Education[edit]

Central City Public Schools are part of the Gilpin County School District RE-1. The district has one elementary school and one high school, Gilpin County Elementary School and Gilpin County Undivided High School.[16]

Tina Goar is the Superintendent of Schools.[17]

There are approximately 380 students enrolled in the district.[18]

Points of interest[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Central City Opera House, 1934
  1. ^ a b "Active Colorado Municipalities". State of Colorado, Department of Local Affairs. Retrieved 2012-12-08. 
  2. ^ "Colorado Municipal Incorporations". State of Colorado, Department of Personnel & Administration, Colorado State Archives. 2004-12-01. Retrieved 2007-09-02. 
  3. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  4. ^ "ZIP Code Lookup" (JavaScript/HTML). United States Postal Service. Retrieved September 5, 2007. 
  5. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  6. ^ a b Paul K. Sims and others (1963) Economic Geology of the Central City District, Gilpin County, Colorado, US Geological Survey, Professional Paper 359, pp.7–8.
  7. ^ The name of the post office until 1869, see page 101, Bauer, William H.; Ozment, James L.; and Willard, John H., Colorado Post Offices, 1859-1989: A Comprehensive Listing of Post Offices, Stations, and Branches, Colorado Railroad Museum (May 1990), hardcover, 280 pages, ISBN 978-0-918654-42-7
  8. ^ "Central City, Colorado". WesternMiningHistory.Com. Retrieved April 17, 2011. 
  9. ^ Mark Wyman, Hard Rock Epic, Western Miners and the Industrial Revolution, 1860-1910, 1979, pages 151-152.
  10. ^ "Kathy Weiser, "Poker Alice - Famous Frontier Gambler"". legendsofamerica.com. Retrieved May 10, 2012. 
  11. ^ http://www.centralcityhighway.com/pdfs/onepagebrochure.pdf
  12. ^ Andy Vuong, "Eased gambling, building rules give Central City a second chance," Denver Post, 1 July 2009, p.1.
  13. ^ State Historical Fund, Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, Colorado Historical Society, USA.
  14. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  15. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  16. ^ "Black Hawk Schools". GreatSchools, Inc. Retrieved 2012-05-07. 
  17. ^ "SCHOOL DISTRICTS/BUILDINGS AND PERSONNEL". Colorado Department of Education. Retrieved 2012-05-07. 
  18. ^ "Gilpin County School District Re - 1". Trulia Inc. Retrieved 2012-05-07. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 39°48′09″N 105°31′00″W / 39.802631°N 105.516782°W / 39.802631; -105.516782