History of Gold Mining
started in Colorado over a hundred years ago, probably just
after the California Gold Rush rushed out and some of the
returning miners tried panning for gold in the Colorado creeks
They found a lot of little pieces
of gold lost in the sand and gravel at the bottom of many
creeks, and soon there was a Colorado Stampede, or gold rush,
and towns sprang up everywhere.
a while all of the loose gold nuggets and dust were removed from
all the sand and many prospectors moved on.
however, went upstream to discover where that gold dust had come
from, and they found the rock where it had been cracked by
weather, and the gold particles simply washed into the streams
That was the
beginning of "Hard Rock Mining," as it is known,
whereby the remaining prospectors either partner together or go
to work for a mining company, to tunnel into the mountains of
the region looking for the main ore body.
is an expensive endeavor, requiring heavy equipment and a large
investment of both time and money, and will leave a miner either
rich or poor. Evidence of mines of all sizes is readily
apparent by looking at the hills above Cripple Creek.
Creek Got Its Name
story is that there was this here old geezer that was chasing
his cow across the valley, and the cow ran into a little creek
that ran through town, and the cow fell and broke its leg in the
creek. Then the guy that was chasing it got mad and his
horse threw him off and he fell into the creek and broke his
leg, so he said, "That creek is a real crippler," and
the name stuck.
What Us Guys
Did in Cripple Creek
As you know, some
of us always get out and sneak around whenever the old folks are
off doing something interesting.
though, we hid out in the van, cuz there was a lot of them
Harley Davidson Motorcycle guys roaming around town, and if any
of us was to try to cross the street, it might be curtains for
us, cuz them motorcycles are pretty fast and it's hard to get
out of the way if one of them is coming at you.
The other reason
is that a lot of them guys catch little guys like us and tie
them on the front of their motorcycles with a piece of rope, and
then you jest have to stay there and get bugs in your mouth, and
get rained on, and all sorts of other bad things that none of us
little guys would like.
Another reason is
that there are a lot of gambling casinos in Cripple Creek, and
that means that there are a lot of suspicious cops and security
guards always looking everywhere, so we could also get caught by
them as well.
left for Colorado Springs at
around 2:00 on August 13, 2003, so we could beat the
traffic rush that is reel bad earlier and later in the day.
That evening we went and ate dinner at a restaurant named
Giuseppe's, which is an Italian restaurant located in the old
train station, in the old part of the downtown area.
We didn't take any
pictures of the place, cuz they have about a bunch of them on
their website that you ken jest click on here:
Old Depot Restaurant
You ken also click
below to find more information about that old train station:
about the old train station
Early the next
morning, after breakfast, we blasted off for Cripple Creek, and
got to the Mollie Kathleen Mine about 10:00 a.m., and bought
tickets for the mine tour. This tour takes you 1,000 feet
below the surface in a couple of old things that look like little
phone booths, two of them on top of each other, and lowered into
the mineshaft with a long cable pulled up and down by a
lecktrickal motor that turns a big reel that holds all that cable,
and lets you down pretty slow so it doesn't crash into the bottom
of the hole. Sniffy got to go and he hid in Jim's pocket in
his jacket, so he didn't have to get a ticket and spend all of his
Sniffy Got to Go?
Sniffy came from the gift shop at Ruby Falls, in
Chattanooga, Tennessee, and behind that gift shop there is
a great big cave that goes reel far into the mountain, and
it ends up at a reel tall waterfall named Ruby Falls, so
he knows all about caves, so that's why he went along,
plus the rest of us guys are too big to fit into Jim's
pocket, anyway. You ken click here to find out more
about Ruby Falls if you want to:
Falls, Chattanooga, Tennessee
Picture #1 shows Sniffy checking
out a little mine train locomotive that is sitting in the parking
lot. He wasn't able to drive it or anything.
#2 shows the double decker mine cage elevators that everybuddy has
to ride in if they don't want to climb down the rickety wooden
ladders that are right next door to the elevator shaft.
Also, if the elevator breaks, you can always climb up the ladders
to get out.
Picture #3 shows
a tour guide, we'll call her "Michelle," who
demonstrated all the air-powered machines down in that mine, and
kept the old folks and Sniffy from getting lost down there.
Sniffy said everything down there was reel loud, and his rat ears
was ringing fer a couple of days.
#4 shows some empty old fashioned wooden dynamite boxes.
#5 shows a special little mine bicycle that the miners use to get
around in the mine, and also to get some exercise on the weekends
and other times when it's too cold outside and they want to go for
a bike ride.
Picture #6 shows
an old ore car that is full of gold ore, and they let you dig
through it and pick out any gold pieces you can find and keep
them. Sniffy got a reel valuable piece of that gold ore, and
you ken see some tiny little pieces of gold in it.
#7 shows the mine train that took them from one part of the mine
to another part that was a couple of blocks away. It was
pulled by a little locomotive that ran on compressed air, and it
made a lot of noise cuz it didn't have a muffler on the exhaust
side of the "dry steam engine."
#8 shows a vertical tunnel, called a "Stope," that runs
up above the ceiling of the main mine tunnel. This one goes
up about 90 feet, with a ladder and small platform about every 10
feet so the miners could climb up to where they were
working. Think about how hard it is to drive a nail into a
ceiling to hang something on. Then think about the nail
being a steel chisel about 1" in diameter and from 1 to 3
feet long, and you're going to drive it straight up into the solid
rock with a 3 or 4 pound hammer. And you're going to have to
make about 15 or more of those holes, then load them with dynamite
and blast the rock downward after you get out of there and run to
Of course, in later
years, the drilling was done with air-powered drills that shot
rock mud and water all over the miners below, but at least it was
just extremely noisy and messy, and the blasting was done with an
electrically detonated blasting cap, so it was a lot easier then!
Cripple Creek Photo Album
1. Sniffy on the mine locomotive
2. Elevator cages they rode in
3. Loud air drill for dynamite holes
4. Empty wood dynamite boxes
5. Little bike they ride in the mine
6. Old ore car full of free gold ore
7. Mine train they rode in on
8. Vertical stope in the mine
9. Old ore building behind mine
10. Perpetual motion machine
11. Real Steam rollers out back
12. Putt-putt railroad work car
13. Cardboard dynamite boxes
14. Sniffy on old truck
15. Old steam shovel
16. Old mining machinery in
#9 shows an old building where the ore was dumped and stored until
a truck or train pulled up underneath, and the ore was then
released from the bottom of several chutes into the waiting
vehicle which would then transport it for further processing.
Picture #10 shows
an early, experimental, "Perpetual Motion" machine,
which consists of 2 electrical generators and an electric motor,
all hooked together through a central steel shaft. The
principle of operation is actually very simple. The operator
wraps a rope around a pulley on the end of the shaft at the end of
the motor on the left of the picture, then by giving it a hard
pull, much like starting a lawnmower, the entire mechanism
spins. The generator on the right then produces a quantity
of electrical power that then turns the motor on the left, which,
in turn, powers the generator in the middle. It is this
generator in the middle that actually produces the excess
electrical power that is then used to power various electrical
lights, radios, motors, etc., around the mine. Further
production of this machine was halted by oil and other energy
interests due to the fact that it requires no outside energy to
operate, and actually generates excess power. To turn off
the machine, you jest jam a special stick into the side of the
center generator and use it to slow it down until it gets to going
reel slow, then it stops making lecktrick power and the whole
thing stops. This is the only known "Perpetual
Motion" machine in existence today, and the mine owners
apparently don't realize what they have, so consequently they are
not using it today.
Picture #11 shows
several genuine "Steam Rollers" that were once used to
smoosh down the fresh tar during the paving of streets and
Picture #12 shows
Gloria figuring how to load this little putt-putt railroad work
car into the van so we can give it a better home and go for rides
on the tracks near our house.
Picture #13 shows
some modern cardboard dynamite boxes out behind the mine hoist
building, stored safely behind a "Keep Out" sign on the
Picture #14 shows
Sniffy sitting on the fender of an old dump truck near the front
of the parking lot of the Mollie Kathleen Mine.
Picture #15 shows
an old real "Steam Shovel" that actually used to run on
steam, before somebuddy picked up too heavy of a load and bent the
boom arm in the middle.
Picture #16 shows a
line of various mining equipment lined up in the parking lot.
information on touring the Mollie Kathleen Mine, click on the link
You are Visitor
Since August 26, 2003
for the next page for more exciting action! --Sparky
to Save Electricity
We was on this trip when New
York and the other places there had their terrible power
blackout, so here are some ways to conserve energy, that nobuddy
told you about on TV or radio.
1. Put black
lecktrikal tape over pilot lights on all computers, TV's, coffee
pots, and all other home appliances. Also, put tape on all
appliance clocks that you seldom use.
2. Don't make
your stuffed animals take a bath too often, and, for sure, never,
never put them in the washing machine or clothes dryer.
3. Always make
exter coffee all at the same time, then save it to drink cold
the next time.
4. Make "Sun
Tea," cuz it cooks in the sun and don't need no lecktrik to
5. Eat the entire
box of ice cream so you don't have to waste energy opening the
fridgerator door too often. Get your root beer out at the
same time, too.
6. Eat lots of
chocolate chip cookies, cuz they're already cooked and you won't
have to keep them in a special container or waste any power to
keep them ready to eat.
7. Use battery
powered tools and toys whenever possible, like my Powerful Steam
Shovel, for instance. Wheelbarrows also don't waste any
8. Close curtains
at night to prevent light from leaking out. Remember that
if you jest put in littler light bulbs, less light will leak
out, but some dark will continue to leak in from outside.
printing press doesn't use any power, either, and I can set
Jim's lead type to print things without any power!
doing your share to conserve energy, you will assure that there
is enough power so that those reel big office buildings will
continue to be able to leave their lights on at night and keep
their water fountain that squirts water up in the air running
all year long. --Sparky
Good Place to be During a Blackout
We heard about
this old geezer who owns an old gas station somewhere in
Southwestern Colorado, and he doesn't have no phone or
likrish power except for the little bit he generates using a
dog-powered generator so he can watch old Gilligan's Island
reruns on his little black and white TV.
|His gas pump is
one of those old ones that uses a hand pump to put gas into the
glass tank at the top, then it comes out of the nozzle by
|His cash register
is hand cranked, so if the power goes out in the rest of the
world, he doesn't even know about it unless they interrupt
Gilligan's Island to let him know.
And, he has a
windmill that pumps water from his well, that also has a manual
water pump, just in case the windmill breaks down.