Monday, February 13, 2017

40 Rare Vintage Photographs of Two Fires That Nearly Decimated Cripple Creek, Colorado in April 1896

In late April 1896, Cripple Creek, Colorado, endured two catastrophic fires over a period of 96 hours.

The first, on April 25, 1896, began around 1 p.m. when a gasoline stove overturned on the second floor of the Central Dance Hall on Myers Avenue. A brisk wind spread the fire to adjoining buildings. By the time the fire was out, two lives had been lost and eight blocks of the city's central business district had been destroyed.

Just a few days later, on April 29th, a second fire broke out. The headlines of the April 30, 1896, Rocky Mountain News declared:
CRIPPLE CREEK WIPED OUT BY FIRE / Second Conflagration Destroys Nearly All That Portion of the Town Not Touched by Flames—Thousands Are Destitute / Buildings Blown Up in an Attempt to Save the City / Three Men Are Dead and a Number Injured, Several of Them Fatally / Snow is Falling and Hundred of Campfires Dot the Surrounding Hills
The newspaper went on to include details of a fire that rendered 6,000 of the city's 16,000 residents homeless:
The second great fire came with the swiftness and deadly energy of the lightning's bolt. At 1 o'clock this afternoon fire started in the kitchen of the Portland hotel on Second street, below Myers...The whole city rushed to the scene, dropping tools from their hands. The fire jumped with a roar like a hungry giant at his food. Floods of water and the demolition of buildings with deafening explosions of dynamite were childishly impotent to stay the fire, and men stood with tears running down their cheeks, helpless.

Bennett Avenue, Cripple Creek, Colorado, first fire

The fire at Cripple Creek, Colo

Cripple Creek, Colorado after first fire

Cripple Creek, Colorado after first fire

El Paso Livery Stable before the fire

El Paso Livery Stable, the explosion, 1896

El Paso Livery Stable burning, fire 1896

Cripple Creek fire 1896

El Paso Livery Stable burning, fire 1896

Cripple Creek

West half burned 3 days after east half

West half burned 3 days after east half

After the 2nd fire

After the fire

After the fire

Bennett [illegible] and Penrose Blk

Bennett Ave.

Bennett Ave.

Bennett Ave. after 2nd fire

Bennett Ave. after the fire

Bennett Ave. looking west

City Jail, Crippe [sic] Creek fire

Cor. Tutt and Penrose blk

Cripple Creek

Cripple Creek, after the fire

Cripple Creek after the fire

Cripple Creek after the fire

Destruction caused by second fire, Cripple Creek

Destruction caused by second fire, Cripple Creek

Destruction caused by second fire, Cripple Creek

Examining a safe

First National Bank after first fire, Cripple Creek, Colorado

General view after the fire, Bennett and 4th

General view after the fire, Cripple Creek

Palace Hotel

Part of First St. saved from the fire 1896

Part of First Street

Rebuilding over the hot ashes

The only [illegible] Bennett Ave.

West, Cripple Creek after the fire

(via Denver Public Library History)

No comments:

Post a Comment