Elkton Colorado

The small town of Elkton Colorado, became famous during the Cripple Creek gold find in the Pikes Peak region.

In 1893, Colorado was in the throes of economic failure. 

President Gover Cleveland had instituted the Sherman Silver Purchase Act and mining ground to a halt.

Many would be miners made their way to the Cripple Creek area to make their fortune. 

One such person was William Shemwell, a blacksmith from Colorado Springs.

Mr. Shemwell had no idea how to mine for gold.  Making his way up Raven Hill, he just started digging and, to his surprise, found some gold.

He immediately went to register his claim and when asked for the name, he remembered a set of antlers lying close to where he started digging and the Elkton mine was born.

Little did William know that his strike would be the second richest in the history of Cripple Creek mining.

He needed grubstake money, so he traveled to Colorado Springs and offered grocers Sam and George Bernard a half interest in his find.

Eventually, the Bernard brothers bought out Shemwell's half of the claim and started to manage the Elkton mine.

With more miners converging on the Cripple Creek area, tents and rough huts were springing up along the mine and the town was established.

Transportation was a big issue in the mining district.  However, Elkton had three railroad lines going through town, the Florence and Cripple Creek Railroad, the Midland Terminal Line and the Colorado Springs and Cripple Creek District Railway.

Other new discoveries were put in place.  Electric tracks, a streetcar line and roads made travel around the gold fields and in town a pleasant experience.

Communication in and out of the Cripple Creek basin was easier with the installation of a telegraph line.

In 1904, Elkton became one of the military camps set up to restore peace during the labor wars that threatened the mining district.

As with other gold towns, Elkton gradually faded away, only a few old buildings can be seen.  However, in its booming times, some now famous people worked the mines in the Cripple Creek District.

Tom Mix, the silent film cowboy, worked as a cowboy and bouncer; Groucho Marx drove a grocery wagon in Victor; Lowell Thomas was born in Victor; Ralph Carr grew up in Victor and worked on the newspaper.

Brothers Bill and Jack Dempsey worked the Bull Hill mine.  Jack was killed in a mine collapse and brother Bill took his name and became the World's Heavyweight Boxing Champion.

It is easy to get to what is left of the town of Elkton.  Take Hwy. 67 to Cripple Creek.  Follow the signs to Victor and follow the paved road around Raven Hill.  A dirt road leads up to the remains of the once booming town of Elkton.

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