Cripple Creek, Colorado: Ghosts of the Colorado Grande Casino and Hotel
In Cripple Creek Colorado sits an old building located at 300 E. Bennett Avenue. The structure possesses significant personality and charm. At first glance the Colorado Grande Casino and Hotel seems rather unassuming, with timeless brick architecture and a blue awning that shades the large display windows lining its street-level entrance. This site is much more than a historic landmark and bustling business. It is also known for much darker reasons. Local history has played out inside and around the location, seeping into each brick and leaving wisps of memory in the form of paranormal activity.
A Long and Sullied Past for Cripple Creek
The last notable Colorado gold rush began in 1890. During this time thousands hurried to the area in hopes of getting rich quick. American prospector W.S. Stratton uncovered one of the largest gold strikes in history in the region. This spurred the frenzy on which lead to the expansion of Cripple Creek. The community went from 500 residents in 1890 to 10,000 a mere three years later. Gold fever also brought many unique characters to the rapidly expanding town.
The Colorado Grande Casino and Hotel was constructed in 1896. The structure includes three levels intended for commercial use. Tense fighting between the mining union and those who owned the mines lead to extreme violence in Cripple Creek. The situation became so bad that the governor declared martial law. The National Guard arrived and took over to bring peace (and, inevitably, restrict many of the rights of those who lived in the town).
In time the situation calmed and the National Guard withdrew, but so did the prosperity of the mining community. Many found that gold was becoming more and more difficult to locate. Residents began to leave, looking for greener pastures elsewhere. The population dwindled to approximately 100 individuals by 1970, making it a ghost town.
Gambling was introduced in the 1990s which revived Cripple Creek. New business and families moved into the area and today the town is home to a strong community. The Colorado Grande Casino and Hotel stood throughout all the turmoil and strife, witness to the ugly underbelly of past decades as well as the positive renewal in recent years.
Do Memories Haunt the Colorado Grande Casino?
The Colorado Grande Casino and Hotel is believed to be among the most haunted locations in the United States. The most notable apparition is the figure of an Irish woman wearing turn of the century garments. She often smells like roses and is seen playing slots with an unnamed male partner. Given the name Maggie, she has been spotted by security guards working at the casino after hours. She always disappears when anyone attempts to approach her. It is believed she may have been a member of the community and she seems to be relatively upbeat and pleasant despite being deceased. The ghost has appeared as both a human figure and unexplained blue light.
Bennett Avenue is also noted for the presence of a young female spirit named Lily. She has been seen and is believed to love purple balloons. Some say if a different color balloon is left for Lily, it will pop mysteriously. However if a purple balloon is left it can be seen floating around as though a child’s small hands were playing with it, appearing to defy nearby breezes and gravity.
The Colorado Grande Casino and Hotel Today
The Colorado Grande continues to bring entertainment and lodging to the community of Cripple Creek. The business’ official website displays information on recent goings-on, although there is little about the possible haunting activity. The site boasts “History, Fine Food and Loose Slots!” although visitors should go in prepared because they may get a little more history than bargained for. Many have reported that security cameras caught footage of Maggie playing slots, but the film went missing inexplicably from a safe in the building.