District installs 3rd ore cart in Old Colorado City
A third Cripple Creek ore cart has rolled into Old Colorado City. Welded onto a small piece of track in a newly laid bed of gold ore this week at the Bancroft Park
corner of 24th Street and Colorado Avenue, the cart replaces the “Old Colorado City” sign at what's considered Old Town's east entrance.
The sign will be relocated to the southwest corner of the intersection, in front of Pikes Peak National Bank, according to Danny Gieck, City Parks coordinator for the Old Colorado City Security & Maintenance District.
The other carts, purchased by the district over the past two years, are at 27th and Colorado (the west entrance) and the south side of the 2600 block.
The district, which is funded by property taxes from Old Colorado City property owners (and is responsible for its public improvements), bought the cart recently for $2,000. The idea is to provide a historic welcome to the city's earliest commercial area, which originated as a supply town for gold miners and later fostered the milling of Cripple Creek's gold, according to Jim Heikes an Old Colorado City merchant and a member of the district's advisory committee. “I think it's important to have it in this part of town,” he said. “It's part of why Old Colorado City is there. So anything we can do to tie it to the mines is good. We felt that by the park was the best place to put it. When you see ore carts when you're driving down the avenue, you think you're getting into something.”
Added Judy Kasten, president of the district's advisory committee. “I'm amazed at how often I can drive up the avenue and see people reading the plaques on the carts or having their pictures taken in front of them.”
No plaque has yet been put in front of the new cart. Heikes, who actually sold the cart to the district, is still researching the matter with the person he had bought it from several years ago. All Heikes knows at this point is that “it's from one of the mines in Cripple Creek,” he said.
Although the cost of an ore cart might seem expensive, it's mainly because the small ones, like the three now in Old Town, are rare. “You can hardly find them in good shape, not painted or rusted,” Kasten said.
As for the bed of gold ore around the cart, she cautioned anybody thinking about grabbing a rock in hopes of wealth. “To get even one ounce of gold, I don't know how many tons of ore it takes,” she laughed.
The Maintenance District has also been busy with landscaping in other parts of Old Colorado City. Gold-ore rocks have also been spread at the corner of 25th and Pikes Peak Avenue in front of Deb's Coffee House, while a wrought-iron fence (with a walk-through opening) is about to go up paralleling Colorado Avenue in front of the small public parking lot on the south side of the 2600 block. That should look good and avert the past problem of people walking from the lot in different directions, resulting in trampled plantings, Gieck said.
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