THE MONEY PIT

THE GLORY HOLE HAS MURDER, INTRIGUE AND ENOUGH GOLD TO MAKE YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE. NO WONDER PEOPLE HAVEN'T STOPPED FIGHTING OVER IT.DISHING DIRT THEY'RE NOT MINING GOLD AT THE GLORY HOLE ANYMORE. JUST TROUBLE.

But some locals say the rock wasn't all that ore-laden. When ore production flagged in the mid-1930s, says one anonymous historian who still lives in Central City, Muchow brought in richer ore from other mines he was leasing, passing it off as bounty from his showpiece mine.

To many locals, however, Muchow, who died in 1969, remains the man who brought hundreds of jobs to the area during the Depression and preserved notable buildings in downtown Central City. Though mill tailings from the Glory Hole buried the town's original train station, Muchow put new roofs on the opera house and a number of churches for free, saving them from the elements, notes Norman Blake, the former director of the state Division of Mines. "He'd treat you right if you treated him right," says Blake, who did construction contracting for the mining mogul in the 1930s and 1940s and says he sometimes had to wait six months for Muchow to pay him. The money always arrived, though--cash stuffed into a letter from Chicago containing new work instructions. "I liked the man," adds Blake.

Like more than a few others in Central City and Black Hawk, Blake is more reserved in his endorsement of the man who became Muchow's successor, Harold Caldwell. "He's a good guy," Blake says of Caldwell, "but I would never do business with him."

end of part 1

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