Welcome to Creede, Colorado, the only town in Mineral County. Today Creede is a quiet and picturesque village of about 400 permanent residents that lies nestled between the steep canyon walls of Willow Creek at an elevation of 8,852 feet. Creede, however, was not always such a small or quiet.

Few things capture the interest and imagination like the past’s mining camps, colorful characters, buildings and old memories. The vanished miners and the area’s unique residents, the unanswered question, the wondering- what would it have been like to live here 100 or more years ago? What wonderful stories and tales we can tell!

In days long past prospectors headed west into the Colorado Rockies seeking wealth from silver and gold. In 1889, a rich silver vein was discovered here by Nicholas Creede and the town Willow was quickly laid out at the foot of Campbell Mountain. Very shortly afterwards its name was changed to Creede. Overnight Creede turned from a grassy gulch into a bustling metropolis of mercantiles, saloons and gambling houses with “fancy ladies.” Hotels, rooming houses, log cabins, and shacks were built on every inch of ground in the small flat between the cliffs of the canyon. When there was no room left, buildings were crowed into the steep hillsides and against the cliff walls. Some were even erected on stilts over Willow Creek. But more people came, so the camp and town began to spread down into the lower portions of the canyon and below. And still more people came. By the summer of 1890, the town was growing at a rate of more than 300 people a day and fires burned in the streets all night to give light for new building construction that never ceased. Work and other activity never stopped and the town grew day and night as miners toiled through 12-hour shifts. Beds in boarding houses and hotels were filled around the clock for when one miner began his work shift; his bed would be filled by another miner who was coming off of his. Not everyone came to dig their fortunes from the hills, however. Many came to extract their wealth from the pockets of the miners.

In 1891, the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad completed a branch line into Creede. Its trains never ran empty in either direction. Arriving trains overflowed with passengers standing in the aisles, on top of cars, and sometimes on each other. Returning trains carried thousands of tons of rich silver ore back down from Creede. Creede was officially established as a town in 1892 and by the spring of that same year had exploded into a thriving city of never ending activity with the town and surrounding area playing host to some 10,000 inhabitants.

During these fabulous years of the early 1890’s, the streets were so filled with wagons, dancing girls, gamblers, tin horns, and miners that a person could hardly move, inspiring Cy Warman (a local journalist) to write in his poem- “It’s day all day in the daytime –and there is no night in Creede

Come join us on a magical journey into the past where such historic mines as the Park Regent, Last Chance, Happy Thought, Equity, Amethyst, and the Commodore can be viewed and, from more recent times, the Bulldog mine. Visit and relive the past by visiting such historic town sites as Bachelor, Weaver, and the original location of Creede in the east Willow Creek Canyon. If you listen closely and use your imagination you can still hear the sounds of picks and shovels and of hammers striking cold drill steel into the hard rock which gave birth to a boom town with bustling streets, roaring saloons, gambling houses and Colorado’s leading silver producer near the turn of the century. Visit the notorious “Black Pitch” as well as the historical Creede Cemetery and Bob Ford’s (slayer of Jesse James) grave site. Remember the colorful characters of Bat Masterson, Soapy Smith, Poker Alice, Calamity Jane, and others who made and lost their fortunes here. Marvel at the breathtaking scenery and experience the past.