Central City Colorado

Central City: The “Richest Square Mile on Earth”

Central City, a historic mining settlement founded in 1859 during the Pike’s Peak Gold Rush, came to be known as the “Richest Square Mile on Earth”. This nickname is a testament to the richness of the ores found in the area, which led to a surge of economic activity for two decades. Today, Central City is a fascinating place, surrounded by remnants of many of the most iconic gold mines in Colorado.

The Birth of a Mining Hub

Central City’s story begins with the discovery of gold. In 1859, John H. Gregory found a gold-bearing vein in Gregory Gulch, located between Black Hawk and Central City. This discovery, later named the Gregory Lode, sparked a rush of prospectors to the area. Within two months, thousands of fortune seekers had flocked to the town, then known as Mountain City, in search of their own riches.

The city was home to thousands of miners, most of whom mined the surface placer gold in gulches and streams around the city. The major places where gold was discovered in the central mining district include Gamble Gulch, Russell Gulch, the Dirt and Perigo Mines, and Rollinsville. Many gulches and creeks around the city had mining operations and still have traces of gold that one can pan.

The Richest Square Mile on Earth

Central City district had some of the richest gold ores in Colorado. It is reported that the city produced over four million ounces of lode gold and over thirty thousand ounces of placer gold. This puts it among the top gold-producing districts in the United States. The richness of the ores found in the area led to Central City being dubbed the “Richest Square Mile on Earth”.

However, by 1900 most of the miners had left due to a decrease in the amount of gold being produced in the area, but some mining did continue in a number of underground mines around the city way up to mid-1950s.

Central City Today

Today, Central City is surrounded by a number of ghost towns and old mines that tell the story of the early days of gold mining in the region. Quite a number of the old mines allow for planned tours and gold panning expeditions for visitors. This makes visiting Central City a perfect getaway for anyone interested in gold panning, and it is especially popular due to its close proximity to Denver.

Central City’s rich history and the exceptionally rich ores found in the area have left an indelible mark on Colorado’s mining history. The city’s legacy as a hub of economic activity and the “Richest Square Mile on Earth” continues to fascinate visitors and locals alike.


Orson Hill Realty

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Orson Hill Realty
I am the broker/owner/agent at Orson Hill Realty in Evergreen, Colorado and a Realtor at Platinum Real Estate on Marco Island, Florida.

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