Black Hawk, Colorado

Black Hawk City Hall
Black Hawk Town Hall

Black Hawk is the least populous incorporated city in the state. It was originally founded adjacent to Central City in 1859 during the Pikes Peak Gold Rush. The area flourished following the construction of the amalgamation mills and the discovery of more ore bodies. Then the quality of the ores dropped and the amalgamation mills ceased working.

In 1868, Nathaniel P. Hill built Colorado's first successful ore smelter in Black Hawk. It was able to recover gold from the deeper sulfide ores and gold mining came back into vogue again. But declining returns from the ore bodies set in after 1900, and Black Hawk's fortunes declined with it until Colorado's voters allowed limited stakes casino gambling in 1990.

A much smaller town, Black Hawk's casinos outnumber those of Atlantic City, New Jersey. In 2008, Colorado's voters allowed the local towns to "control" themselves in terms of raising those "limited stakes" and lengthening their limited open hours (although there is still a limit of 24 hours per day). So the only gold or silver to be found in the area now is laid out on the felt-covered tables...

A view of some 1880s refurbed houses and stores on the edge of the casino district
The only casino in the picture is closed
Black Hawk, Colorado
Some original structure, refurbed, as the casino operators promised
Crooks Palace in Black Hawk, Colorado
Crook's Palace, ready for lease
Looking at one of the first casinos to operate in Black Hawk
One of the original casinos in Black Hawk
Some of Black Hawk's earliest homes
More of the original homes in Black Hawk
Photos are courtesy of TheArmchairExplorer, CCA-by-SA 4.0 License