Herb Ringer’s American West: CENTRAL CITY, COLORADO… Late 1940s



From the WPA Guide to Colorado, published in 1941:

“Passing numerous mine shafts and ore dumps, State 279 ascends a high ridge known as QUARTZ HILL and descends to CENTRAL CITY, 8.1 m. (8,560 alt., 572 pop.), seat of Gilpin County, once known as “the richest square mile on earth.” The first impression is that the worst possible site was chosen for a settlement. Gregory Gulch, along which the town wanders, ascends steeply from the North Fork of Clear Creek, and houses cling precariously to the steep slopes of the gulch. Although some mining is carried on, Central City bears the marks of neglect and decay. Near the junction of the three principal streets are grouped the larger business structures of weathered frame and stone. Many have been abandoned but still flaunt old signs painted in the golden era when saloons and dance houses were crowded day and night. The surrounding hills, long since stripped of timber, are scarred with mine shafts and ore dumps. Near the center of town is a great yellow mound of mill tailings from the Glory Hole on Quartz Hill.”


“The TELLER HOUSE, Eureka St. between the opera house and Main St., a plain brick structure, was the last word in frontier hostelries when completed in 1872. At the time of President Grant’s visit in 1873, he walked from the stagecoach to the hotel on a path of silver bricks. Such evidence of respect on the part of their elders did not deter small boys from mounting to the roof of a stable opposite and throwing snowballs at Grant’s plug hat. The hotel is conducted in conjunction with the Opera House. Original murals in the bar were uncovered in 1932 after twelve layers of wallpaper had been removed.”


HERB RINGER came West from his home in New Jersey in 1939. Camera in hand, Herb captured the American West, from the Canadian Border to the Rio Grande and from the Big Sur coast to the High Plains.
We believe Herb’s collection of Life in the West is one of the finest. His work has been published in The Zephyr for 20 years. I am pleased finally, to offer Herb’s photographs in color. We are also building a new ‘album’ of his work, elsewhere on this site.
My dear friend died on December 11, 1998…JS

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